Tomorrow (Monday, April 14, 2008) will mark seven weeks until I hop aboard a plane, and end my year (+ a couple weeks) of hired motherhood. One week ago I hopped on a train and ended an excursion to the fourth great European capital that I have seen since first leaving my motherland. Rome, Berlin, London, and now Paris have all joined my list of cities visited, none of which I expected to see when I first signed up to come across the Ocean and see a new country for the first time. (Canada does not count. At least, not the parts where I have been.) Since a couple of my dedicated readers (the larger part of you, I would guess) were with me on this trip, I would try to be brief, but since I always fail in this attempt, I shall instead make my account as interesting as possible. I pardon those of you who will find this post to be something akin to an anime recap episode, I shall try not to make it an unbearable one.
First off, it was lovely seeing my two older brothers and our friend, we we had a jolly time traveling about together for a week. Inside jokes were formed, one of which being about the formation of inside jokes, which oddly enough, I was not in on. We spent the first half of our week in Germany, were we visited some of my more familiar haunts (Stuttgart and Tübingen), and also a couple places I had not been but wanted to see before I left: Neuschwanstein, and the famous Schwarzwald. We enjoyed many of the local foods I have talked about in previous reports, including beer, brezels, brötchen, weißwurst, and (natürlich) currrywurst.
Neuschwanstein, the palace that (I have heard) inspired the Disney castle, was in fact constructed (relatively) recently (some time in the 1800’s) by some nut case who just really, really wanted to live in the castle of all castles. It was designed by a stage painter, and looked like it: all form, no function, and lacking all authenticity. The creator only lived in it a few months before he was determined to be mentally ill, and therefore unfit to rule. He died shortly thereafter under mysterious circumstances. This is not to say it was not picturesque. A foot bridge spanning a gorge in back of the castle offers a fabulous view that in itself makes the trip worthwhile, and those parts of the castle that are finished are worth seeing. I don’t think it needs a second visit, though. I will save that for real castles.
We took some time the next day to go see the Schwarzwald, most particularly a little clock museum somewhere in the middle of it. The day was somewhat overcast and rainy, but I was still left with a favorable impression. I would like to go back someday for some hiking. The clock museum was also very fun, particularly the display of musical clockwork instruments, which we were able to see in action. Whoever designed the mechanical orchestra either had far too much time on his hands, or not enough (I would love to see what else he could do.)
The second half of our week was spent in Paris, which I will come to in my next post (hopefully in the next day or two) so as not to put too much in one place (and also in order to double the comments received.) But before I close, I will add one more comment about our time in Germany, and that is to say that I was very glad to learn that I will not be too disappointed by American beer once I return home and am of legal drinking age. I have always heard that German beer is legendary, and I was worried that after having acquired a taste for it, I would be let down by the American experience (which I am wholly unfamiliar with.) It is therefore a relief to discover that I have been enjoying perfectly average beer this entire time, and that beer of equal or greater quality is attainable back home, if one knows the right places to look. I understand there are breweries in the Baden-baden area where very fine beer can be found, but I do not intend to search them out. I apologize (not really) to all the beer connoisseurs of the world, but one cannot be an expert on everything. You have to pick what to be picky about; for me it is tea, and coffee (or rather the foamed milk that goes on top), and chocolate (which is only to say that I am a woman), and good books, and comics, and bread. If I had room I would fit in beer, but I would probably fit in cheese first.
To each his own, they say, and to me my many.
Word count: 821. I win!