Unexpected Homophobia In Stuttgart

I just returned home on Tuesday afternoon from a trip that included Karlsruhe, a bit of Stuttgart, and Cologne for the Karneval festivities on Sunday and Monday.  I’m still sorting those photos, and I’ll post about Karlsruhe and Cologne next week.

It was a very interesting weekend, though.  When I was in Stuttgart, I saw a very large Polizei presence walking through the Hauptbahnhof on either side of a small group of people carrying pink flags.  One of the flag carriers shouted, in English, “This is what democracy looks like!”  I had no idea what he was talking about.  Later on, I saw a second, much larger group of men without any noticeable flags or placards being escorted by another rather large group of Polizei.

The Stuttgarter-Nachrichten had the story-  there is a plan to include more details about homosexuality in the sex-ed classes in Baden-Württemberg, and there was a homophobic protest against that change.   What I saw was part of of a counter-protest, hence the pink flags.  The Stuttgarter-Nachrichten has a great article about the protests here, including some pretty terrific photographs.  I was mildly surprised to see the old “Gays are pedophiles” canard written out on a German protest sign, but it was there.

Here’s a few pictures I snapped in the Hauptbahnhof before I found out what was going on.  If I had known this protest was happening, I would have tried to get over to Palace Square to see more.

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Have you ever stumbled across an unexpected political protest?


The Bishop’s Gone Walkabout

I was walking past Albertstraße this weekend when I noticed something peculiar.  This pedestal was empty:


The last time I looked, which wasn’t all that long ago, the Bishop was still there, just as in this picture from a different blog post back in January of 2012.  I don’t know if he was stolen, or if he was taken to be cleaned.  He could be in the process of moving to another location, or perhaps he’s still there behind a complicated mirror-based illusion.

My neighbor tells me that he’s being restored and the moved to his original location.  During the war, the statue was removed to be melted down for ammunition.  Years later, the statue was found in a warehouse and installed in the current location.

That explanation is boring, though.   I prefer, much like Grig, to think of him as battling evil in another dimension.


Where do YOU think the Bishop has gone?


So there are a bunch of buildings in town with this logo:


It’s a coat of arms of some sort, and I haven’t been able to learn what it actually represents, but it from the first time I saw it, it looked really, really familiar.  I finally figured out why.

This symbol:


…looks just like this guy.  The cartoon bad guy pictured here is Equinox, a repeating villain on “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”


I think I may watch too much television.

Do any logos in your city remind you of Batman?

Regensburg Spindellauf 2014

spindellauf0Last weekend was the annual Regensburg Spindellauf, a yearly run in the DEZ (Donau-Einkaufszentrum,) a big shopping center a short distance away.  The run is partly inside this multi-level shopping mall, but a part of it goes out to the spiral ramp on the corner of the parking garage, hence the name Spindellauf. (For those who don’t speak German, Spindel is exactly what it sounds like, and lauf is “run.”)

The reason I was there was that Robert (usually mentioned in conjunction with Jenny) fufills a regular function as the Spindelhase.  Hase is German for rabbit or hare.  In the Spindellauf, he acts much like a pace car in automobile racing.  He leads the first lap, then leaves the course.

Before the race, he was introduced so that everyone else could see who he was.  He’s wearing a bright yellow shirt with a racing hare on the back, rabbit ears, and – most amusingly – a sequined pink bowtie.  That’s just how Robert rolls.


During the race, there are food and drink tables and two separate stages for bands to rock out-  this is a festive event that draws a pretty huge crowd.


I didn’t bring my good camera to this event, so my race-time pictures aren’t very good.  This is Robert leading the first lap:


Although you can’t really see it from my pictures, there were a great many runners in this event.


For contrast, this is what it looks like if you’re the official Spindellauf photographer with a proper camera- this next picture is from the 2013 race, but you get the idea.


Some of the runners were doing teams, and passing a baton.  These are runners waiting for their teammate to reach this point to hand off the baton.


…and when the baton reaches them, they take off.

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Have you ever attended a marathon or running event in your town?