Postcard from: Germany
POSTEDApril 4, 2004
MUNICH, GERMANY – Greetings from the snowy streets of Munich, Germany. I love it here.
The people (most of them). The snow. Mass transportation that works.
In just under two months, I have traveled around Munich, through Germany and into France and Austria from my home base at 63 Arcisstrasse here in Munich.
Life is not nearly as hectic here as it was back in Dallas, but there is still so much to do. The difference? No deadlines.
Deep in the heart of Bavaria, I am enrolled in a German immersion course that meets every weekday morning. In the two-month program, I am improving my reading, writing and speaking considerably and really learning German grammar well for the first time.
After class, I have afternoons free to tour around the city, pursue independent study and keep in shape through a variety of sporting activities, while the weekends provide excellent opportunities for longer trips.
Following my stay in Munich, I will spend three months in Cologne studying math and economics in Germany’s largest university.
Munich is a splendid city for sightseers and locals alike. The infusion of old and new continually surprises me. From grandiose castles that date back to the 13th century, like Schloss Nymphenburg, to state of the art breweries that brew beer with computers, Munich has a little bit for everyone.
For history fans or people who just love to tinker, the “Deutsches Museum” is breathtaking and informative – a true world class collection. In the four hours that I spent there, I saw less than a tenth of what the museum had to offer.
The museum is enormous and has everything: the history of the steam engine, a tribute to the Wright Brothers’ 101 years of flight, a whole room of water wheels, wind mills and turbines, laser physics and hanging
holographic pictures and more than 30 chemical reactions where, at the push of a button, two reagents would mix and change color or fizzle.
And these are merely a handful of the more than 50 conference-sized rooms that house displays, hands-on experiments and life-sized models.
Munich also boasts three art museums called the Pinakotheken: the old, the new and the modern. Here, not only does the artwork inspire, but the buildings themselves are adorned with mosaics, tiles and golden decorations of angels and vines.
I have spent weekends in Paris, Vienna, Cologne, Hagen, Augsburg and Dachau.
In just two days in Paris, I climbed the Eiffel Tower at night, spent an afternoon at the Louvre (and I’m sorry but there are much better pictures there than the Mona Lisa), visited Notre Dame de Chartres and saw the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
Elsewhere, I strolled through the age-old streets of Vienna, saw ghastly remembrances of trying times at Dachau, returned to the place I was born – Cologne – and danced through the streets of Augsburg in a clown suit.*
And all this in just two months.
I can only imagine what the next six will bring. The plan now is to study German for another month here in Munich, go skiing in the Alps, head to Cologne to take summer classes for three months and then bounce around Europe with a EuroRail train pass for 30 days.
These two months have already been a life-changing experience and have opened my eyes to worlds untold. Anyone at UTD who doesn’t take advantage of this opportunity, will regret it if they ever brush up against this amazingly similar, but totally different world in the future.
Tschuss und bis dem nachts,
* I was dressed up for Karneval and everyone says the celebrations here in Germany well outdo any imitations like Mardi Gras. In Cologne alone, more than 1.5 million people gathered to watch the Rosenmontag train take its leisurely 8.3 km trek through the city.