Monday, November 8, 2010

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”

As I promised last time, this post is about what I did with the second part of my Fall Break. I posted yesterday too so if you didn't read that one keep on scrolling down. In the last post about Herbst Ferien, I left off with Tuesday. On Wednesday we took the train to Ulm. Ulm is a city in south Germany and it was maybe a 45 minute train ride. When we got to Ulm, I had a quick lunch in the train station food court. I had the German equivalent of a fish fry (by German equivalent, I mean it was actually fish and didn't taste just like grease). For those of you who know the Meeting Place in Bergholz, the fish fry here was almost as good as the fish fries from there. After we left the train station, we walked around Ulm for a little bit. We walked to "Das Ulmer Münster". Here is some info from the website (skip down to the English translation after)

"Das Ulmer Münster ist die Kirche mit dem höchsten Kirchturm der Welt und die größte evangelische Kirche in Deutschland.

Das Münster lädt ein zu Gottesdiensten und Andachten, zu Konzerten und kulturellen Veranstaltungen, zu Besichtigung, Führungen und Turmbesteigung."

"The Ulmer Münster is the church with the highest steeple in the world and the biggest Protestant church in Germany.

You are welcome to visit the Cathedral during cultural services, devotions, concerts, guided tours and to climb the steeple."

(side note- I didn't even need Google translate for that. Pretty happy about that)

You can climb practically to the very top of the steeple. The very tip is 528 feet up and you can climb until 469 ft. After the 469 feet, it is to narrow to fit people in the staircase/to narrow to build an observation deck. The whole staircase up was a circular stone staircase with 768 steps. It was exhausting. They had different levels you could rest at so it wasn't too horrible but my legs were still killing me by the time we got to the top. Once we got to the second highest "observation deck" my host mom and the mom from the group behind us stopped and then I and the two kids from that group climbed the last set of stairs. The staircase was either completely enclosed in stone walls, or had giant windows/practically wide open. So basically either you either felt claustrophobic or you felt panicky because you had just narrow stairs and then nothing. Upon reaching the top of the church, three things made it so it was hard to breathe. One, you were 500 feet up and that alone is hard to breathe. Two, you just climbed 700 steps and were completely out of breathe. Three, when you look over the railing and see how high up you are, you get a little shock. It was definitely worth the mild panic attack though. You could see the mountains, the changing trees and the whole city of Ulm. My family is talking about visiting and if you guys end up coming, that is definitely on the list of things to do. After the church, my host mom got a quick bite to eat and then we sprinted to the train station to catch our train,we only made it because the train was late. The German trains are almost never late. If the train schedule says 11:12 then the train is there at 11:12. Even if the train arrives at 11:14, the people on the platform are incredibly annoyed. The only time the train was late (besides Ulm) was in Metzingen when I was waiting to go to Language school. The announcement came over the PA, yes they announce a 3 minute delay, and everyone was like "are you kidding me, I am in a hurry" or "ugh, just great". They were complaining over a 3 minute delay. Just something I find to be funny. Ok, end pointless ramble. So then we got home and well just kind of hung out I guess.

Thursday I went out with some friends from language school. We went to a Serbian restaurant and apparently Serbians aren't exactly thrilled with America (add 'em to the list) because USA/NATO/many countries but only the USA stands out bombed them repeatedly during the Kosovo crisis. I mean I can understand it why they wouldn't be thrilled with the USA though. Anyway, Nikola and the Serbian lady who cooked our food were talking in Serbian (about me) and all I heard was random Serbian with the occasional American/Michael/Exchange student. But it wasn't anything bad because at the end, she was extra friendly to me. We had some traditional meal, it was like sausage links and pita. As I was walking out I said "Dovidjenja" which is like goodbye/see you soon and she was so happy. She was so excited that "I took an interest in her country". No matter where the people are from, they always appreciate it when you say something in their language. Even if it's just hello, goodbye or how are you. I keep going on pointless rants here, sorry about that. This next sentence has no point to it but it's kind of funny. Nikola asked the Serbian lady what time the restaurant closed and I actually understood even though it was Serbian. The people at the table next to us got real quiet and were shocked that I understood it. Back to Thursday evening. We didn't do much, we just hung out and I took the train home around 10.

On Friday, a kid from my class had a party. It was a lot of fun and my curfew wasn't until midnight. I met a lot of new people. They were the people that I see all the time but haven't really talked to. At midnight I walked home, it was only about a block from where I live.

Saturday was a really good day. First of all, I got to sleep in until like 11. It was also my host dad's birthday. We had Zwetschgenkuchen for breakfast. Zwetschgenkuchen is prune (yes, prune) cake and it is so good. They are like the size of a sheet pizza and we have had like six so far. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, das ist egal, Zwetschgenkuchen is amazing. Then we drove to the Black Forest to visit my host grandparents. We didn't go directly to their house. We went to the touristy places first. We went to Germany's highest waterfall (that's what the pictures of the waterfall on my shutterfly are of). Then we went to Triberg, which is the home of the cuckoo clock. There were so many of them and they were all different. Just a forewarning, the next time we go there I probably will buy one. Haha a lederhosen and a cuckoo clock, the most pointless yet the most fun souvenirs ever. Also as we were leaving my host grandparents' house they gave me a large bar of chocolate and 10 Euros. I really like my host grandparents. They were fun and very nice.

Sunday was probably the most lazy day I have had since I have been here. I literally lounged around the house. Also, I slept in the car on the way home from Schwarzwald/Black Forest and Sunday morning my neck and back were killing me. I basically slumped around the house with my head hanging down because I couldn't move. That night we watched "Akte Golgatha" and I laid on the ground with one of those rice heat bags on my neck. Interesting fact, the German bags are filled with cherry pits instead of rice and they work/smell much better. "Akte Golgatha" was a good movie. It didn't exactly portray the Catholic church in a nice way but it was an interesting movie. It was basically about a man and his daughter on the brink of discovering Jesus' body/tomb and the Catholic church doing pretty much everything imaginable to stop them.

Today I had school and like usual, Monday was a good day. It's just English, German and Gym. We are reading a book in German about the DDR and the FRG (German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany). It was kind of embarrassing when she asked me something and I didn't hear her. I asked her what she said and was like "what country is Harry S Truman from?". Everyone thought I didn't understand so I felt kind of stupid but it wasn't too bad. Also we talked about September 11th, even though I have no idea what that has to do with German language or East and West Germany. English we just talked about the vacation to England that our teacher took over break. Our homework is to correct some sentences. The sentences are like "...and that's my favorite." We are supposed to find grammar mistakes not finish the sentence but they aren't real sentences nor are they grammatically incorrect. In Gym we played Badminton. That's basically it for this blog post.

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