Greetings from snowy Berlin! It's been a heckuva week. Karnival and chocolate and drinking and dancing and parades and pick pockets--- but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I very hapily bit fairwell to the shoe box that I call home in Munich on Saturday morning and borded a packed train where I got to sit in the smoking car allll the way to Duisburg. I'm pretty sure I lost two years of my life on that train. So, then in Duisburg I met Matt, Lindsay, and Chris and then promptly turned around and took a train back to Colonge to get Caroline and Marrissa. After luggage was saftely stowed in lockers we went out to hit the town. I heart Cologne. We waisted no time in finding some drinks and jumping into the throng on people on the streets. There were groups of tribal type drummers and costumes galore. I have loads of pictures that I'll upload when I get home. It was PACKED. Karnival costumes don't have to follow any particular rules, it's pretty much like Halloween, anything out of the ordinary goes and most everyone is dressed up. Somehow we ended up at some bars and did a whole lot of dancing- at least I did. We also met the TA who works in Cologne. Things get a little hazy at that point so I'm not quite sure how all the logistics worked out (I'm pretty sure Lindsay is the one to thank!), but we made it back to the train station in time to get the train back to Duisburg and crash there. It was an obsenely fun evening.
Sunday was considerably more low key. We went out in Dusseldorf-- oh the high school memories-- the city where I went to my first real bar ever! Monday was the big parade day in Cologne, it's called Rosenmontag (pink monday?), We got up really really early and Caroline and I somehow managed to paint on some wiskers and noses as well as craft some snazzy cat ears on teh incredibly crowded train. Yeah I know, a cat, my old fall back costume. We ate the traditional karnival food, Berliners, known in the south as Krapfen, known in the US as jelly dohnuts which go surprising well with the also traditional cheap champain drunk out of the bottle ;-P Then we waited outside in teh SNOW for nearly two hours before the parade started, but we got a darn good spot. The floats weren't really that impressive, they are mostly political cartoons. I had heard that karnival is kind of the one time in Germany when they can let down their guard and say and do whatever, including making lewd jokes about polititions and such. What the parade did have was candy and flowers and lots of them. We all suddenly became seven years old again waving and screaming and pushing to get as many low quality chocolates and candies as we could. And Marrisa worked her charms up front collecting a whopping boxload of roses and carnations among others. We left a bit before the end of the parade to avoid some of the crowds and because we were pooped. Matt left and it was just us girls for the night. We finally made ourselves some semi-healthy nourisment and crashed early.
Tuesday Marrissa left and in the midsts of cleaning up a bit and gathering my things I realized that my wallet was not in my purse. We searched the apartment with no success. I was still hoping it would miraculously show up somewhere, but then we went to the Deutschebank to report my lost cash card and found out someone had already tried to use it. :( So I cancelled it as well as my american credit cards. Thank goodness I still have my passport. I lost 50 euros cash :( And I found out in Muenster at the bank yesturday that someone took out 300 from my account on tuesday before I got in to cancell it. I reported it to the police and everything, and the banker had my sign some things, so hopefully they'll return the money too me. For the next week I just can only get money by going to a bank during open hours. Kinda sucks, but could be worse. I'm pretty sure someone must have grabbed my wallet while I was buying a bratwurst at the parade. I had some difficulty getting the mustard out and probably hadn't thourouhly zipped my purse yet. How can people be so mean? Sigh, ok, I've let it go now and I'm getting on with having fun for the rest of my vacation.
Wednesday I took the train to Muenster where I was welcomed with open arms by Eva. We hung out, had some meals, some coffe, of course cake, took a little buble around the city. Silke came over for a little bit but is busy working on her masters thesis. It was good to see them again, and nice that I always have someone to visit back in Muenster. Apparently there's another Richmond student coming in the spring! exciting.
Today I hoped yet another train to Berlin where I am at the moment with Caroline. Not sure what we'll do for the next couple days. The conference starts sunday. Good times, yay for Berlin!
updates and pictures will be coming in a while...