Sunday, November 28, 2010

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”

I am supposed to be studying for the SAT right now but clearly

writing a new blog post > studying SAT material. The SAT is honestly horrible but I am sure you all already knew that.

I spent this weekend in Historic Nuremberg, home of Germany's most famous Weihnachtsmarkt. The whole city of Nuremberg was unbelievable. It was so old and historic. All of the buildings looked like they were hundreds of years old. There were a lot of cobblestone side streets and everything was decorated for the Christmas season.

What were the two most popular things in the Christmas Market? Easy, Lebkuchen and Prune-people. Lebkuchen was obvious, going to Bayern and not seeing Lebkuchen is like going to Buffalo and not seeing wings. Lebkuchen is the German word for Gingerbread by the way. Prune-people on the other hand were a completely new concept. They are little figurines made out of dried prunes. I am not sure what the point of them (and no, you can't eat them. We already had this discussion) is but they make interesting decorations.

It wouldn't be a Christmas Market without
Glühwein and Brats (pronounced Brahts and short for Bratwurst). Glühwein is Mulled Wine, which is just really hot wine with cinnamon and other spices. I don't really like it but everyone else here seems to. I opted for the traditional hot chocolate instead. We went to this little Häusle for legit Brats. It was a tiny house and had a big open grill in the center where they cooked the sausage. Unfortunately, the ventilation system was well sub-par and there was an omnipresent cloud of smoke. Because this house was practically famous, we had to share a table with these nice Italian tourists. I learned two things from that restaurant. The first being that Italians have by far the best accents. The one lady leaned over and asked "scuzi mié do you eh-speak-ee English?" and come on, no accent can beat that. I then got to translate the menu for them (that was a confidence booster). The second thing I learned is that the easiest way to spot to a tourist is to look who is eating ketchup on their sausage. With the exception of my host brother, everyone eats mustard.

Two things that I love about Germany that I learned from this trip are that everyone knows someone who has been to/lives in the USA and that ethnic restaurants are actually owned by people of that ethnicity here. Every time someone hears where I am from, they say "oh I have a [insert random family member] that lives in the USA!". I have gotten everything from "Oh I was in Niagara Falls two years ago on a vacation" to "you're kidding, my mother's brother's son's wife's sister's daughter lives in the Bronx". Okay first of all, who takes a vacation to Niagara Falls? Yeah it's nice and scenic and all but really there are so many better places to visit. I mean no offense to any people from the falls but the beaches of Florida and the thrill of New York City clearly beat the scenic beauty of Niagara Falls. On to the second thing. On our school campus, there is an Italian restaurant and not the kind where the owner was born in some little town in the USA and opened a chain of Italian restaurants (that are in all honesty about as Italian as Peking Duck). The owners, cooks and staff are all from Italy and the food is legit Italian. The Turkish restaurants are run by Turks, the Greek restaurants by Greeks, etc. We went to an Italian pizzeria in Nuremberg and had homemade Italian-style pizza. If there was one thing better than the pizza, it was the fact that every time we talked to the waiter, everything was "Si Signore" or "Grazie Signora!". They were so friendly and they also had that unbeatable accent.

Enough about all that, on to the main reason we went to Nuremberg; the Weihnachtsmarkt. It was like the crowds of New York City packed into one Marktplatz. There were so many stands and each was selling some typical Christmas time item. I have to say though, I think I saw/heard as many foreigners as I did actual Germans. They had hand carved nutcrackers (anywhere from 100 dollars to 1000 dollars), to ornate nativity scenes (just as expensive). The Market was so festive and Christmas-sy that I had to stop and think "wait a minute, it's still November?".

We stayed in a really nice hotel. We had a whole suite complete with living room, kitchen, separate rooms and jacuzzi with funky lights. Like usual, pictures are on Shutterfly.

We got to climb up this tall hill to the "
Die Nürnberger Burg" Castle of Nuremberg for all you Anglophones. It had a great view over the city of Nuremberg. The path way up was all cobblestone and snowy. Die Stadt war schön (außer ihren Dialekt, den Dialekt war nicht schön). The parts are in bold because they are probably not right. It has to do with the whole conjugating the word the and their thing that I still don't understand.

On the way home today, we stopped at my favorite American restaurant; Miss Pepper's. I had another Bacon Cheeseburger. I should probably order something different but I can never bring myself to actually do it. We go to this restaurant every time we go on a road trip. It makes the long trip in the car definitely worth it.

I learned three things this weekend.

1.) Spiders do not appreciate it when you try to kill them via Dust-buster. They actually crawl back out ten times angrier then they were when they were sucked in. Then they call upon other spiders to seek revenge. Unfortunately I learned that one the hard way.

2.)The more German I learn, the more Spanish I forget. I tried to have only a Spanish conversation with my friend Kayleigh on skype. It was horrible, I have forgotten so much Spanish since I have been here. Hopefully I will pick it back up again.

3.) I didn't really learn a third thing as much as a I found a video that was a little embarrassing. I don't know how people can't know these things, I mean not knowing some of them is understandable but some of them were so obvious. It was kind of sad that some people didn't know that the religion of Israel is Judaism and that they thought that Australia was North Korea.

Caution: one man says the f-word in the middle of the interview. If you find it offensive, you probably shouldn't watch it.

I guess that's all for this post. I probably forgot something about this weekend so you can expect another post sometime this week.

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