Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Zizz in Deutschland, 2.

This will be my last post for the summer.  Many of you are back on campus, and the pictures I'm seeing of REX things look pretty fantastic.  I can't wait to get back, although at the same time I'm really enjoying life over here so I wouldn't mind staying a little longer.

I arrived in Deutschland last Saturday, the 17th.  I hung out in Hannover a little before taking an afternoon train down to Stuttgart, to visit this very excellent fellow:
in the Schlossgarten Biergarten
On the way to Stuttgart, I was sitting on the train across from some empty seats.  A guy who looked fairly typically German (tallish, blond hair, blue eyes, glasses), got on at one stop and proceeded to ask me "这里有位子吗?" (Is this seat free?) in unaccented Chinese.  I did a double take:
me: Was? (What? This is a relatively impolite way of asking someone what they just said.  I was too surprised to remember how to be polite.)
guy: Ist hier frei? (Is this place free?)
me: Ja, das ist frei. (Yes. [pause]) War das chinesisch? (Was that Chinese?)
guy: 当然了。 你是中国人,看得出来。 (Of course. You're Chinese; one can see it).
Turns out he was a German who studied Chinese in college and then moved to Beijing to work, where he has been for about 5 years now.  We proceeded to have a conversation for the remainder of the train ride in Chinese and German.  I was embarrassed because his Chinese was much better than mine, but it stands to reason.  I thought that was pretty cool.

In Stuttgart I stayed with Juan, and in addition to just catching up on life we went around to some touristy places, including a history museum, an art museum, and some lovely gardens with a lovely castle.  I really enjoyed the visit.  I also got to see my friend Yin, who is working for Bosch in Stuttgart on a MISTI internship.  One night we went to a schnitzel place on Yin's recommendation - she said the schnitzel was as big as her face, and she wasn't kidding:
we split a schnitzel dish.
After Stuttgart I hopped up to Hannover, where I went around being touristy by myself.  They have a walking tour called "Die Rote Farbe" (The Red Thread), which is a self-guided kind of tour where you follow a map from place to place and there's a booklet that tells you about landmarks.  It took me until landmark 13/23 to realize the red line I kept seeing on the ground was one I was supposed to be walking along.  Whoops.  One cool thing I saw were the ruins of a church destroyed in WWII.  It was very surreal to walk inside them - it's just walls and stone floor of a church.  No ceiling.
I learned my camera can do B&W.
I also took a day trip up to Hamburg, where a friend from my last visit to Germany is working.  I went around being touristy during the day, and in the evening I met up with him and had dinner.  That was very nice.  I think one nice thing I saw in Hamburg was the harbor.  Hamburg is a very wealthy city simply because of the trade it gets through its harbor.  Isn't that a funny thing to think about in today's world?
 After a good few days in Hannover, I met up with my friend Meera who flew in on Saturday for the same exchange I'm doing at TUBS, and we took the train out to Braunschweig together.  In the evening we explored Braunschweig, eventually grabbing some döner for dinner and settling down to some live music and dancing and good fun at a Weinfest that happened to be going on.  It reminded me that I really like dancing (I didn't dance but I kind of wanted to, and then I missed it).  I also had some very excellent wine.

On Sunday, Meera, Luke (who is also on our exchange), and I went out to Bremen for the day.  Bremen's main claim to fame is a Grimm brothers' fairy tale called "The Town Musicians of Bremen".  It's a pretty cute story and the town has tons of little knick-knacks related to it for purchase.  It was a really fun day trip.  I don't have any pictures, though, because my camera is too far away to reach.  >.>
the Bremen Stadtmusikanten (Bremen Town Musicians)
One thing realized on this trip:  as much as I like relaxing, too much is no fun.  I went to some pretty small cities because I really don't like big ones all that much, but I think I prefer small cities to live in and big cities for tourism.  Ah well.  I did very much enjoy spending an afternoon reading on the lawn of a gorgeous town hall palace-y thing.

Now I'm in Braunschweig (Brunswick), where four other students and I are doing an exchange with the Technical University of Braunschweig.  Yesterday we were in lab making modifications to a small RC airplane and today we ran some flight tests.  I did not dare pilot for the tests but afterwards I messed around piloting first-person view (FPV) using these pretty cool goggles which have a video link to a camera on the plane.  It's pretty fun. =)
FPV flying w/ the Fat Shark (brand of the goggles)
See you all soon!  Tell our freshmen that I am looking forward to seeing them, too.


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