May 4, 2014: May Day!

So we are officially in May now and let me just say, time has flown by so quickly!  It really makes me sad to think that I only have three months left in Germany before going back to finish up my Masters.  But before I get sentimental, let me talk about what I’ve been up to!  Apparently in Germany May 1st is the equivalent to their Labor Day, so in celebration of such a holiday, naturally most people don’t have to work.  Instead, what I learned you are actually supposed to do, is acquire a wagon or trailer, buy massive amounts of beer and load up said trailer, go outside somewhere, and drink until you can’t stand up straight.  It’s a pretty good holiday by any university student’s standards, if I say so myself.

 

In order to properly celebrate such an important day, Donald and I went to a small village about 40 minutes or so away from Erlangen with several of his friends from class.  There were six of us in all, but we met two later on for whatever reason.  The reason why we decided to go to such a small place was that they were hosting a beach volleyball tournament.  At first I was a bit wary of the idea: spending the afternoon with  a group of people who I didn’t know all speaking German and playing a sport I haven’t touched in over five years… well there was beer involved and Donald really seemed excited about it, so I decided to break out of my comfort zone once more and give it a go.  And overall, I’m really glad I did.  I met some really nice people, and we managed to come in 4th in the tournament.  Granted there were only 10 teams, but we only really had one seasoned player on our team.  And with our final match opponents’ matching shirts in the last round, how could we really beat color coordination like that?  However, if we had had a chance to practice a bit before hand, I’m sure we could have done better.

 

Other notable events from Thursday was the beer and the food.  We got there around 11 and started drinking some of the local beer (Hofmann beer for those interested).  It was the earliest I have every started drinking, and I will have to say, I’m not the biggest fan.  I still took it pretty easy until later in the evening, but something about my American brain just doesn’t see the point of getting drunk that early in the day.  I can understand having a beer or something with your lunch, but I don’t want to make drinking my only goal of the day.  Not that I am complaining.  People getting drunk so early in the day and continuing to down more beers throughout the afternoon provided me with some class entertainment, well with the exception of the older drunk guys who somehow thought it would be fun to attempt to play volleyball resulting in what can only be described as the most boring game ever.  The only bad bit of the day would have to be the drunk guy who, very early on, decided to play on the of the playground equipment and then proceeded to fall off head first within the first 10 minutes of his arrival.  We are pretty sure he had a concussion and soon enough an ambulance came to take him to the hospital.

 

Friday and Saturday were kind of rainy and cold, so they ended up being lazy days.  There’s nothing really spectacular or interesting to note here.  However, the weather on Sunday was spectacular.  And not wanting that to go to waste, Donald and I decided to go for a bike ride all the way to Forchheim, which is about 20km or 12 1/2 miles away from Erlangen.  And even though it is only one stop away from Erlangen on the RE train, I had never been there before outside of a weird train incident on my way back from Bamberg.  So after a really excellent breakfast, we started off on the hour long journey.  The bike trail we chose took us through the western part of Erlangen, over the river, and ran right by the Main Donau canal.  And because we decided not to go through a bunch of little towns, we had the most amazing scenery on the trip there and back.  There were meadows with all sorts of plants and flowers for miles.  We could see the little villages in the distance with the Frankische Schweiz (small hills in Franconia) dotting the horizon.  The sky was a brilliant shade of blue with little puffy clouds much like the ones in Toy Story.

 

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Once we made it to Forchheim, we walked around the small town for awhile looking for a nice place to eat.  Forchheim is a pretty typical small Franconian town, at least architecture wise.  We ended up sitting outside of the city hall at what was the busiest restaurant in town.  The rest looked deserted and not wanting to end up like those people in Hostel, we decided not to try one of the ghost town eateries.  The place was nice, and after biking 20 km to get there, we really appreciated the food and beer, but the atmosphere was what was really nice (ie. being surrounded by all of the old Franconian buildings).  After that we walked around a bit more in order to try and find a nice postcard for my wall, with no luck seeing as it was a Sunday and everything was closed anyway.  Then we made the long journey back.  By the time we got back to Erlangen, I must say, I was pretty sore.  I would love to do a weekend bike trip somewhere, but I honestly don’t know if my body is up for it just yet.  Or my bike for that matter.  But we will see in due time I suppose.

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After that I met with one of my American friends and made her a typical southern U.S. meal consisting of fried chicken, peas and carrots, buttermilk biscuits, and bread pudding.  I must say, I have found a pretty good and pretty simple bread pudding recipe as well.  I might try and include it in the recipe section if I ever get the motivation to update that section of the site.  But it was her first time trying bread pudding and she seemed to like it well enough.  I know I sure did, heh.  And that is about all I’ve done this weekend.  I have no real plans for next weekend outside of a birthday party.  I may end up taking a day trip somewhere, either by bike or train, seeing as I have so little time left here which has made me realize I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of my traveling list…  Oh well, guess that means I’ll just have to come back, heh.

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