Friday, August 31, 2012

Göttingen - Memories from years past

It's like I just got back from London and again I was gallivanting off on another adventure. Oh wait, that's because that was what happened! A whole two days after I returned from my trip to London, I packed my bags again and headed to Göttingen to spend the weekend with Marilena, the girl who I did my exchanges with in high school. It's crazy how much and how little people can change in just five years, but it was great to reconnect with her and -- not to spoil the surprise -- her family too!

With this trip, since I knew it would take me a while to write about it (with the daunting task of writing about London still over my head) and I didn't want to forget the details, I took notes on my iPod as to what I did on which day. Since it wasn't a lot of detail or such a long stay, I won't bore you with the "quick and dirty" of the trip and instead, I'll just tell you about it in full detail. So... Here goes nothing!


 I took the bus to the train station and while I was on the bus I noticed a woman carrying a cage with her cat in it. Maybe it's because I'm not used to truly public transportation, but it felt weird. So, of course, I took a photo.

I left Paderborn at 6:00 PM and got a ride with a German guy that I found through Mitfahrgelegenheit. He spoke, I'm not kidding you, a whole of ten words of English. Not too bad for me because it gave me a chance to really use my German instead of only speaking in English. Something I haven't been doing too much over here. It's as if everyone only wants to practice their English and, well, I guess I'm also afraid since I don't know all the right words.

The ride was supposed to take two hours but the guy was as my father would call him, a "Michigan Rabbit." He flew through traffic and weaved in and out. I think it was maybe an hour and 20 minutes until I was there. Of course, I told Marilena I would be there at 8:00 PM so she was surprised to find that I had arrived so early. She told me she'd be there in 20 minutes and so I waited for her to arrive.

She arrived and we did our hugging thing and she told me she remembered me being taller and was expecting the red hair (oh yeah, I totally forgot, I dyed my hair again! It's brown now instead of the faded pink color that had become of the red.) We chatted easily about family and our lives and she drove us to real,- (not pronounced "real" but "ray-all", we're in Germany here people, keep up), a grocery store and more. Stores  like this are very uncommon for Germany, very common in the US, but you never see them here. Walmart actually failed to reach the European market almost entirely. We bought some things for dinner and were on our way to her apartment.

Marilena cooked us dinner and I kept her company in the kitchen telling her all about my parents, my brother, Heather, the kids, my life, etc. When dinner was finished, we grabbed a beer each and went to the living room to eat. We were joined my Marilena's roommate Roos (pronounced rose) and we talked until it was bed time.

I got to share a room with the cats and their litter box. Good thing I'm a hard sleeper, they're rambunctious at night apparently.


In the morning on Saturday we got up and I baked the croissants that we bought the night before at the store and Marilena made us each a coffee. We ate at the table in the living room and just relaxed for a while.

We decided to see a small fortress near her apartment and it was only about a five minute drive. We were exploring and taking pictures out over the city below and wanted to go into the tower but there was a wedding so we decided to come back later.

We went into the city to do some shopping and I even bought two new tops! Well, they were on clearance, so it wasn't that much money... Right? We didn't spend too much time in the shops though and just wound up wandering the city a bit. We stopped in a shop for coffee and sat outside to drink it. We saw a few more shops after that, but we were both hungry so we went back to her apartment to enjoy some food.

We made "flat bread sandwiches" which is basically a quesadilla on steroids. Fully packed with veggies and beef. Delicious! We put in Dr. Who season two DVDs and just relaxed while watching it. Marilena and I both wanted something sweet, so we had ice cream with a banana and watched more Dr. Who. Soon enough, it was bed time and I went off to my room. Here's some pictures of the cats. Prince is the older one in the image to the left. The two white ones don't have names yet because they're new. They are from Greece though.


 We had breakfast in the morning, just some brötchen with different toppings like sausage, peanut butter, honey, etc. When we were done and had our coffee, we decided, as planned the day before, that we would go see the Berg again and go to the top of the tower.

It was a beautiful view from up there, but boy was it windy! Once we had our fill, we went back down and took our time on the stairs. Then we were off to Kassel. where we would attend a birthday party for her "Opa" (grandfather.)
The drive from Göttingen to Kassel was faster than planned but Marilena and I didn't know where we were going and so we parked in the city and walked to the restaurant.

Everyone was very surprised to see me. He parents knew I was coming but I don't think they told the whole family and everyone was happy to see me. Most of the family doesn't speak English, but some do so they were speaking either broken English or slow German to me. It worked too! We had a great lunch and the owner of the place came out with shots for everyone to celebrate. Since I wasn't driving, I was stuck with three shots. Not that I'm complaining or anything. Just a fact.

We were only in Kassel for about two hours and Marilena didn't want to go back quite yet so instead, we went to her parents' house, a place I haven't been in five years. Surprisingly, nothing too much has changed in Großalmerode since my last visit and I recognized many of the things we drove past.

The house was the same and they even had one of the cats that they had when I visited. The only new thing was the kitchen and it looked great. I think the coloring -- a lilac colored kitchen with the rest of the house done in oranges and browns -- was a bit weird but it looked so much bigger and everything was new inside.

We had coffee and cakes while everyone talked and soon it was time for Marilena and I to leave to go back to Göttingen so that I could get on my train back to Paderborn.

It's weird saying goodbye again. Though, I'm sure I'll see them again! I was invited to visit anytime I wanted (with some warning of course) and we made some lose plans for Christmas when my parents and Andrew come to visit.

Marilena and I looked in some of the shops at the train station to pass time since we were so early, then it was time to go. Of course, this won't be the last time I visit, but it's still hard saying goodbye.

Anyways, tomorrow I go to Düsseldorf with Padraic, so expect more pictures and stories!

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