*ANNOUNCEMENT*You are currently reading the 1000th post on Teh Blog.
Can we talk about how absolutely crazy it is that I've written 1000 posts? Sheer madness. I will never know if the people who have been reading since day 1 are still here. I know some of them have definitely moved on, for acceptable reasons. But if you're a lurker and you've been reading me babble since April 2011? I commend you. I also appreciate you. I love you. Please stay. We can have some cake or chocolate or something.
For those of you who have joined me along the way? I commend you, too.
No matter how long you've been a Gentle Reader, I'm glad for each person that stops by to enjoy my
shitshow life and babbling. I like to pretend that readers and comments don't matter, but they do and they are what keeps me going.. well that and the selfish desire to document my life so I don't forget all the moments that I will inevitably forget. I will proudly admit that the women (it is what it is, guys) I've met online while blogging are fabulous individuals. They continue to show me the good side of the internet and humanity, and for that, I am ever-so-appreciative.
Anyways, onto the real reason we are here: Germany photos.
**Photo heavy post**
|What being stuck on the autobahn looks like.|
At some points, people were getting out of their cars and walking around.
|Pronounced ass-fart... jk, it's not. But close.|
This is the exit sign off the highway, and it made me giggle almost every single time.
Teh German didn't appreciate me telling him to take the "ass-fart" every time we had to leave the highway.
|We made it to dinner and these 3 pups were just chillin' in this car.|
|Hello sunset over the Rhine.|
|There were fuzzy white balls flying all over the place.|
In large quantities, they look like snow.
Truthfully, I rarely had any idea of the specific location we were at, but I had a general idea. Teh German's friend lives in a house that is on the banks of the Rhine River and we were still south of Essen.
|They had this huge thing of mayo in the fridge.|
I thought American's loved their mayo. German's LURVE mayo.
|Cargo ships on the Rhine on a foggy morning.|
Remember when I bitched and bitched about not doing touristy things while we were in Germany? Well, Teh German "winged it" the entire time and we got to do plenty of touristy things. Before we set off for Essen (Wednesday, June 1), Teh German stopped in the town where his friend lived and we toured the former Roman ruins (rebuilt) and the town area. After some Google assistance, these ruins are in Xanten. What used to be a former Roman town is now just a reconstructed arena and some other reconstructed areas. It was still pretty cool.
|Even the German children were "dabbin'"|
Teh German was moderately appalled.
|An original statue.|
|Empress Teh Megan|
|Teh German and I agreed that these ruins photos looked edited.|
|This is a section of "pipe" that was used to channel water to the town from the Rhine.|
There were hundreds of school children running around the ruins, which helped push us along. They were screaming and running and my tolerance level was at extremely low levels after crappy sleeps and jet lag. Teh German did say we had time to walk around the town so I could take some photos. It was much nicer and less people-y in the town. Also, there were some awesome shots to be had! We walked around a school (which was part of the church), a big cathedral, past some gardens, a windmill, and back to the car.
|Stations of the cross|
|Saints at the entrance to the chuch|
|Saints at the entrance to the church|
Ich liebe = I love. It said dich (you) before the blue.
We had a date with Teh German's Opa at 3 for coffee and cake, so we headed out of Xantan to make it to Essen in time. Fortunately, there were no autobahn issues and we made it right on time. Having only "met" Opa once before on Skype at Christmas (when he refused to talk to me because he wanted to meet me in person first), I was excited to finally get to meet "The Chief", as Teh German calls him.
My favorite thing about Opa was that he got straight to business. We said our hellos, discussed how the trip was, and Opa started asking questions about the house and money. Most of this conversation was in German, but I'd heard it enough by this point that I was starting to recognize what Teh German was discussing. I was able to answer in very elementary German when I'd get asked questions, but it was difficult for Opa and his partner to understand my accent and shitty German. After Teh German explained that 1- we'd saved up lots of monies since deciding to buy a house, 2- houses don't cost as much in America as they do in Germany, 3- we weren't completely broke, 4- it was $200 more per month to buy a house than rent a place, Opa was satisfied with our decision and he agreed that we had made the best choice, considering. I think Teh German was most worried about this discussion with Opa, his Dad, and his Mom since it is the thing that most shows them that he's probably not coming back to Germany in the near future.
After the house conversation, we moved onto lighter topics. After we finished our coffee and cake, Opa gave me a tour of the house where I got to see old photos of Teh German's parents and various other relatives. I got to see where Teh German used to play when he would visit and also the bar in the basement where parties were held. There were also plenty of photos of Opa in various places with various people. Opa is huge on traveling. The next day, he and his partner were leaving for a cruise. I told him his next trip should be to Charleston, where he always had a room available.
Since we were on a schedule, we headed to Teh German's Stepmom's for dinner around 5:30 to be there in time for dinner with the family. There was a huge selection of very German foods; schnitzel, potato salad, meatballs with a special German name, salad, cheese, and bread, and probably other things I've forgotten. Everything was delicious. I met even more family, some of whom spoke English with me, which was excellent.
It was at this dinner that I learned that Teh German is VERY much like his Dad and Opa. From the way he speaks to his mannerisms when he speaks and how he gestures. Also, "NEIN, NEIN, NEIN!" was said, and forever that will make me giggle to say to other people. I learned that the loudest person is the person who is right in an argument. The loudest person was always Opa.
But seriously, when I saw Teh German's Dad make the exact same gesture that Teh German makes when he is making a point in a serious conversation, my mouth almost hit the floor. It was all I could do not to create a scene and squeal to Teh German that he does the same things as his dad and Opa. EXACTLY THE SAME. It was creepy and educational at the same time.
After dinner was over, several relatives stayed for a bit socializing, but once everyone was gone, Teh German's Dad and Stepmom and Teh German and I sat downstairs essentially having a nightcap... if one would call it that. Just like Opa had done, Teh German's Dad got straight to business. We discussed the house and money and just like Opa, Teh German's Dad had agreed that we made the best decision, despite how quickly everything happened.
Side note: Quickly is a relative term. Yes, we decided to buy a house together after being together for less than 6 months. In American time, that's pretty fast, but people get married after knowing each other for a few weeks to a few months. In German time, it was essentially like meeting each other on the street and buying a house together the next day. Maybe that's an extreme example, but German's won't even go on a 4 hour drive without planning it for at least 3 months. Americans will jump in the car and drive 4 hours the same day they make the decision to drive the 4 hours. #culturedifferences
After we were all talked out (mostly in English, thankfully), it was bedtime.
Thursday (June 2), we were scheduled to have brunch with Teh German's Aunt (who we often Skype with) and do some sight-seeing. She actually had made breakfast for us and another relative who hadn't been able to attend dinner the night before came over. After everyone was done eating, we set out for Zollverein, a coal factory.
If you've read my book reviews, I was reading All the Light We Cannot See before going/while I was in Germany. It's a book set during WW2 from a French girl and German boy's perspective. The boy frequently references Zollverein, a coal factory where his father died and how his worst nightmare was having to work there as part of the war effort. I'm kind of nerdy, in that actually going to places that are mentioned in books gives me a thrill. So to go to a place that I was currently reading about? Nerdgasm.
Zollverein is no longer a coal factory. There is a museum for the coal factory, but most of the buildings have been repurposed for other uses. There are restaurants and cafes and spaces for workshops and vendors. It was awesome to know that I was standing at one of the larger coal factories that fueled the German war machine. That's history.
There were lots of photos taken in the free part of the museum and I have no idea what any of these machines/things actually are. #notanengineer I was just there for the pretty picture potential. Teh German has expressive a positive reaction to this batch of photos, which I was glad for. We'll probably be printing some of these babies out for House decoration.
|Erin, I hate how much I love this photo.|
It was an accidental shot when I was setting up for another.
|I was super pumped when Aunt offered to take a photo of us.|
See, I DID go to Germany!
|Me: This is so awesome. So many awesome photos.|
Teh German: Yeah. Too bad Suzi isn't here.
tG: Yeah, Suzi would look sweet between those wheels and I could post it to insta.
I walked away.
I created this for him, special:
|He did not appreciate my photoshop skills.|
After the factory, we decided to head to the Tetrahedron. It was a short hike to get up the hill to get to the structure, but it was totally worth it for the views of the city we got. Also, shout out to Oovos flippy floppies. 88% of any extensive walking we did, I completed in my Oovos. The only day I didn't wear flippy floppies for touring was when it was raining. My feet felt better after the day when I wore my flip flops over wearing my shoes. I think I also may have talked Aunt into getting a pair when I told her to try them on and she felt how cushiony and supportive they were. #notsorry
|Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights.|
It was explained to me that on a clear day (unlike what we were experiencing), you could see Frankfurt in the distance. That would be over 250km away.
|Factories in the distance.|
There were plenty of shots taken for panoramas, but I'll save you from those.
|Solar powered Queen constantly waves.|
She brought me a giggle.
Our Tetrahedron adventure had taken longer than we anticipated and Teh German's Dad had planned on taking us to the lake in Essen to walk around and we were cutting into his time. When we finally made it back to Teh German's Stepmom's apartment, the rain that had held off all day was threatening seriously. Teh German's Dad was still insisting on walking and everyone else suggested that maybe we just take the car. We ended up taking the car to everyone's benefit.
Our first stop was the Krupp house (officially called Villa Hügel). The (eventually) extremely rich Krupp who owned the house also owned the property around the house in the 19th century. He had quarters built for all the employees close to the house and was a huge proponent in the steel industry. The house is open for touring, which we happily did, and is still used to this day for concerts.
Fortunately, we had mostly finished touring the outside when it started to sprinkle rain. By the time we were finished touring the inside of the house, it was pouring buckets outside.
|I liked that the family symbol is the original version of my wrist tattoo.|
(Triquetra if you want to know the name)
Used and unused.
|All the rain...|
We sent Teh German to fetch the car with the umbrella and he was able to pick us up right in front of the porch. We were only moderately soaked. After the house, we drove to the lake where they showed me "the beach" and one of the places where the family used to play tennis. It is always fun to get to see where your significant other spent their time growing up, so I was excited to be getting the window tour, despite the rain.
Finally, it was too dark to really see anything, so we headed back to the apartment for a short bit. It was scheduled that we would be eating dinner at the Greek restaurant where the family frequents with Teh German's Stepbrother joining us. I didn't really want a shot of ouzo since I despise licorice, so the owner said he'd bring something back special. Yeah, he added blue curacao to the ouzo. It was at least a pretty ouzo drink and we all got a giggle from it.
After eating wayyyyy too much (as was the trend every time we ate anything while in Germany), we finally headed back to the apartment. We stayed up with Teh German's Dad and Stepmom chatting again for a little bit. They gave me a tour of the apartment and showed me where Teh German used to play and some old photos of Teh German growing up. What trip to meet the family is complete without seeing old photos? NONE. With that check in the box, it was bedtime.
Friday (June 3), we woke up and had a small breakfast with Teh German's Dad and headed back to Teh German's Mom's house for a short respite. Fortunately, there were no autobahn situations. I had my first gas station food experience (tolerable) and ordered an over-priced chocolate milk thinking it might have some coffee in it to keep me awake. It didn't, #languagebarrier.
|The ever present rain clouds were always with us.|
When we made it back to Teh German's Mom's, it was planned that we would take out the groom for a bachelor night since Teh German hadn't been in Germany for the official bachelor party. It would have just been me and the male member of the gang, but there was some push back from the bride. Eventually, she relented, but she also tagged along with us for our bar hopping.
Quick note: The main reason we went to Germany in June was
At midnight, the bridge and groom chickened out and headed home while Friend 1, Friend 2, Teh German, and I headed off to a club called Top 10. We walked there and I seriously had to pee. Also, I had been heavily drinking and may or may not have flipped off a car who I thought was going to plow us over at a stop sign, which is apparently bad news bears in Germany. The need to pee was probably the only thing that kept the guys from getting into an altercation with the probably also drunk driver. We finally made it to the club and I realized I didn't have my ID on me (I'm the worst). The lady at the desk listened to my explanation, and Teh German explained in German, then she asked me my birth date and then let me in for free-izzle since it was ladies night or I am old or something.
After finally peeing and getting some drinks, we settled on the Fiesta room. Apparently, I was pretty intoxicated by this point because I took this awesome video:
Yep, I was completely entranced by watching those colors flip back and forth. I wish I was kidding. I remembering thinking just how cool the lights were. We also took some group selfies, danced, sang stupid loud, and drank strawberry daiquiris. I actually ended up spilling my last one when my booty bumped up against the stool cushion I had been using to lean against/as a beverage holder. At which point, I knew it was time to stop.
The group agreed that it was time to go home and after we closed out our tabs, we fetched a taxi to bring us all to our respective homes. Teh German had warned his Mom that we'd be coming in late, but we were still as quiet as 2 drunk fools could be... aka probably not at all.
We had zero problems falling asleep... We hadn't set an alarm, despite the fact that we knew that we were driving to Munich in the morning. It didn't matter anyways...
I'll tell you why in part 3. #sorrynotsorry
German Adventures:German Adventures Part 1: SC to DC to Moscow to Stuttgart, arrival
German Adventures Part 2: Essen, Germany
German Adventures Part 3: Munich, Germany
German Adventures Part 4: Tübingen, Germany
German Adventures Part 5: Departure, Stuttgart to Moscow to DC to SC