My arrival in Germany last weekend marked my entry into the sixth country whose language I didn't understand. At this point, however, I feel like I am so over the I-can't-understand-you thing.Well, not entirely: I still feel like some sort of "typical American" for arriving in a foreign country without learning the language, but at the same time, I'm no longer overly freaked out by my lack of knowledge.
Three things made Germany especially different from Spain and Italy:a) I could in no way, shape, or form follow along in people's conversations like I can at least pretend to do with the Romantic languages.
b) I had less of an ability to pick English out of a crowd like I can in Italy and could in Madrid. I guess that's due to English being a Germanic language, but yikes, does that mean English sounds to Italians like German did to me?
c) Everyone I came in contact with spoke English, and many of them spoke it very well. (Maybe that's why I had such a good time…)
Annnnnnnnyway, language barrier or not, to Germany I went.
Upon my arrival, my host– who, like my friend in Madrid, studied abroad
at my university last year– showed me around his town a little bit before dinner:
It was love at
first every sight.
The first thing I noticed were these ever-present little waterways cut into the cobblestone.
That doesn't keep people altogether out of them, however. Not the little'uns, anyway:
Freiburg has two gates like this. This one is called "Schwäbentor" (or something like that).
This is one of the town's university campuses-- here, for social sciences.
(Freiburg's main theater)
No idea what this building is. I just liked it.
Spring has sprung!
Then we ate a delightful, homecooked meal [Stefan is a great cook!] and headed out again. We met up with a few of his friends for some games--They were playing Risk when we arrived, which I thought was wonderfully ironic [Germans playing the game of world domination. Hmm…].
After a while, we relocated to one of the local breweries that doubles as a restaurant bar, and hung out there for a while.
And yes, what they say is true: Germans like their beer.
Just like everywhere else I've been, I did a terrible job of capturing actual interactions with people, which I kind of regret now, but you'll just have to trust me that it was lovely.