We chose, instead, to take refuge in a crepe shop for a coffee, banana crepe, and most of all -- warmth. After we lingered as long as reasonable in the crepe shop, we headed across the street to the indoor mall. It was a modern shopping center, perhaps no less devoid of substance for the locals as our malls in the States are to us
. But Tracy and I couldn't help but feel that this place had slightly less soul-sucking qualities to it. Maybe it is just our ignorance, as foreigners, of what is really going on. Or maybe it is the surrounding culture and what they bring to the mall experience: a culture that attaches a parking garage to their mall, but forgoes the sprawling parking lot in favor of space for several dozen bicycles; a culture that actually fills those bike spaces. Maybe it was because this mall seemed more like a place where people went when they needed to buy something, and less like I had taken a wrong turn and ended up in a deranged consumer theme park. In any event, we had fun fooling around in the sports store and toy store, and I got a haircut.
We finally emerged from the mall and now it was hailing. We were now very glad we chose to skip the ferry ride and castle tour. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the downtown shopping district. When there was a brief clearing of the storm, we ventured a few blocks further into the adjacent residential district. It was nothing of particular note, just interesting to see how other folks live.
We met again with Catherin and Sebine for dinner, this time at the Italian restaurant on the bottom floor of their apartment building. Afterwards we all took a healthy walk in the dark and the rain to a little country restaurant for wine and dessert.
We slept in until 10:15 this morning -- that should shake off any residual jet lag. We took the train from Catherine's apartment (the stop is literally across the street) into downtown so that we could take a ferry to a spot further down the lakeshore, where we intended to tour another castle. But there was to be none of that on this day. First off, we had trouble deciphering the ticket machine for the bus to the ferry harbor. Then it started to rain. This was not like the pleasant showers in Strasbourg. This was a cold rain with bone-chilling wind. So much for soaking in the sun by the side of the lake!