|The Porta Nigra, a Roman gate in Trier. Looking on Wikipedia, it looks better from the other side...|
|Town square in Trier|
|Hideous elephant. The "elephant parade" was going on around Luxembourg (and apparently Trier) since I visited in the summer until last month or something. Unfortunately, this one strayed from the herd|
The Brit had actually suggested on our first date that we go to the Karl Marx museum sometime, so we decided to combine that with the market excursion. Marx was born in Trier, and the museum is in the house where he was born and lived for maybe a year or so. This tangential connection to Marx pretty much sums up the museum. It was informative (thank goodness for the free audio guide though, because all the written information was in German) but pretty much entirely devoid of any artefact that had even a passing connection to the man himself. There were a couple of reproductions in cases of things like newspapers he wrote for, but even those were few and far between. Bizarrely, there was an old Atari computer from the 80s in one room (we had an Atari growing up, but ours was the type that plugged in to the TV), although I couldn't tell you why.
We learned some interesting things though - who knew that Marx died stateless, having renounced his Prussian citizenship, or that two of his daughters and his son-in-law committed suicide (for unexplained reasons)? It also did a good job of mapping out the influence of his ideology on different thinkers and regimes around the world, in a pretty balanced way. You did kind of leave, however, thinking that there was not much there that you couldn't have got from reading a book or listening to a podcast.
Marx museum done with, it was time to look around the markets, sip glühwein and eat sausages. Which we duly did. The markets were nice, although very crowded. I feared for my coat with the amount of red wine served in tiny boots and cigarettes that were sloshing around the crowd. The atmostphere, however, stayed festive. We stayed until almost 9 pm, by which time people were definitely on the merry side, but I didn't spot anyone that seemed to be blind drunk. Judging by the conversations I could hear around us, most of the crowd were German, with a minority of French speakers, which I imagine is not the case for the bigger markets in places like Cologne or Munich. We spoke to the vendor in a sweet shop who told us that weekend, the first of the Christmas markets, was the biggest of the whole year for him, and I can believe it with the crowds there were. I must say, everyone we interacted with was very nice too, so much for stereotypes!
So, there are two reasons why I don't usually blog about "relationship" things. 1) Nothing to report, ever. 2) I'm naturally pessimistic about everything and I don't like talking about jobs/dates/moves etc. which I think won't end up working out. So yeah, turns out that was my last date with the Brit, so I should have stuck with the policy. Two days shy of my 31st birthday, I got an email this morning to say that he didn't think we should see each other any more because I don't want children. I guess that's appropriate enough, since it's surely a sign of getting old if men start running away because you *don't* want kids. I was kind of surprised, since I didn't think things were serious between us, but maybe that's the point. Before you feel too sorry for me, he called on Skype last night - presumably to break up - and I thought "I'm tired, do I have to answer that? He's not even my boyfriend..." Clearly I'm a selfish person who doesn't deserve to be in a relationship anyway.
Still, even if he wasn't the one, I'm a bit upset. We got on well, I liked him. It was just nice to have someone around for once, especially since I'm low on friends etc. here. This would have been my first birthday celebrated with someone since 2004, or 2003 if you count that I was actually on the other side of the world and a few months away from breaking up with my boyfriend in 2004. That's a long time. And it hurts a little to be confronted with the reality that you reach a certain age where things are just going to get harder, when obviously they haven't been easy up to this point either.
So I suppose my actual birthday is going to be lonely, but at least this weekend I will be back in Tours to drown my sorrows with my friends...