The Weird Foreign Girl

Today as I was walking along the side of the road hauling a large plastic bag full of garbage, I realized as one person after another gawked at me from their passing cars, that I have become the foreign girl who carries weird things.  I’ve never really thought twice about carrying situationally  abnormal objects around.  I’ve worked for a long time in an environment where people can carry around just about anything and not attract much attention.  At a high school, people carry weird stuff all of the time—paper mache donkey heads, DNA models made of gummy bears, bags of flour dressed as babies—and nobody bats an eye.  But in another country where people will stare at you just because you are a foreigner, it doesn’t help to draw more attention to oneself by carrying a garbage bag or several rolls of toilet paper or a giant box of frozen pretzels down the street. But I also realized that I don’t really care if people stare at me.  Yes, I may be walking down the street at five in the morning wearing a backpack as big as me and a headlamp, but so what?  Continue reading “The Weird Foreign Girl”

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A Love/Hate Relationship

After a closer inspection of our Eurail tickets two weeks into our train travel,  Adam noticed that for some reason we had first class train tickets, not the second class ones that we had paid for.  We were immediately seized with elation and regret.  What the hell have we been doing sitting in second class?  We also realized with a slight pang that our overnight ordeal in Paris could have been avoided had we known that we were able to purchase first class tickets.  But as Hemingway said, (and this will be the only time you will ever see me quote Hemingway), ˝Paris was always worth it.˝ Continue reading “A Love/Hate Relationship”

But I want an Oompa Loompa Now

We had about 7 hours to kill at the Hamburg train station.  Ordinarily this would be fine—Hamburg looked like a beautiful city to stroll around.  However, it just happened to be pouring rain the entire time, so we had to look to the Hamburg train station to keep us amused.

We had run out of toothpaste in Denmark and since we didn’t want to pay $20 for a new tube, we squeezed the very last drop out of the tube that we had so that we could make our purchase in Germany.  We also badly needed some shoe deodorizer which will come into the story later.  We made our purchases, got something to eat, and then had about 6 ½ hours still to go.  Continue reading “But I want an Oompa Loompa Now”

Would You Like Ketchup with That?

Because Adam’s great-grandparents were from Denmark, we headed up there to find the old family home.  I have a vague idea that somewhere in my father’s background is someone from Denmark, but that’s about as specific as it gets for me.  We had to take a train back to Munich in order to catch the night train to Copenhagen, so we ended up spending the day there.  The train station was much quieter than the week before since it was devoid of the hundreds of drunk Oktoberfest revelers.  We passed most of the day in the Deutsches Museum which is the largest museum of science and technology in the world.  In typical German fashion, the museum covered every possible branch and twig of the scientific world.  It is one of those places that you wish would go on forever because its so amazing, but at the same time you wish it would end already before your head explodes.  Continue reading “Would You Like Ketchup with That?”

Ich Liebe Bavaria

Although my German truly is shit, we didn’t have any trouble communicating with people in Germany.  We learned that if you ask someone if he speaks English and he says, “a little,” you can expect that person to be completely fluent with an impressive vocabulary.  A “no,” means that the person will still endeavor to speak English to you after hearing your pathetic attempt at the language.  Continue reading “Ich Liebe Bavaria”

Pick up Some Lederhosen; We’re Moving to Germany!

Well, not quite yet, anyway. But it wouldn’t hurt to pick up some lederhosen anyway. So versatile!

Our first day in Germany was one of the best days we have had on this trip. We ended up renting a house in Bischofswiesen which is very close to Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps near the Austrian border. We got there around 10PM on the first night. We were welcomed by the elderly German man who owns the house that the apartment is attached to. He had insisted that we call him when we got there so he could pick us up, but we took a cab not wanting to inconvenience him. When we arrived he showed us every tiny detail of the apartment including how to turn on the television, but he was the nicest man. He kept running back and forth from the apartment to the house to grab something else for us—a map, some tea, a bus schedule. Continue reading “Pick up Some Lederhosen; We’re Moving to Germany!”

From Foie Gras to Bratwurst

After we got off the ferry in Calais and I had assured myself that there was no way that I could communicate with anyone in French, we went to find our hotel. Now if I had been by myself, I would have written down directions meter by meter if I was going to walk, but more than likely I would just take a taxi to make sure that I didn’t get lost. Adam, however, has some sort of GPS chip in his head, so he just looks at a map and sort of walks towards where the place should be until we end up right in front of it. Even with a map in front of me it would take me longer to find a place than it would for him to find it without one. I don’t understand this gift, but I do appreciate it. Continue reading “From Foie Gras to Bratwurst”

From Haggis to Foie Gras

After five hours of driving from Skye to Edinburgh in the sunshine, we dropped off the car and it promptly began to rain. We took a bus back to the city center and ducked into a pub to have breakfast for dinner. The Scottish (or English) breakfast is a thing of beauty. There are always slight variations on the contents depending on where you are, but the bottom line is that it always contains a shit-ton of food. The most amazing thing is the variety of food on the plate. Ours had eggs, toast, hash browns, sausage (the real stuff, not those shriveled up breakfast sausages), beans, mushrooms, and grilled tomato. Denny’s could never hope to compete with such a wonder as this. It took me several minutes just to decide which items I was going to eat together—always a difficult choice. Continue reading “From Haggis to Foie Gras”

Talk About an Odyssey…

It took us four days to get from Scotland to Germany. OK, so four days doesn’t really compare to the 20 years that it took for Odysseus to get home, but Odysseus never had to ride an overnight bus from Edinburgh to London. If he had, it is certain that at least one person would have been slain. Here is a rough sketch of our journey with details to be described in later posts. Continue reading “Talk About an Odyssey…”