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Walking, Walking, Walking...

Today I looked at a map and navigated myself to a pet store to look for something special for Cheesey. The largest store with the best reviews on google was 4 miles away from my hotel.  While looking carefully at the streets on the map, I found that there's another photography museum/gallery very close to the pet store. So now I had to go. I decided to give it a try.

I walked further than no tourist dared to go. Slowly, one tourist at a time, they all fell to the wayside as real Germany emerged. Not one street-side restaurant, no signs in english pointing to main attractions, no Starbucks or McDonalds, only worker looking people driving vans, unloading trucks, and carrying briefcases, only german speaking people around me. I eventually asked someone if I was on Shönhauserstraße, of course in minimal words and maximum gestures. He said, "Ja." and indeed I was on the right street and I found the place I was looking for. Even though it was cloudy and drizzling, I was hot and sweaty from the walk. The pet store was basically a smaller version of Petsmart, and didn't have anything special. I was very sad. And even worse was that the Forum für Fotografie was closed! I was so disappointed again! It opened several hours later, and there was nothing to do around that area so I had no choice to go back to the safety of tourist land.

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On my long walk back I stopped at the Lindt Chocolate Museum. It was pretty fun. I learned a lot about chocolate growing and harvesting. How it was considered the food of the gods, and how there were many trade wars and battles over chocolate. Chocolate only grows in very hot tropical areas and they had an actual botanical garden greenhouse room that was extremely hot and humid with many of the real chocolate plants growing in there. It was fun, but too hot to stay for long. They had a room that looked like a vintage shop with all sorts of boxes of chocolate from history. Chocolate box design haha. They had a typical factory room with conveyor belts carrying little balls of chocolate and sliding down little ramps getting bagged. It was fun. They had a great gift store with, of course, a million kinds of chocolate, in a million shapes. I enjoyed it all.

Then I went to the Ludwig Museum of Modern Art which is right in front of the Dom cathedral. I think this makes museum 15, but I've lost count. It was pretty cool because I actually saw stuff I recognized from books and the internet. I saw Rothko's and Jackson Pollocks and about 30 Picassos. Also, there was a very cool Photography exhibit of Henri Cartier Bresson. Stuff is so much cooler in real life than it is in a book or on a computer. I wonder if digital photography has the same in-person impact. Because when you see a Picasso and you know that his hand actually touched it and worked with the canvas, it gives it some presence. But what did the photographer do with a digital print? The photos made in the dark room still have that presence because you know the photographer held the paper and worked it by hand. I'm not sure if digital has the same impact, but I'm hoping it does. I hope we photographers can come up with something so that it can still have the same impact in person.

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All in all, I bet I walked over 10 miles today. For lunch, I was brave and stopped at street-food stand and had authentic Bratwurst: a giant foot-long hot dog that doesn't fit into a small round french bread dinner roll. But what an amazing sausage/hotdog it was.

Then in the evening Ganesh and I went out to dinner to the famous Früh am Dom, an authentic Cologne Brewery that's over a hundred years old. Ganesh had a beer called Kölsch, but of course, I did not. We both had amazing dinners. He had the pork "medallions" (Schweinefiletmedaillons) with mushrooms in a hollandaise sauce and fried potatoes. I had a turkey "steak" (Putensteak vom Grill) topped with amazing herb butter and also fried potatoes. It was just delicious.


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