Giddy Up Europe

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Last Weekend in Stuttgart

This Friday we went to Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart and then on Saturday we went to Bodensee (Lake Constance), which borders Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Since it was our last Saturday night, we all decided to stay out pretty late at a club called Move. It was eight Euros to get in and the cheapest beer was Beck's, which was 3,50, but there was dancing and everyone pretty much left by 3:30. It's too hot to type - it's been about 30°C (86°F) for a week - in a country where it's so humid and there do not exist air conditioners or fans. Onto the show.

First I should say that on Wednesday my class went to the Staatsgalerie (the state gallery) to check out an exhibit on Picasso. It was okay, but not in my opinion all that interesting, since it was a collection of his sketches of nude bathers. It is supposed to be, though, the first collection of his grouped by theme like that. The new Kunst Museum and the Haus der Geschichte were more interesting. Anyway, the point of this picture of outside the Staatsgalerie is that there is a sign at the lower left side of the fountain. It says, "kein trinkwasser," which means not drinking water. People have told me that it's a law in Germany that all fountains must indicate if they are not safe to drink from. Therefore, if you don't see a sign, then you can fill up your nalgene with some fresh, cool, and free water. You have to purchase water at restaurants, so these fountains are great. If you wander around any town for several minutes, you should be able to find water to dip your face into or what have you. I'm not completely sure that it's a law, so you might want to look that up.

Wednesday's at Biddy Early's Irish Pub on Marienstr. 28, so naturally all the Americans went there. It's an American haunt and American soldiers from the nearby barracks head there often. I met a soldier from Wisconsin who was actually from Marshfield and said that anyone who could play on the high school team must have been a sweet football player. Mikula! Here's Katie, Kasey, Erika, Christine, Claire, Matt, Wendy, and Paige singing 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun.' Yep, Matt too. For moral support.

Here's the Wilhelma Zoo map with Matthias pointing the way. Well, not really, we kind of wandered around.

I went around with Hanna, Steph, Allison, and Brittany and we saw monkeys, hippos, zebras, elephants, fish, water pigs, giraffes, and polar bears. Oh my! Hanna and Steph took lots of pictures imitating animals. I don't know what was up with this polar bear, I think he's coughing up a hairball. Grrr!

Wet t-shirt contest! Well, perhaps not, but there was a technician who sprayed the kids who were loving it and screaming 'wasser!' The girl in the white shirt is being a little risque, eh?

In the aquarium there was an electric eel tank with a voltmeter, so above the tank you can see some white bars, indicating electric charge. Don't get them angry!

We bussed it to Lake Constance and this is right by the lake. This is actually at Überlingen, which I believe is one of the major towns within Germany on the lake. Naturally the girls decided to take a group picture. Top to bottom are Erica, Erika, Paige, Hanna, Allison, Kim, and Steph.

In reprisal, the guys took a picture at the same location. We have me, Josh, Matt, Dave, Matthias, Jeff, Nick, Martin, and Jon. Boys rule! Yeah.

Here's Jon in front of one of the Rathaus (City Hall) doors at Überlingen. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but the chalking on the side of the door is done for a donation on Epiphany by children that sing for everyone in town. The chalking is for protection throughout the year as you can see by the year, 2005, and the letters of the names of the three wise men: Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior.

The area around the lake has great fruits for good prices as I believe these slices of watermelon were 1,50 Euro each. Kathleen and Brad like it; just look at Brad's intensity.

The Zeppelin Museum is there as well, which was nice. No pictures allowed. They had a section of a zeppelin that was constructed in 1997 to original specifications, so we got to walk around that. Zeppelins apparantly were very large and the Hindenburg was as big as the entire town. Back in the day, a trip from Überlingen to New York would set you back 1000 Euros, which was equivalent to eight months salary of the average worker. Nowadays, you can ride on a modern zeppelin (using helium) with a capacity of 12 passengers, a crew, and a flight attendant for around 600 Euros per hour. Just for reference, you cannot have a Le(a)d Zeppelin.

Here's a view from the lake from the grass beach that we hung out at. There were lots of people there and it was pretty cool. We all laid out and there was a lot of moss or plantlife at the bottom when you walked out into the water. There were lots of naked toddlers running around. Kids these days.

We took a ferry back to the bus, and here's the dock with flags of the surrounding countries.

We passed a Swiss boat on the way, which was pretty sweet. Check out the tiny German flag on one of the masts.

A bunch of people bought some wine for 3.20 Euros and drank it on the 15 minute ferry ride before getting back on the bus. Here's Brad keeping an eye on Jeff and Dieter.

Jeff was mostly awake on the busride home, but not here.

Here's a shot of an escalator in an U-bahn station. If you can make out the lettering, the left side says 'gehen' and the right 'stehen.' Pretty much all Germans will stand on the right and let people on the left walk up. A lot of people don't stand still on the escalators, which is nice. There is some serious bottle-necking on the escalators back home.

I don't have pictures from Saturday night, but I think others do. Sometime I'll look through everyone's and post about ones I don't have. Gotta run. Wiedersehen.


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