(Originally posted on my old personal blog, Adventures with KHill!)
I have had the best few days EVER. I’ll try to give a run-down here.
Thursday: We had our first day of class (class? This trip involves school?) and it went pretty well. I like the professors but you know…school. Not going to be the most fun part of the trip but that’s totally okay. After class Thursday, we hopped on the S-Bahn and went to a park nearby called Hirschgarten, which literally means deer park. I thought the name was funny, then we got there and there were actual deer in a large closed-in space. Like a zoo but with just deer. What? Anyways, there was also a biergarten which is like a zoo but with people and alcohol. So they had the Germany-USA soccer game set up on big screens all around the biergarten and we got there a couple of hours early and got a table with a great view! We ate pretzels, a cherry and chocolate crepe (amazing), and drank an assortment of things. I still don’t like beer (sorry everyone) so my drink of choice here is Spezi, which is basically coke and orange soda mixed together. I also had an apfelschorle which is sparkling apple juice that tricks people into thinking one is drinking beer. Germany won the game and there was much rejoicing! We were all surprised, though, at how tame the whole thing was. I’ve never seen so many people drinking so many liters of beer in my life, but no one was really loud or obnoxious. The whole thing was really pleasant and fun.
Friday: After class, Meaghan and I both took naps. Anyone who knows me should know that I nap religiously, so that was a great experience for me. Then, our host mom took us to the Supermarket. I continue to think that my host family is the greatest ever. She showed us a lot of foods they have that are different from ours, as well as different grocery shopping customs. Most notably, their cheese looks a lot better than ours and they have an entire aisle dedicated just to chocolate. We bought several varieties of German chocolate, all of which make me think that I should pick up and move here as soon as possible. They also just sell soft pretzels like we sell sliced bread, and I don’t think it gets much better than that. Afterward, we went to pick up our adorable host sister from Tang Soo Do practice, then went to a cookout at our host family’s friends’ house. It was really really fun! We ate so much delicious food like bratwursts, some kind of pork, mushrooms, and little wursts wrapped in bacon. Also drank more Spezi. The friends were as cool as our host parents and it’s just so interesting to speak to people about life here. One woman was a social worker (something I’m potentially interested in doing in the future) and she had a lot of insight into how that works in Germany. The government here offers a lot more social support, so it is actually a well-paying job with a good amount of resources with which to help others. After we ate/talked/etc, Meaghan and I jumped on the trampoline with our host sister and the two other kids who were there. Laughing with little kids translates well to every language.
Saturday: DIE BESTEN TAG. We woke up early and went with three of our friends in the program to the train station, where we hopped on a train to Salzburg, Austria. It was so. much. fun. We got there at around noon and pretty much immediately at the train station, Meaghan and I saw our friend and sorority sister from home, Eden! It was a brief but cool meeting and she referred us to a bus tour which was probably the best purchase we made all day. It was a hop on-hop off tour that took us to basically every cool spot we could have wanted to go to in the city. Perhaps the best part was that it had a SOUND OF MUSIC track. So you could listen through your headphones for historical info on one channel, or Sound of Music info on another. Obviously I listened purely to the Sound of Music info. The tour also took us a little bit outside the city to spots where they filmed some of the movie, like the back patio and lake of the VonTrapp house and the gazebo where Liesl and Rolf sing 16 going on 17. We got to spend a lot of time at every place we wanted to and eventually we hopped off and decided to venture up to the fortress of Hohensalzburg, which overlooks the whole city. The views were absolutely amazing, as was the castle. It was built in the 1000s! Insane. That was a really cool place to tour around and we ate at a restaurant there that had maybe some of the best views I have ever seen - Salzburg, the fortress, the Alps. Just perfect. At the end of our meal, a storm was rolling in and it started to get so windy that the dust from the ground around the fortress was flying everywhere and making it impossible to see, so it was kind of hilarious and terrible trying to get back down to the city. It then started to rain, which I guess was sort of good since it washed some of the dust off. By then, it was time to catch our train home and I had some ice cream to end a great day.
Sunday: Today! Well, for starters, I got to sleep in. I love sleeping in just as much as I love napping. Then I woke up and got to watch as my host mom made schnitzel for lunch. As it turns out, schnitzel is my new favorite food. SO SO GOOD. We also ate potatoes and cauliflower with it and I drank some strawberry juice which was weird but wonderful. Then, naturally, chocolate cookies for dessert. I could actually probably make an entire blog just about my meals here. But I think I’m the only one who would get any enjoyment out of that and I don’t think my vegetarian friends would ever look at me the same. Anywho, time to maybe go be social right now. Overall, I’m loving my time here! Looking forward to my first full week in Germany. Love to all the people across the land.