The weather has been similar to the Pacific Northwest. It got up to 32 C (91 F), but then it dropped off sharply out of nowhere and rained. The rain seems to come and go a little less unpredictably than in the PNW, but not by much!
Last Sunday we had group trip. First we stopped by the Saarschleife, which is a bend in the Saar river that makes a horseshoe or oxbow shape. I really didn’t know rivers could bend this way and keep flowing. The area actually reminded me quite a lot of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.
After that, we went to Trier, which is amongst the oldest cities in Germany (it boasts that it is the oldest, but this is apparently contested). We had a walking tour of the city center, which included the Porta Nigra (a UNESCO World Heritage) site, and multiple churches, one of which was built in antiquity, but added to in the middle ages, again during the Gothic period, and I think again later. So it had all these different stones and architectural styles, which was quite interesting.
Finally, we went on a wine tasting, where we sat inside a 400 year old cellar as a German man described the five different wines in turn (I understood little). On the way back, they played cheesy 80s and 90s music in the bus, and everyone sang along.
I met more people that day and spoke literally every language I know. It’s so awesome… except my brain went all higgledy-piggledy and is now kaput! But it was a very fun day.
Later on in the week, we went to a karaoke night (my first ever) and a BBQ night with the group. I had to leave a little early from both to do some apartment hunting (more on this in a future post), but still enjoyed the opportunity to get to know some of the folks that will be staying here for the year a little better.
Finally, on Saturday, we went on a little hike through a nice wooded area, and spent the rest of the day wandering around town before eating dinner in the evening. Someone’s app estimated that we burned 1400 calories or more just from walking. We spent a little bit of extra time walking around than we had too, because we wanted to avoid an Islamophobic protest. The protest had just a few people involved, and as it went by, the townsfolk all gathered to counter-protest at them, crying “Nazis raus! (Nazis get out!)”
The whole thing made us somewhat uncomfortable, especially those of our group who were Muslim, so we just ended up walking around a lot to avoid it. Eventually we ate at an awesome Turkish restaurant in the downtown area, so it worked out in the end.
Costs this week:
This week I really did eat out too much.
- €7 – lunch at a restaurant in Trier; by the way, if you order a “stilles Wasser” (plain water), it comes from a bottle and you have to pay for it
- €5.8 – a couple lunches at the Mensa (cafeteria) due to a failure to cook in time
- €14 – registration for some more group activities
- €5.5 – splurge on some fruits and sweets at a Turkish grocery
- €2.4 – fare for a bus that wasn’t covered by my bus pass
- €7 – dinner out to socialize
- €1 – a shot of vodka at karaoke night (so cheap!)
- €5.5 – laundry (it didn’t have to cost that much, but I messed it up)
- €5.5 – another dinner out
- €9.9 – groceries mainly for breakfast
- €63.6 Total