Going from Berlin with a population of 3.5 million to Muenster with its measly 310 thousand has been like going from day to night (don't take the light to dark as being significant besides the stark contrast). The people are TIGHT, and by that I mean their relationships. They're friendly, helpful, and seem to have formed strong friendships. It almost gives you an old-timey city feel. The bakers wake up early and go make their brotchen, brezels, and landbrot and the Italians go straight to their restaurant to start making dough and preparing for the day. The other locals hop on their bicycles (a portion of the city is bicycle-only besides delivery trucks for supplies and buses) and head wherever they're going, be it school or work. They only have the buses for local transport unlike Berlin's buses, trains, and subways, but they still get around just fine. It's a bustle of steadiness and somehow everyone manages to flow together without any chaos or disorganization. Which is impressive as soooo many people here ride bikes!
Yesterday (after typing up the blog), I went out, had some local brotchen, ei, und schinken (delicious), finished my drawing of the plaza near Lambertikirche, took some 360 photos of the square, and rode a bicycle around to get a feel for the area. The grocery stores have a million types of bread (obviously a slight exaggeration), and meats that I've never heard of nor seen. The food seems reasonably priced, though bathrooms are difficult to come by and what you do find that's public isn't free to use (you can use it, but you have to pay; I didn't mean that it was public but off limits). Oh, and while I'm on on that pedestal, you have to pay for a paper bag at the grocery store. Otherwise you don't get a bag... Nice, huh? Granted it's only -.10€ but c'mon! If I buy food at your store, the least you could do is give me something to put it in! On the flip side, a woman at the hostel that I was staying at was nice enough to lend me her rented bicycle as she was going out with a friend and didn't need it. Something that would otherwise be trivial but meant the world to me as I've walked over 100 miles in the past week and could give the blisters a rest... To you, who I talked with for an extended period of time but never got the name of: I'm eternally in your debt. Thank you!
Today was a bit more of the same. The only real change is that today I have a couchsurfing host, so I'm carrying my heavy pack around until they're available. I went to Vodafone and worked out a prepaid sim card/plan that works in most of the EU and gives me a few GB of data. Something that I've been meaning to do as I soon won't be in places that have Wi-Fi readily available and don't want to be stranded without a helpline. Otherwise, I've done more 360 photos (of churches this time) and done a few quick sketches, though nothing noteworthy. More that are simply references jots for later pieces/drawings. I tried some local Italian food from a family-run restaurant and my God was it good! I'm not usually one for vegetarian pizza but the stuff that I had today was accented with just the slightest hint of garlic, some peppers with just a bit of bite, black olives, fresh tomatoes, olive oil, and some seasonings that made it amazing. One of the best, if not THE best, pizza that I've ever eaten.
In my opinion, Muenster is just a great place. It has the same smokers that plague much of Germany, but it seems that they're less frequent. Maybe they just congregate in certain areas or possibly there really aren't as many since everyone has to be active and ride bikes? I dunno. The city is gorgeous and rich with history, the people are great, and the food is delicious! What else can you ask for? I'm only uploading the one drawing today as I spent most of yesterday on it and didn't get to do as many others as usual. The host that I'm staying with tonight lives in the country, so maybe I'll have some good sketches of the farm life for tomorrow? We'll see...