Monday, May 21, 2007

Aachen Germany

I feel like Clark Griswald - I wanted to run throught the hills and sing "The hills are alive with the sound of Griswald" - that is for your comedy fans out there....

This is a very nice place to visit. People are extremely nice – especially since I only speak English. I have found that most of the people speak some English. Today we went for a long walk through town.

Aachen is a small city that has hundreds upon hundreds of stores, salons, bakeries, jewelry stores and much more. It is clean with an older feel to it. There are a lot of areas that have 5 or more cafes. The people love their coffee, beer and tea here. We had lunch at a café in town and it was great. Weather in the low 70s, sunny with a slight breeze. It made for a relaxing lunch. We had pizza and an orange iced tea. I could get used to this…

The churches are incredible. They are hundreds of years old and the detail stands out like they were built recently. We were able to get into one of them –called Aachen Cathedral, and it was beautiful. I don’t know how they painted the ceilings, but however they were able to do it – I was highly impressed. I have lots of photos which I will post upon my return to the states.

One thing that sticks out to me while walking around is how many people – young and old – are smoking nonstop. I saw two girls smoking at the table next to us at the café and they did not stop for over an hour. They must have smoked 8-10 each. I saw little kids smoking which is a bad sign. No matter where you live in the world we need to educate our kids to not smoke.

I guess it is the reality we face. In the USA we have been making some progress with reducing the number of kids that smoke. Not much but the published reports say reduced 2-3% of the last 5 years, which is encouraging to hear. When I used to go to Montreal I noticed 90% of the people I met were smokers. Smoking is everywhere, but I really like what has been going on back in the states. We banned smoking in restaurants and bars. People thought that would hurt businesses – at this stage every place I go to they did not see a decline in sales. Some have reported an increase. I see here in Germany they are at least trying to get partial bans enabled, read this article.

I am a former smoker. Definitely not proud of it, but I was able to quite and never look back. I hate it now! Everywhere I go here in Germany there is a person blowing smoke in my face. Thanks – I was really looking forward to it. Some people are just rude. Others just do not even think of how it will affect them. I hope Germany is creating a plan to reduce the number of smokers. Hey – the scare tactics TRUTH uses is working.

Smoking is a big topic of discussion in my house. My father-in-law has been a smoker for over 55 years and currently he is in a rehab facility with a Tracheotomy. We hope for the best, but it does not look like he will ever leave. Smoking put him there and now it will not let him leave.

Well, back to being a tourist for the remainder of today as work beings 7:30 tomorrow morning.