Tzarus is a tiny little thing . She holds her two hands as if she has the tiny Tzarus cradled within them .
Ada and I took the two grandkids , one day , to the river . We ate lunch at the Colorado — wild west stuff all over ; a life-size plastic horse out front . It’s a great place to watch the river , see a boat now and again slide past , or a coal barge pushed by a tugboat , or to look at the tour boats docked . The food is good , too . Men seem to make a point of wearing blue jeans to the Colorado . They’re getting with the American wild west theme . ( But I’m still the only American I’ve ever seen there ) .
At noon I hear the church bells ring . The steeples are easy to spot . The cathedral has an observation deck up in the tower . It costs a few zloty to go up . Two years ago my friend Scott and his girlfriend Johanna came over from Sweden to see me in Szczecin for a day . It began drizzling in the morning. ” Don’t worry ,” I said . It had been sunny for two weeks. ” It’ll stop.” They bought cheap umbrellas from a street vendor . ” It’ll stop ,” I said .
It never stopped that day . It did the next day when they were gone back to Sweden . We went up in the cathedral tower , anyway , looked out through the wet glass at a clouded-over city, through the rain showers . The woman selling tickets up to the tower let us climb up the stairs above the observation deck . I think that she felt sorry for us .
We tried the tour boat that goes out for an hour . We could hang out on the boat , I thought , and have a beer while we waited for the rain to stop , see some of the river , some shipyards . The girl selling tickets said no boats go in rain . She first told me that no boats go in September , but I pointed out to her that boats went out the day before , and the day before that . So she changed it to rain — no boats in rain .
I have some advice for the Szczecin city fathers about how to attract tourists . I will have to compile a list. The tourist thing will happen here one of these years and everyone will cash in . But it hasn’t begun quite yet . Sure , older Germans come on tour busses for the day . They go see the castle or just hang around the river being sold souvenirs by the street vendor who sets up across from the sailors’ college . There is a guy with a horse and carriage now, too , who hauls a few of them slowly around town . There is actually a good self-guided walking tour , too , marked with red lines . You need to buy the corresponding tour map in the castle tourist office .The red lines , though, are faded , and some of them gone because of construction around town .
There have got to be at least a few Americans in the city . I’ve never met any in fifteen years of visiting , but I haven’t given up hope . One day I’ll run into one . I hope he/she turns out not to be a jerk . Maybe at the Colorado , or at the Columbus, or at the American Club on the walking street . One day .