Published: September 14th 2007September 14th 2007
The little town of Dernau, Germany
Well, no big trips lately to update on, but I have been up to some pretty great stuff in and around the Cologne area. I have discovered a fabulous website Couch Surfing (www.couchsurfing.com). Well I have known about it for a while and was a bit skeptical at first, but now I am actually hooked. Its this website with a crazy amount of random travel addicts. Everyone makes a profile and can then search for "couches" to stay on when they travel. You, in return open up your couch to other people to travel to your city. It is an incredible way to meet people from all over the world. Many great friends to be made.
Last weekend I went on a Rotweinweg Wandern (Red Wine Way Hike) with the local Bonn Couch Surfing Group. Carolyn came with me, which was great, because we didn't know anyone and were both I think interested in the whole concept. We met 5 people at the Cologne Hauptbahnhof and then headed together towards Bonn. In bonn, about 11 people joined us on the train. Everyone was so open and friendly, it is nice to finally have some German friends to talk to. We
Vinyards everywhere, we tried some grapes they were really good!
traveled to a little town called Dernau to start our wine hike. I had been out till 4 am the night before at the international bar downtown, so I was a bit tired, but decided to be a trooper. haha. We hiked total about 10 km above the cities on the river (not the Rhein, its actually NW of Koblenz, not sure) but it was beautiful. Along the way there were lots of little wine stores and vinyards all over the hills. We would buy a few bottles of wine at each store and drink them as we hiked along to the next, great idea really. The specialty right now in the region is called Federweiss, its a really young wine that you can't even cork because it would explode. Hasn't fermented all the way. You are to drink this and eat "Zwiebelkuchen" (onion cake) and supposidly it "ferments" in your stomach. Fabulous ideas people, fabulous. Anyways, we had plenty of that and I tried some famous Zwiebelkuchen which was incredible. I have no idea whats really in it, but im sure it is really bad for you.
We finished our hike in the town of Ahrweiler and low
Paige from AusDin
Yeah, apparently Im from Ausdin, Texas....
and behold, they were having a WINE FEST! wohoo. It was great, we walked around tried different foods. We even stopped in a "southwestern/western" bar, which included a buffalo head on the wall and even a real live cowboy (that drinks wheat beer, didn't quite fit). It was entertaining none the less. From there we went over to the Ahrweiler Weinverein (local wine producer). We were joined by a few couchsurfers from Lille, France. The guy gave us a wonderful tour of the place and we learned all about how to make wine and then went down to the cellar for a wine tasting. Can you guess the theme of the day yet?? haha. The wine tasting was fabulous and we tried some really great stuff. From there we took the train back to Cologne, I was exhausted. But I met some fabulous people and am really excited about the whole Couch Surfing concept now!!
So in other news, I went to the Germany vs. Romania Fussball (soccer) game on Wed night! The stadium is not too far from my house, they built it for the world cup in 2006. It is amazing! We were up in the top
Funny Wine Store
Funny little wine store...interesting...
corner, but it didn't matter. The game was sold out, 50,000 people and I have to say, I am going to go to more of them in the future. They are definitely a good time! We were decked out in our scarves and colors for Germany and of course they won 3-1. I had guessed 4-1, but narrowly missed the bet. In words of German efficiency, they made us buy this card before we entered the stadium that was the only way you could buy beer or food in the stadium. It was pretty sweet, you just set it on this little thing and it reads the card and then takes money off of it. Im not very technology saavy so that was pretty cool to me. The only problem was that, there was a 2 euro refund on the card and to get that or any of your money back, you had to wait in a ridiculous line at the end outside the stadium. Hmm...great concept, bad plan. Oh well, they tried. At least everyone here is really good at waiting in lines!
Last night I went down to Bonn to meet up with the Couch Surfing group
Along the Rotweinweg
again and had a great time! I decided to take a mental health day today, and stayed home to sleep. It was a beautiful day though, first in a while, and I very much enjoyed the sun! Tonight is our monthly International Party at the language school, always a good time, and my tandem partner (speaking partner, she wants to learn english..) is coming with. She is very nice and we have a good time chatting every week about differences between our two cultures. She is a student here in Cologne and will become a Elementary School teacher soon.
Tomorrow I am meeting up with Marta, a friend from Semester at Sea!! Very excited! And then on Sunday I am going to Bonn for a wine festival with my language school. More wine, always a good idea! Hope all is well with everyone. I have only 2 more weeks until I move on to Hamburg, I can't believe its time already. Just flying by! Loving hearing from everyone, keep the love coming!
There are more photos below