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.

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