Saturday, August 02, 2008

Germany

I was in Germany for a business trip a week ago. After the meetings had ended, I planned to collapse in my hotel room but some of the other people I knew there suggested I come to Bamberg with them. It would just be a short train ride from a neighboring town and they were leaving at 6. Well, my meetings were over a few hours earlier and I got an offer from a local friend for a ride to the train station so I took it. Not really knowing anything about the town when I arrived, I just started walking. It is a town laid out for tourists, but German tourists. So there were signs at almost every street corner pointing out the way to...something. I just followed them and eventually ended up at a tourist center (that sign was in English!) and picked up a street map, which is hilarious because I'm terrible at reading maps and I didn't even know where I wanted to go anyway. It did serve to inform me that a bunch of STUFF represented by red squares and blobs was in the very near vicinity:

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From there I began to vaguely follow other tourists, who I assumed had done a little bit of research. At least, I figured, they must have done more than me. Soon I could make out distinctly on the horizon what we were all headed toward:

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Rewards were soon enjoyed:

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After I felt I'd seen as much as I'd be able to before eating something and my feet falling off, I made contact with the other girls, who had arrived some time before and were downtown. No problem, I thought. Just backtrack. What I ended up doing instead was going around not in circles, but in tight little loops so that I was passing the same buildings over and over again, but never from the same direction! I have never been that lost in such a small area ever before in my life. Well, except in Washington Square that one time when my sister and I were kids. She was only 5 at the time yet instinctively knew which way to go (or maybe it was just a good guess because from driving around with her today I think that may have been the last time in her life) but I, being the big sister, was sure it was the other way and we ended up having to get mall security to page our parents. Back to Bamberg, I kept seeing these Tapa restaurants all over the place like Starbucks before realizing that it was the same damn restaurant every time and after happening upon it from so many different angles, I didn't know which way was backtracking anymore. I thought at one point I'd have to call Dag and tell him that if he wanted to continue being my boyfriend, he'd probably have to fly to Bamberg and find me. See, normally when we travel he reads the maps and I follow blindly. Here, there was a crucial component missing! Finally, I encountered a body of water down a dead end street and knew that I had to get back to the main street and turn RIGHT. There was that Tapas place again, but around the corner was the tourist center looking so beautiful in that moment! Having survived my own personal Blair Witch Project I was able to relax and take some more photos:
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Finally putting my street map to good use, I met up with the girls (one of them local to Bamberg) who had just finished dinner and started on their sightseeing. So back into the eddy we went, although this time with a guide. We ended up at a giant outdoor beer garden where I got a giant plate of cheese:

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I'm not sure how one is supposed to eat all that cheese...well...at all. But if one were to eat all that cheese I'm not sure how they would do so using only two slices of rye bread and two pretzel sticks. I made good use of the pickle and did my best.