14 May 2005
Please note that text in red indicates comments and changes to the original 2005 text that I made in June 2008. Enjoy!
Saturday! Finally, a day to rest a little finally came! First, we had jet lag, which lasted a few (~3-4?) days, then I was often up late (trying to keep in touch with people back in the States--a brutal thing to try to do when you're 6 time zones apart (I feel for you, all of my European friends!)), then we had to get up at obscene hours of the morning (Really, who should have to see the light of 7 AM in Germany? C'mon!), and then, when I had a chance to maybe sleep in a bus going somewhere, I was always sitting with a German (Rebecca, Gernd), and I felt that I should really pay attention and try to be an American worth knowing--not a worthless, exhausted lump of clay! Heh. Needless to say, I really enjoyed getting a little bit of a chance to sleep in at this point. Two thumbs up for whoever planned this morning. The evening? Well, it wasn't so good. But first things first.
After we got up (I seem to remember getting up just in time to catch the tail end of the already-paid-for-so-it-feels-free breakfast at the Hotel. My mad plan worked--I had breakfast!), we all made our way to the Uni ourselves. I think Peter and I traveled together, which was nice; while the trams weren't too hard to navigate in Augsburg once you knew where you were going, it was generally more fun to go with someone else to a common destination. (Keep listening, and I'll spill all of the rest of the secrets to a perfect life, too! /sarcasm )
Our first scheduled event was at a lecture about Romeo and Juliet at the Uni. Why Romeo and Juliet, you ask? Unfortunately, this lecture was the "kick-off" for our impending trip (see: impending doom) to the opera here in Augsburg. The lecture itself wasn't so bad, but it was mostly superfluous; most of us had studied Romeo and Juliet in school at one point or another. And don't get me wrong--I try to be a cultured and well-rounded person in the way that I live my life, so I try to appreciate the Arts (though truly, symphonies are my favorite (with lots of brass and timpani)) whenever I have the chance. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I wasn't really looking forward to the opera, but I didn't think it would be that bad, either.
After the meeting, all of us headed to the lunch at one of the Italian restaurants on campus. Extremely stupidly, I helped my group to decide to sit outside to eat. The way I saw it (Ha!--"saw") was that it was a nice warm, sunny day outside--why not enjoy it and lunch at the same time? You're probably thinking to yourself now, "Why did Adam say this was stupid? Sounds logical enough to me. . ." Well, let me tell you what: I had the most horrible time at lunch. Sure, the food was good (they make pizza in Germany slightly differently than in the US--all of the pizzas that I had were what I would call "thin crust") and the company excellent (I got to sit with Peter, John, and Herr Fock, my three favorite guys from the Germany-trip!), but the SUN! Oh, the sun! As soon as I sat down, my eyes just about exploded. The tablecloth was such a bleached white that whenever I opened my eyes at all, the sun reflected off of the tablecloth and pretty much made it impossible for me to see. It was quite painful, let me tell you. Yikes. The other (more prepared) people I was eating with donned sunglasses if they had them. *sigh* I resolved within myself that I would try to nab a pair of "German" sunglasses before too much more time had elapsed (I had lost my sunglasses while I was hiking (well, geocaching, really) last summer).
My lunch on Saturday. It tasted very good, but the light! Oh, the light!
Want to experience what I did?
1) Go find the brightest light in your house (maybe a car headlight) and turn it on.
2) Put your face right by the light so you're looking into the light.
3) Close your eyes for 2 minutes, then snap them open and stare at your light!
NOTE: do NOT actually attempt this--you may permanantly damage your eyes. I WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE IF YOU TRY THIS! It's called hyperbole. Live with it.
At some point before the Opera, Peter and I were wandering the streets of Augsburg together, deciding when and where we should eat (and also searching for a pair of sunglasses for me). After we made a couple of "wrong" turns (?), we bumped into a "wanna be" American by the name of Andrew, who had heard our loud conversation in English and wandered over to where we were wandering. We talked, and he led us to where the "best pizza in Augsburg" could be found. Looking back, I think we took a much longer route than was strictly necessary (three rights do make a left. . .), but we eventually got to the Pizza place. Being about 4 o'clock on a Saturday, the pizza place was closed, much to our collective dismay. However, Andrew knew of another restaurant, a Quiznos (or Subway, if you prefer) type place where you could get hot sandwiches. What was the name of the restaurant? *spoken with a Russian accent* It was Bageuttski, Comrade!
Yes, that's right--your worst fears have been confirmed. We had found a Soviet Russia-themed sub shop in the middle of Bavaria! Such luck! I was in love from the moment that I crossed Baguettski's communist threshold. You see, my best friend from high school, Ryan, and I hold a special place in our hearts for Soviet Russia. We like to joke about it and make fun of it, I suppose. Why not? We beat them, didn't we? At any rate, finding a Soviet Russia-themed restaurant that produced truly excellent sandwiches was
probably without a doubt the best thing that happened to me that day. I took some pictures (like an atypical tourist, I know) and I ordered something that sounded kind of recognizable from the menu. The sandwich that I got was soooo good that I resolved to return if I ever had a chance! Baguettski, when I return, I'l be coming for you! Their shirts even had a graphic of a Russian man in a big hat dancing a traditional Russian dance captioned by the words "Long live the Revolution!" on the back! It was great.
Sadly, on my return trip to Europe later that Summer, Baguettski was closed when I tried to return! I'll never forget you, Baguetteski!
After experiencing the awesomeness that was Baguettski (man, I'd love to open one in Oakland!), I knew anything else was going to be a let-down. I just hadn't considered how much of a let-down the Opera would be! It was very hot inside the building, very crowded (it was opening night), we were in the balcony and in the back, and our tickets were handed out semi-randomly. There was one more difficulty worth mentioning: Because I do not know any German, I felt as if I were illiterate during my entire trip, and being at this opera only underscored these feelings. The opera was sung in French, but the subtitles were in--I'll bet you can't guess--German! The singing was technically very good, and the symphony(-ette?) they had playing with them was good, but I couldn't see the timpani player. :/ I was sad about that, but I figured it would be okay.
I'll make this MUCH less painless than the opera was--the opera sucked. There, I said it. I fought for consciousness the entire way through. "Halftime" (as we would call it at my house) could not come soon enough! Yikes. Nothing else really happened after the Opera, so I returned to my room, changed clothes, and checked some e-mail, I think. I seem to recall staying up half the night for a bad reason (read: interpersonal troubles with
someone back in America (for those of you who know me, you could probably guess who, but I won't say here)
my ex-girlfriend), then I fell into sleep. Such ended my first week in Germany! I had a blast.
I'm sure everyone wants to see more pictures of me, so here we are! In case you've forgotten, the woman I'm with is named Claudia. I've always thought that she was quite cute.
This sign said "Mephisto" on it, so I took a picture. This one's for you, Ryan.
I wanted to buy one of these shirts so much, but they were too expensive. See Day 13.
This sandwich was simply excellent! Hands down, far and away, best place to eat in Augsburg. :) If you go to Augsburg and you don't eat there, you will have missed something special. The people were great, too. :) (I realize now that this doesn't really look appetizing at all, but believe me, it was superb.)