To catch you up for the events of this past week:
Tuesday was my last day in Lüneburg with Ryan. Plans changed and I didn’t end up visiting the Salzmuseum. I really enjoyed my days in Lüneburg and Hamburg! However, I do like Erfurt the best thus far. Since Erfurt was a part of old East Germany, and Lüneburg is in the West, there are definitely noticeable differences between the two. Someone told me that old East Germany is cheaper than old West Germany. I definitely saw that during my stay. In Erfurt, a bottle of water costs €1,05. The same bottle in Luneburg cost €1,85. I have also found that Erfurt is just cheaper in general, so that could also account for some of it, too! Most of Lüneburg’s city centre consists of brick buildings. Most of Erfurt consists of pastel colored buildings with wood timbers. To get around the city, you can either walk, or you have to rely on the bus system or your own car in Lüneburg. In Erfurt most people either walk or rely on the Straßenbahn, which is quite reliable and free for Uni-Erfurt students! A cappuccino in Lüneburg cost around €2,60. In Erfurt, about €1,85.
On the train from Lüneburg to Erfurt, I had to change trains in Hannover and Göttingen. It was raining just before my train arrived at Hannover. At the station, I saw a sign that read “Hannover: willkommen in der Messestadt” — I think it should be “Willkommen in der Stadt Regenbogens” — When I left Lüneburg it was a nice but chilly afternoon/ evening. Before reaching Hannover, I could see rain in the distance. We ended up going straight through it and once we hit a clear area, what did I see out my window? A double rainbow. When we arrived in Hannover, there was another rainbow off an adjacent platform. When I got to my platform to catch my connecting train home, there was another rainbow! In all, I think I saw about 5 different rainbows in about 20 minutes. PS – sorry if some of the pictures are blurry; It’s kind of hard to take clear photos on a moving train.. 😛
On yet another train, I looked at my watch and saw it was 20:40 and there was still light in the sky! I can’t wait for Germany’s long summer days. Because I am at such a higher latitude (about even with Calgary, Canada), I’m hoping that it will be a nice and mild summer, compared to the hot muggy summers of Virginia and Florida.
I returned to Erfurt Tuesday night, just in time to register for sport classes on Wednesday, and register for actual classes on Thursday. On Wednesday I registered for Klettern, Trampolinturnen, and Aroha. (rock climbing, trampolining, and aroha) I have no idea what I’m getting myself into with Aroha, but from the info video, it kind of looks like a mix between tai chi and yoga, or something along those lines…
On Thursday morning, I registered for my actual classes. Unlike UMW, I actually had to go to the Sprachzentrum (speaking centre) and actually sign up in person for classes. Since classes only meet once a week for a two-hour block, I am required to take more courses than what I am used to. [By the Erfurt credit system, 2 LPs count as 1 UMW credit, so I have to take between 24 & 36 LPs (12-18 UMW credits) in order for my credits to transfer. That is equivalent to about 7-12 Erfurt courses.] I am currently have 24 LPs, but would like to add another class or two, just so I have more than the bare minimum of transfer credits.
Now to get to the real story…
Thursday afternoon, a group of us foreign folk decided to take a day trip to Weimar. I thought even though I have already been, I will go again and hopefully see more sites (for you, Herr Rotter!!) This group was also going to Buchenwald, and I was really interested in seeing that, as well.
We went to Buchenwald first, because it closed earlier than other places in Weimar. Pictures will be posted here. Buchenwald was definitely an experience; I don’t know what I expected or had in mind, exactly, but it was so much larger than I thought it was going to be. I was only envisioning it to be a few buildings, maybe only like 5 or 6, thinking it was one of the smaller concentration camps, but boy was I wrong.
It was more than just a few buildings; It was plantation sized! When Buchenwald opened in 1937, it was the third largest, behind Sachsenhausen and Dachau. By the time it was shut down in 1945, it was the largest of the remaining concentration camps. The entire camp was so vast, that Anneka and I agreed that in order to see everything at Buchenwald, you would need to get there when it opens, and spend the entire day there. Since we only got there around 3pm, we only had 3 hours to see the site. There was a really nice museum, documenting almost every detail about the camp. It was two floors, with all of the exhibits numbered, so you could snake your way through the maze in the correct order. At the beginning (as usual), I attempted to read everything. However, I quickly tired of that and really just looked at each exhibit. That still took me about 2+ hours to do all of that! Buchenwald closed at 6pm, and we were there until they closed. We then had to wait until the next bus came to take us back into town, but luckily it was a nice day to sit outside and wait.
Once all of us made it back to the train station, we decided to just head back to Erfurt, and not look around Weimar. Since it is only about a 10 minute train ride, and we can go for free (Uni-Erfurt students get free bus/train transportation in all of Thuringia), we decided that we could just go back another weekend.
When we returned, Anneka and I went to the Frühlingsfest on Domplatz. It was close to closing time, but it was nice to be there without masses of people.
We rode two rides, and by then, everything was shutting down for the night (this was only about 10pm). I convinced Anneka to ride this with me:
So she picked the other ride, and it was the “adult scrambler” ride, where the person on the outside is squished as the car goes around the circular but ‘hilly’ track. All in all, it was an enjoyable day sightseeing with friends.