Germany over the weekend was amazing. On Friday morning two of my roommate and another friend bundled our things together and jumped on the highspeed train - stopping through Strasbourg for a switch and heading onward to Stuttgart. We arrived in Germany and our first remark was how ugly everything and everyone was. It was odd.
Gone were my illusions of the merrily tramping about blond and blue eyed friends (of course I don't believe that Germans are all blond haired and blue eyed) and to replace my beloved sterotype was a multitude of euro-mullets and clothes straight out of the eighties. Also the buildings were all very ugly. The Stuttgart train station, though practical and nice was horribly ugly. It was prison-like. Unfortunately my observation is totally biased because I live in France, where most train stations feel like an open armed welcome from the city. But here I felt like I had just entered a post-war depression. I realize that the city had been destroyed during the war and that the Germans are not as obsessed with keeping things restored and the same as the French are, but honestly it made me a little sad. Note : this entire revelation happened within the 1st 5 minutes of me getting off the train.
Things got better from there.
Reutlingen was really cute, it had a nice tower that was nicely restored, but still there was a lack of warmth and beauty that I have come to love and admire in France. But the warmth came when we went out that night into the town. An odd thing happened at the bar we went to *gasp* the people were *gasp* HAPPY that we were there. They talked to our hosts in a KIND and FRIENDLY manner. I feel like this never happens in Reims. Mostly because we end up going out to the kind of places that you don't sit and chat with the help, but also because the opportunity never seems to arise. That was the night we got our beer diplomas - 10 33 cl beers and a true taste of Germany!
The next day we went to Tübingen, where the adorableness of Germany really came out. This is where I learned why we love and dream about Germany so much. It was so lovely and it helped that we had gorgeous weather with the sun drying the leaves to a perfect crunch and reflecting through the orange and yellows of the autumn leaves. We walked up to the top of the castle in the city and looked over at all the splendid houses and the autumnal colors flourishing the city and I felt so happy. Maybe it was because my friends were around me, and maybe it was because I was feeling blissfully warm in the Indian summer sunshine, but I felt so content in that moment. It was a really lovely day.
I sang and danced on top of picnic tables on Sunday evening. German beerfests are amazing. Not because there is amazing beer at really good prices but because of what the beerfests are at the base of things : a big party. Let me describe to you why it is so cool that the fests are in fact "a big party". Because of this simple fact : no one was fighting. In America or France for that matter, it seems that everytime there is a large group of people consumming alcohol there is a need for fighting. I don't understand this but it always seems to happen. At Volksfest, people were drinking absurd amounts of delicious beer. BUT NOTHING HAPPENED. Instead you know what we did? We sang together. They have a song just about "cheers-ing" together and it is awesome. Never have I felt so connected with a group of strangers and granted I was a little drunk, but I couldn't deny the electricity in the room as a group of strangers and I drunkenly sang drinking songs ... in German.
One of the guys from the German school we were visiting announced to us that he wanted to go on the bumper cars at VolksFest. Since none of us could think of a reason not to we all agreed that after we had each had 2 liters of beer at the festival (the first two were free) we would go and do the bumper cars. I'm not going to lie, but after two liters of beer I have never been so terrfied in my life then when people were bumping into my little car. If this serves as an example for anything - I vow never to get into a vehicle drunk, never ever ever have I been so convinced of how that is a terrible terrible terrible idea. Seriously, it was like I was in a bad public service announcement.
We came home battered and bruised from dancing the night away. We also came home with two Schwaben Bräu beer steins ;-).