Day 19: Friday, July 23. Last full day in Osnabrück

One more view from my mom’s back porch into her little walled garden.
And one more view of her beautiful house. As much as I am glad she is on the ground floor, I love the way the top floor looks!

Today was our last full day in Osnabrück. I cannot believe that our time here has almost come to an end. It was another fairly quiet day, but still busy–filled with the things that still needed to happen before our departure. We had beautiful sunny & cool weather again, and I did start with a run, although I had not slept all that well (up from ca. 4:30 to 6:30, then asleep again for almost an hour). Then we had another simple breakfast, enhanced by fabulous fresh pineapple, a gift from a neighbor who was about to leave town and gave Imke all her leftovers (complicated story), and Mark and I went on our last shopping trip to the nearby box stores — an Aldi for German chocolate for Kati and Rhaine (and butter for Imke) and a DM (the German Walgreens, except so much cheaper), where I had intended to just get another travel tooth paste and some napkins for my mother, but found some lovely clothes for Apollo and a couple of other presents for the kids–a rainbow umbrella for Jupiter and washcloth handpuppets for both grandkids.

After we got home, I started packing to make sure everything would fit into our suitcases, Mark took apart the hard drive from Imke’s broken computer, and I taught Imke some more iPad tricks so she can use the camera, photo downloads, and her e-mail (basically). Then I made a salad and pasta with pesto for lunch, and afterwards, we headed to town with two goals: visit the local museum dedicated to the Osnabrück painter Felix Nussbaum (1904-1944), which also doubles as a history museum for the city. The exhibit about the works of Nussbaum, a Jewish man who was killed by the Nazis in Auschwitz in 1944 after he was apprehended in exile in Belgium, is located in a thought-provokingly claustrophobic space designed by Daniel Libeskind (who also designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and part of the 9/11 Memorial). It consists of a zigzag of narrowing corridors, mostly made of bare concrete and windows that are “crooked” in various ways, and the paintings are hung in a way that continuously makes you think about the lack of exits and of dead ends–as does the art itself, which gets darker and also more personal (Nussbaum painted many self-portraits with symbolic objects in exile).

But then there IS (perhaps wrongly) an exit to the older part of the museum, which has recently gotten a major overhaul, with a modern approach to exhibiting local history. There was a small but important collection of 16th- through 18th-century paintings (originally collected by a private citizen, not a prince), now hung in such a way that you can compare different ways in which they were displayed on the walls of the man’s home in the 19th century. The museum also features couple of smaller contemporary art exhibits that change, and a room with Dürer prints (mostly his scenes of the Virgin Mary). And lastly, there were several rooms that displayed objects from local history, in a brand-new exhibit called “Tracing the City,” with a good audio-visual presentation that highlighted parts of a city models via a digital projection screen, and many other interactive elements. This new exhibit just opened a few days ago, and there were a couple of displays that were not fully functional yet, but the overall concept was a major improvement compared to what we used to see there on shelves and in cabinets, without any larger context.

We didn’t stay very long (Imke clearly had had enough after about an hour, but plans to come back with Klaus), maybe an hour and a half, and then we went on to the downtown area and had coffee at the lovely cafe on the market square by the church of St. Mary (Marienkirche). Mark and I had cake with our drinks because the cafe has a fabulous spread–he tried Flockentorte and I had a piece of poppyseed-streusel cake. Imke got bites of both (“Räuberteller” style) and was very happy with that. Then we started looking for a shirt for her. I ruined one of her t-shirts in the wash and had insisted on replacing it. But ultimately, she chose an outdoorsy blouse from a hiking store that is going out of business, with many extra features (UV protection, a zipper pocket, even a built-in cloth for cleaning your glasses!), and we decided it was her birthday present. We returned home, only stopping once more at the neighborhood stationary store where I bought a few things for Kati & co, and I had time to talk to Kai on the phone and to give a few minutes’ worth of additional iPad lessons before we had to take off again: Imke had invited us to a nearby restaurant, Edina’s Frickeblöcks, and although we had reservations for indoors, we were actually able to sit in their garden area, where we had simple but lovely food. I had Königsberger Klopse (meatballs in a tangy sauce that includes capers and, I think, anchovies); Imke had stuffed chicken breast, and Mark had an excellent Schnitzel. We were home before 8 and Imke could watch the daily news and pick out a mystery to watch, while Mark and i updated our journals and made sure all our stuff really fits into our suitcases.

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