Across the Bridge

6/18/2016

I’d originally planned to go to Cologne and Berlin this weekend, to visit some friends I met during high school, when they were studying in the U.S. Due to scheduling difficulties and expensive tickets, though, I opted to stay home. Instead of venturing clear across the country, I hopped on a tram across the river. It was time to explore our neighboring town of [Ludwigshafen]!

The annual ,,Fesitval des deutschen Films” takes place here—this year’s runs from June 15-July 3, and my teacher had recommended it highly to us. After meeting up with a classmate and her friend, and doing a little window-shopping and browsing in a TK-Maxx (a brand that you can only find in Europe!!), we stopped for lunch!

It was my first time eating Chinese in Europe, and it was DELICIOUS! Thanks to my amazing classmate, Kleina Sun, for the photo <3

It was my first time eating Chinese in Europe, and it was DELICIOUS!
Thanks to my amazing classmate, Kleina Sun, for the photo ❤

Then, on to the film fest, of course!

Then on to the film fest, of course!

We watched a complicated romance about a couple who shrug off their married lives to be together, before later leaving one another. It was a little hard to follow and not quite what we’d had in mind, but the neat thing was that most of the film had been shot in Mannheim! I recognized just a couple of landmarks—otherwise, it really showed me a different side of the city. So cool!

Upon getting home, what should I look out my window to other than…

another rainbow?!?

Another rainbow?!?

Two in three days—can’t say that’s ever happened before!

All in all, a great weekend!

Xoxo,

Susan

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Into the Schwarzwald

6/11/2016

You know that moment when you’re traveling with a group, and then you turn around and find your group isn’t there anymore? Well, that happened to me on Saturday afternoon. My newfound friends (mainly other German students from U of M, and one girl’s hallmate) had spent the morning on an ICE train from Mannheim, and the lunch hour doing—what else?—eating lunch.

Anytime there’s pesto, you can believe that’s what I’m going to order… :)

Anytime there’s pesto, you can believe that’s what I’m going to order… 🙂

After that, we strolled through the Augustinermuseum, where we saw some absolutely beautiful works by a Dutch painter who worked in the 1800s.

They. Were. AMAZING.

They. Were. AMAZING.

A little later, while I was busy and distracted with reading a sign in some really tough German…

A little later, while I was busy and distracted with reading a sign in some really tough German…

My friends ditched me! Can you believe it?

To be honest, though, I wasn’t too disappointed to suddenly find myself alone. There’s something quite nice about traveling by yourself—in a big city, in a small town, whatever.

You get to take your time,

You get to take your time…

...to stroll...

…to stroll…

...and you see things you might not have found otherwise.

…and you see things you might not have found otherwise.

Not sure what my friends got up to all afternoon—quite possibly, they spent the time looking for me—but I passed the afternoon in the lovely University library, right next door to the city’s theater and, like, ice cream. Don’t worry, I restrained myself…

The library was rewarding enough!

The library was rewarding enough!

Xoxo,

Susan

One Step Back in Time

5/28/2016

We tried something new today, adventuring outside of Mannheim to take part in a Renaissance Fair in the nearby town of Worms! I didn’t quite know what to expect, just that I was crossing my fingers for no rain. It turned out that Worms is about the most picturesque town you can find, like, anywhere.

I mean, look at this house! Does someone live there? Who knows??

I mean, look at this house! Does anyone live here? Who knows??

 

[We explored downtown for a bit, then continued on to...

We explored downtown for a bit, then continued on to…

The Fair!!!

The Fair!!!

It was big, beautiful, and something out of a different era, as most everyone was in costume…Everyone but us, of course.

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The day was perfect for this kind of event, and we spent a lot of time just wandering…

...and finding surprises over every hill!

…and finding surprises over every hill!

Naturally, we explored as many of the booths as we could...Don't worry, though, I didn't buy much ;)

Naturally, we explored as many of the booths as we could…Don’t worry, though, I didn’t buy much! 😉

Sometime after lunch, we took a break to sit in the shade and play some chess, with me Vs. my friend Alex.

I really should have won that game BEFORE the two-hour mark…

I really should have won that game, and definitely before the two-hour mark…

As clouds gathered on the horizon, we got ready to head out.

Hi, friends! Bye, Fair!

Hi, friends! Bye, Fair!

The storm broke just after we’d switched from the Regional Train to our neighborhood tram.

We got home drenched!

We got home drenched!

There was no time to feel sorry for ourselves, though—we’d all signed up to go to a ballet performance with other Goethe students that evening. The event was being organized by the Goethe Institut, so we didn’t want to be late!

Of course, that’s when it decided to pour…

Of course, that’s when it decided to pour…

We made it in the end, though, finding a break in the rain at just the right time.

Adventures in photobombing at Der kleine Prinz (The Little Prince) !!!

Adventures in photobombing at Der kleine Prinz (The Little Prince) !!!

I loved the show, but I’ve read the book… my friends weren’t as familiar with the story, and they decided to head out during the intermission. Being on my own for the second half wasn’t all bad, though…

it gave me a chance to take more pictures of me in the dress from Cologne!

it gave me a chance to take more pictures of me in the dress from Cologne!

So, it was a great day full of new adventures. The hard part now will be saying good-bye, in just a few days’ time…

Xoxo,

Susan

Going Castling

5/21/2016

One of the things everyone should really do while in Germany is spend a little time exploring castles. I got a small taste of that at Heidelberg, but even though we spent all day there, we really only saw one castle in the end. Going around with a big tour group also made for a somewhat different experience than if I’d been there on my own, or with only a couple of friends. So, today, that’s just what we decided to do—my friends and I packed some lunch and got on a bus heading south!

Destination: Dilsberg!

Destination: Dilsberg!

After a few transfers and some slow morning conversation, we were dropped off in Dilsberg, a tiny “Dorf” or village up in the Odenwald mountains. It’s about 15 Kilometers from Heidelberg, and was founded by Romans, like, before the 1200s.

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We spent the morning in the castle ruins, staring out over green country and red roofs under the blue skies.

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After a short hike, we also got to explore a tunnel leading through the mountain to the well under the castle, which was once a cistern, but was expanded when Dilsberg came under siege. According to a tour guide, Mark Twain was inspired by the well, and the story he told then inspired someone in his audience to come hide treasure in a gap in the wall. Not sure I caught every word, though, so don’t quote me on it.

Anyway, the well was definitely loved by Mark Twain!

Anyway, the well was definitely loved by Mark Twain!

A little further down the mountain, we found a door leading back the way we'd came...

A little further down the mountain, we found a door leading back the way we’d come…

And we got to stand INSIDE the well!!

And we got to stand INSIDE the well!!

In the town across the Rhine, we ate a lot of pizza and then resumed our hike.

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All in all, the day was gorgeous, and it was nice getting out to explore. We were all wiped out by the time we got home…

But everyone was really glad we went!!

But everyone was really glad we went!!

Xoxo,

Susan

The Heidelberger Ruins

5/7/2016

Today was an excellent day, not least because it started with a slice of cake in the coffee shop just down the street! (I swear, this place is becoming an addiction…)

But can you blame me?

But can you blame me?

After getting ourselves up and going, my friends and I hopped on a train to the Mannheim Hauptbahnhof, where we were meeting up with the rest of our group and continuing on to Heidelberg!

The city was so picturesque that I’m just going to throw out a bunch of snapshots. It was the perfect day for our trip, with clear blue skies and birds singing from all of the trees. The castle was lovely, but I did manage to get us lost for about half an hour when I went in the opposite direction of the tour…

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Regardless, though, the day was lovely, and we enjoyed it from start to finish. After all, if not for the tour, how likely would it be that we’d have gotten outside? 😉