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We've just had breakfast in the buffet downstairs. It looked a sparser selection at first, but had many more options for assembling your own bowl of muesli and fruit, with individual bowls of nuts, dried fruits, several types of seeds, cherries, strawberries, plum pieces, and so on, including one bowl of something that looked like dried cherries, but turned out to be sour olives (probably not for the muesli). But it was only after having a bowl of muesli that we realised the buffet extended into the next room, where there was a vast selection of cheeses (ten different types!), cold meats, prawns, more fresh fruit, and yoghurts. We spent a leisurely time eating our fill, secure in the knowledge that we can take it easy, sightseeing-wise, today.
We are just having a break in our room as a brief respite from the heat of the day and the constant sightseeing. We got up before 07:00 and Michelle had a shower while I did stretching exercises, then we went down to the breakfast buffet described earlier.
After breakfast, we emerged with the plan to browse shops and let Michelle do some souvenir shopping. But with most shops opening at 10:00, we had some time to kill, so we launched into a round of sightseeing, tackling areas to the south that we hadn't covered yesterday. We began by walking south-west to the parish church "Zu unsere Lieben Frau" on Unterer Kaulberg, which was quite large and again ornately decorated inside. I fear difficulty in separating all the church interior shots I've taken.
Altar of the parish church "Zu unserer Lieben Frau"
We continued up the hill to the Karmelite monastery and its church for a quick look inside, then retraced our steps back to the Schulplatz and took the narrow winding street of Hölle down past the back of the parish church and over to Eisgrube, which took us around the church of St Stephan. Inside it was much more modern looking than the outside or any other church we've seen so far. The walls and ceiling were stark white, which we guessed was a prelude to a new paint job. From there, we walked back downhill to Schimmelsgasse, across to Sonnenplatz, and finally back to Schranne to refresh ourselves in our room before our assault on the shops.
We're retiring for the night after another busy day, though not quite so busy as previous days. We set out in the morning about 10:30 again to hit the shopping district. I wandered around and took photos while Michelle browsed in various shops. I found several copies of Rick Archbold's Hindenburg: An Illustrated History book that I'd been seeking for years, for only €12.95 too, but in German. It was tempting, but the thought of lugging a hefty and large hardback book all over Germany swayed me against it.
I explored the inside of St Martin's church on Grüner Markt and took several shots of the fruit and veg stalls in Maximiliansplatz, each with lots of Spargel. We got a sparkling apple juice each at a stall there to help stave off the heat of another hot day, then saw to some lunch. I got a slice of ham and salami pizza from a place that was doing great guns handing out slices as fast as they could make them to eager waiting queues of people, so I figured it must be good, and it was. In the vicinity of the place on Franz-Ludwig-Straße, every second person who walked past was noshing on a slice from the same pizza place. Michelle got a couple of bread rolls from a nearby bakery to go with the apple she had earlier from the fruit stalls (and I'd had a pear too). One was a "power bread" stick containing fruit and nuts, the other a pumpkin seed roll. Then not long after Michelle got a pretzel-like straight thing for further sustenance through the afternoon. I got a chocolate-covered shortbread triangle which had an almond filling. Sated on food and shopping, we retired to our room for a two-hour rest break out of the heat of the early afternoon.
We emerged at 16:30, keen to visit the Rosengarten in the afternoon light, before it closed at 18:00. Michelle wanted to go via Grünhundbrunnen ("Green dog street"!) to buy a scarf she'd seen at a shop there yesterday. Having bought that, we proceeded up Residenzstraße to Domplatz and the Residenz. We entered the Residenz courtyard and emerged through to the Rosengarten, bare of flowers as the roses had only recently begun putting out new spring growth, but still picturesque with some tulips up in flanking beds, statues scattered amongst all, and a glorious view out to the north-east across the Regnitz River and over the red-tiled rooftops of the historical town. We lingered to bask in the view and left only a minute or so before 18:00 when it closed.
We went in search of Carmelita's, a Mexican restaurant we'd found in our Lonely Planet, and had an early dinner, entering to a deserted restaurant and two staff members who looked as though we had come in to ask for directions rather than eat at such an ungodly early hour. Once they realised we actually wanted food, all was well though.
For dinner we ordered a serve of jalapeño poppers for a starter, then I got fajitas con carne and Michelle got a veg burrito. As usual, it was all very filling and we struggled to get through it. A couple more tables of people came in while we were eating; thankfully neither of them started smoking. We noticed that we had managed to choose the only table in the entire, quite large, establishment without an ashtray on it, amidst a sea of tables with. We figured our one table was the entire non-smoking section.
After eating we picked up my tripod from the hotel and went for a twilight stroll to find and capture interesting photos in the evening light. We stopped on the other side of the small bridge right next to our hotel, near Schloss Geyerswörth, to admire the view of the Alte Rathaus and the cloudy evening sky beyond, but it was too early for sunset light in the clouds, so we took a walk over to the Obere Brücke and Untere Brücke for some glowing shots of Klein Venedig and Kloster St Michael up on the hill. I took a lot of photos at multiple exposures for later combination into HDR images at home, since most scenes had an extreme range of light intensities. This set a record for most photos in a day so far: 371.
We returned to Geyerswörth for shots of the Rathaus in the fading light, but the clouds never really went that wonderful shade of pink as they thinned out and dissipated against the purpling sky. While setting up there, an old couple came up and asked Michelle in German if they could sit on the bench she was sitting on. It took another go, slowly with gestures, before we understood them, but we were happy to share the gorgeous ("schöne!") view with them.
Dom at night
Once we decided the best light was over, we walked up the hill to Domplatz for some shots of the Dom against a deep blue late twilight sky, with the moon a bit over three-quarters full looming above its spires. An organ was playing inside, loud enough to be heard drifting across the platz. It was a magical moment and scene. Done there, we meandered home again, pausing to shoot some night scenes in the winding narrow streets.
But now my photos have downloaded successfully to iPod and I'm going to turn in, completely exhausted.
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