Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Walkabout in Darmstadt

I spent the last day and a half walking around Darmstadt, and have really enjoyed myself. For the most part, there's nothing touristy about this place, and there's really nothing that jumps out and says, "You gotta see this!", but even so, it's been pleasant just walking around and enjoying the environment. "Downtown" is a pleasant place to walk around, with lots of shops; and nearby there are a few parks that provide the right amount of green.

Darmstadt, like many cities in Europe, got laid waste during World War II, so there aren't a lot of "old" buildings to speak of. I wasn't able to find any old churches, and even the local "castle" is modernized. What few "old" pieces of architecture I was able to find, and old statues, were fairly rare. For example, in one of the main squares downtown, I found this statue:

I have no idea who this is, and there was no plaque, and I struggled with it because it totally looks like Teddy Roosevelt to me. Apologies that the resolution is so bad; I only had the camera in my phone with me.

There were some more modern statues that I encountered, such as this:

Or this:

I found that this place is really quite green, though. The major park near downtown is lovely, and seems to be very popular with the students who attend the university right next door, and parents of small children:

In the park I did find this cool monument with this awesome, naked, Viking-looking dude:

Nearby was another "park", something called "St. George's gardens", I think, with a nearby church named, I think, "St. Elizabeth's":

It's really quite strange, though, the mix of architecture styles in the downtown area. One one hand, you have very traditional, European-style buildings, such as these:

But across the street, you get very modern type buildings, like this:

On the whole, though, it was a nice time just walking around town. My feet a little sore, my eyes a little bleary-eyed, I went back to the hotel content and comfortable with my surroundings. I'm still a little uncomfortable ordering food at restaurants, but I'll get over that eventually, too. I like this place, but I do look forward to going home.

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