Dixie Peach: Looking For a Good Place to Land

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Looking For a Good Place to Land

Magdeburg used to be a really beautiful city. Before it was bombed in 1945 it was filled with baroque architecture and photographs I've seen show a very pretty, charming looking city. While some of the old baroque buildings survived most of the downtown area was destroyed - literally bombed down to the ground - so much of what one sees now is utilitarian, Socialist inspired, blah architecture.

But we have one thing that makes up for the blocks of concrete that pass for apartments and office buildings - parks. Magdeburg has a lot of parks. And even where there aren't parks, there is still a good bit of trees and grass around. You can overlook a lot of dull buildings if you've got flowers and trees and grass to distract your eyes.

I'm forever looking for a spot to have a little quiet time during the warm weather months. I like going for daily walks to get a little exercise and fresh air but sometimes I just want a quiet spot outdoors where I can sit and knit or read and be left alone. I usually go down to the river and find an empty bench somewhere but when the weather is really great or if it's a weekend you can't find a good spot.

There's an old park - one that must have been built back sometime in the 19th century - just a few blocks from my apartment. Despite its local I'd never been there myself - only having driven by it on occasion. Since our brief throwback to winter is over I took advantage of the warmer temperatures yesterday to walk over and see if it could become my place.

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I love pansies.

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I think the city just planted these recently because they're still rather puny.

There are three or four ways to enter the park and the entrance I chose took me up a hill to an overlook and that's where I noticed the pansies down below near another park entrance. As I walked towards that end I noticed these stairs to take me down the hill:

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If I'd walked another...oh...fifty feet or so I'd have walked down another hill that would take me to the flower bed but being as I'm...uh...what's that word? Oh yeah. Idiot. Being as I am an idiot I went down those stairs.

Let's be honest. I'm built weird. Short, stubby legs and so top heavy a decent tap would send me pitching forward. My sense of balance is pretty lousy on level ground and I have a terrible time seeing my feet and therefore have trouble walking down stairs and yet I felt the need to challenge myself to skip down these bad boys.

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Here's the other end. You'll notice there's no trail of blood leading down from where I'd fallen and bounced my big, dumb ass down those crazy ass stairs. I made it down successfully but not without a lot of panic on my part. By the time I got to the bottom my heart was about to leap out of my chest and I was sweating like a whore in church. I got a nice sense of accomplishment though. Perhaps the only thing worse would be to walk up them because no only would you have the sense that your feet are going to slip out from under you as you walk up but it's a rather steep hill. Walking up that set of stairs would have me puffing like a freight train.

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Farther into the park one sees this big, white villa. I don't know what it is - if it's a public building or someone's home or what. I wanted to know at least what it's called and reminded myself to ask my MIL, who went to this park often when she was a child and was visiting her grandmother, when I showed her the photograph.

"What's this big, white villa called?"

"I call it the big, white villa."

Glad she cleared up that mystery.

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This is the view from where I first sat and took a break from my walk. Walking paths wind all thorough the park, up and down hills and stairs (actual modern, safe, concrete stairs - not just stairs made from ancient stones worn slicker than ice from decade upon decade upon decade of exposure) and there are park benches scattered all along the paths. And the all important trash cans. It's irksome to have a nice park and no decent place where one can get rid of trash.

One thing I noticed that pleased me no end was that the park wasn't filled with drunks. Drinking in public and even being drunk in public isn't forbidden in Germany and in some parks or public squares the city drunks congregate to sit all day with a case of beer and crappy music on their tinny radios. This park is a bit more secluded and, more importantly, not anywhere near a store or kiosk where alcohol is sold. If it's too much of a pain to get your beer and return your empty bottles, it's not worth it to them to hang out there. Instead I saw a few student from the university laying in the sunshine and studying. Older couples out for a walk (this park is near some senior citizen housing). Near where I sat I saw two young guys sitting on a bench passing a guitar back and forth between them while smoking from a water pipe - one would play while the other smoked. It was some fruit infused tobacco. Smelled like apples.

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This is the view from the second place where I sat - more or less the opposite side of where I'd been sitting before. I like that little willow tree. The next time I go there I want to sit underneath it.

I think I've found a good spot for me. My place to be on my own enjoy being outdoors. It's the place where I want to sit and knit and just listen to the wind as it blows through the trees. That was the other thing I liked about this park. Even though it's in the center of the city, it's very quiet. I couldn't hear any cars or streetcars or anything else for that matter.

But I'm going to be sure that when I'm there I have my cell phone with me. You know, just in case I get the urge to walk down those stairs again and that's the time I'm unsuccessful.

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Blogger hexe said...

Sounds like a perfect place to relax . . . once you have tumbled down the stairs:) Hope you weren't hurt.

11:35 PM  
Blogger sari said...

What a beautiful little park! I would love to have a place like that near me.

I miss being able to be outside in the summer months to enjoy something like that but it's just too hot here.

I'm so glad you found it! (even with the stairs -I started reading about the stairs and thought "Oh no! Not the tripping thing! Oh no!")


12:07 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Lovely pictures! Did you ever find out about the "white villa?"

2:53 AM  
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5:36 AM  
Blogger Twango said...

I love your description of this little park. Sounds like a perfect spot.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I love parks and this was beautiful. I was reading The Nazi Officer's Wife the other day and Madgeburg was mentioned briefly. Not about the bombing or anything though.

1:21 AM  

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