A Travellerspoint blog

Köln blows

sunny 20 °C

I am currently sitting in an internet cafe emailing my family of change of plans, updating this blog and listening to some very LOUD people talk on the phones. This place is serious comic relief. In any case, I am reporting my whereabouts. I was very lucky and able to travel this weekend again however I stayed in Germany due to time restaints. I decided to check out Köln and Düsseldort, both apparently, really "fun" places to be. Well, so far I am loving Düsseldorf, but Köln,......HATED IT!!!

I was supposed to spend two full days in Köln and 2 days in Düsseldorf. After not liking the city almost right away but giving it a chance and poking around, I quickly got the hell out of dogde....ah, I am mean Köln on a train this morning (I was supposed to leave tonight on a 7pm train) and booked it to Dusseldorf. So far, go great! This city is more up my alley and to my liking.

It is after 10pm and I am about to leave this joint and get some sleep. I had a full day which included touring and enjoying this city, meeting some new travel/email exchange buddes, taking in the cool and beautiful Alstadt, FINALLY eating Japanese food (since landing in Deutschland), and chatting it up with a friendly flight attendant who might have had to wash some dishes if it weren't for me. All in all, it was a great day and I hope tomorrow is just as good.

I changed my plans as I was supposed to be in Düsseldorf until Sunday night but after tomorrow (1 day in boring ass Köln, and 2 days in Düsseldorf), I will be on a 6;30pm train home. I am North Rhine - Westphaliaed out! I crave Stuttgart, familiar people, my temporary town, Kornwestheim and...just well...home again. Travel is great but I think I am tired and need a day to do absolutely nothing. Well, I might go to the top of Suttgart and take some pictures, sit in a cafe and enjoy some ice cream, al fresco style and take a leisurely walk back to the platz but still....it is home and I want to be there.

Posted by CanaGerm 13:07 Archived in Germany Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

"Your homeboys, Nickelback"

At the gym last week, I was sweating away on the stairmaster (I have to burn off the heavy food somehow) and minding my own business, when the owner walks past me and says, "your homeboys Nickleback". At first I was like, huh? What the hell was this guy talking about? Then I listened close and I noticed that the vocals of Chad Kroeger was indeed streaming o should I say, straining, from the speakers. Interesting that it was not the radio but from the owners personal collection.

Why do all non-Canadian's think that all Canadian's like Nickelback? I am personally not a big fan. I am proud that they are boys from small town Canada and they are making big fame money but that is about it. Since I have landed, about three people so far have make some weird comment about this group, then looked at me expectantly (like I know the group personally or something) and of course, assumed I loved the group. I think it is very funny but to say, "your homeboys Nickelback" is just wrong.

One, homeboys and Nickelback DON'T and never should be in the same sentence. And two, I don't know them! :) After being puzzled for a few seconds, I just laughed and let the gym owner live in his fantasy world of thinking I love and know the group personally. I was too busy trying to climb to my 40 minute mark to be too concerned. Sometimes, it i just easier this way...trust me however.....I love Deutchland!

Posted by CanaGerm 11:28 Archived in Germany Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Little things I have noticed about Deutsches

sunny 23 °C

Just some observations and generizations, I realize, that I made so far of the Swabian peoples.

-They all, at least in the south, HATE any association their country has with Hitler. Even if you don't ask (read: never ask) they are quick to tell you that they nor their parents nor parents parents etc., have or had anything to do with WWII. Some people get so emotional about this, their faces turn red. This is something they are very embarrassed about. Maybe the only thing that manages to embarrass these Germans.
-No one is embarrassed to do or say anything. Unless you are a teen and everything in the world is embarrassing but otherwise, no one seems to care. Fascinating!
-The women either seem to wear a lot and I mean, A LOT of make up or none at all.
-Gel nails are HUGE! Almost all the women I work with have fake nails. I tried to get an appointment at 2 nail shops to do my real nails (I don't like fake nails) and the places did not do real nails! One woman actually looked at me as I was crazy and then referred me to some other place in some obscure mall!
-The nails are either only colored on the tips or they are adorned with things like cherries, fruit, stars etc.. Very interesting but most women sport this look
-Everyone has a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Like everyone!
-Dating young is the norm. No hiding here.
-Buying lingerie with your man, even if you are barely 16, is the norm. No one bats an eye. I know I would have been embarrassed at that age to have a boyfriend help pick out what type of pantie he wanted to see me in. Hell, that is embarrassing now!
-Hot chocolate? Hard to find
-Junk food like: Doritos chips, plain chips are hard to find. American/Canadian brand chips or junk is hard to find
-Nutella is ginormous here. I believe this is true for all of EU
-Every person likes to distinguish themselves based on which state they come from here in Germany. Never mistaken a Bavarian as someone who comes from Hamburg. Worst yet, never mistaken someone from Baden-Württemberg for a Berliner. You will get a hot earful. Trust me. :)

I am sure I will think of more and as I do I will continue this list.

Posted by CanaGerm 09:36 Archived in Germany Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

The elegant Salzburg, Austria - Day 2

sunny 20 °C

I was very excited about today as I was about to embark on an adventure that I hoped I would remember for a long time. But first I had to explore a bit more of Salzburg before my next tour. After chatting a bit to my roommates and getting ready, I headed out. I stopped in old town again for breakfast. I had a bun and Fanta. Not healthy but I'm on vacation so who cares.

My mission this morning was seeking out Kapuziner Monastery as I had skipped it yesterday. The trek to the monastry was long and steep.
salzburg__.._09_104.jpg <--a patio on the roof of house. how inventive!
After getting to the top, I took many pictures, walked around and enjoyed the views of the city below.

After this I made my way to town once again for more looking around and enjoyment. I ended up going to a small shop, 'Tea & Co.,' where I bought some lovely gifts for my family and friends.
More walking. I bought some gourmet chocolate which ended up tasting like crap. (After I got home, my friends and I tasted it, gagged and threw it away.) Good times. :)
At this time, I had to have lunch as the tour I was taking would last a few hours long and it was recommended that tourists have a meal before to ensure they have energy. The day before I had seen a restaurant that just made me smile. It is called, 'Pasta and Vino'. Right in the middle of Austria! Loved it therefore I had to eat there. Lunch today was pasta, zuccinni and spetzi.

At this point, I onwarded to the hostel where the bus would pick up the group for the guided tour, Ice Caves!! The bus was about 20 minutes late picking us up but when they finally came, we were transfered to a comfort tour bus where we met up with other travellers and started the journey.

The tour bus drove apprx. 1 hour to the small city of Werfen, where apparently "nothing happens". People just live in this city but that is about it. It is a really small town that has no night life or day life for that matter.
Pics from the bus ride
After arriving in Werfen, the bus made its way up a part of the Austrian alps. At the point where the road for automotives ended, it was time for the hike! We had to walk about 40 minutes in total almost completely straight up hill to reach the gondola section of the trip.
After puffing but enjoying the gorgeous views on the way up, I made it to the lift. On the way, I met two girls (from the same hostel I was staying at no doubt) from Australia. We chatted a bit but we were mainly concentrating on getting up the seeminlgly endless mountainside. I did take some picture on the way and the higher I went, the more breathtaking the views became. But, I was still afaid to go too close to the edge so my photos are all snaps from afar...sort of.
The guide told us that this cable car has the steepest climb in the entire world and after being in it, I can believe it! The experience was alright but at one point, about 3 seconds in total, the car swung a bit too much and I had to close my eyes as I immediately pictured us hurtling through the air and crashing into the side of the mountain. After I opened my eyes however, I discovered the ride was over and we were safe. Next? More climbing.
The next hike was about twenty minutes up. At this point, it had started to rain so the picture taking was scaled back as I just wanted to get out of the rain and feel my legs again.
After the hike, I finally saw the caves mouth and was really excited as now, the adventure would start.
Our guide for the ice caves was an Austrian dude who was not only funny and entertaining but very easy on the eyes.
The tour started with the first ascent of 300 steps within the ice caves! I have to say that thanks to the gym and the gorgeous sculptures around me, I barely even noticed the climb. I was too enthralled with the history of the caves and the ice formations. This Eisriesenwelt (ice giant) is an all natural limestone cave and is the largest in Europe!
NOTE: If you ever take this tour, there are 1400 steps in total. 700 up and 700 down.
The pictures didn't really turn out too beautiful (we weren't supposed to take pictures but everyone was flashing so I followed the leader) but it was spectacular, let me tell you.
This tour was the highlight of my stay in Salzburg by far and I am happy that I chose this over the Sound of Music.

After all the hubbub, the tour ended and we made our way down this section of the Austrian alps and back to the bus. If you ever get a chance to do the tour, please do it! It is great fun, exciting and exilerating all in one tidy package. However, make sure you bring gloves as the temperatures are well below the freezing mark and despite the climbing and freezing sweat, your hands get really cold.

When we came out of the cave, this is what we were enveloped in! A thick cloak of cloud. Stunning!

The cloud cleared quickly but the view on the way down was just as beautiful as coming up.
At the half way point, we stopped for a small treat at a mountain side restaurant which specialized in apfelstrudel (apple studel). Of course the entire group had a yummy piece. I downed mine was a hot chocolate. Well deserved after todays excursion.

Back at the hostel, I met my first email/exchange/hostel friend. Her name is Leila and she is from Brazil. We were both waiting to ask the reception some questions when she asked me if I was traveling alone. I answered yes and she said she was also. I was startled as I saw her on the tour bus earlier today but she was with another woman who I just assumed was her travelling friend. She told me that she just met that girl last night in her room. Leila was travelling around Europe on a 21 day Eurorail pass and having a great time so far. She told me that so far she visited a few places in Italy and was thinking of making her way to Switzerland after Austria but had changed her mind. She explained that she found Austrian people to be nice but not friendly. They smiled but were cool at the same time. I had to agree. They seemed like lovely people but they were just....reserved...not very warm. She planned on going to the train station the next morning to change her ticket from Zurich to Venice as she loved the atmosphere and warmth she received from the people of Italy. She said she couldn't handle anymore cold smiles. I liked her immediately for her honesty.

Leila invited me out to dinner with a couple of her friends she met at the hostel and I readily accepted. We went to a small Italian restaurant down the street and enjoyed a meal. Leila was hilarious as she ordered soup but was disappointed in the portion. There were about 4 noodles floating in the broth and she said, "As my father says, this can't even fill me eye tooth". I was dying of laughter as I had to agree. Her meal looked kinda sucky but mine was divine. Fettuccini alfredo with shrimp.

After dinner, we made our way to the hostel and quicky changed again and hit up the Austian night scene. We ended up at some Irish Pub (what's new?), O'Malleys where we threw back a few cold ones and enjoyed some good conversation. I was a bit disappointed as I really wanted to dance but the other girls were tired from the hike earlier today so I acquiesced. We headed back around 1am and I stumbled into the room and tried not to trip over things and make too much noise as to not disturb my slumbering roommates.

The next morning, I had nothing planned so I hung around with some hostel mates and watched The Sound of Music until it was time to board my train. Salzburg is pretty small and I was Salzburged out at this point. I saw what I wanted to see and explored what I needed. I craved to move on. I am not really a lounge around the pool all day kind of girl on vacation so I was itching to move on. Eventhough moving on meant leaving Austria and returning to Stuttgart, I was excited. I had new things to tackle at work and I was excited to talk to my family and friends. Basically, I liked Austria and would like to visit more of it, but it was time to go home.

On the train, I settled in and I think I slept the whole ride as I can't remember too much about it. The one thing about train rides, at least most long distance ones, is the comfort and no-stress factor. After your ticket is checked, it is basically time to sit back and read or drink beer/wine/whatever or sleep or look out the window or chat. Just a good time to veg. Despite sleeping on the train, I stumbled into bed early that night. It was great being home.

Posted by CanaGerm 08:41 Archived in Austria Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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