December 7, 2009

For some strange reason about 3 weeks ago I decided it would be a fabulous idea to go out-of-town for the two weekends leading up to finals. It wasn’t a great idea because now I have much less time to work and study, which is not fun, but I think it’s worth it! I hadn’t seen Colbert in 6 weeks and I need to see Alex before she heads off to Cameroon for next semester! So goodbye weekend studying, hello travel! Next weekend is Rennes to visit Alex (!!!), and this weekend was Tübingen, to visit Colbert in Germany!

Tübingen is a small-ish town in south-western Germany, which is largely made up of students from the university of the same name that has buildings throughout the town. It actually reminded me a LOT of UofM and Ann Arbor. Much of the architecture of the academic buildings is fairly modern, the town is hilly, and there are students everywhere! Though of course much of the architecture surrounding it is very old and beautiful!

Buildings on the riverfront

The gate to the "palace" where Colbert has one of his classes

One of my favorite things about Tübingen was that all around the outskirts of the town are farms instead of suburbs! There are forests with horse trails, fields, and yes, even cows!

German cows

I felt sort of out of place in a small town, which was a bizarre feeling for someone who has grown up on a farm. I’ve gotten so used to the Parisian way of hurrying everywhere, and dressing up each day, scurrying through the metro and crowded streets full of cafés…it seemed like everything just slowed down in Germany. The big cities like Berlin and Munich are probably different, but in Tübingen the people were more relaxed, the women wear practical shoes, things are actually affordable, and there was a really fantastic chocolate market in town!!!

Colbert and I visited the chocolate market 3 times. Once with some of his friends, and twice on our own. We bought a lot of chocolate, and we ate it all! Truffles, chocolate bark, chocolate bars, and chocolate covered fruit kabobs-oh, and a waffle on a stick and hot spiced wine with his friend Manou. Hot spiced wine is apparently a wintertime classic in Europe, and it’s absolutely delicious!

She's painting a dress made out of chocolate!!!

They projected images on the buildings surrounding the market square at night!

Chocolate covered fruit skewers! The line was ridiculously long, but it was so worth it!

We went to a party with a bunch of Colbert’s friends on Friday night that was hosted by the Tübingen Geology department, and it was basically like a giant fraternity party with lots of German beer (I tried some-I do not like it one bit and I don’t think I ever will), and lots of American music from the 70’s and 80’s, and of course lots of european techno! I was also surprised to see that there were quite a few professors there, and that many of them stayed at the party all night long!

All in all, the weekend was a great break from city life. Colbert cooked for me all weekend, and while we didn’t eat German food, we had American classics like fluffy omelets for breakfast and chili for dinner, which was good, and probably better than sauerkraut and sausages. I felt strange to know none of the language, but fortunately most of Colbert’s friends spoke English, and he even has one friend from France, so I was able to speak with her about the differences between France and Germany, which was fun!

I would like to go back again in the spring when it’s warmer, but for now I am just trying to get through finals, and I am making lots of winter travel plans! I will probably leave it as a surprise for all of you, but if things work out I should be going on some fabulous trips next semester! A bientôt!


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