Saturday, September 4, 2010

Die erste Woche

Wow, okay, it's been quite a week, I shall try to explain this all to you. So I left you when I first got to Munich, at the time I had a day to kill before I met up with my study abroad group, so I walked over to the Pinakothek der Moderne, which is the big major modern art museum in the city. Now I enjoy art, but I must say I'm more often then not confused by Modern art, so this was quite the experience. There were some really fun, cool pieces and even the exhibit which mostly comprised of table settings had some interesting stuff, but other times I was just left with the question,  "Why the heck is this in a museum?" But I will definitely say I enjoyed the permanent collection.

Anywho, I met up with the Guilford group and we went off to Berschtesgaden, specifically Ubersalzburg, which is the tiny mountain asthma spa village where we stayed. Whilst there we started our German lessons, partook in Bavarian food and drink, and enjoyed the cold, wet Bavarian weather (except for one and a half nice days). It was quite nice, the most annoying part of it was the bells which tolled for a minute straight at 7am, noon, and 7pm, which wouldn't have been a problem except for the 7am part. Really, being awoken by such insistent bells is quite stressful, but I suppose that's how its done in mountain villages. I also came to miss vegetables quite a bit in my week in the Alps, absence makes the heart grow fonder and the stomach more rebellious. Eat your peas and carrots!

We then went into Salzburg, Austria, which was a quick hop over the border. And thankfully the EU makes it so that crossing borders isn't a big deal anymore, because about a quarter of our group, maybe more, didn't bring their passports. But nonetheless, my German and Politics and Culture of Bavaria professor, Leo, took us on a walking tour of the Salzburg Altstadt and we learned a bit about the history of the city. Particularly about this one archbishop who decided that it was okay for him to have a wife and 15 children, no big deal. We saw the outside of Mozart's birth house and we visited quite a few crazy pretty churches and cathedrals. Then 3 of my classmates and I went to the fortress (Festung) at the top of the hill and explored up there. Unfortunately, my camera died on the walking tour, so I only got about half of the week documented, schade.

The next day we walked to the bottom of the mountain (about 20 minutes) and visited a small museum about Berschtesgaden and the Nazis. Apparently, Hitler and his buddies used to hang out in the area we were staying because of the beautiful views of the Alps and countryside. At the top of one of the peaks is the Eagle's Nest, which someone built for Hitler and is the last remaining artifact from the era in the area. After the war, Germany destroyed anything to which Neo-Nazis could make pilgrimage and they even changed the topography of this particular place to make sure no one could tell where the buildings used to stand.

So this museum had information on this particular area of Germany during the Third Reich as well as information on how the Nazis came to power, operated as a political machine, and kept their power. It was interesting and eerie. We then walked back up the mountain, enjoying the remaining nice weather and took more lessons.

Now we are all back in Munich and have met our host families. Bree' and I are living with Frau Irmgard Volz (which you know from the contact information below). Frau Volz is sort of the head and organizer of the host families in Munich and she's quite a lovely woman. She had a 14 year old (but spry) cat named Metzi, a boyfriend, and her son Martin lives upstairs. There are also hedgehogs in the garden and last night Bree' and I watched one eat Metzi's yogurt out of the dish left outside. We live down in the basement, which is essentially an apartment. We have our bedroom, a bathroom with a shower, a living area with a couch and dinner table, and a small kitchen with a hot plate, fridge, and microwave.

Today the three of us went out food shopping and Bree' and I explored "downtown" Neubiberg, which is a little street with a bunch of small businesses, a bank, and a few cafes and went to the mall to put minutes on Bree''s phone. We are now settling in for the night and tomorrow we shall be taking a cruise around one of Munich's lakes with the rest of the Guilford group. Auf wiederschauen!

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