Monday, July 23, 2012

Beer, Pretzels, Sausage

In my two week trip to southern Germany I met tons of family, all who were super nice to me.  One of my cousins* I met told me she read an article about what people from the USA think about Germany.  We think it's all beer, pretzels, sausage and lederhosen.  Stereotypical, sure, but in my brief time in mostly Bavaria, I found it to be completely true.

Germany was exactly how I always imagine it would be-- alpine houses made with wooden nails, cafes on the side of the street full of people drinking, delicious sausage for breakfast, pretzels sold at every corner, and yes, men in lederhosen.

Writing about my entire trip would be too much for you to read and for me to remember, so let me highlight.

My trip started out in Mainz where I stayed with a friend.  Mainz is a great little city that evidently has some banging parties that, unfortunately, are during another season.


Hanging out by the Rhine

After Mainz I took a train to Stuttgart where I wandered around and jammed with a few people to a great band.  This is where I met up with one of my cousins, Christoph.  He and his wife walked me around Stuttgart and we had the pleasure of visiting the Fischmarkt which comes down from Hamburg once a year.  We had a delicious smoked salmon and Humburger beer.  That evening I took a train and a bus (after being told it would take me exactly 33 minutes to get there, and it did!) to Schockingen where I met another part of the family.  We drank and were marry into the night.


Enjoying a beer

The next day cousin Sandra took me to Tubingen.  It's a cozy little town, and we had lunch at a brewery on a river which we later took a gondola tour on.  That night I went to Weissach and celebrated the 65th birthday of one of my grandfather's cousins (*this is how I'm related to all this family- they are my grandfather's cousin's offspring) with lots of food and schnaps.  Yum!


So cute!

At the birthday party

Another cousin took me to Heidelberg the next day.  This is supposed to be a really great city, but honestly, it was way too touristy for me.  Everything had been transformed into a tourist shop.  The castle was pretty from a distance, but once you take the 15 second train (which we paid 8 Euro for!  If you go, avoid this disappointing ride) and enter, you realize that everything has been converted to draw in tourists.  The old wine cellar was turned into a restaurant, and not a classy one.  It was less than what I expected, but beautiful in its own way.

View from the castle

The castle

I was driven to Munich the next day by another cousin.  She was like a walking tour guide.  We strolled through Munich and she showed me all the important spots and included histories, legends and myths.  It was great.  I visited the Deutches Museum while there, and it was totally worth it.  Only 8 Euro to enter and I spent a good 3 hours exploring the place, and I skipped an entire level.  My cousin tells me that if you actually walk through the whole place, you walk 14 km!  We also visited the castle.

In Munich

The Deutsches Museum

The Castle

My next stop was Nuremberg where I met my sister's friend, Stephanie.  For the first time on my trip, I didn't have a translator.  We made the best of it and went on a dungeon tour where a teacher translated everything into English which was nice.  We explored the castle and the cathedrals.  I ate lots of pretzels and on one occasion drank too much.  We also went to both the Nazi Documentation Center and the Nuremberg Trail Memorial.  Both are only 3 Euro to get in (for students, I used my Costa Rican driver's license and it worked just fine...) and are so loaded with information you could easily spend 4 hours in each location.  Both come with free audio guides which give 3-5 minute explanations about every single thing in every room.  We didn't listen to it all, it just got hard to pay attention after a while.  But anyways, both worth seeing, especially if you have a foreign driver's license that can be mistaken for a student ID.

Pretzels, sausage and beer

Hitler's "coliseum" 

The actual benches where the Nazis sat while on trial

With my sister still not in the country, Stephanie and I headed to Regensberg.  There's not a whole bunch to see in this town, but I really enjoyed it.  We would go see "a site" (the Stone Bridge, the cathedral, the basilica, etc) then get beer and food.  It was all very relaxed and on our second to last day there, my sister finally made it to Germany.  More drinking and eating commenced, and even though it might seem strange, we ate take-out Thai food two nights in a row.  It was just freaking delicious.

Breakfast spread

Stormy in Regensberg

Always trying new beers


Finally, the three of us headed to the Hauptbahnhof where we all took trains to our own destinations.  I went back to Frankfurt, Stephanie to Nuremberg, and Britta to Munich.  In Frankfurt I had a few hours to look around before heading to Mainz to meet my friend again.  I did a whirlwind tour before realizing how far away from the train station I had walked.  I made it to Mainz a little late, and then drank a few bottles of wine with my friend into the wee hours of the morning.

Quick romp through Frankfurt

Time to head back to the train station!

After very little sleep (because of worrying my alarm wouldn't sound), I managed to thoroughly mess up my easy route to the airport.  I couldn't buy a ticket with the machine, gave up and then got on the wrong train.  I went a few stops past the airport, got off and waited for the right train.  Once in the airport I wandered around lost for at least 30 minutes, needing to ask for directions multiple times.  In the end, I got to my airplane and watched four movies on my 9 hour flight to the USA.  The funniest part was I saw my coworker on my plane!  She also visited Germany and we ended up taking the same flights back to Costa Rica.  What a world, what a world.

Oscar had bought me my favorite flowers and I devoured pizza for dinner.  Perlita was happy to see me too.

(wow, that ended up being pretty long after all!)


Jimena said...

you caught the Costa Rica bug!!
I have a theory that we have some leprechaun to us, strange coincidences happen VERY often.
hugs from Nepal!

Tiffany said...

aahhh, you made me miss it so much. Lived in Germany for 6 years, including some time in Heidelberg, which isn't so touristy when you live there. Great pictures!