This weekend not only did I travel on my own for the first time, but I went to a country where English isn’t the primary language for the first time as well. I was nervous boarding my flight to Germany, but I was also super excited to have the opportunity to travel so easily, and to see a familiar face from Bentley for the weekend.
Shoutout to this wonderful guy (Cam) for meeting me at the airport, showing me around Mannheim and Heidelberg, and ordering all of my food for me so that I didn’t have to try to pretend I know how to speak German. 🙂 Also thanks for taking me to the weirdest museum exhibit I have ever seen!
The night before I flew out to Frankfurt, Germany, I only got about 3 hours of sleep. Part of it was definitely because I was a little anxious about the flight, but I think a larger part was the drunk guy pounding on my apartment door for 30mins at 3am (he had the wrong apartment…his bad).
I arrived at the Frankfurt Hahn Airport around 2:05pm Germany time, and as soon as I made it through customs and walked out into the lobby of the airport I felt instantly overwhelmed by all of the people around me speaking, what seemed like, every language but English (they were probably all speaking German, but like I said I was overwhelmed so I wasn’t paying close attention). Luckily I found Cam in the first 10mins I was there, and he navigated the way to the bus to get to Mannheim.
But anyway, enough about me freaking out. I was really in Germany…I couldn’t even believe it. It was so cool.
After traveling that day and not sleeping much the night before I didn’t feel like doing much exploring, so other than walking from the bus to the apartment I was pretty much toast for the day. On the walk though, Cam did point out his school to me…
Apparently it’s the second biggest castle in Europe. But it has 1 more window than the actual biggest castle in Europe, so they kind of have the 1-up there. Really I just can’t believe people get to go to school here.
Side note: This is also the view from his apartment…
Anyway, on my second day in Germany Cam took me around to explore Mannheim a little bit and brought me to a museum exhibit he had been talking about showing me for weeks. I had no idea what the exhibit was but I generally love museums so it didn’t really matter to me. I just expected to see some art…
…and I definitely did get to see some art, but it wasn’t like anything I had ever seen before. When we walked in and I actually found out what it was about, I was shocked…
How I missed the ginormous sign on the front of the building that said “Die Duckomenta” and had a big picture of Daffy Duck’s face, I will never understand.
This art exhibit was one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen. There were some truly beautiful pieces of artwork throughout the museum, but I couldn’t get over the fact that everything was a historical piece of art re-created as a duck. It was impressive, strange, and fascinating all at once, and I laughed/was amazed the entire time.
After giggling my way through the museum, I was able to walk around Mannheim and see some of the city’s architectural beauties.
I must say, it was nice being able to go outside and walk around without being rained on for a day.
During my second full day in Germany, Cam and I made the short trip from Mannheim to the Heidelberg to walk around and go to an awesome castle. The Heidelberg Castle is a famous German ruin that has some significance to the Renaissance (I think).
When we got to Heidelberg, neither of us knew where to go. His phone plan was messed up so he couldn’t look it up, it’s expensive for me to use mine in countries other than Ireland, and every sign we saw was in German. We started walking and it took us a few minutes but as soon as one of us decided to casually glance left, it wasn’t very difficult to find the castle. The thing is huge.
The Castle itself was absolutely magnificent. So much of the architecture, especially throughout the inside of the castle, was breathtaking.
And the view of the rest of Heidelberg from up in the castle was nearly equally as breathtaking. It was certainly one beautiful, cool looking city.
5 Things I Learned In Germany
- Schloss is the German word for palace or castle
- Beer tastes better and is way cheaper in Germany than it is in Ireland
- Food is also way way cheaper in Germany than it is in Ireland
- Jaywalking in Germany is frowned upon
- Big Pom has the most delicious fries I have ever had in my life, and I really want to know what they put on them because it’s fantastic
2 Regrets From My Trip to Germany:
- Not taking pictures of all the delicious food I ate. I tried a lot of interesting dishes and things I had never eaten before, and I loved every meal. I couldn’t pronounce a single one of them but they all tasted so good.
- Choosing to go down the huge slide at the park that looked really cool. It might look fun, but trust me when I say that thing will throw you around, launch you off at the bottom, and leave you with various bruises (see: my legs and arms).
My visit to Mannheim and Heidelberg definitely made me thankful that I decided to study abroad in an English speaking country, simply for the culture shock factor. I was nervous enough about leaving the U.S. for the first time (I had never even been to Canada), and I think being surrounded by people speaking a different language would have made me nervous. Visiting Germany for a few days, though, was definitely an amazing experience that I will certainly not take for granted.
Thanks again to Cam for showing me around, introducing me to all of his wonderful friends, and letting me stay in his apartment rent-free!