The Weekend: das WochenendeEuropean Union, Summer 2012
Friday June 15, 2012
A normal day, classes are long somewhat interesting (luckily interesting enough to stay awake). Marcel (Political Science professor) ends class with this quote… “Have a good weekend, don’t drink too much, don’t drink to less, and remember to watch football, and don’t call it soccer.”
We heed his words of wisdom.
Saturday Jun 16, 2012
So, I overslept and didn’t go on the ravine hike. Karin (one of the ladies at the front desk at IES) told us about a hike to three ravines just outside the black forest. Oh well. I guess I’ll just work on my presentation. I have a presentation on Monday in Marcel’s class, Political Science 360: From Marginalization to Inclusion? The Balkans, Turkey and the EU. I haven’t even started to read the 30+ page article I have to report on.
I heat up some of the yellow curry from yesterday.
Mmm, just as good as it was yesterday. Lisa, Liz and Jonas (Liz’s boyfriend) are sitting around the table.
Afterwards I eat some cereal, Mini Zapatos (its a cinnamon sugar cereal similar to cinnamon toast crunch). Its the cheapest of the sweet cereals. Sam calls me and says we will be meeting at the Tram at 3pm to head to the Strausse (wine garden). I realize that tomorrow is Sunday and in order to have bread for sandwiches I need to get it today; stores are closed on Sunday, all except for the one at the train station and that’s just way too far. It is now 14:38 (they use military time over here so I adapted my phone and watch to match) so I run to the store and get some bread. I choose the cheapest bread, they’re actually dinner rolls but they’re only 35 cent for 6 so I can’t complain.
Luckily I get the rolls and make it to the stop on time. I do a head count, Me, Batu, Sam. Sarah is walking up. But no Alex (Caroline is in Stuttgart). Here comes the Tram. I guess we’re going to get split up again. Why does this always happen. Luckily Alex turns the corner just as the doors open. Whew, I thought we were going to have a repeat of Strasbourg.
Anyway, we get on the Tram and take it all the way to the last stop, Haid. When we arrive I glance at the map and notice that the route that we took was a big circle. If we had gotten off earlier or better yet walked we could have gotten here faster. Oh well. Now we wait for our bus. It is 15:31, the bus leaves at 15:31. There is no bus in sight. Oops, the schedule says that the 32 bus only runs Monntag - Freitag, not on the weekend.
After a few awkward chuckles and a bit of standing around we walk to the 33 bus and check the stops. Luckily for us, it also goes to Offinger, our destination, so we take it.
Sarah and I sit on the front and Sam, Batu and Alex sit in one of the 4 person seats. A large, older gentleman near them strikes up a conversation. I listen.
After the usual where are you from? Why are you here? He begins talking about one random topic after another. Stereotypes of the French are all the same: “they’re stuck up, selfish, don’t care about learning other languages”. I would argue the same for Americans. I can’t remember all of the times someone made fun of a foreigner for making a few grammatical or phonetic mistakes.
We get off the bus, check the return times and head to the Strausse.
Its fairly quiet in Offingen. I wonder why…
When we get to the Strausse, we see find out that it is closed. Unfortunately for us Strausse are only open for a few hours each day and when business slows down the owners usually call it a day.
We didn’t come all this way for nothing, so we wander around. We find our way to another place, I think it was more of a Beirgarten than a Strausse (the main difference is what you drink, beer vs wine). Not what we intended to do but ok. After Alex, Sam and Sarah finished we head back to the bus stop. Partly exhaused, partly dissappointed. But tonight will be better, the Handel Sommerfest Party is tonight. Sommerfest is a type of party that the college students throw at each of the dorms ( the one where I live, Vauban, isn’t until July 7). The party incorporates several buildings as dance floors and the open areas are filled with groups of people just talking and hanging out. There is supposedly going to be food so I will definitely get a pic if I can.
Sommerfest pt. 1
I will refer to Saturday night as Sommerfest pt. 1 so that the Vauban Sommerfest on July 7th can be part 2. The party, or group of parties will be located in and around Handel, another student housing center (as you may recall the one I live in is Vauban). The first thing that we have to figure out is how to get to Handel. We get directions from our German roommates. Apparently all we have to do is follow the Tram #2 to the tunnel and take the adjacent road and we can’t miss it.
Since it will be late we decide that riding bikes will be the best way to travel. Freiburg has a wonderful public transportation system but the trams stop running around 0:30 (12:30am) and Germans don’t start partying until 1 or 2 so to get the full experience we will most likely stay until 3 or 4 (the middle of the party). The night bus, which only runs on the Wochenende, leaves from Bertoldsbrunnen (the center of downtown) promptly at 1:11, 2:22, 3:33 and 4:44 but unfortunately we will be at least a 20 minute walk from the stop. We’ll just ride bikes. It’ll be fun.
After several phone calls and a few favors we get bikes. I get three, Liz’s, Simon’s GF’s, and David’s; for me Batu and Sam. Sarah gets one from one of her roommates. All of the bikes have some sort of problem. Sam’s is terribly difficult to ride, the back brake is permanently pressed down, so she gets a workout. Batu’s has no light so if he gets pulled over by the police its a 40 Euro fine (the lights are motion powered, all you do is pedal and the rotation of the tires powers the lights). As for me, the seat moves, all the way back so I’m basically riding on the basket in the back. I’m pretty sure my butt now has a nice checkered imprint from the basket.
The ride was long, it was just me and Batu, Sam and Sarah are pre-gaming and will be down later. When we arrive there are dozens of people wandering the streets. They all seem to be going the same direction, so we follow them. There are hundreds of bikes, no exaggeration. The most bikes I had ever seen in my entire life. They were all lined along the side of the street. They extended for at least half a mile. So many bikes. I wonder how many people are inside.
As we get closer we see groups of people arranged seated in intimate circles, smoking marijuana. It is illegal in Germany to possess marijuana, with the extent to distribute perhaps, but not technically illegal to smoke. According to this logic, if you get caught with it, light it.
After Batu and I park our bikes we enter. We walk into the fenced driveway adjacent to a 5 story dormitory towards a small house. The house is crowded, the window is foggy (it must be hot) so despite the colorful lights and hip hop music we pass. When we turn the corner it is as if the world opened up before us. The size of the small building to our right was reduced even greater when we saw the football field size lawn full of college students. Some were standing around talking, others were seated. There was even one group who was playing table tennis; not one on one or two on two but several people running circles around the table and each person would hit the ball when reached the center of the table. Despite the obvious amounts of alcohol tobacco, and marijuana in their systems this game was perfectly orchestrated. Not a single person missed a step. Wait, yeah. He’s out.
The lights were amazing, dozens of trees were wrapped with neon lights. There were also giant laser pointers that were aimed at the dorm. The lasers danced to the beat of the techno instrumentals.
There were also tons of booths, booths where you can get beer 1 for €3, 2 for €5, or 5 for €10 sandwiches 2 for €4, waffles for €1 each, and one booth with fresh fruit. The line for the fruit was way too long so I couldn’t even get close to get a good look.
I agree with Fitzgerald, I love big parties because they’re so intimate. I’ve never seen this many college students in one place, not even when I went to parties at UGA.
I’m hungry so Batu and I get the sandwiches 2 for €4. They were called Falafels, according to the guy in the booth they’re Palestinian food. But, Batu says they’re also Turkish.
We continue to walk around for a while, visiting each one of the three parties; Hip Hop, Electronic Techno, and Dub-Step. Eventually Sarah and Sam meet up with us. Sarah disappears. After a few hours of dancing and the awkward yelling into each other’s ear because you’re standing in front of the speaker, Sam, Batu and I decide to head home. We leave Sarah in the company of her German friend. She’ll be fine.
Sunday June 17, 2012
All day I work on my presentation, essay and misc homework questions. I didn’t realize how much work I had. After a few hours I realize that I’m not prepared for my Econ midterm on Wednesay, or my Political Science midterm on Friday. As a study break to take my mind of my studies, I talk to Liz about a Concert in Switzerland. It’s really expensive due to the exchange rate from Euro to Swiss Francs. Switzerland is a rich country and has no interest in using the Euro because the change would actually lower their countries investments and subsequently hurt their GDP. See, I did learn something useful in class.
This concludes das Wochenende.
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