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October 21st 2006
Published: October 21st 2006
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AutobahnAutobahnAutobahn

We were going to fast for my camera to be able to focus on anything in particular..
This weekend was great. It was actually refreshing to get out of Holland and see how different Germany is - which it is. The train there was fun and Nina and I talked, listened to music, and I entertained her by trying to read a German magazine. My Deutsch is not so good...

We walked around Hannover and then on Friday, we walked around Hildesheim. I liked Hildesheim a lot better - there are older buildings, the streets are mostly cobblestone (which are kind of hard to walk on), and the feeling of the city is more relaxed. But it makes sense because Hildesheim is smaller than Enschede! So during the day, Nina got her haircut and we just browsed shops and went to a typical German supermarket. The Dutch like their cheese as the Germans like their assorted spreads. I've never seen so many colorful boxes of spread before in my life! Meat, cheese, vegetable, garlic, tomato sauce, you name it. It's a very typical German thing to eat, as Nina explained to me. A normal breakfast consists of typical German bread rolls and at least 3 or 4 different kinds of spread on the table. Nina showed me
Station in HannoverStation in HannoverStation in Hannover

One of the prettier buildings in Hannover. Most of the buildings are grey, ugly and were rebuilt really plain and simple after the war
"typical German bread rolls"....but they looked and tasted like Dutch bread rolls. haha.

Since Nina's mom and dad were vacationing in Vienna, we had the luxery of using their car - a BMW of course. It was pretty snazzy and had a cool navigation system that was extremely accurate. Every hundred meters or so you'd hear a stale woman's voice say "bitte recht" (please, right). The BMW was a diesel and had 6 gears - which Nina of course used especially on the AutoBahn (the highway without a speed limit). So this speed limit thing - the sky really is the limit as I quickly found out. Nina sped up to the normal speed of traffic which was 180 kilometers an hour. I'm glad I didn't know how fast that really was (my stupid non-metric brain) but I just calculated it and it's 111 miles per hour! holy moly. Funny thing is, is that in the car it felt like we were going 60 or 70 miles/hour. And we were going WITH the traffic - the fast lane was reserved for those that as they passed us, looked like they were going about 30 kilometers faster than us.
VW prideVW prideVW pride

Germans are very proud of their exports - and no, the tower was not leaning. That's just my abstract photography skills =)

Anyway, last night, Nina and I cooked dinner, and took the bus to meet up with her friends at a bar called the El Paso (which I thought was funny since it's a town in texas...) Drinks before 8pm were half off so Nina and I got two fruity cocktails. Her friends were hilarious and extremely nice. Jurjen was the funniest and he's right now in the army doing medic training. Stefan was also friendly and he's in the army too, but I forget what he's doing. Cecelia was quiet, but her mother is French, so I was able to talk with her in French since her English was at a minimum. We spent about two hours just laughing, talking in a total of 3 different languages, and discussing all kinds of things.

I asked Jurjen and Stefan what were the first things that came to mind when they thought of America and they said: Bush and MTV spring break - quite interesting, huh? =)

After that, we went to another place called Brazil, sat around, and chatted. Nina wanted to go there because she knew a lot of the workers. We split the weirdest beer I've ever
In HildesheimIn HildesheimIn Hildesheim

A very popular building in the center. It survived the war and there are intricate paintings all over it. The bottom part is a cafe/restaurant and the top half is now a museum
tasted - Banana Weizen - like Hefeweizen, but it had a banana flavor to it (from the esters that are produced by the yeast so I was told). We moved right along to stand outside a bit - every store and indoor place in Germany has the heat cranked right up that it's almost suffocating. I know this sounds weird coming from me since I'm always freezing indoors. Nina and her friends told me that Germany is the only country in Europe where it's legal to drink in public on the streets. When she told me, it immediately explained why I saw an older man sipping on a beer while waiting for his bus to arrive. We then went to an interesting bar/club called Pasha. There were two rooms -- one room was a dance room, playing the latest Eurotrash techno pop whatever-it-is, and the other room was like a sit-down area with a beer stock exchange. How it worked was the names of all the drinks the bar offers were on a huge wall with digital numbers next to the name. Every 180 seconds, these numbers would go up or down however popular the drink was. So if people
In HildesheimIn HildesheimIn Hildesheim

More buildings around the center. Nina told me this area was where the Jewish community lived. The far left building in the picture was one of the Jewish financial buildings. On another note...window washing must be a great business in Germany
were always buying Becks beer, the price next to the Becks name would go up, versus a not-so-tasty-student-friendly-priced beer continued to drop in price.

It was overall a great night, tons of laughing with the language barriers, new experiences, and a new outlook on Germany. I wasn't really sure how I'd feel in Germany because of its reputation, but my thoughts vanished after I met Jurjen, Stefan, and Cecelia. I'd like to visit other cities in Germany another time (Berlin and Munich especially) but I know I'll need to go with a German speaking person - their English skills are not nearly as advanced as the Dutch.

It's amazing how in a little over 3 days time, I learned a handful of new things about a country, the culture, and it's people. The stereotype that German people are not friendly is absolutely ridiculous. Okay, everwhere you go there's the sour pickle faced person, but when I was waiting for Nina to finish getting her hair cut, a couple ladies entered the waiting area, smiled at me and the other lady waiting, and said "Guten Tag!" (good day). I've waited in hair salons in the states and that's never
Very old streetVery old streetVery old street

The houses here are very cute. I know I'm short, so I am now wondering why I had to make myself look shorter and stand by such a huge lamp post, haha!
happened. So I think the number one thing that I've learned with traveling so far is that it's hard to get rid of your preconceived thoughts or expectations about a place or culture. But more importantly, it's that you have to test your thoughts and expectations and make sure they're true - give people/the country a chance to prove you wrong. And seriously, nothing feels better than to be proven wrong in this situation because you learn so much more.




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At El PasoAt El Paso
At El Paso

Cecelia, Nina, and me
Out on the street - Me, Nina, Jurjen, and StefanOut on the street - Me, Nina, Jurjen, and Stefan
Out on the street - Me, Nina, Jurjen, and Stefan

Getting a breath of fresh air..and oh yah, a beer. Please note that the gigantic bottle of wine was Cecelia's (she took the picture) - it was quite vile tasting to be honest.


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