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Travel Not Tour - by Liv Hambrett

Becoming German

April 14th 2008 07:53
Perhaps the best place to start is the flight to Germany. It was nearly as epic as our month long stay in, what my father calls, The Motherland. Epic, not in length (we are Australians, flying internationally is always a long haul) but in frequency of chaos and embarrassing moments. I will type now, directly, from my journal;

Disaster has struck - loose of limb and of tongue, our 3 seats have become a vessel of delirium and embarrassment. Began when flight attendant, identified as gay not only through occupation but through overt mincing down aisles, rolled over Satie´s foot with drink cart. Led to an unfair amount of laughter from me, but couldnt help it. Breakfast soon served and, in peeling back my yoghurt foil, it spurted out, volcano style, splattering over my face and clavicle. Similar occurence with sugar sachets for tea. In moment of jest, said carelessly to girls, 'next I will pour tea on my crotch...' Lo and behold, moments later, backhanded full cup of tea all over Dee and I, soaking the groin area of our travel pants. Once this was sufficiently mopped, turbulence struck and Dee, in a moment of Herculean bravery, hoisted the nearly empty tea cup into the air, to avoid similar type of spill ... only to spill remaining tea on my head. Pants are now drying stiff and blueberry yoghurt spots my new Gap hoodie. Forty minutes to go.

And so we touched down in Germany with as much style as we departed it.

We arrived in Frankfurt with no idea how to get to Munster, little German and a fiendish caffeine desire (me). We successfully navigated our way onto a train (bless the English speaking Europeans, who needs second languages these days) and after 4 hours of German countryside and wonderfully pushy fellow passengers, we touched down in Munster, the sweetest, prettiest, full-of-university-students city on earth.

We slipped effortlessly into the Munster lifestyle ... because, essentially, it was the one we left at home. We had a German mutti and papa who prepared us breakfast in the morning and massive, hearty German meals at night. A German bruder and thus his group of friends and thus, a ready made segue into the 'Munster nightlife' ... just one big university party really. And, because it doesnt get dark until about 10pm, no one really heads out until midnight, at the very earliest, which means one is leaving the hazy, student-packed venues, as the sun rises. We dug deep to revist our youth, the heady days of Tracks, and effortlessly made the transition from ´ageing crone´to ´bona fide partier.´

At some point, in Germany, time ceased to mean anything. When you eat breakfast at midday, sand doors and sing to Roxette in a gutted apartment till 9pm, when the sun finally comes out, then eat dinner as it sets at 10pm, and when you have already changed from Sydney time to West Coast time, to East Coast time, to Germany time in the space of 5 weeks, you get to a point where to have a body clock just doesnt do you any good anymore. It is still there, I've just taken the batteries out for a while.

Prior to moving into the DIY renovated apartment on Graelstrausse, with our adopted German bruders, we occupied the home of Rita and Bernd, on Michaelweg. Mama and Papa, who have previously only had one son for the past 22 years, suddenly had three daughters to contend with. I dont imagine there is much difference, except that once a week Satie cooked - and we did our own washing, albeit after struggling with the appliances somewhat and shorting the power circuit whilst using the grill to grill pizza.

In between waking late, watching Roland Garros, lending invaluable hands to apartment renovations (and lungs, Toni Braxton has nothing on us) trotting down the street for ice cream and lattes, and exhausting the city's department stores, we booked a few days in Munich. Let it be said, that I love Germany. But it was in Germany that I got over long train trips. The seven hour trip to Munich was dogged by delays, missed connections and overpowering toilet smells. And giant pumpernickel sandwiches, stuffed with sausage, being the only food available from the kiosk.

Munich, however, turned out to be well worth the trauma of the train trip. It was stunning. Romantic, ridiculously pretty. Flower box lined buildings, endless churches, cafes sprawled out onto cobblestone streets, busking quartets playing Vivaldi (no I am not making this up). We stepped outside our Simple Life comfort zone and stayed in a hostel, only to realise exactly why we have avoided them thus far. I dont travel halfway around the world to cohabit with Australians yelling the C word in my face every five minutes. Yes, I had to write the C word, my grandparents would have a heart attack if I didnt.

Following a hearty meal of grilled vegetables, I got food poisoning. Yessss, food poisoning. From vegetables. According to my all knowing American-med-student-dorm-mate who, when not putting anyone who thinks single beds are too small for two people to shame, does field work in third world countries, parasites commonly reside in root vegetables. And so the rest of Munich passed in a green, nauseus blur, and a brief, if not dramatic fainting spell on the train station ... which we had to run for because our tickets gave us the wrong platform. No I was not bitter. Just about to vomit on the next German who tried to push me out of my seat.

I am now, cunningly, going to end this blog and immediately begin another one, Germany Part 2, if you will. Only because this one is now too large for one sitting consumption, and I do not want any complaints from my loyal readers for overloading them.

So on the note of nausea and bitterness, I shall temporarily leave you. See you in Germany Part 2.


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