Category: Germany 2008: Revisited.


panorama of Hameln

Just to sum up the remainder of the great life I had in Lage, with Tine, eating freshly cooked-still warm applesauce near the sugar factory.  We continued to take trips with the French, we went to castles, towns, parks and museums, and here are the remaining highlights.

-The first few pictures revolves around a day trip to Hameln and the Schloss Hämelschenburg (castle), built in 1409.  Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed within the castle doors.  Woulda been a sight to see, for sure.

The first pic is a panorama of the castle grounds, second pic is Roxane, the little french girl, expressing her love a) for curiosity, and b) for the color pink.  Anything pink, and I truly mean anything pink, will be touched by her hands 😀  Then a few pictures later, we are in Hameln, and there is an interesting picture there of a girl chasing another girl with a bike, and I have , to this day, yet to find out what really went on, but it involved smashing beer bottles, and a girl chick cat fight 😀  Amazing stuff!

Then comes the picture of the bikes 😀  Tine’s uncle owns two, a Harley and a BMW, and while living there, I got the chance , several times, to ride behind him on his BMW (I’m personally no fan of Harley, dunno why) and we went soo freakin’ fast on these country roads.  Now, c’mon, you gotta imagine this:

Riding with the wind in your face, (well, yea, you have a helmet on but still!) on these country roads, in between fields of crops.  Then, on your left comes a field of windmills, peacefully generating energy.  Then you go up a wildly curvy mountain road, still full speed ahead, and you come to the top where a statue is, called Hermanns Denkmal, kinda like Germany’s version of the Statue of Liberty. Remember, the wind is still blowing in your face.  Then you comem back down that mountain and through the fields and then youre driving through a picturesque Old City of a village.

Wouldn’t that want to make you ride bikes too? Especially in Germany!! So this picture is of me, Gerd, Tine and Jürgen, Tine’s uncle.

Then come a series of pictures at a place called ‘Kirmes’.  A Kirmes is basically a fair, for thsoe of you in the Lehigh Valley, think practically Allentown Fair, just different 😛  More wild, lots of alcohol, and crazy rides with weird noises.  What kind of noises? I guess just maybe you can pretend you are tripping out, and you  hear these crazy laughing noises comign from the rides, and they are shouting, wanna go faster? how about now? You scared yet? Or picture crazy freakin’ ugly clowns chasing you, that’s honestly what it kinda reminds me of! So, Reinholdi is the Kirmes of Lage, where I stayed with Tine.

After Reinholdi, comes another Kirmes, in Blasheimer, called the Blama Markt… Here we took the train to visit a friend of Tine, Roman, and we basically went to the Kirmes from 1pm to 3am the next morning, I take it these things are open constantly until they close a week later… It was very cold, and afterwards we just walked back to his place and crashed while watching American X.

Finally, a few pictures from the Kletterpark (literally, climbing park), which is basically a Jungle-Gym for adults, climbing high in the trees, being held on only by one rope, and a helmet.  Pretty intense if you ask me!

(remember, if you want to see an enlarged picture, just click on the thumbnail!)

So that just about roughly sums up the first 7 wonderful weeks I experienced with my great friend, Tine.  Many more memories were made, but unfortunately it would take an eternity to list them all.  I will post more if I come to some…  (or maybe just some aren’t internet appropriate :P)

Thanks Tine, and thanks to your family and friends! I miss you all!

Berlin

Welcome to Berlin!  One of the most happening cities in Germany, and YES, it is the capital of Germany, for those of you who didn’t know… (more on that story in a later post)

Once again, with Tine, we took the train to Berlin for Biggi’s birthday.  In Germany, there is a train ticket offered by the Deutsche Bahn called the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (literally: Nice Weekend Ticket) , and with this ticket, for 37€, up to 5 people can ride ANYWHERE in Germany for a whole weekend (excluding the long-distance bullet trains which require reservations).  This is very impressive!

At the time, I believe the ticket was only 25€, so there were 5 of us, and that means, if you do the math, each of us paid 5 Euros to go COMPLETLY across the country round trip, in one weekend… Amazing, considering the ticket from Lage to Berlin normally costs , at a normal price, upwards of 79€ one-way.  So if you are ever in the area, meaning in Germany, do take advantage of this offer!!

So, anyway, it was Biggi’s birthday, and in Germany, its usually custom to be a host on your birthday, baking cakes and custards and pies and sweets and what not, and inviting a couple people over for cake & coffee, but Biggi did not want to do this, so we decided to leave Saturday morning, around 3 AM I believe it was, and take the train.  The only thing with this ticket, we normally would’ve taken the ICE train (bullet train) to Berlin, but since you cannot with this ticket, we had to transfer trains a few times.  But don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t really matter 😀  So after a few transfers, we got into Berlin at around 9 AM approximately.

Though I have never seen Berlin before this, I think it was pretty packed ^^ There was a marathon going an, and there were Tents and Foodstands and the whole shabang set up infront of the Brandenburger Tor.

At this point, I’d like to introduce the smelly part of Berlin.  And to put it bluntly, it reeked.  Most of the time while walking around in Berlin, you catch a drift of this interesting, lightly put, ahm, fragrance if you will… Not sure what it was, some say sewage, probably from when Berlin was West and East Berlin… but I will leave that for you to decide.

But don’t let this be a turn off, it was a beautiful, dynamic city.  We saw the Reichstag (we wanted to go in, but the line was horrendous), Brandenburger Tor, the Fernsehturm, we went up to the Potsdamer Platz Panorama Outlook (thats just what I call it, not too sure of the name to be honest…), which was home to Europe’s fastest elevator-at a rate of 8.5 Meters per Second-and this is where the picture above of the Marathon in the sky was taken.  We rode around on the subway a little, saw some Embassies, went to KaDeWe, Kaufhaus des Westens, which is Europe’s largest department store… This place is a shoppers heaven.  We got attacked by dogs, saw the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, a church which was heavily bombed in the war, got offered candy by a stranger on a train, went to the Hard Rock Cafe, and finally found ourselves back at the train station Sunday morning around 2 AM waiting for our train back.

All in all, Berlin is a great city, and you should go visit.  Unfortunately, more can I not say, as I was only in the city for less than a day, and the city was absolutely mobbed with tourists and runners, so it was hard to move around.  Therefore, I would like to and will go back again, to get to know the city a little better.

Now, to the pictures below.

1-Panorama view of Berlin from the Potsdamer Platz Panorama Outlook, there you can see the famous Fernsehturm (TV Tower)

2-Hauptbahnhof (Main Train station), very impressive in itself

3-Runners infront of the Brandenburger Tor

4-the Riedels amidst the Holocaust Memorial

5-We saw the marathon kick off from above, as the streets filled with runners

6-KaDeWe

7-Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, here you see the damage that was done, and the new church they erected (tower)

8-Hard Rock Cafe, a place of interest in itself

9-Fernsehturm from below, all lit up

10-Reichstag by night (government building)

11-German flag by night

12-from left to right, Saskia, Tine and myself slumbering in the train station waiting for our train, after a fully loaded fun filled day walking around the streets of stinky Berlin.


On that note, in the words of JFK:  ICH BIN EIN BERLINER.

Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin!

Memorial

Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

Židovský památník.

Mémorial aux juifs assassinés d’Europe.

Holocaust Memorial.

Just a bunch of hugmongous slabs of marble coincidentally thrown on a plot of land in Berlin.

Call it whatever you want, as long as the word ‘moving‘ of something to that effect is implied.  Because that is what this is.  Simply moving.

As you approach this, you are just simply in awe.  When you begin walking through, its just a series of hallways and corridors, all running parallel and perpindicular to one another.  There is actually a decline as you walk t’wards the mdidle, and as you exit again, you walk up an incline.  So at one point, a good majority of the stones are several feet above your head.

roxane in the phonebooth!

I’d just like to take this time to tell you that my life is boring.  But only right now, is it boring.  Why? Because it’s 11:55 pm, my dad is on the downstairs computer filing taxes, while I should be doing my homework.  But, thanks to Microsoft, my free trial of Office-the one you get with a new computer-has expired, and I am too lazy to download the illegal one , err I mean throw away my hard-earned greenbacks down the toilet, so Im upstairs on my computer , well, just basically explaining to you why my life is boring.

But that’s not to say when my pop is done on the computer and I can use Microsoft Word, that my life will be instantaneously more exciting, because that’s not true!  Why is my life boring? Well, I wake up, shower, check my email and my facebook, maybe chat with some friends, brush my teeth, and if its a monday or wednesday, I go to class.  If its any of the other 5 days of the week, I’m most likely getting ready to go to work.  Work, I work at the Giant in Trexlertown, but as my great finnish friend Mira calls it, the catmeat market.  (Don’t ask.)

But maybe one can contradict that statement, that just going to work is boring.  When in reality, Giant keeps me on my toes.  Especially days like today, when I was working U-Scan, the self-checkout section.  I experienced just about every kind of person you can think of, nice, fat, old, bitchy, quiet, rambunctious, sweet, dynamic, who knows, whatever adjective you can think of.  But this one lady really got my attention.  She was freaking out at me, why me? who knows.  Well, she was dissatisfied because the tomatoes were under the menu-heading Fruit instead of Vegetables , or was it the other way around, who cares… anyway, this is hardly a reason to get worked up over…

Another lady comes in with her kids,  and tells me she has never seen me before… C’mon, I hardly mean to be egotistical, but, I work usually 6 of the 7 days in the week, and I’ve seen this lady and her kids before.  She had the guts to tell me that I never am cashier on the front end…

And the one man comes up with glazed-over eyes and asks where he put his bread.  I have no clue sir?  Where did you last see it? Let’s sit down, and try to re-trace your last few steps… Ok, you picked up the tomato sauce, then you went a few aisles down and got some toothpaste.  Did you maybe leave it with the toothpaste and dental floss?

See? boring.  I tried livening up the post with some things I experienced today, but it didn’t cut it.

But what does cut it, is right now my wordpress , where I am typing this right now, said for some reason the “didn’t” in the sentence above this one was spelled wrong, so I right clicked, and the first spelling suggestion to come up was dildo. Wow.

I rarely hang out with friends, and I actually rarely watch TV.  But yet somehow I have come to the conclusion that there are not enough days in the week, to get things done.  But that’s just because I always spend whatever free time I do have, on the computer.

You’re probably bored just reading this.  That’s just because you are vicariously experiencing my life, through my blog post.  But I just hope that all my other posts are not as boring as this one!  Hence my title, contributed and quoted from Ms Emily Buck.  (thanks emily!)  My life is boring, so I’m just gonna reminisce about when it wasn’t.


So, lemme tell you know about this little cutie in the picture above, her name is Roxane, and she is the little girl of Brit and Eric, and sister of Johan!  Who are these people? Well, they are the french family friends of Tine (remember her from previous posts?) and her family.  And they lived with us while I lived with Tine, and together, we traversed the great vast lands of Nordrhein-Westfalen (one of the 16 Bundesländer (states) of Germany).  This picture was taken at a Dinosaur zoo type museum park thing.

nachtwächer

the Nachtwächter of Schwalenberg, me, and Biggi!  So, you may be wonderign what a Nachtwächter is, its basically someone who goes around after everyone is asleep, and protects the town, quasi a guarddog… He goes around, making sure everyone stays safe, and that their doors are locked.  He will even sing for you!

no pooping

…. enough said 😀

im biergarten

So, while staying with Tine in Lage, we went to visit some family friends of theirs up in Blomberg, and with these friends, we walked around Blomberg, and eventually found ourway to the Biergarten.   And all I can say to that is…

Prost!

haha! It was a very nice Biergarten, may I add! It was cozy inside, nicely decorated, and the beer was good! and frisch vom Fass.

In the picture, from left to right:  Eric (one of the french friends, who I will come to talk about later), Doris and her husband (the friends up there in Blomberg), me, and then Gerd, Tines father.

‘Drinking beer doesn’t make you fat, it makes you lean…

…against bars, tables, chairs, and poles.’

So, looks like you’ve come to the right place, if you did read my last post, auf geht’s Arminia, schieß ein Tor, which, by the way, stands for something like, Let’s go Arminia, shoot a goal!.  This is what a train looks like, going to and from a soccer game.2687466347_6c811bf075

dsci0487

Introducing:

Zac, Saskia & Tine, three fans of D.S.C. Arminia Bielefeld!

If you ever get the chance, do experience at least a European soccer game, but preferably a german soccer game.  Now, German soccer games, these are some pretttty crazy times.  The Deutsche Bahn (the german train company) runs special trains just going back and forth to the game, and evvvveryone crowds into one train.  (see next picture/post)  and then afterwards, win or lose, you can bet the germans will be pretty, well, to be blunt, tipsy.  After the game, we lost, but our team fans were still soarin’ high with spirit!

[This day, versus Köln, we won.  Last year, versus Bochum, we lost.  What will it be next year?]

*p.s: I did not choose the color scheme for this post, the blog does it automatically, trying to match up colors from the picture.

100_2184

Tine’s house, in Lage, Germany, was just a couple of minutes away from a sugar factory, and may I ask, have you ever smelled how it smells, once the sugar season begins? Well, I got blessed with this opportunity the last few weeks I was staying with the Riedels… The sugar campaign only lasts a few months, beginning in, I believe it started in August.  (Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the factory for you!)  But allll the trucks full of sugar cane come through tiny Lage, and the process begins… Some like the smell, some do not, but I have no clue how to describe it ^^

Now, while living here in Lage, I went everyday to school, to the Gymnasium der Stadt Lage, and ate lunch with Tine’s Oma, which is something I will deeply miss! She made fresh, homemade applesauce for me every single day, with the apples from the trees in their backyards, that she planted with her own bare hands.  And that was the best applesauce I will have ever tasted, … ever.

Speaking of Gymnasium, (german high school), there are so many differences between school in Germany, and school in USA.  And more of that will be discussed in posts to come.

[I lived and biked past, for 7 weeks, that stinky old sugar factory, and I rode my bike over the same train tracks, and through the same Marktkauf parking lot, …. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  And I’d do it all over again, in a heartbeat.]