Auf Wiedersehen (goodbye) Deutschland

Trip Start Feb 01, 2006
Trip End Jul 22, 2006

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Flag of Germany  ,
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Well this will be my last entry for this trip. I will just be giving you a summary of my experiences in Germany.

Needless to say I have had the time of my life over here. This trip could not have been at a better time with it coinciding with the World Cup. Just being here in Germany to feel the vibe has been fantastic and it was a shame that I was unable to get tickets. I have seen the highs and the lows of it all with the ultimate low being the Italians winning the cup. We all know they didn't deserve it, but that's football. I can just say that unfortunately I have seen the worst of the Italians here and I can say they are horrible winners. They will taunt anyone of the opposite team to the point of starting a fight with them. This was the worst during the final when I felt sorry for anyone from France, even though every German was barracking for France to win. Theres nothing wrong with Italy, only that its full of Italians. On a lighter note, I enjoyed this World Cup so I have a goal to go to every World Cup that Australia participates in. Next stop, South Africa 2010.

While most people in the world would imagine Germans as being tight ass, methodical and cold people, I have seen a different side to Germans. Any German over the age of 30 holds that stereotype quite well. There is hope for the Germans loosening up with the younger generation though. Many of the Germans I have met here have been great fun to be around. The World Cup was an excellent opportunity for the Germans to show a different side and this was reflected by the motto of this World Cup, "time to make friends". I think with another generation or two you may end up seeing a warmer Germany.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Cologne. Europe really is transformed during the Summer since I only got a taste of the winter here. The past month or two the temperatures have remained between 25-30 degrees in what Germany calls a "heat wave". So it's been great being able to just wander around in shorts and thongs (little hint, don't called them thongs here, you get laughed at) for most of the semester. I have found that Cologne has been one of the few cities in Europe that I could actually live in. With a population of about 1 million, it's not so big that it is impersonal but in the mean time it has everything you need. It's famous for sports since it does contain the best sport university in Europe.

Some people have been asking me if I am looking forward to coming home or if I would prefer to stay. The answer is yes I am looking forward to coming home but I will miss certain aspects of this place. There are many notable differences in Germany. One thing that I am most definitely looking forward to when I get home is some deacent fresh produce and food. Here, the vegetables look like they have been on show for about 2 months and taste like cardboard. The cheese here tastes like plastic so little things like that I miss. What am I going to miss the most? The BEER of course! I am going to miss the local brew called Kolsch, and I am not looking forward to going back to either drinking XXXX or overpriced import beers. Here you will pay 0.70 Euro for a top beer (500mL) (about 50 cents once you take the bottle back for recycling). Also the fact that you can drink in the streets, I still love that. It's such a perfect system since you drink in the streets, leave your beer bottle on the ground and the homeless people pick up the bottles to cash them in.

Another thing Im going to miss is the friends I have made here. Ive made friends from about 15 different countries from all corners of the globe. It's been a great experience learning about all their different cultures. I think one thing that amazes me is that if you really want to communicate with someone in the world then you can. One experience is that I have a class with a guy from Argentina and he speaks very little English and I speak very little German (much to some Germans disgust). Yet we understood each other perfectly when we wanted to communicate and had a great friendship.

One thing is for sure though, I will be returning to Europe in the future. I think it's going to be hard for me to return to real life back home after all this, so please bear with me if I lose a grip on reality for a while. It's going to be one hell of a semester...

Anyway to let you all know, I will be returning to the land of Oz on the 21st of July around midday. This will be after 30 hours in transit (bloody 10 hour stopover in Bangkok). I will leave you with some photos from the semester here, including my going away party. I look forward to seeing you all and having a beer with you all when I get home. See you when I get back. Ciao.
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