Touchdown in Germany

Trip Start Jun 22, 2009
Trip End Jul 24, 2009

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Where I stayed
Jugendherberge Mannheim

Flag of Germany  , Hesse,
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The flight over to Germany was huge. I left at 1:30pm, had an 11 hour flight and got in to Frankfurt at 5:30pm. It was really wierd for the sun to be up for so long, and I was a little out of it when I got to Frankfurt.

A huge flight like that could've been pretty boring, and pretty uncomfortable considering it was full. Luckily, Dennis had been allocated the seat behind me so at least I'd have someone to chat with. It turned out there was a German girl named Sofia sitting next to me, and Dennis swapped so he was on the end. We passed the time as you'd expect; with lots of Korean beer. I learnt to count to ten in the process by complementing every new beer with 'Ich haber funf beere' or the like. The whole thing was a learning process really.

On the flight I tried out all my German phrases too. 'Ich haber sauerkraut in meinen lederheusen' turned out to be a huge hit. I picked up some new ones like 'Ich haber de naser fol' which literally translates to 'I've had a nose full', a German expression. I can say other useful things like 'es regnet es straumen' (it's raining in streams) and Sie haben schöne Augen (you have beautiful eyes).

The Germans and I chatted for most of the flight, and had lots of fun times. Toward the end of the flight Denis and Sofia got a little more cosy, and I'm pretty sure they hooked up once we got to the airport lol.

Once I touched down in Germany I was blown away by how different everything was. It's one thing to hear about it, but a whole 'nother experience to be completely surrounded by people speaking another language, especially when everyone looks pretty much like they do in Australia. It feels alien. I gathered my things and headed outside to meet Ulrike. Her boyfriend Chris picked her up, and we drove back to Mannheim.

The car ride was riciulous. There were brands everywhere I'd never heard of, and we sped past them at 160+k's on the autobahn. I was a little out of it, but just couldn't stop smiling. It was awesome to be somewhere so different!

A few things struck me from early on. In Germany, everything seems particularly well organised. Even from the sky, the crops looked very neatly arranged. Once you're on the ground, the roads are more efficient, and when Ulrike explained the system of having lots of smaller cities rather than a handful of huge ones, even that sounded more efficient. Everyone rides around on bikes, again that's more efficient. Next, I didn't see a crappy car during the hour and 20 minute long drive back to mannheim. It really does seem like they have a higher general standard of living. The next thing I picked up while chatting with Dennis on the plane. In general, Germans aren't really proud of their country. It's uncommon for them to sing the national anthem, and few people have German flags. Apparently it links back to WWII. If you're not proud of your country's history, you can't be proud of your country. Ulrike later cleared it up that that used to be the case, but ever since the world soccer cup things have been on the improve. Finally, the Germans are really environmentally conscious. There are separate bins for every kind of waste everywhere, and you even need a sticker to classify the emmissions on your car. There are zones in cities that you can only travel through if you have the right sticker.

The drive to get back to Mannheim took extra long, mostly because we couldn't find the youth hostel. It wasn't helped by the fact that I copied down the address wrong, but that was the least of our worries. I got to see lots of Mannheim, and drove past the Erotica shop like 5 times. It was great to catch up with Ulrike, and start to get my head around Germany.

Once I got to my room at the youth hostel, it was about 9pm, and should've been 6am in Australia. I was stuffed, so I crashed ready to explore Germany properly the next day!
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