Monday, December 5, 2005

east german bliss

this weekend was the much awaited trip to Dresden. There was much excitement surrounding this trip because after the amazing fun of the hut weekend in the Alps, I of course wanted to go on the very next trip with this group of people. But they got over 80 applications for 35 spots and, alas, I was not one of the chosen ones. But through a series of shenanigans, a friend Vincent who was also on the hut weekend convinced the president to let us on. Don´t ask me how, but i was certainly grateful. At any rate we took off Friday morning very early (7am).

I nearly missed the trip perhaps three times... the first being my impression that the trip left at 7pm instead of am. Thankfully I spent the evening with one of the trip organizers on Wednesday and he clarified my misconception. The second near miss was the (perhaps unadvisable) decision to go to the infamously life corrupting international student party on thursday night. This party is like a sandtrap. I literally seem to find it impossible to leave without either missing the last train, becoming incredibly intoxicated, engaging in otherwise unadvisable behavior, or all of the above. So you could say that it was clearly unadvisable to go there when I needed to do none of the above, most namely miss the last train, because to be back at the university at 7 with all my luggage, i would most certainly not make it starting home at 5:30am (its at least a 2 hour roundtrip). But I had spent the afternoon baking christmas cookies with Christy (another american participant who lives in my town) and the aupair from Poland who also lives with her. And it just so happened that it was her exact one year anniversary in germany! And one just doesnt not celebrate that. So I picked up a bottle of Sekt (german champagne) and we drank it on the train to Munich. The plan was to go very early to the party and leave no later than midnight to catch the last train, but more probably around 11. When we got to the party at 9:30, it was practically, and we drank our (complimentary for early birds) Glühwein in peace and conversation, punctuated by a funny interview by the Süddeutschezeitung (big newspaper of southern germany). But somewhere around 11, and this is what always seems to happen to me, a threshhold was reached and people started pouring into the party. This coincided with us reaching a particular point of intoxication. We were just starting to have fun! I managed to tear myself away at 12 but Christy and Magiana decided to stay the night...and off I ran. But it took forever for my subway to come so by the time I got to my tranfer station I had exactly two minutes to make the transfer. So I ran, as fast as possible, and made the train by exactly one minute. Phew.

And then there was the morning. I woke up at the absurd hour of 445 to finish packing and make my 548 train. Late as always i rushed out of the house at 543ish with all my luggage, tried to shove it in my bike basket, couldnt, so rode clumsily and dangerously down the hill in the dark icy morning. And just as I was pulling into the parking train. At this point I knew I had no chance...I still had to lock my bike, unload my luggage and cross the tunnel under the tracks. The train stays for about 30 seconds. Scheisse. I knew this wasnt the end of the world, there was another train in 20 minutes and that would get me there most probably 3 or 4 minutes late, and knowing that about 1/4 of the people on this trip were italian...i probably wasnt going to be the only one =) But it still meant i had to freeze for 20 minutes, mad at myself.

In the end, I made it. The busride was full of cheer, and we reached the city well rested after a 6 hour ride. And the thermometer in the bus said it was 8 degrees celsius out! Heat wave! But as we soon discovered during our city was unreasonably cold. Noone could explain why, but we all attested to the fact that we were colder than wed ever been in our whole life. The long and painful tour ended at the christmas market, which still didnt provide any indoor cover but offered plenty of Glühwein. A new friend Jaques and I drank three. It was wonderful, never have I felt more relieved to be warmer. And then we all went back and napped at the hostel. At ten we were loudly awoken and we all boarded a tram for the dresden international student party. The evening was full of dancing and general cheer. And the busride home was full of singing. A general good time.

The next day the weather had not improved. It was raining, but nonetheless we all trepped 5 kilometers (should have been three but 2 were 1 kilometer in the wrong direction, 1 back) to the city center to see...the world´s biggest christmas stollen!! Apparently it is a Dresden tradition to back a gigantic christmas stollen, parade it through the city to the christmas market, and have a bizarre fake medievel ceremony presenting it. it was thrilling. Then we wanted to split into two groups to go to either the main museum or to so-called "deutsches hygenie museum" I know, it sounds ridiculous, but i had read about it and i really wanted to go and so did one other person. that was all. so michl and I schlepped through the rain for 20 minutes, finally entering a rather sober looking grey building. But it was warm inside, and in the end, despite my quite brutal assumedly post too much glühwein headache, we spent a joyous 4 hours persusing an intriguing and endlessly entertaining collection of old DDR medical instruments, interactive activities to test your own abilities at various tasks, insect collections, morbidly fascinating clay models of different skin diseases, and a particularlz tasteful and artfully risque room about sex and sexuality. A fantastic decision.

And then the evening...a failed attempt at a pub crawl (an impossibility with 40 people, no?) ending at a club called flower power, which played a fantastic selection of oldies who no one liked but me and one of the staff members from dresden. So we danced the night away and although the evening wasn´t spent with really anyone from munich, it was fantastic nonetheless.

In the morning we all boarded the bus and headed to "Sächische Schweiz National Park" to see some really cool rockformations that looked somewhat like bryce canyon, hiked up to a castle ruin with an impressive view of the Elba, and froze our feet off. I am never wearing converses again in the cold, despite the admiration it earned me from my hipsterish friend from the previous night. And then we went home...and on the bus I endured much teasing about my lack of presence the previous night and we watched Speed. Which is a terrible movie but funny to watch on a bus. And then we were so tired, but it was such a good trip. It´s nice to have friends, it really is. Oh, and Dresden is a fantastic city! beautiful, just the right size...i think i want to live there next. we´ll see what i can do.

and now, i have language class. bye!

ill put some pictures from the trip up when i get a chance

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