Monday, October 8, 2012

A Whirlwind of a Week!


I went to work, bus to train station, train to Warburg (Westf), train to Kassel-Wilhelmschoehe, train to Stuttgart but it was 25 minutes late due to a broken signal, missed the next train to Uhingen so I took the next one from Stuttgart to Plochingen to Uhingen where I would meet Tanja 40 minutes later than planned (I called to let them know), I arrived and got a big hug from Tanja who then drove us home and I also got a warm welcome from Johanna and Joerg, I stayed up talking to Joerg and Tanja until about 10 or so, bed time.


I woke up before 6 like usual but I forced myself to stay in bed and finally got up at about 7, went to the kitchen and made a coffee and sat at the table to eat some breakfast with Joerg (see dad, he's not at work before 7...), talked with Tanja and finally saw Philip, Tanja took me to the train station, train to Goeppingen, train to Munich, on the train there were a ton of people dressed up for Oktoberfest and many of them were already drinking before 10 AM (not just a Houghton thing I guess), I got to the Dachau Banhof and began following the map I printed to follow the walking path of the prisoners path from the train station to the KZ, it one thing to learn about the camps but something totally different to see and experience it yourself, I paid 2,50 for an audio guide and wandered the camp, while it was quite interesting it was also quite depressing, I finished up around three and took the bus to the train station then took the train back to Uhingen, Tanja picked me up from the station (I called to tell her I'd be back about an hour before), we went home and ate and just talked for a bit, Joerg came home for a bit but had to go back out so Tania and I watched TV, went to pick up Johanna and her friend in Goeppingen from her dance class, came home and watched more TV with Tanja, Joerg came home and we had a beer together while talking politics, then it was my bed time.


I got up around 7:30 and did my thing online (checked emails and such), got up and got ready for my day, had breakfast with Joerg and Tanja, drove to Olchen then took the S-Hahn to Munich, Oktoberfest was packed and without a reservation we couldn't go in a tent, we walked around and bought a bratwurst and a lebkuchen heart, it started to rain so we went back to the car and drove back to the house, there was an accident on the autobahn involving an LKW and we were stuck there for a long time and finally an ambulance came by and again we waited, about five minutes later some fire trucks and again five minutes later more fire trucks, and another five minutes later another one we sat in the traffic (though it wasn't traffic so much since we were sitting with our car turned off) for about an hour until we decided to break the law and go off-roading, everyone was doing it, we drove through some corn fields and passed the accident but traffic in both directions was stopped completely, finally we got back on the autobahn and were on our way home but it still took an hour in the car, we had dinner nearly cooked when we got home because Tanja called Philip and he began cooking, Joerg cooked the meat on the grill and we ate (while drinking great German beer), we then watched some soccer, bed time.


I woke up and tried to force myself back to sleep finally gave up at 8:30 am and showered, Joerg and Tanja arrived and we had breakfast, Tanja's parents arrived and we caught up a bit, we went into town (stores were open on a Sunday!), we went to the fire station and had lunch and I had maultaschen and a weissen, we went into the city further and looked into the shops and went to DM to get hair products and such, went back to a bier garten to get a beer and relax a bit (the 24 hour run was almost over (like a fundraiser)), walked back up to the house, helped Tanja make the salad and tomatoes with mozzarella, ate dinner, went with Tanja to church for a free concert, came home, watched some TV, bed.


I had breakfast with Tanja and parents then Tanja drove me to the train station and I was off, I had no problems getting to Stuttgart even with the problems I was expecting but next train was late, I got on and went to Nuremberg and went outside the station to find he buses but didn't need to look far because the bus was just outside, showed my ticket and got a tag for my bag then grabbed out my food and passport and was on my way, on the bus there were some super cute Australian guys and next to me was an older German guy, as we were going along the German guy gave me commentary on things like the iron curtain which we crossed and he gave me some info on things to do in Prague for my family's visit for new years, when I arrived in Prague my host Jitka and one of her roommates met me at the train station and we walked back home but on the way we stopped to get me a map for my visit, we talked and they made me coffee and we shared a traditional Czech honey and nut cake, Jitka showed me some things to see in the city on the map and then we went toward the city to buy me tickets for the tram, I took the tram into the city and saw Wenceslas square then walked to the old city and wandered around until I found the Charles bridge and the even saw the Prague castle all lit up over the river, I caught the tram back and went to Jitka's apartment but I didn't have a key so I waited and she showed up, we blew up my air mattress and cooked dinner hen went to a bar to drink with some of her friends, a few drinks turned into us going to a club and coming home at 2:30 am, we all went to bed.


I got up and showered at 7:30 and the girls had class so they left and I was given a key, I finished getting ready then went into the city by tram, I went to the national theatre then to Charles bridge, I walked across the bridge which surprisingly was no full of tourists and went up the hill to see the castle, since I had plans to meet up with Jitka and friends for lunch I didn't take a tour but I should have because once I was half way back down the hill I got a text saying they were still drunk/hungover from last night and they couldn't do lunch with me, I continued across the bridge again and this time it was full of people, I didn't have a plan for where to go then so I just wandered and looked for the restaurant that Jitka suggested but I didn't find it so I wound up buying some grapes from a vendor and eating them while wandering the streets, I was tuckered out from such a short night of sleep and long night of dancing and drinking so I went back to relax a bit around two, Jitka was in bed and her roommate and I hung out for a while, I was really tired but I knew if I slept I wouldn't wake up until the morning or if I did wake up I wouldn't sleep at night so I relaxed some and read a book, I decided to go back to the city because I still hadn't found the astronomical clock and I needed dinner, I took the tram to the main square and walked to the clock surprised by how easy it was to find, while there I stopped at a restaurant outside near the clock and had some pasta for dinner, I wandered some OK I was lost and couldn't find the tram I needed but I found it eventually and went back home, I talked to Ida and Jitka for a bit but then showered and laid in bed, I couldn't really sleep because Jitka was doing homework but I relaxed and somehow passed out.


I woke up at about 6 and grabbed my things throwing things in my bag last minute making it feel fuller than it was, I had a note from Jitka not to wake her but that I was welcome to visit again, I grabbed the key and went downstairs, unlocking the door I propped it open and dropped the key in the girls' mailbox and was on my way down the hill to the tram, I just missed the first number 9 tram so I waited for a few minutes and got the next one, it is only one stop to get to the station so I hopped off there and went into the train station, I had to wait unilateral they announced which platform my train would be on so I bought a coffee and waited by the board for the announcement, finally it said I would be leaving from platform four and I went up to board, the train was mostly empty and I was on it until 10:18 when I arrived in Ostrava, I couldn't find my train but luckily I found a board and made it on just in time, after a bit the conductor came by and asked for my ticket but my InterRail pass isn't valid in Poland so I had to pay for a ticket, when I arrived in Katowice I had to buy a bus ticket but I couldn't find a bus and I never came at 2:15 like it was supposed to so I waited more, finally I found what I thought to be my bus but it didn't accept my ticket and without cash I was sol, there was a very nice polish couple who gave me the money for the fare and I got on, I was going to be later than planned so I called Aleksandra and told her since she didn't respond to my text and she said that was OK, I waited for her for a bit and she finally arrived and apologized a bunch for being late but it wasn't a problem, we walked back to her place with her friend and had some tea, Aleksandra had a new tattoo that I got to see and it's huge between her shoulder blades (her first), we went into the city to get Internet at mcdonalds and then Aleksandra stayed in while I went out with her friends, we saw the old city, main square, castle and the old Jewish quarters, I even saw the dragon of Krakow but since it was dark I couldn't take too many pictures, I exchanged some money to get PLN for my euros, we were walking by a pub and a guy yelled out "CouchSurfers?" and invited us to a party with surfers on the city, we went in and talked to some people but it was getting late and my last bus was coming soon so we left and I took the bus back to Aleksandra's place where she me me at the bus stop, she had a friend over so we all talked a bit, her roommates showed up and wanted to practice German with me and we talked for about an hour and before I knew it it was one am and I needed to sleep, I showered and went to bed in a sleeping bag on an air mattress.


I woke up at 6:30 am to get ready for the day, the air mattress was flat, I got up and had breakfast with Aleksandra and one of her roommates  but since she didn't have a key to give me I had to leave with them at 7:15 am, we got on a bus and I went into the city while she went to class, I stopped in the main square and then went up to the castle but of course nothing was open yet so I wound up just walking a lot, I went back into the city and stopped in a McDonald's for some food and a coffee and also Internet access, I went into St. Mary's church and when I came out I saw a free walking tour so I joined in and went on my way with them for three hours around the old town and surrounding area, on the trip I met some women from LA and we walked to the Jewish district and had lunch and I had Russian perogies (white cheese and potatoes), at 3:30 we met with another tour group to see the Jewish area (another free walking tour), when we finished a bit after six we were in front of Schindler's factory and I walked back to the old town with two really cute Australian guys, went to McDonald's to use Internet but my host from Warsaw is sick and contagious and can "maybe" host me, I posted a last minute couch request to find something, we found me a train at 8:08 in the morning so I would arrive at 11:30, Aleksandra will take me to the train station in the morning to sort things out and send me on my way and she helped me find a hostel for Warsaw if I need it (let's hope I don't!), we then went to a friend of "Ola"'s to see if she had any connections in Warsaw but she didn't (she's studying graphic design), we came back and I went to bed.


I got up at 6:45 and got ready and woke Aleksandra and I had breakfast and used the Internet on her laptop to see if I found any hosts but the only offer was from a family 10 or 15 mm from the city which means I would need a new train ticket and more time to get there and couldn't see the city, so I found a hostel but I will also try to find WiFi when I'm in Warsaw to see if I have another offer, I bought a train ticket (no student or under 26 discount on this one) and boarded the train to go to Warsaw central station, when I arrived in Warsaw my host Michael was waiting for me and we went back to his place for tea, he was the ill one but he was on meds so he wouldn't be contagious, he showed me some maps and what I should see in the city, we then went for lunch and I had a panini and we parted ways, I took the metro to the old city and wandered on foot for a while and found a castle and some museums and a cool fountain, I met some Brits and wandered with them for a bit but wound up heading back around 6 pm when it began raining, I got to Michael's and we talked and had some more tea then went for a walk to the palace on the water and wandered the park in the dark together, we came back to his place and had dinner and then I showered and we talked then sleep finally came.


I woke up at about 8:30 am and it's the latest I have slept in a long time, I had breakfast and tea then Michael took me to the train station and I got on my train, the woman next to me spoke English so we talked a bit at the beginning but I was a five hour trip so we didn't talk too long and we fell into silence, when the conductor came around I was ready to pay for the trip to the border but he didn't ask me to pay so I thought I was getting off free but of course he came back and I had to pay but it wound up only being something like 20 Euros so it wasn't bad, I arrived in Berlin Hbf later than planned and worried I wouldn't make my connecting train but I was early and hopped on, unfortunately  there was a tree on he tracks so we were delayed longer, I haven't had lunch and just barely had time to grab a soda from a machine on my way to the train, once in the train I had to wait to leave because there was a tree down on the track, after an hour and forty five minutes we finally left and I was on my way to Hannover, when I got off the train in Hannover I told my host I was here and he sent me a PDF with directions, I took bus 121 four stops and got off where he met me and we went to his place, we talked and made pizza for dinner then ate and had wine while watching TV, his couch pulled out into a queen sized bed and I slept the best I have in a long time.


I woke up and showered then Christoph and I had breakfast, he took me to the new city hall and we saw the display of the city's progression from 1600 something to present then for two euros we went up to the top, the elevator to the top doesn't follow a straight line and rather shifts from the left at the bottom to right at the top, I could see the whole city from above, when we were done he drove me to the train station where I me with Thorsten from work and his friend, we went to the university and a medieval festival where we had some beers and talked to his friends, we went back to the city and I did some shopping and bought some things from h&m and a Hannover 96 hoodie (the shops were open on a Sunday even), then we went our separate ways and I went back to get my bag from Christoph's, then I took the metro to the train station and was on my way back to Paderborn (I had a chance to see a soccer game but decided to go home and sleep instead), when I got to Paderborn I had to wait for my bus to arrive to take me home but then I hopped on and went to my stop and got off and walked home to relax, I took Monday off work too so I can relax and recoup from the trip.

Tomorrow I still have vacation but I will use the day to relax and sleep. Oh and probably write about my adventures!

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