Bombs, Riots, and Sinking Bridges: Everyday Perils of the Last Month in Deutschland

It began last month when we arrived home from Ireland. In the wake of modern-day terrorism scares around Europe, a reminder of the past resurfaced. A 500-pound World War II bomb had been discovered in downtown Wiesbaden and was set to be diffused one Sunday evening. Fortunately residents (ironically including many Americans) were given notice to evacuate the area beforehand.

This wasn’t the first time this has happened either. Last year another WWII bomb was found and detonated near a stretch of Autobahn not far from the Frankfurt Airport. As my dad commented when I described these situations, “I guess wars never really end.”

The next morning, news came during Monday rush hour that the Schiersteiner Bridge between Wiesbaden and Mainz was closed for repairs due to having unexpectedly sunken several centimeters. This continues to be a major problem off and on, with what I assume will not have an easy end in sight. While the severely unstable bridge situation is being worked on, a ferry has become available for transporting people and their cars across the Rhein. This, in addition to people making use of the local trains, has generally helped the traffic problem. The real problem here is that there are only two other bridges for cars between these two state capital cities.

To cap off the month, this Wednesday saw what was supposed to be a heavily populated anti-capitalism protest in Frankfurt’s financial district turn violent and destructive. Cars and buildings were set on fire, and from pictures I saw from bystanders and in the news, it looked like a war zone. I was lucky enough to be coming from the direction that wasn’t affected by this mess, so I didn’t even experience any public transportation delays. I knew that the demonstrations would be going on but was absolutely shocked when I saw how the event had turned. What a way to waste getting a message across credibly.

I feel fortunate that my biggest complaint in the midst of all of these dangers has only been traffic disruptions. Regular traffic jams and road construction are par for the course in Germany, and having come from Washington, DC where the traffic situation is one of the worst in the U.S., that kind of disorder is only to be expected.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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I’ve been a wild rover for many a year
And I’ve spent all my money on whiskey and beer

– “The Wild Rover”

 

St. Patrick
St. Patrick

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few more pictures from my trip last month along with some of my favorite Irish song lyrics (about Dublin, death, women, drink, etc,). Sláinte!

 

Molly Malone statue in Dublin
Molly Malone statue in Dublin

In Dublin’s Fair City
Where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying “Cockles and mussels alive, alive-o!”
– “Molly Malone”

 

Monasterboice Cemetery
Monasterboice Cemetery

Rolled him up in a nice clean sheet, and laid him out upon the bed
A bottle of whiskey at his feet and a barrel of porter at his head

Wasn’t it the truth I told you? Lots of fun at Finnegan’s Wake

– “Finnegan’s Wake”

 

Jameson's Irish Whiskey
Jameson’s Irish Whiskey

I counted out his money and it made a pretty penny
I put it in my pocket and I took it home to Jenny
She sighed and she swore that she never would deceive me
But the devil take the women for they never can be easy

– “Whiskey in the Jar”

 

Guiness ad in Dublin
Guiness ad in Dublin

The years have made me bitter, the gargle dims me brain
‘Cause Dublin keeps on changing and nothing seems the same
The Pillar and the Met have gone, the Royal long since pulled down
As the grey unyielding concrete, makes a city of my town
– “The Rare Ould Times”

 

Ha' Penny Bridge at night
Ha’ Penny Bridge at night