Celebrated my 24th birthday on Monday. I had a great celebration filled with lots of birthday wishes. One more year until I'm mid-twenties. I always tease Dan that he's a quarter of a century. Had cards to open from my mom, my friend Jessica from home, and a hand made card from Jess, here in Germany. I really loved having such lovely flat things to bring with me. Got a photo from elementary school when I was a girl scout and a lovely chipboard album taht spells out travel.
Went to the small town of Bad Windsheim. Its pronounced "Bad Vindshime." Quiet town without any tourists (except me). Saw these cool glass domes that we could view underground. Turns out that the town went to rennovate the town center and found graves under it in 2000. Apparently it was part of the churches graveyard, just a few feet away.
Found a couple of cute things to use for scrapbooking in a few stores that we went to. Visited the bakery and the 1 euro store. Euro is really pronounced "oy-ro." Got a phone that works in Germany and then I'll get charged for roaming once I leave. If you need to text me, send me and email and we can text a little. Its about 20 cents from the states to me. Jess made brownies for dessert (see first photo). YuM!
Started off Tuesday by playing with Jess & the kids on the soccer field. Had some fun goofing off and getting rid of some energy. We went to the train station in Ansbach so I could validate my eurail pass and make a reservation for a trip on the ICE train (super fast) to Koeln for Thursday. Walked to the scrapbook store to find it closed. Only open on Friday-Sunday. WTF? I admit, Jess & I were both dissappointed but we decided to find out what kind of touristy things they had in town. Here is a cool scultpure in the town center. They had a lot of sculptures all over. Went to see St. Gumberus Kirche which was right around the corner. It was recently rennovated. The kids call churches castles since they kinda do look like them.On the way back, we stopped at a local bakery to pick up some dessert. We had chicken & dumplings. Jess is a great cook. I also got my first text message from Dan. I'm so lucky that we've got modern technology to keep in touch. Next week I won't have a computer so easily available to me, so I apologize ahead of time if I don't get back to your emails right away.
Wednesday we went to Bamberg. I was really interested to see the town hall since I read that they couldn't choose which side of the Regnitz river to build it on. They choose to build it in the middle of the river to avoid a town fight.
It rained for a good portion during the day but we avoided it by choosing inside activities. Went to the Imperial Church and saw some relics. Every church claims to have some special relic. Jess took a photo of me outside in front of their huge doors. We toured the Neue Residenz next. It was incredible! I stole this picture from Jess's camera. She loves to take photos from the hip. I do too, but I haven't mastered them in mirrors yet. The Residenz was so beautiful and it had a ton of windows which makes for great natural lighting. Here is my favorite room: We toured the rose gardens briefly and then returned home. Jess woke up with me at at 5:30am on Thursday morning to take me to the Illesheim train station. I made three train transfers and arrived in Koeln a.k.a. Cologne at 10:30am. Walked around the Koeln Cathedral to asess the lighting. Visited the Museum Ludwig and saw originals by Picasso, Dali, Warhol, Lichentstein, and Magritte. I sat and people watched while I snacked. I had a very low key relaxing day. Decided to go into the Cathedral and wait for the lighting to get a little better. I think I spent three hours walking around slowly and photographing the church and how the people interacted in it. It was really my main interest so I loved it! Here is one of my many candle shots. The church is so huge that I wanted to show the size of the people in comparison to it.
This church is so huge it has 9 chapels inside of it! I loved this stained glass section. Saw the reliquary with the three wiseman's remains in it. It was behind bars. Check out my flickr account for those. Its a big gold box. I will continue to upload about 150 photos each night as a sleep. So check back often. I am a little overwhlemed since I think I've shot about 2500 photos in the week that I've been here.
After I roamed around the church, I paid the student fee to climb 509 steps or 98 meters up to the top of the south tower of the Cathedral.I was so exhausted but it felt great to be up high with all of the views. I also got to see their bells. I accidentally time it at 2:45pm and they rung! The return trip was pretty uneventful. Had a seat in the front of the ICE train which was pretty cool. I didn't think second class what have such priority. Jess picked me up and I pretty much crashed when I got back. Had a relaxing day recooperating from my long excursion (over 7 hours of trains).
- Saw a dog prancing around outside of the Cathedral wearing orange sunglasses (and they were glass, not plastic). He was too fast for me to get a photo.
- Saw people bring their dog on a leash into the Cathedral. Thought that was odd.
- Learned that its cheapest to use restrooms in museums. They charge in the train station.
- Also learned to use lockers in the museum instead of at the train station. Also cheaper.
- Learned that I really can't get all that lost. If I'm not constrained to time, its just an adventure.
- Learned that black tape from the 1 euro store isn't going to hold up like real duct tape.
- A backpack is a much better idea for a day trip instead of a shoulder bag. Putting too much weight on one side just makes me lean to the side.
- More German's speak English than they want you to know. They don't think they know much and are nervous. Speak slowly and do not use contractions.
- Public transportion is so much easier to use here its ridiculous.
- American tourists got their reputation because they are loud. You can see one in a crowd because they act like a fish out of water.
I'm trying my best to not stand out like an American. I don't mind being labeled a tourist because I have my camera around my neck and not many locals happen to cary their DSLR everywhere. Thanks for reading if you got this far. Hope you liked the photos.
And finally, Dan purchased a ticket to Heathrow and is meeting me in the middle of October. I'm really happy about that. I think we're going to make it to Belgium, then Paris, Italy, and then back here. Wee!