Sunday, August 9, 2009

Help, I'm in a nutshell

Those of you who know me will be aware that I spent the large part of five months in Germany, beginning my stay there in March and bringing it to its inevitable conclusion towards the end of July. Those of you who don't know me won't give a fuck, and I assume that it will stay that way.

In what can be described only as the most amiable of moves, I settled into my new accommodation in Germany - primarily after reaching the summit of the vast mountain of bureaucratic bullshit which towered before me. Armed with Sherpas, a trusty pick axe and a can-do attitude, no form was too long, no opening hours too inconvenient, no queue too snaking to crush my spirit. OK, so I lie. I whined and moaned like a little bitch, but these things have a way of sorting themselves out.

Room 112 of Emil-Figge-Strasse 37 was a modest lodging. Sparsely furnished, decent kitchen, agreeable housemates (of whom I regrettably saw all too little) - all that was lacking was a television. Well, I was hardly going to bring my Playstation 3 all the way there and not make use of it, was I? Silly reader! (cue cries of "NERD!" and my attractiveness sliding down an ever-steepening slope)

Dortmund is a city that does not give off a good first impression. Having suffered its fair share of air raids during World War II, the city is mostly gray and industrial. It reeks of unemployment (the Ruhr area has one of the highest average unemployment percentages in all of the Bundesrepublik) and has little to offer tourists besides churches (it's dwarfed in that respect by neighbouring Cologne) and former Nazi prisons. The nightlife was agreeable, however, even if I did fall asleep on the train twice and once one discovered the bestest little kebab shop in the Ruhrgebiet, the city seemed a little bit brighter.

Neighbouring cities such as Cologne and Dusseldorf were a treat to visit, made all the easier by the fact that students in Nordrhein-Westphalia are afforded a ticket which allows them free use of public transport across the entire fucking Bundesland. Awesome. The German modes of public transport are punctual (mostly), clean (largely) and frequent (well, depending on the time of day.) It's incredibly easy to get around a country so large.

But what of the campus, I don't hear you ask? Yeah, exactly. Academic pursuits will only serve to bore, so it's best to leave them to a dark corner.

So many people, so little cyberspace. Czechs in trollies, French smoking fagsCheck Spelling, a Spanish girl named Macarena (I kid thee not), festival fun times with English, Americans and Portuguese - the list is endless. The one person worth elaborating upon is my travelling companion, Aisling. We left acquaintances and returned firm friends. Long may it so continue.

The best stories I've saved for personal contact. This is but the tip of the iceberg of my German excursion.

Perhaps I'll impart more, once the mood takes me.

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