November 10, 2013: My Solo Trip to Bamberg and Taco Kisses

So as I’ve already said, things here have started slowing down for me in terms of traveling. And I also talked about the whole stages of culture shock and where I should currently be in those stages, and how I’m not really fitting into the second stage at all. In fact, I think I am sort of going the opposite direction in a way. No, I’m not still overly elated, I have actually been feeling a bit depressed, but not because I miss home. No, I have been feeling depressed thinking about going home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and family there, but just the thought of having to go back to Alabama, and especially back to Tuscaloosa, for a year and most of my friends having left there by the time I get back, it just brings me down. I know, I have a lot of time before I cross that bridge, but I find myself really not wanting to leave already, and I feel like the time is passing by so quickly. It has already been over two months since I got here!

 

Anyway, that aside my week was pretty good. I did the usual go to class, which the exception of Thursday when I somehow made it to my 8:15 class and managed to miss my 1:15 class because I did not wake up from my nap. I am special. I even managed to make my 10:15 class on Wednesday despite having gone to acrobatics the night before and then having a couple of beers before heading home and going to bed around 3. Then Thursday I met someone at the bar downstairs and after having a drink we watched Nightmare before Christmas. I know, it was after Halloween, which isn’t when most people watch it in America, but I like that movie a lot, so I don’t care.

 

As for special weekend fun times I ended up kind of spontaneously picking a nearby city and just taking a train there. The city in question was Bamberg, and I decided to just go by myself without making any real plans. I probably could have found people to go with me (in fact one of my friends said she really had not done anything that day and would have liked to go). At the same time, it was nice to kind of wander around the city randomly until I found something worth checking out. I actually did a good bit of walking even though Bamberg had signs everywhere telling people where to go to see all the cool stuff. I enjoy walking though, so I kind of purposely went off the beaten path sometimes.

 

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As far as things I saw, there was the city square with all of the vendors and shops (it was Saturday when most German cities have their markets in the square.) I saw some pretty cool statues. I also saw a really cool bridge that went over the river into the more historical part of the city. The wall on the side of the connecting building had a pretty awesome mural on it. Then I saw a really old church and even went inside to have a look around. I’m always amazed at how beautiful old churches are. There is just so much detail in the architecture. And I am not sure exactly why, but part of me really had the urge to sing “God Help the Outcasts”. Then I walked around some more and finally made my way to St. Micheal’s (I think) monastery up on the hill. The grounds and buildings were gorgeous. I just wish that I could have gone inside or that there was some sort of literature I could have read at least. I think there was one sign, but it was not very informative. Then, after taking several pictures of the monastery and the view of the city I made my way down and around to what is called Little Venice. It really isn’t much, but it was pretty cool. It’s just several houses build right on the edge of the river. They used to be fishing houses, of course, but not so much now. Then I kind of wandered around into some shops and eventually I found a cafe and had a sandwich for lunch. It was nice and peaceful. In fact, I would have stayed longer if I hadn’t been so cold.

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So at this point it was about 1:40 when I decided to get on the train and head back home. It isn’t a very long ride, maybe about 35 minutes, but there was a slight hiccup in my plan. I still do not know why, but for some reason all of the trains had to stop in a little town called Forccheim, which is about 15 minutes or so from Erlangen. There was a lot of confusion on my part because I had my earphones in. I was just sitting around waiting for the train to start back up again when suddenly everyone started to get off the train. I was pretty confused so I decided to jump on another train headed to Erlangen. After sitting on that train for about 5 minutes, we had to get off that one as well. That was about the time I found a group of Americans waiting for a bus which Deutsche Bahn promised would take us to Erlangen. They were a pretty interesting group of people. One was from Indiana was a tattoo artist. Apparently the tattoo business in America has turned to rubbish, but in Germany it hasn’t. I didn’t get a chance to ask why, something I regret. The other was a nurse who worked in Ingolstadt, which is just north of Munich. Interestingly enough she came from Mississippi (which for those who may not know is Alabama’s next door neighbor). We had a long talk about how we missed southern food and we swapped ideas/ recipes.

 

Once I finally made it back to Erlangen, I went back to my dorm for a while and got to watch the first quarter and some change of the Auburn vs. Tennessee game. My neighbors must have loved me. Let’s just say I really got into the game, and was not pleased during the first quarter. I’m glad we came back and destroyed them though. That was nice. Then I went over to my friend’s place and we ate chocolate and ice cream and watched Fried Green Tomatoes, which oddly enough I had never seen before. It was a pretty good movie, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was one of those stories designed to make white people feel better about the Civil Rights Movement and such. I also tried this “medicine” my friend had, which was really just 96% alcohol you mix with warm water. It was…interesting.

As for today, I really didn’t do that much. I slept a good bit and then I also worked on proofing a thesis (yay money!). I did a bit of work trying to make my walls less barren. So far I have a poster and a calendar (which were both already in my room), four post cards, and I cartoon I copied from the internet. I also want to print out some pictures and put them on my wall. Hopefully that will liven the place up a bit. I also had some friends over for tacos (hence the taco kisses in the title, also Southpark). I made salsa, guacamole, rice, black beans, chicken with onions and peppers and had some cheese and sour cream to go with it. It was delicious. And because two people couldn’t make it tonight, I have lots of leftovers. Noms. We also watched Up because I think everyone should see that movie at least once in their lives. I just think the first 10 or so minutes is one of the best love stories out there. Then I talked to the ‘rents on skype and took a walk. It was good to just get out and clear my head.

 

But on that note, I think I need to get some sleep. Especially considering I made an appointment to wash some clothes in the morning. That’s right, I have to sign up for an appointment to use the washing machine here. I know it’s a bit late to be bringing this up, but yeah, Germany.

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