Monday, August 23, 2010

A week already?!

Oh my goodness!

I can't believe it's been a week already since I've posted. I can barely remember what I've done! Time has been flying by so quickly, I feel like there is still so much more for me to do and see that I just won't be able to.

Last Wednesday, we went into Dornbirn, Austria, for a mountain hike. It was a beautiful hike, and we took ski lift up to the top of the mountain, had light breakfast, then began our hike down. At first it was kind've chilly at the top of the mountain, but as we kept going I got hotter and hotter! I was so happy I dressed in layers, that's one thing that I've learned is an absolute must here in Germany and the surrounding areas. In the morning it can be kind've chilly, at night it gets down to about 55 degrees on a normal day and when it's only been 60 at the warmest point it's even colder than that at night which makes for a very chilly morning. But I digress! So we're hiking down this mountain in Dornbirn, and it's getting warmer and warmer going down (natürlich, we're going DOWN the mountain and it's only going to be cold at the very top) and at first this hike is kein problem, no problem. Easy as pie, there are stairs and well defined paths and everything is dandy and you think to yourself "well isn't this a nice walk through the woods, it's not a hike at all!" Then, it gets steeper, and you're going up and down hills that while still are well defined and for the most part paved, are quite tiresome. Then it gets to the middle part of the mountain. And the path gets less and less defined, to the point where your walking a dirt trail following the people in front of you until, alas, there is no more trail. And you're trying hard, so hard, to not slip on your butt in the mud while walking down this steep incline in the mountain. Ugh! Just when you think the hike is an easy one you are proven wrong. Luckily I did not fall on my butt once, but I did have a few sliding moments that I swear were planned the entire time. (Kidding, I totally would've been on my butt, however for some reason I was able to catch myself and keep myself from falling.) So, as we're hiking the group of people I was with managed to lose the larger group we were hiking with. So we totally thought we were taking the proper trail when we start walking up a road and are going UP the mountain, not DOWN the mountain like we're supposed to. So naturally some people are like "hey is this the right way do we know where we're going?" and naturally, no one has a map, so we have no idea. Eventually we were found by the second set of hikers from our program because there were some people that decided not to follow us UP the mountain and wait for them. So they came and found us and we realized we had walked probably a mile or so out of the way. Go us! Good thing we were found...! So, we continued on with the group, ate some lunch, took some photos and continued on our hike down the mountain to the buses that were waiting for us. We then proceeded to a Museum of sorts, it was an interactive science museum, and it was pretty good. I was just mad because it was a rainy, nasty day and I just wanted a nice hot cup of coffee or something, but the coffee machine was broken so there was no coffee/espresso/cappuccino or anything; so I settled on a Sprite and a topfelstrüdel. It was similar to an apfelstüdel (apple struedel) minus the apples and plus some kind of cheese-cake-like filling. Either way it was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. So then it was back to the bus and back to Konstanz for us!!

Next on my list of exciting things I did during the week was on Friday! We had a potluck and you had to bring food native to the country you come from. We have so many different countries represented here, let me name a few:
Canada USA Brazil
Colombia Norway Finland
England Ukraine Romania
France China Denmark
South Africa Turkey Spain
Czech Republic

So the International Potluck went over amazingly well. I brought Macaroni & Cheese, it really doesn't get much more American in my book, and someone else brought spare ribs, baked beans and peanut butter cookies. There were also many crepes, someone from Canada made "Seal" which was really just Wurstsalat, not REALLY seal, and the Chinese food was amazing. And mind you, 90% of this was all HOMEMADE in our dorm rooms by the students. Its really cool walking down the outside walkway around lunch & dinner time and smelling all the different types of foods being cooked. But, the potluck was an extreme success and I really think I am still full from it.

Next, I decided on Saturday & Sunday to go to Augsburg! I have family there and I went and paid them a visit and spent the night. It was a very nice trip, I ate traditional Bavarian food, and at meals like Germans do. At home Germans eat there meals very differently than Americans. In America we eat three meals, breakfast (if you're lucky), lunch (if your lucky) than dinner. So we really only eat ONE meal. But regardless, Germans, or at least my family, eat a larger breakfast, then a light lunch, than have a before-dinner snack, than light dinner, and than a beer in the evening with some chips and small pretzels. It felt like we were eating all day, but it didn't feel like we were eating a lot because it was more meals with smaller portions, so it's arguably the same thing. But visiting my family was nice, I haven't gotten to upload any pictures yet, but I most certainly will my next post that I do either sometime this week or once I get home. I've been making a mental list of things I want to talk about in my last blog, including what I would have done differently and what I wish I knew and what I have gotten out of the experience.

Anyway, the entire weekend I could only speak German to my family because they speak very little English. It was very very tiresome and exercised every last bit of my vocabulary and knowledge of the German language. It really put into perspective how much I DON'T KNOW and what I really need to learn.

I have learned going to Augsburg though that in Germany traveling by car is much quicker than by train. And even though Germans are known for being pünktlich (punctual, on time), their trains tend to get verspätung (late) quite often! Going to Augsburg my initial connection train was 30 minutes late, than 50, so I had no other option than to find another train that took me where I needed to be. The timetable system is really easy to follow and use, each station has a giant poster for "arrivals" and another for "departures" with the days of the week and the times, along with what station each station stops at and the times it is scheduled to arrive when everything is working on time and there are no delays. It is absolutely amazing how perfectly timed the trains are when they are operating correctly though, because if it says the train is going to arrive in Ulm at 14:01 it is arriving at 14:01, not a minute later, if anything, it's a minute early. So when the Deutsche Bahn is good its absolutely amazing and everything works like clockwork, however, when there are delays, it can add hours onto your trip!

Going to Augsburg I was arrived 30 minutes later than I was supposed to because of my delays, and coming home a 4hr train ride took me 6hrs because one of my trains was late, I missed my connection and had to wait and wait and wait for the next train. So glad that train ride is over and that my next one is a direct train into Zürich!

Other than that I have not much to say! It's just about midnight here, and I had to blog and tell you all about what I've been doing this past week.

This week I may take of one my two allowed absences to pack my stuff and make sure I have everything together before I leave and wash/dry my laundry! So much to do, so little time!! I still have to do last minute souvenir shopping! ah!

Reporting live from Konstanz, this is Samantha from SBU! Thank you and have a good night!


P.S. tomorrow or next post I PROMISE Austria pictures!!!

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