I’m sitting here at my beautiful hotel room desk, chewing my new favorite candy and lamenting the fact that this is not sold in the United States. My old favorite candy, Sour Patch Kids, is ruined now. I’m wondering how many bags of Lachgummi Apfellinge I can fit in my suitcase without going over the weight limit. Probably not many, since I also have to pack the fabulous European clothes I got today. Just WAIT until you see the awesome pants I got. Crazy patterned skinny pants are a new trend here, and I think that trend needs to come to the USA as soon as possible. Hence I am bringing it back with me.
Today was absolutely amazing. I feel like every day out of the country is a pinch-myself-is-this-real kind of day, and I’m trying to soak it all in while I have the chance. This morning we had a fantastic speaker who is a professor at a university here, and he talked about the differences between Germany and the US (politically, historically, and culturally). Everyone was riveted. I felt as if he’d been talking for around fifteen minutes, and I looked at my phone and noticed it had been THREE HOURS. Here’s how you know he’s good and I’m not making this up: we were scheduled for lunch and free time after his lecture. When he realized his time was up, he said, “I was going to talk about immigration issues in Germany, but I see my time is up so I don’t want to go into your lunch time.” We all unanimously asked him to please keep talking; that our lunch could wait and we’d rather listen to him than have free time. True story. He kept talking, and we were all sad when he was finally finished.
For lunch most everyone went to a little sausage place down by the river, but I couldn’t go because I had to wait to meet a friend at our hotel (more on that in a minute). I told the other teachers I would get lunch by myself, and I wandered down the road to find something. I saw a small pizzeria that looked pretty good, and I was suddenly struck with the fact that, “Crap! I’m with no one! How am I going to order food?” I had one semester of German in college – literally German 101 – and I stopped walking a second to think: “Remember the German…come on…you paid how much for those credits at MSU?!” I’m happy to say that I remembered a bit of it, and I not only successfully asked how much the pizza was, but I understood the answer, ordered the type I wanted, and paid for the food without messing anything up. Hooray! Go German 101!
Because we had the afternoon off for free time today, I arranged to meet an old friend named Christina. Christina was a German exchange student in high school who lived down the street from me with my friend Sara. I hadn’t seen Christina since high school, and she was kind enough to take the train from Munich to Regensburg to spend the afternoon with me. We had SUCH a blast walking around old town Regensburg. We stopped into a Swiss chocolate shop for truffles, and I got a champagne truffle and also one with real gold flecks on the top. I’m not sure if it’s entirely healthy to eat metal, but I guess it’s supposed to be very high class and fancy. I figured I’d rather eat a gold truffle than caviar to get my elitist food fix, so I went for it. It was delicious (and you couldn’t taste the gold). We went shopping in some of the boutiques, and I bought the aforementioned fabulous pants. I bought a magazine at a grocery store for a euro, and then Christina and I sat outside by a fountain and read it for a while (meaning she read the articles to me, of course, since it was all in German). I learned the best Bavarian recipes, the thirty things to do before the end of summer, and the current German fashion trends (hippie-chic and patterned pants!).
My group leader invited Christina to join us for dinner, so she went with us to the biergarten. I decided to try authentic German food tonight, so I got swinebruste and saurkraut. It came with a potato dumpling and a bread dumpling, and it was pretty good. German food is very heavy, though, so it fills you up fast. Anyone who was worried about the ten pounds I lost in Japan needn’t worry – it’s all going to be back on by the end of this trip for sure.
After dinner, Christina had to leave to catch her train back to Munich. The group and I went to a swanky concert. When I say swanky, I mean two syllable swaaaan-ky. It was in the courtyard of a palace in town, and I guess the princess of said palace (who was present at the party) likes to throw a summer party every year and invite people from the town to a concert in the courtyard. It was a bit like walking into a copy of Vogue. Everyone looked completely put together and perfect, and they all drank wine out by the gigantic flower arrangements that must have cost thousands of euros. Rob said, “Huh…so this is what it feels like to be rich.” Amen, Rob. We were playing royalty for a night. The concert was great – it was called “Classical Meets Cuban,” and it was exactly what it sounds like- classical music with a Caribbean flair. The weather was perfect, the music was great, and I feel like this trip can’t get much better…but it’s only day 2.
Stay tuned for more from the land of castles and candy!