Tags: wc06

Germany Notes. Rostock & Lubeck

When I was growing up in Russia, I was always fascinated by Hanseatic cities and the aura of medieval ports. The names of Rostock and Lubeck conjured up images of busy ships, a cold north sea, old warehouses, and gothic spires - an old german fairy tale. Now that I am actually visiting these places, it all seems a bit surreal. In any case, another item scratched of "cities I always wanted to visit" list.

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Germany Notes. Rostock

I have finally reached a place where everyone has joined the 21st century (meaning a fast internet connection). Thus, I was able to upload all of my photos from the trip so far. They are available here.

Today, I spent a very relaxing day on the Baltic Sea with my good friend leyka, whom I went to school with back in Russia (so we go way back). The town is vaguely reminiscent of the Baltic Republics in the former USSR, where I spent a couple of summers. Tomorrow I am off to Lubeck, which I had wanted to visit for a long time.

Finally, here are a few pics from my latest adventures.

Germany Notes. Neckar Valley & Coburg

Coming to you from the beautiful town of Coburg. I have been here less than a couple of hours and have already met two Russian speakers, one in the cell phone place and one here, in the internet cafe.

Yesterday, me and Bulka had to go back to Karlsruhe to pick up some stuff from his house - my "ugly black bag"(tm) is still there. On the way, we took the train along the river Neckar, and decided to get off the train at any place that looked particularly cool. Our first stop was the little town of Zvittenberg, which feautered a cool-looking castle towering over the river. Climbing up to it, we were dismayed to find the castle to be private property. We first tried to go around, and actually entered the castle through the back door.

Afterwards, Bulka rang the bell and we were escorted on the castle grounds by what must have been a descendant of the Princes Baden.

We got back on the train and got off at the very next stop, at the enchanting town of Hirschorn. It featured a prototypically German old town and a castle on top of the hill.

Afterwards, we had a delicious meal of local pig specialties (I had the pig's back and Bulka had the pig's leg). Very tasty.

Today, Bulka had to work so I took off on my own to Coburg. It didn't disappoint. In addition to another German old town (ho-hum), it has one of the most impressive castles I have seen, ringed by three walls.

Tomorrow is the game! I can't wait!

I have to run to catch the train now so I will upload the photos a bit later. For now, use your imagination!

Germany Notes. Switzerland

... or the adventures of Misha as a pack mule

It turned out that my race through the airport had prepared me well for our next adventure. Rather, nothing save for a career in a high-performance sport would have prepared me for what was to come.

When Bulka first told me we'd be going to his friend Johannes' summer house in Switzerland, I had imagined a palatial estate gently sloping down to the shore of a mountain lake. Collapse )

Germany Notes. Day 1

Our flight was late, so we arrived in Manchester with little time to spare before my transfer to Frankfurt. Upon arriving, I saw a huge, slow-moving customs line that apparently everyone was to go through. I met a few fellow americans going on the same flight, and soon enough we realized that we would never make it unless we do something.

Eventually we drew the attention of a customs official, who directed us through customs to a different terminal. In that terminal, yet another official directed us back to the old terminal. I am sure the Brits were quite amused at a group of 6 americans running through Manchester Airport like wild people; I am sure that did not contribute to our reputation in Europe. We ended up missing the flight, and were transferred to a different flight leaving a couple of hours later. What was worse, no one had any idea where our luggage went.

Upon arriving in Frankfurt, we spent another couple of hours running around various terminals looking for our stuff. The two americans before me had their luggage transferred to a 9pm flight. I was already imagining spending a wonderful day at Frankfurt Airport but was then told that miraculously my bag was actually arriving on an earlier flight. After another 30 minutes running ragged and a few instances of walking through one-way customs doors (hooray for security), I located the particular baggage carousel on which my bag soon arrived. The reunion with my ugly black bag was truly joyous.

I arrived in Karlsruhe and Bulka met me at the train station. After a brief recuperation period from my airport adventures, we went to the main square to watch the Brazil match. Using his (rather shaky) knowledge of Portuguese and his general communication ability, Bulka got us a table next to a group of flag-waving, bikini-wearing Brazilian chicks, who would break into an impromptu bump and grind session at every goalscoring opportunity. The atmosphere was amazing! Needless to say, I was sad that my good friend vinnipuh was not there to witness this feast of the flesh. (Pictures forthcoming)

Tonight we are off to Freiburg and then to Switzerland.