Archive for October, 2005

All Hallow’s Eve

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Happy Halloween! I just got back from the store, where I was attempting to buy, among other things, Halloween candy. Cause, today is Halloween, you see. I was successful, but most of the Hallowwen candy had already been moved out & the Christmas stuff was coming in. There were also some pink M&Ms available, they were promoting breast cancer awareness. But for a second I got confused and thought the retail Christmas season was already over and we were into Valentine’s Day.
Creepy occurrence for the day: I was in the car and noticed that an almost-empty bottle of Gatorade had mysteriously appeared on the floor on the passenger’s side. But the creepy part was that although the label said Lemonade, the liquid inside was pink. aaaaa!
That would be the sort of dopey manifestation I would get: almost-empty Gatorade bottles.
Totally random: I recently learned that there is a purse in this world which costs–get this–$18,500. Yes, $18,500. It’s from shady-sounding outfit called Hermes. I suppose it might be a tad better-made than my purse, but to get the same cost-use ratio as mine, you would have to carry this purse for 3,080 years. Of course, one would do well to remember, when considering such a purchase, that styles can change somewhat in 3000 years.


Monday, October 24th, 2005

We arrived at the train station in Rothenburg, and bearing our backpacks, went confidently striding off in what turned out to be the wrong direction (my misreading of the map). The cell phone we borrowed from Andy’s parents came in handy (which I believe is the German word for “cell phone”) for the first, but not last time. We regrouped and eventually came upon a medeival city gate with tiny cars shooting in and out and alarming rates of speed, and knew we must be there.
We stayed at Gasthaus zur Goldenen Rose, which was one of the nicest places we stayed as well as one of the cheapest. The kind proprietor, upon learning of our directional difficulties, gave me a town map, and showed us how to get in through the alley and back yard after hours, and off we went.
We had wiener schnitzel for dinner, and in the restaurant first saw a guy who we were to see at several of our destinations over the next couple of days. It was the Rick Steves effect. Anywhere we went which was recommended by Rick Steves, we saw American tourists toting around his book, and if you were following his recommendations you’d probably see the same ones more than which. We were able to break free of the Effect by going to Berchtesgaden a couple of days later, instead of into Austria like Rick wants you to.
We took the Night Watchman’s Tour of the town, which was extremely entertaining. You can see most of the info from the tour here if you want (same site I linked to at Historicity. We tripped over cobblestones on the charming streets, watched wooden figures pop out of the clock above the town square, re-enacting a fictional event in which the town’s mayor persuaded a would-be invader to go away by drinking 3 liters of wine at one gulp. Much is inexplicable about that particular story.
The next day, we figured out the particulars of the Romantic Road bus we were going to take (by asking someone in English), then walked along the town wall for a bit and took some more pictures. Then we boarded the bus for Fussen.

hin und zuruck

Friday, October 21st, 2005

Well, we are back from two weeks in Germany! It was a very fun time.
Upon arriving in Germany, the first thing that I learned was that my German language skills are even worse than I thought they were. I thought I’d listened to enough tourist-based language tapes to at least get us around the transportation system. But the first challenge we met upon arriving at the airport was (1) finding a bus to our hotel and (2) buying a bus ticket. Finding the bus was pretty easy, not so buying the bus ticket. After a bit of helpless wandering around, I asked at the info desk (in English) and was directed to a machine outside.
Confident in my knowledge of the difference between einfach and hin und zuruck, I advanced upon the machine, only to find it completely and totally unintelligible. I couldn’t understand a single word. I pressed the small icon of a British flag placed tauntingly on the screen, admitting defeat and hoping for some English, but nothing happened. Finally, I went and spoke English to some guy at a ticket window. He clearly heartily disapproved of me, but sold us some bus tickets anyway.
We arrived at our hotel in Ku’damm (check out my historicity post for more info on that!), and headed out to what turned out to be our favorite restaurant we went to in Germany, called Zillemarkt or something like that. They gave us an English menu but the little jokes printed in the margins were still in German. I understood some of them, which turned out to be the rule for my German language capacity for the entire two weeks: the more trivial the item, the more likely I would be able to read it. I could read advertisements easily; placards in museums not at all.
Anyway, I had bratwurst with sauerkraut and salt-potatoes, which seemed like the right thing to do; and Andy was initiated into the popular currywurst mit pommes frites, which we kept getting at various restaurants throughout our trip for the following reasons: (1) It was cheap, (2) It was delicious, and (3) I could understand both the German and the French involved, which made me feel that my five zillion years of higher education was not entirely wasted. Currywurst, by the way, is bratwurst with a tomato-curry sauce. (Pommes frites are french fries, just like the American kind, mon ami.)
We also had the Zillemarkt local beer, which also seemd like the right thing to do. Neither of us are beer fans, but we both liked it, which says something I suppose.
The next day we wandered out toward the main train station (Berlin Zoologischer Garten Hauptbahnhof), adjacent to which was the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and the Europacenter…a big ‘ol mall, at which I was able to snap a picture of Andy being menaced by a giant model of a Space Marine. The Europacenter also housed a KFC: Donnerstag ist Huhntag!
From there we successfully caught a train to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, regarding which I will write more in the next post.