Monday, July 12, 2010

Hot Town, Summer in the Bamberg

Anybody who talked to me in the months of March through June more than likely had to sit through a hissy fit about the weather. It was rainy, it was freezing, it was June and I had to wear a coat. In June.

The good news: it's not cold anymore! Normal summertime temperatures and trips to the pool abound.
The bad news: Germany happens to be a part of that alternate universe in which my hero and yours Willis Haviland Carrier fell into a well as a child and never invented air conditioning. Seriously, there is one store downtown that has sweet, cold air blowing out of its vents and that is IT. My room has been downgraded to a cave, a cave where you can find me lying in my bed (on top of the covers, of course) wondering exactly how much sweat my body can produce.

Melodramatic, yeah, but I am a modern lady used to the ways of the future! Anyway, finals are upon me these days meaning I have an excuse to not go outside during the day.

In other news, Taylor, (German) Sebastian and Aleks visited The Burg last week, here's some pictures of that!


Me in an abandoned train in an abandoned train station!

Somehow, Aleks managed to get his hands on the coolest possible vehicle for this excursion, a fact that I am eternally grateful for.

And finally, proof that this is a non-fiction blog and everything I whine about is true:

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I would just like to take a minute to set to paper (or whatever) my unending appreciation of being in Germany during the World Cup. From where I am sitting, I can hear two distinct chants, several car horns, bike bells, and whistles. Also a vuvuzela. Before coming here, I never experienced an entire country coming together for a sport like I have here. What makes it extra-special is the fact that Germans are generally fairly nationalism-shy, so when they bust out the flags and face paint you know it's serious. For those of you who don't follow the World Cup (although I'd be shocked if there's anyone like that reading this), Germany just beat Argentina, meaning we're in the semi-finals! 4-0!

While 2006 found me watching the games in Vietnamese restaurants and on Neil's TV, there are massive public viewings EVERYWHERE here. I watched this particular game at COE (where I live), but the main one is downtown in Maxilimilianplatz. Hundreds of people come out in their best flag-togas and Germany wigs to drink gallons upon gallons of beer and cheer their team (remotely) to victory. And honestly? I love it. I love riding my bike down the street, high-fiving strangers and screaming at the passing cars. I love knowing that everyone around me is in a good mood. I love it all, and on Wednesday you will find me in the maddening crowd cheering my heart out. My life is too good.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I was going to write a post about my night of homelessness

but I am too busy having a Bad Attitude about the weather to write anything right now. In conclusion, here are some pictures of street art in Bamberg:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Not Going to Title this Post BEARlin

Because that would just be too awful. For those of you who don't know why it would be terrible: the spirit animal or whatever of the city of Berlin is a bear. They are everywhere (statues of bears, not saying that Berlin is overrun with grizzlies).

So yes, last weekend was an Erasmus trip to Berlin. Good fun, would have been upgraded to Great fun had it not been really cold and grey. I really think I'm starting to get seasonal affective disorder. The 10-day forecast on is straight showers until Wednesday. I am looking forward to Monday because it's "scattered showers" instead of the regular kind. At least 70% of my conversations involve me complaining about the weather. I want to ride my bike. I want to go hiking. I want to see the sun.

That's the last I'll whine about it on here, but it's a big part of my life these days and I gotta be real on the internet~

Anyway, back to Berlin:
It was my first time in Northern Germany and in Eastern Germany, both of which I was very excited about. How does it compare to Southwestern Germany? It may have been the tours we went on and the constant reminders of "HEY GUYS this used to be two cities! There was a wall!", but it seemed to be chock full of history, much more so than Bamberg or Mainz. Or maybe just a different kind of history, namely, COMMUNIST history! Communistory, if you will. What other city west of Poland boasts a Marx/Engels statue?
Probably not that many! Also, there were countless opportunities to get your pictures taken with Eastern Europeans dressed up as American, German, and Russian soldiers; vendors hawking fake pieces of the Berlin wall; and memorials of all shapes and sizes. Another cool thing about Berlin was that it is a huge city, meaning there were fun and interesting things almost everywhere I looked, from the twee heart in a meadow above to this cool dude:Watching a guy who had to be at least 60 do skateboard tricks outside of a church that has been bombed-out for half a century while a group of protesters marched by on the other side of me made me fall for Berlin a little bit.
I didn't say it was a big group of protesters. The ever-present street art was another major plus in my book. Everything from scrawled profanities to regular ol' tags to works of art gave the (hideous) post-war buildings a little bit of character.
Other cool things from Berlin included this piece of scathing commentary on the American culture of culinary excess:
Riding an octobike around the square in front of Brandenburger Tor:

This was insane amounts of fun for my adrenaline-starved soul. Our driver jerked us around while extolling the virtues of learning the German language. Highly recommended.

Also visited the holocaust memorial:

It's an interesting concept because of it's abstractness, I think. The knowledge of what it stands for allows you to interpret what could be seen as a boss laser-tag arena in a much more sobering light. Not expressing myself well here, suffice it to say that it's a cool thing.

We also got to tour the Reichstag, of course. Our teeth chattering, we stood on the roof and listened to the tour guide point out the Berlin landmarks by night. It was really pretty. Interesting fact: the German parliament can vote by door

If you click on the picture, you see that one door is labeled "Ja", one is "Nein", and one is "Enthaltung". All of the members leave the room and file in school-assembly style through the door which best describes their feelings. This picture also features the giant German eagle I assume they sacrifice oxen to and chairs that are not purple but "Reichtags-blau", a color designed especially to look good on TV.

We also visited Sanssouci in Potsdam, the summer palace of Frederick the Great. Really pretty, obviously, especially the gardens.
You can see the palace up on the hill there, flanked all the way down by mini-greenhouses that were used to grow grapes and figs. Efficient!

And here is the grave of Freddy himself, next to those of his nine dogs:
The potatoes commemorate the fact that is was FtG that popularized this starchy pillar of the German diet. People who haven't been here don't understand what kind of contribution this is to the cuisine here, but trust me when I say it's a Big Deal.

After a stroll and an ice cream in Potsdam city, it was back on the bus for another 6-hour-long drive back to Bamberg sweet Bamberg. Along the way, the weather taunted us by being awesome.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


It came to my attention via a skype session that I did not post a promised blog. As a peace offering, here's a picture of me and Max being normal siblings. I am the disinterested and jaded older sister and he is the manic little monster who stole all my parents' love.

Off to Berlin tomorrow, probably will have sporadic internet access at best so don't expect a post. Although, given my track record, you probably weren't expecting one anyway!

Friday, April 30, 2010

I Like Bike

This is my new BFF (Best Friend For a few months, at least). Features include an eye-catching '90s color scheme, howevermany gears, a bell, a basket (!!!) and, above all, a need for speed. I feel unfettered; my aimless walks have evolved pokemon-style to aimless rides, meaning I can cover at least 3 times as much ground with only 2 times the danger of being hit by a bus! Seriously though, I'm so pumped about finally getting some wheels.

The past week has consisted mainly of continuing my settling-in process. Classes are going well, weather's been great, been eating lots of pastries. Going to Berlin next week! That's all the news that's fit to print right now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

By the way

If you wanted to read about my visit to Groningen and see pictures that are better than the ones I took, go here:

I've only had one class so far (Chinese) and it promises to be ridiculously easy! Tomorrow is a Master's course on International Aspects of HRM. Exciting stuff in Susiland!

Now to go lay down for a bit before yoga tonight.