After spending the morning in the delightful Botanic Gardens, we needed some lunch, so we returned to the city centre on Bus 32, the bus designated ‘Zoo/Bot Garten’.
In the summer, eating places spill out onto the streets so it was not hard to find somewhere to sit and enjoy lunch and a coffee and just watch life in Augsburg go by. While sitting there, I took the next photo as our bus returned once more from the gardens.
The city has a well used “pedestrian first” centre, and, as pedestrians seem to have right of way, bus and tram drivers need to have their wits about them at all times. This photo shows some reasons why! The bus was slowing when two young ladies just walked across in front of it… Not behind! They were the exception though. Most people were well aware of their surroundings as they crossed the road, like the two shoppers who took the opportunity of the bus braking to walk across as well. A young man decided that crossing the road was a great time to light up! We couldn’t help but notice that so many people smoke, especially young people … and lots of them are young girls. On the street, it’s hard to get away from the smell of cigarettes. Many people ride bicycles although helmets are not required and rarely are they evident… But hanging off the handle bars is really not going to help much, is it? We also noticed that mobile phones are not so much in evidence in the streets although owned by most. We did a count as we sat there, and only one in fifteen people were using a mobile or listening to music etc on ear phones… And those who were using their mobiles were young and on their own as they walked. But even they took note of where they were and looked both ways before crossing the street.
In fact, although pedestrians share the cobblestone streets with buses, trams and bicycles, the system seemed to work remarkably well with not a pedestrian crossing in sight.
Some of the trams have well aimed advertising on the sides. One of the well known products of Augsburg is its beer.
After lunch we decided to explore some of the city streets. Not all have trams and buses and are easy to wander in and enjoy. Much of the city was bombed in the war and has been rebuilt at least replicating the facades of the original buildings. Augsburg has a proud history of 2,030 years, although of course these facades are not of a period that old!
We called into the information centre and were guided by the lady to visit the town hall, an amazing reconstruction of the old town hall that was destroyed in the war. The people and businesses of Augsburg have worked together over many years to bring this building back to life, faithfully recreating not only its architecture but also the wonderful paintings and golden clad statues that decorate the Golden Saale on the first floor of the building. They are rightly proud of this community effort.
Although the main church, the Dom, still has its original front facade intact, much of the church was destroyed and has been rebuilt in what seemed like a bit of a mix of designs. This was not an inviting church, cold and dark and we did not spend much time here.
Instead we caught the #2 tram back to Konig Square where all trams and buses meet. We changed back to a bus for the ride back to our B&B. Unfortunately, we missed our stop… But that did not bother us one bit. We just stayed on and did the whole route to the other side of town and saw a bit of the suburbs. The driver had a six minute break and then we returned, this time getting off at the right stop.
Our B&B was a little unusual. It was attached to a catholic women’s maternity hospital and in the grounds of the Diocesan centre. Unlike the Dom, this was a warm and welcoming place set in a garden. It was a great place to stay. We were in the tower block behind the main house. My guess is that they will expand the hospital into this wing but at the moment they use the facility for diocesan meetings and let out the rooms to guests like us when not otherwise used. Very sensible. Quite a few rooms had been let to guests like us.
The view from our room was down into the garden in front of the hospital. There were quite a few nun/nurses around who wore the traditional outfits and small pleated white hats.
And it was peaceful to walk in the gardens and enjoy the plants like this clematis.
Jennie and David