Friday, January 06, 2006

Christmas, New Years and HAMBURG

I guess that I have been neglecting this site for a while.. SORRY

So here is a quick recap of the past few weeks.

For christmas I went to a town up in Northern Germany with my host familly (Papenburg). This town is really neet, it has a canal going through the entire thing and that means that there are ships right in the middle of town, very neet. Almost all of my host famillies extended familly lives in the town making it a convinient place for christmas. We headed up to Papenburg on friday and relaxed with the familly for the night, thrilling. The next day saturday was christmas eve, or in Germany Christmas. So that night we got all dolled up and had christmas dinner (soup) with one side of the familly and then waited for the "christkind" (christchild) to ring the bell so we could all go and open our presents. After that we went to the other side of the familly and did the same thing all over again, except this time we ate potatoe salad and wurst (long hot dogs, festive I know). So that was "Christmas". The next day, REAL christmas, was pretty uneventful. The hostfathers father or Opa, took his whole familly to a fancy restaurant where there was a gorgeous buffet. I didn't understand what half of the food was so I opted for some of the things I could identify. This included, wild boar, curry poultry (duck or Quail) and........ my favorite...... REINDEER!... I guess rudolf had an accident, oh well. So that was christmas, the next day we ate wierd hot saurkraut stuff then went home. A good time had by all.

New Years
For New Years Stephanie and I decided to have an adventure. Seeing as there are 70 exchange students within 30 minutes of Koeln, opting to meet up with them is always a great option. We decided to go to a party in a town called Olpe where one of our friends from Mexico lives, its basically in the middle of nowhere and about an hour drive away from us in Bonn. As we can't drive being exchange students and all we worked out a route that could get us there by public transportation and that would take us about 2 1/2 hours. So knowing us, we get completly stranded because of a late tram and it being New Years eve..meaning the busses and trains run differently. So about... 6 hours after leaving we arrive in Olpe. There were 3 Mexicans, an argentinian and us. Unfortunalty because of our lateness we missed our drive to the party meaning we had to walk.. for 1/3 an hour in our the middle of no where. It wasn't bad but it was an adventure. The party was a costume party at a tennis club and it ended up being a blast. We were the youngest there, but I was the oldest of the youngest, meaning I fit in! So, the next day we headed home and it only took us 3 1/2 hours this time, much much better.

Stepanie, her host brother, me and my host brother all recieved a trip to Hamburg as one of our christmas presents. So Monday the 2nd we all headed to Hamburg. We stayed in a VERY nice hotel and stephanie and I even got our own double room to ourselves, with unlimited shower time, VERY POSH, I know. The trip included a German version of the musical the Lion King. It was A GREAT show, but it was wierd hearing the songs in german. (circle of life,acuna matata). Hamburg the city was gorgeous, it is called "Florence of the North" by Europeans and I definetly saw why. It is a harbour city but the harbour doesnt stop at the edge of the city. The water takes the place of half of the streets going North/South, and it wasn't unusual to see someone playing the acordian on a street/water corner. The town hall (which is also the state building as Hamburg is a State as well) has 4 more rooms then Buckingham palace, and is right on a lake as well. In the middle of the lake was a christmas tree, and on the other side of the lake was one of the best 5 star hotels in the world. The shopping was AMAZING, with stores like Versace and Gucci (for DOGS andddd people) all over the place. We did a bus tour of the city and a boat tour of the HUGE harbour (biggest in Europe), saw St Michealis (a gorgeous protestant church), got a peek of some of the red light district hamburg is famous for and also drove around Old Denmark (A part of the City that actually use to be denmark). All in all a VERY good trip!


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