Week Three

Last Sunday we went to a fair plus wine fest in Bad Dürkheim. On the way there, we had to get off the train and take a bus, because they found an old WWII bomb on the tracks and had to clean it up. This startled me, but no one else seemed particularly surprised– I guess it happens all the time.

The fair was very similar to the kind we have in the US — rides, games, sweets, lots of amazing food (which I’m a sucker for), plus lots of beer and LOTS of wine. You’d think at a wine fest they would give out overly priced small glasses and you would try a little bit of each wine. Not so at this wine fest. Here, you could buy a half a liter of wine for €6 (plus €2 for the glass, which you can get back if you return the glass). In US measurements, a half a liter of wine is approximately 1 pint of wine. Well, as you can imagine, some of our people had to be carried home. Two went to the hospital, but they were safe and sound the next day.

These phone pictures really don’t do the food justice. It was all freshly made and amazing.

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In between apartment searching and form-filling for matriculation, I managed to go to an opera night with my school group. We saw an adaptation of Falstaff. It was so ridiculous and completely chaotic. This production used props and costumes that looked like they were set in the 1980s (and at one point, two of the characters were wearing Pip Boy masks), except for the titular character’s outfit, who was dressed more like a middle ages era person. There was confetti, paper, and balloons flying everywhere. There were people climbing over the stage props, breaking the stage props, and flying through the air. There was a deer with red eyes, like the  Denver Bronco. The subtitles were in German, so I understood little, but it was still interesting to see.

Finally, at the end of the week, we went to Strasbourg, France. It was so beautiful, and the weather really cooperated. It was filled with uniquely Alsatian buildings of timber framing, with flowers in the windows just like in the movies. Well, we were in a touristy area so I imagine that’s why.

canal05

But most spectacular was the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Strasbourg in the very center. It towered above the entire city, as high as a skyscraper, and as intricate as lace. We arrived right around noon, and just as we were approaching, the bells started ringing. It was a chaotic, echoing sound, that was carried by the misty air through the entire city. We approached the cathedral itself in the middle of their song, and it was so loud, you couldn’t speak over it. I have never seen a cathedral so tall, and I have never heard bells (although perhaps they were over loudspeakers?) ringing so loudly and chaotically. It was massive, and breathtaking, and impossible to take in in just one glance.

We wandered around Strasbourg all day, sometimes part of a tour, sometimes on our own. I’m happy, because I got to be a real tourist. In Germany, Saarbrücken feels like a typical small city– there’s a mall, there’s some bars, there’s a university. But Strasbourg really felt like a cute European city that I could just see myself getting lost in, in that stereotypical touristy way, haha.

At one point, we ended up in an adorable tea house right around tea time called Patisserie Christian, where we got an alcove room all to ourselves. It was crazy expensive, but it felt completely awesome. Basically, I spent way too much money on food and confections! It was a big splurge, but it was worth it.

Also, I feel so much more comfortable in French. Of course, I don’t speak French particular well (officially, B2 on the CERF), but I understand it much better than German and I feel like if I had to ask for directions or help, it would be fairly easy. In German, I am still trying to piece sentences together, and it still feels so unnatural (apparently I am B1 but I don’t believe that).

Anyway, I wish I had a lot more time to explore Strasbourg, and I hope I’ll have a chance to go back (especially because I failed to go inside the cathedral, which I had intended to do).

Costs this week:

This week was expensive. Not counting school fees, I spent almost €100 Euro on basically food splurge… ugh, food is my weakness.

  • €20 – food and drink at the fair
  • €4.5 – breakfast twice at the school cafe
  • €2.5 – ice cream when out with a friend
  • €9 – registration for a trip to Strasbourg
  • €42.3 – food and confections in Strasbourg
  • €16.66 – groceries (veggies but also a lot of deli meat and cheese, because man, it’s so good, but I need to cut this out!)
  • €207 – school fees
  • €301.96 Total
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