Sunday, August 21, 2011

Well this is the end of the road for this trip. The last few days in
Germany went way too fast. I had packing to do, finishing things up at
work and saying goodbyes.

I never thought that Germany would grow on me so much but I had an
amazing summer and wouldn't change it for the world. I met more
people, saw more things, learned more and most of all enjoyed it more
then I ever thought that would be possible. Going back to school is
going to be hard to adjust to but must be done. Who knows maybe I will
end up in Europe again next summer. I would have no issues with that
at all.

For now though it is back home for a few days then back to school on
Friday for the start of Proctor training.

So I say good by to Germany and an amazing four months of my life and
welcome what ever and where life takes me next.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The weather has finally decided to turn nice again. The mornings are
still chilly and feel close enough to frost temperatures but by the
afternoon it is above 20 degrees. I was thinking that I was not going
to get to enjoy the last bit of summer here but I was wrong. On the
weekend I even got a bit of sunburn. I forgot to pack sunscreen as I
have not needed it for several weeks.

With the great weather there is a lot going on this week. Monday night
we went to beer bingo. Basically you get a bingo card for every beer
that you order and at 10:30 they start. The cards are different than I
have ever seen bingo on but you still need a row of 5. There were
prizes for the first 10 bingos and then one big prize for the first
person to fill their card.

Yesterday was another beautiful day. It was really hot when I left
work and was still warm at 9 last night. There was a soccer game last
night so that is what we did yesterday to take in the warm weather.
They were playing Jena but it was not a good game with no one scoring
the whole game. The crowds were however just as good as the past two
times I have gone. Yesterday they were passing out confetti,
streamers, balloons and flags to the crowd so there were things flying
the whole game. Even at the goalies?.

Today is another great day so far the sun was shining when I woke up
and is promised to stay for the whole day. The high of the day is 26
and I think there will be no problem reaching this. So the activity
for today is Stammtisch at the Stadtgarten. This is another last for
me as Stammtisch is only once a week so this is the last chance I will
have to see some of the other interns.

The picture for today is of my lovely pink bicycle that I had here for
the summer. I sold it on Friday but remembered to take a picture of it
before I gave it to the new owner a Brazilian trainee. He said he has
not been on a bike in years so hopefully he does okay. I am borrowing
bikes this week I had Andy's the first few days and now I have Frank's
as he is away for interviews.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This weekend was sadly the last weekend here in Germany. My
trip/internship came and went much faster then I ever thought
possible! I have met lots of people, tried new things and seen lots of
interesting placed that is for sure. At the same time I have not done
enough so that means I will have to come back for sure. Several times
at least.

This past weekend I had home base in Oberstdorf, Germany which is
right on the Austrian border. We finally had some nice weather so I
was finally able to get to go hiking in the Alps like I have wanted to
for several weeks. The weekend started off on Friday leavinf work
early after I had a meeting with Dr. Kukral. The train left at 2 and
we were in Sontofen just after 5. There were no hotels or hostels with
room when we made our bookings so we stayed in the next town over
Santofen. The hotel was 2 km from the station so we headed there,
dropped our things off and relaxed a bit before venturing off to find
some dinner. We went back into town and were wandering around we ended
up finding a great place to eat. I cannot remember the name but it was
a traditional Bavarian place with the waiters and waitresses dressed
in traditional clothing and all. After supper we took a different path
back along a beautiful lake and across a river where people were
rafting anf then called it a night.

Saturday we were up early and left just before 8. The origional plan
was to stop at the bakery near the station to grab breakfast but there
was a line up out the door. We only had 10 minutes before our train so
we decided to wait until we got to Oberstdorf to find a bakery. We
took a train then a bus to get to Oberstdorf as part of the tracks are
closed for repairs. Once there we found a bakery and headed off to the
mountain I had found on the online map to hike. We followed the signs
to the bottom where the cable cars run from. There are three levels
that the cabel cars go to so we went for the top one. The view was
amazing all the way up! Once we were where the cable cars ended we
just had to walk/climb a little longer to reach the very top. From the
top you are suppose to be able to see 400 mountain peaks but I did not
count so I am not sure of this. We walked some of the trails that go
through the peaks before we started our treck down. It took us just
over 6 hours to do as we took a few detours to climb different peaks
for views and to explore. At the top when we started it was cold
enough for jackets and pants but when we reached the bottom hours
later is was very very hot. The hike was gorgeous and I still cannot
get over how far we could see and the different valleys that we were
able to go through. After we reached the bottom we were beat so we
headed back to the train station to go home. We then showered and
headed back the restaurnt of the night before. The second night was
just as good as the first so it was well worth the longer than needed
walk after such a long day. On the way back we stopped to soak our
feet in the lake. The water was pretty cold as it runs from the Alps
but it was welcome. After that we were back and asleep by 9!

Sunday was another beautiful day in the Alps. Our train was not until
2 so we were able to sleep in a bit and get breakfast from the first
bakery as we could wait in line today. I now know why the line was so
long as it was delicious. We had 4 hours after this to kill so we
decided to climb a smaller mountain to a dam. We were a bit slower
this day as we were a bit burnt and sore from the day before. However
we were able to make it to the top and see the dam? a very tiny one at
that. It was a lot hotter than Saturday so I am glad that this
mountain was more covered in trees. We made it back down with an hour
and a bit to spare so we stopped at the lake once more to relax. I
forgot my swim suite but still went in the water up to my shorts as it
was too hot not too. We caught our train home and arrived with no
problems which was a great way to end the weekend. Other than the rain
that welcomed us home in HDH.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This weekend was another quick one! I had Heidenheim as home base once
again making a day trip to Ulm on Saturday.

Friday at work went by very quickly as I had my notebook at work. I
was able to get the information about what I need to do to complete my
internship as well as worked on some of my own things for school. I
printed off the employer's survey and gave it to my supervisor or
complete before we go over it. I was also able to get the template of
the log book I am to be keeping over the summer and transferred the
work I have already done into it. Friday was a great night too. Last
week was my friend Julia's birthday so Friday night she had people to
her house for a bbq. It was raining slightly (surprise surprise) but
we were still able to be outside on the patio.

Saturday I was up and off to Ulm with Frank catching the train at
10am. The train ride is about an hour long so I arrived at 11 just in
time to catch the end of the morning market. I love markets so I was
very happy with this and had I not been staying in Ulm all day I am
sure I would have bought some of the fresh veggies. After walking
through the market I went down to the waterfront. The river that runs
through Ulm is also the divider of the Baden Württemberg and Bavarian
provinces. On the water there are path ways but you can also walk on
top of the 'new' city wall. I also went to the old city wall which is
farther in from the water. Along here I was able to find the world?s
most crooked house. It was very crooked indeed. After this I headed
back towards the city center to try and find the Albert Einstein
fountain as Ulm is the birth place of Albert. I was not able to find
it however I did fine the monument of where his house was that he was
born in. It is no longer standing as it would be in the center of a
walkway now and very close to the main train station. Ulm has a very
large train station with many connections going through here this is
why I have been to the train station several times and not into the
actual city before. Ulm is also home of the world's tallest church
steeple and the narrowest house. We were able to climb the church
tower (really great view!) but were not able to find the narrowest
house. It did not help that when I got a map from the information
center she gave me everything in German even though I spoke to her in
English. I know that the house is only 4.5 meters wide so I could have
walked by it without noticing or thinking it was part of the building
next to it as the houses are often attached. After grabbing a late
lunch we headed back to Heidenheim.

Ulm wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be as it was hard to
find things but I am glad I went to the church and of course the
birthplace of Einstein.

Delayed pictures from Heidelberg

Pictures from Ulm

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Today was finally a nice day out! There was sun and it was warm : )

Too bad I was at work late but I did enjoy the weather on my lunch as
Frank and I went downtown to get ice cream. Work is still slow they
were looking for things for me to do today but ran into some trouble.
I was about to start a test that would have taken me a few hours when
Carmen remembered they had just recalibrated the machine. This meant
that tests had to be run first to make sure they match the settings of
previous labs. The problem with this was that Christian was the one
who originally did this and he is no longer with the company. So until
we can find his work and test the machine I will have to keep working
on my own things I guess.

What I was thinking/working on most of the day was figuring out what I
want to do this weekend as it is calling for rain and not warm
weather?.again. I think I will just take a day trip on Saturday to Ulm
or near the Swiss boarder. If I go to Ulm (the next closest bigger
city) there are lots of things to see as it is the birth place of
Albert Einstein and it has the world?s tallest church steeple. I guess
I will figure it out as we get closer though. If I do stay here it is
also one of my friend?s birthdays so it would be nice to go to that.
Also, I am still working on planning next weekend I just need to see
who is able to come so far the response has not been good everyone is
making their own plans now that we are getting use to and better at
traveling here! Either way I will go even if it is just two or three
of us as it is sadly my last weekend and adventure of the summer.

A little random fact is that most German?s hate and even cringe at the
mentioning of peanut butter! They really don?t like it. I have met a
few who do but the rest give them odd looks when one person says they
like it. I have managed to convince a few people to try it but they
were not pleased which I just don?t understand. I was once eating
peanut butter and banana (delicious I know) at work and Frank started
making a puking face and would not even try it! With this huge
dislike it is understandable why I had such a hard time finding peanut
butter. I had to ask at work where to get it and the only place is the
largest grocery store here. Even then there are only two brands to
choose from American Style or Bio-Best which both come only in tiny
350g jars. I have encountered many other odd food situations this
summer (like raw meat and not being able to have/find bacon and eggs
for breakfast) but I think the hate of peanut butter is the worst.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away!

This weekend wasn?t as eventful as the past few which was kind of
nice. The original plan had been to go camping but with a weather
outlook of rain and a high temperature of 16 we decided to hold out a
week. I hadn?t been feeling great all week and worked a bunch of
overtime so the slow weekend was needed.

Friday after work I stopped at the bakery and that was the most
eventful thing. As I picked up some groceries for the weekend and took
my sweets from the bakery and called it a night by watching a movie.

Saturday I took the opportunity to sleep in, have a good breakfast and
do some laundry for the morning. I had bought some eggs to have and am
still wondering how but every egg in the pack of 6 had a double yolk!
I bought another pack on Sunday and so far I have the same results.
They are called XL Golden Eggs so who knows. For the afternoon I went
with a group of friends to the soccer game here. It was almost a sold
out stadium so it was eventful! The home team is a division 3 team and
was playing Bermen a division 1 team for a special tournament
happening now. The crowds were pumped everyone was decked out in the
team colors, waving flags and cheering as loud as possible. To start
one end of the stadium had signs that made one huge sign which was
really cool. At different points in the game people were throwing
smoke sticks and fireworks onto the field as well. Needless to say the
crowd was even happier when out team ended up winning. I didn?t stay
much past the end of the game but apparently the other team had a bit
of trouble leaving. Their fans were not in the least bit happy and
blocked the team?s bus from leaving while throwing beer cans and
whatever else they had at the bus. Apparently these events are nothing
as the same day a riot broke out in one of the games in Berlin. It is
easy to tell why there are so much police force ambulances and police
dressed in SWAT team looking gear around. After the game we had a bbq
at one of my friend?s house and then I called it another early night.

Sunday was even less eventful as I slept in, had more of those crazy
eggs, watched another movie, went for a bike ride, made supper, skyped
for a little while and then went to bed.

I am hoping that this week is busier at work than it was last week but
today wasn?t much improvement. As I only have 3 weeks left I can?t
start a large project and there are not many day to day jobs left that
I haven?t done yet. I am spending the time reading (my own books) and
planning things for school and the fall. I am almost done planning my
last two weekends as well, another attempt at camping this weekend
then being adventurous and booking a blind flight! We will end up in
Vienna, Barcelona, London or Budapest but we won?t know until it is
booked. So that should be interesting and the weekend after that I am
headed home.

That?s my life update for now, Chow : )