This was defiantely the coolest thing I’ve done in a while. I went to Karlsruhe to watch the end of the stage on Friday. The riders came through so fast that it was impossible to pick out any individual riders, just a blur of colors and helmets. It was over in about 3 seconds. But thrilling none the less because you knew they were racing to the finish line. A friend of mine had a party there Friday night, and a few of us spent the night on not-so-comfortable couches. I decided to get up early Saturday morning after a couple hours of sleep and try to go see the start of the 8th stage in Pforzheim (which by the way means ‘fart home’ in German). It was actually very worthwhile because I was able to get a spot right up against the barriers with a much better view, and the riders start of each day riding slowly as a large group until they leave the start town and start the real racing. So it was much easier to see what was going on and I was able to pick out Lance Armstrong, though I was having camera issues and didn’t get a picture of him.
Alright, I admit, I can be very irresponsible. And it seems that I’ve had more moments of irresponsibility recently than usual. I realized yesterday that somewhere during my crazy night out on Saturday I managed to lose my cell phone. I rarely use it and it’s mostly a hassle so I’m not terribly distraught over this, but it’s still annoying. The phone did have moments of being very useful.
Thanks to Roman, who usually is a pretty frustrating human being, I now know how to get to the Taunus- the forested hill region just outside of Frankfurt. I’ve been trying to figure it out for months, and he made the mistake of trying to talk me into going up there with him and telling me how to take the train to get there. The next day I woke up to find out that classes were cancelled for a national holiday and decided to use my suddenly free day to do some hiking. It also somehow turned out to be a day with beautiful weather so it was perfect. I chose a trail and set off and before too long managed to lose the marked trail I had been following and end up on an unmarked trail. I had no map and no idea where I was going so when I came across a marked trail with people on it I decided to just pick a direction and follow it to the end, wherever that may be. Luckily the trail came out of the forest not too far from where I had started, though I didn’t realize it at the time. But there was a bus stop on the road so I took the bus to somewhere it met up with the train and was on my way back to Frankfurt. It was a very enjoyable afternoon despite, or perhaps because of, getting lost and I’m very much looking forward to going back, hopefully with a map.
Never fear, things are still going well here in Deutschland. My not so brilliant escapades of 2 weeks ago involved running around in the freezing cold as we were walking back from a bar one night and falling down when i ran into someone. The fun ended pretty quickly when I realized I had a badly sprained ankle and did something very painful to my wrist. And neither has gotten much better because I refuse to stop walking and doing stuff I probably shouldn’t be doing. I hate being incapacitated. But hey, look on the bright side. It’s somewhat entertaining to watch the color change of the bruising all over my foot. It’s completely purple right now. Enough about injuries…Yesterday was my last day of class for the year. Yipee! Which means that I have a week and a half free, but not completely free because I actually need to do some school work.
My sister was in Frankfurt all last week, and she spent most of the week in my room sleeping. Exciting. Today she’s on her way to Hamburg, where hopefully she’ll be a little more social and do something interesting. And my dad came through Frankfurt again last week also. We spent lots of time at the Weihnachtsmarkt, which sadly closed last night. Tragic, really. I went to the Netherlands again for a few days at the beginning of the week because Elizabeth wanted to see Amsterdam and I didn’t want to send her off there by herself; it was much more enjoyable than last time. And there are hilarious stories that no one seems to think are anywhere near as funny as Dave, Liz and I do. So I’ll spare you all.
I made a big grocery shopping trip today, involving multiple stores. The Germans are all hardcore about Christmas, so the stores will be closed for 3 days or something while they celebrate. Everyone keeps giving me weird looks when I say that I have no real plans for Christmas, but I dont’ mind. I guess I kind of miss that I won’t be at home, but I’m also looking forward to a laid-back, almost non-existant, Christmas. And Dave and Jesse are around too, so I’m sure we’ll do something. It may turn out to be more along the lines of wild and crazy than lazy, but a non-traditional Christmas will be nice for a change.
Tonight’s plan: go to Mr Lin’s with Jesse, Christian, and Dave, and eat the best Thai food in the world. It’s been a week since we were last there, which means it’s time to go again.
Enjoy the pictures! 🙂
It’s true, the city really is layed out like the levels of hell. And that is a very fitting description of Amsterdam. We got back Monday night, and it’s taken me at least this long to recover and process the weekend to the point where I’m ready to talk about it. Let’s just say it was intense. This is going to be the extremely abreviated, PG-13 version of the weekend.
Saturday was a pretty crappy day, weather wise and we had to hike around in the rain when we arrived in the afternoon and find a hotel/youth hostel that could accomodate the 6 of us. Though we didn’t really know what we were doing at the time we lucked out and ended up on the outskirts of the red light district. After seeing the area at night that was a far better location than the first hotel we stopped at. After a strange chicken lunch next door to a bunch of hookers on the afternoon shift we went to yes, the Sex Museum. (Most of this trip was dictated by the 4 guys with us, as you can tell.) That was definately the most bizzare museum I’ve ever been to. But hey, how many cities have a sex museum? You should note, however, that we missed our opportunity that afternoon to make it to the prostitution information center before it closed. What a shame. The late afternoon and evening were spent checking out many of Amsterdam’s “coffee shops” and bars.
We went into an Irish pub with some big dude who claimed to be the bouncer and sat next to a table full of very drunk British men who ended up hitting on and harrassing this deaf woman trying to sell little trinkets. Apparently they had made a stop at the sex museum’s gift shop, or the equivalent, and they proceded to demonstrate some of their purchases.
Walking back and forth to different coffee shops we spent quite a bit of time in the heart of the Red Light district on a Saturday night which is really the definition of insanity. Even on a rainy night with biting cold the streets were packed with thousands of loaded people walking up and down, or just standing and gawking at the girls in the windows. The streets along the canals actually almost glow red in the dark from so many lighted windows.
The next morning we started the day off with a visit to the Torture Museum. This was the most wasted 5 euros I’ve ever spent, though Justin would disagree. It’s not really a museum at all, but some hole in the wall that some man calls a museum because it is filled with lousy pictures and a few medieval torture devices and it takes about 10 minutes to walk through the entire thing. Then began my weekend’s diet of fast food and pizza. I’m usually not at all a fan of fast food, but after an extremely disturbing meal at a sketchy Chinese restaurant the night before that I just stared at in disgust I didn’t trust anything else and Burger King and KFC never sounded so good.
The afternoon continued with a visit to the Heineken Experience, a well designed self-guided tour through the former Heineken brewery. The tour includes 3 beers at bars stationed along the way and they send you on your way with your very own Heineken glass. We continued on to the Anne Frank House where part of the group took the tour, but I opted to head back because I was getting fed up with walking and concentrating. I’m already regretting the decision, but I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it all that much. Sunday night started off harmlessly enough but due to more intense recreational activities on most of our parts, ended in a downward spiral that no one intended to reach. It was definately the low point of the weekend for me, but I’ve got to say that a couple of people in our group added entertainment and comic relief to an otherwise somewhat negative evening.
Monday morning we spent some time at the impressive Van Gogh Museum. Then it was a late lunch and one last stop at a coffee shop before heading to the train station. I don’t remember the name of that place, but I wish we had found it much earlier. Monday afternoon was probably not the best representation of the atmosphere on a normal night, but the guy working there was awesome and had all sorts of advice for us. Luckily he happened to be correct in his advice and he didn’t land us in a world of trouble.
I definately crashed not long after getting home that night. It’ll be a while before I’m ready to brave Amsterdam again, and there are things I would do differently if I’m ever back there. It’s impossible to describe that city in a way that does it justice. I recommend that everyone visit and judge it for yourself. Really though, it’s just insane…