Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Past couple weeks

I love bread. It's a good thing I do because it seems that's all I eat. I think I'm losing weight because of that and because I walk around a bit. And the fact that I really only eat breakfast and lunch. Here they usually have a large breakfast and lunch and only a small dinner. I actually like it better that way. For breakfast I usually have bread with Quark and marmalade on top of that. Quark is kind of like cream cheese but lighter, but it is more in the texture of sour cream. Then for lunch I have a sandwich and a banana and an apple. I absolutely love the rolls here. They are a little crisper on the outside. I've been craving them the past week, so I finally bought some from the bakery. It's only a Euro for 5. I'm not sure what kind of lunch meat I have, but it's probably ham. I usually go off of looks, not what it says. And last time I was cheese shopping, I found Mexican Havarti cheese! I was so excited. It's actually not too expensive. It's kind of like pepper jack. I had it back in the States.

Yesterday I finally washed my clothes! I had only run out of socks only a couple days prior, but I was about to run out of other things. I had to wash them at the laundromat. I left my clothes at home because I first needed to find the place. My host mom said it was nearby on the main street. So I took off and managed to find it and went to the store to buy detergent. I put my clothes in my bag and set off for the laundromat. I must've looked confused in there because a girl came over and asked if I needed help. She showed me, which was great. I brought my German-English book just in case. When I was folding my clothes (which they only were in the dryer for 15 minutes or so, which caused some of the things to still be a little damp), a lady came over and asked if I could help her. It was me mostly pointing and nodding. I came back and had to finish drying some of my things. When I cam back, Blue Crush was on (dubbed in German). So I watched that while I was stretching.

On Saturday I went to Aachen with 2 friends. I was wearing shorts and sandals because I needed to do laundry. Well, when we got there, it was pouring! We went to the Dom (cathedral in German), where Charlemagne was pretty important. They had a treasury and relic museum around the corner, so we ended up going to that. When we came out, the sun was shining, so we found a place to eat and walked around for a couple hours. On our way back to the Hauptbahnhof (train station), it started sprinkling again and when we were inside, it started pouring.

DSCN0633 The Dom is smaller than the one in Cologne, but inside was magnificent. Even better than the one here.

Sometime last week I went with 3 other friends to the cable car that goes over the Rhein and then to the Rhein park. It was a lot of fun. We passed over this spa place, which had many different pools that I want to check out sometime. It's a little expensive, but I'd like to do it once. They had this smaller circular pool that spun around in circles.

DSCN0295The cable car thing

DSCN0315 The Rhein Park. Hard to see but there's a playground there that we played on. Sehr toll!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Yesterday, I went on a little adventure.  I needed to go on a walk to think over things.  I wanted to find the horse track.  I got out my map, but the map I had stopped halfway at the racetrack.


The bottom circle is where I live and the circle above that is just the U-Bahn entrance that's closest to me.  The green space above that is apparently a park and then above that is the horse track.  So I followed the street that put me to the right of the racetrack.  All I saw was a fence with many trees inside.  In the distance I thought I could see some sort of track.  I went all along it on that side, but I could not find any information.  I just saw horse posters.

By now I was off my map, but I didn't want to head back yet.  I found this random path that I decided to take. 


It was very peaceful, very nice.  I followed that for a while when I came upon a fork in the rode.  The same path continued straight, but, to the left of me, I saw this:


There were cars randomly parked out here!  I figured some sort of civilization was around.  I went that way and I found tennis courts and a track!

DSCN0253 DSCN0254

But I think you have to be part of the club to play on the courts.  I continued a little further where I found this odd building:


I continued to walk and went down an actual rode and ended up seeing these as well as what looked like an entrance into the horse track:

DSCN0258 DSCN0260

I then left that place in search of the train stop just after mine, which I ended up finding very quickly.  I took that to mine, which I hopped on the 13 (it was above ground) just to ride it and see different things.  I rode that to the very end, where everyone got off but me...


And here's the map of the rail services in Cologne:DSCN0268

And lastly, where I live compared to where the school is.  It's about 2 miles away.  You can also compare it with above in comparison with the whole city.


I just need to take one train, and it drops me off at the bottom left circle.  From there, it is just a short walk away.  For the past several months, there has been construction on the railways, so until this week, I had to  get off at the bottom right circle and walk 10 minutes (a little past the other circle).  Now that construction is all done, it is faster for me to get to school in the mornings!  It definitely helps that I can take either the 12 or 15, and they basically come every 3 minutes. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

First days in Germany!

Germany has been a blast so far. Yesterday was probably the first time I didn’t do anything after school. I had to take a nap (was so exhausted). The day before the weather was so warm, so we went swimming in the lake after language school. There were so many people! I also had my first Kölsch a couple of days ago. It was not bad. I cannot stand even taking a sip of beer in the states (don’t even like to smell it). But I can actually stand beer here, at least so far. I just wanted to have one beer while I was in Germany.

So back to the very beginning. Lufthansa went on strike, so our flight was canceled. Most of us were put on a flight that night, which was first to London. Then, my flight was directly to Köln (Cologne). Before, it was a direct flight to Frankfurt, then we would take a bus to Köln. The next group didn’t actually leave D.C. until Sunday. At first I didn’t care which group I was in, but now, I’m glad I went to Köln early. I’ve just been exploring with friends every day (except today). It was my friend’s birthday and I was going to go out with them to dinner, but I woke up too late from my nap. We’re going out to a club or something tomorrow night to celebrate all the August birthdays. I’ll post pictures on Facebook soon when I fill up a whole album. I’ve already put up one album.

My host family lives 3 train stops away from the school. I take the U-Bahn, which is the underground one. There is also the S-Bahn, which is the one that is above ground. My host parents have 3 boys (6, 3, and 9 months). They are very energetic. Almost every morning I eat breakfast with them, which consists of bread and my choice of topping (cheese, meat, jam, quark…). It seems all I eat is bread. I actually don’t mind it. I bought packages of rolls here for my dinners, and they are really good. I still need to get a Dönner here, which is like a Euro (Turkish). And I need to go grocery shopping again. I always seem to pick up some kind of candy. The gummy candies here are so amazing!