Settling In

I have now been in Wittenberg one week. I arrived airsick and miserable Tuesday morning, but by that afternoon I was already enchanted. We took two tours of the Altstadt(old city) this week: a short walk around and a longer tour of the historical landmarks. This whole city pretty much revolves around Martin Luther, the father of the Reformation, who worked at Wittenberg Universität as a professor when, in 1517 he nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Schloßkirche (Castle Church). There are also monuments dedicated to his co-conspirator Philipp Melanchthon and to Lucas Cranach, the only man to ever paint Martin Luther. I can’t wait to spend some more time at the historic sites and museums in town. Other than tours, our classes have been reading and speaking almost entirely in German. I can tell that I am going to learn a lot.

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Part of the Lutherhaus

 

Since getting here I have already had many adventures. For example, going to the Supermarket. I did not realize how different the Supermarket would be. Other than bread, fruit, and pasta, there were not many foods that I immediately recognized. Feeling overwhelmed by the Wurst section, I ended up buying Bärenwust (bologna in the shape of little bears, probably intended for children). The cheese section was also confusing, and I am still not exactly sure what cheese I bought. Luckily for me, my host family speaks English. They have been ever so helpful in identifying things.

My Bärenwust sandwich

My Bärenwust sandwich

My Gastfamilie (guest family) has seven people in it, four children, ages 9-17, two parents, and Oma Lily. Plus the Hund (dog) Bonnie and the Katze, Kitty. The first night at dinner, with everyone gathered on the back patio, was quite an experience for me. It had been a long time since I had had such an energetic dinner. They are all so nice that the adjustment hasn’t been any problem. Bonnie and I are already fast friends.

Bonnie and Kitty

Bonnie and Kitty

My biggest adventure this week has been Rad fahren (bike riding). Emily, the oldest girl, has kindly lent me her bike to use while I am here, and showed me the path to the city. Now I ride my bike through the countryside and into the city every morning. It is the definition of quaint, and I don’t care that I ruin the image with my pink Razor helmet or that it usually takes me two or three tries to get the bike started. I just feel so European. Plus it is a good way for me to get some exercise in while I’m here.

The bridge I ride my bike over.

The bridge I ride my bike over.

Other than sightseeing in Wittenberg and classes, this weekend we took a trip to Dresden, but that is a post for another time. For now I have to get back to learning. I’ll post again next week after we get back from our trip to Berlin.

And I’m Off

Wittenberg

As some of you may know, I leave tomorrow to spend a month in Wittenberg, Germany. I will be taking classes and doing a little traveling while I’m there. So far, I have one excursion planned to Amsterdam, and my class is taking a trip to Berlin. I have never really been to Germany and I can’t wait to see what it is like. Hopefully the exposure to the language will also help me with my proficiency. It does make me a little nervous to know that I will be expected to speak German 24/7 while I am there, but I know that it will be good for me. I am also really excited to see the city. There is a lot of history there to discover. For example, Wittenberg is where Martin Luther started the Reformation, which I find fascinating. I can’t wait to go exploring. And don’t worry, I’ll post weekly updates of all of my adventures here. My plan for tomorrow is to read The Three Musketeers as I spend all day flying to Berlin.

The Journey Home

Last week I drove home from South Carolina. It is quite a long trip (about 18 hours of driving), and I have gathered a lot of road trip wisdom over my travels back and forth. I thought it might be useful for someone if I shared my road trip tips and tricks here:

 

  1. Stop every two hours of driving. No exceptions
   We like to stop at McDonalds or a gas station to get tea and use the restroom.

We like to stop at McDonalds or a gas station to get tea and use the restroom.

  1. Paper maps are still important
You won’t necessarily have data service everywhere you go.

You won’t necessarily have data service everywhere you go.

  1. Always order the special
It takes all of the stress out of figuring out what to order.

It takes all of the stress out of figuring out what to order.

  1. Pack a swimsuit
If your hotel has a pool, a quick swim is the best way I have found to relax after a long day in the car.

If your hotel has a pool, a quick swim is the best way I have found to relax after a long day in the car.

  1. Never eat at a Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Mayo
It’s busy and the waiters are burnt out.

It’s busy and the waiters are burnt out.

  1. Alabama rest stops are not pet friendly
rest stop

Seriously, they have “no pets” signs everywhere and “designated pet areas”.

  1. Historic downtowns are always a good idea
Good food, cute shops, how could you go wrong?

Good food, cute shops, how could you go wrong?

  1. Good conversation is better than a good playlist
Or, if all else fails, audiobooks fill the time nicely.

Or, if all else fails, audiobooks fill the time nicely.

  1. Grapes are the best car food ever

    Sweet, not too filing, and they help to keep you hydrated.

    Sweet, not too filing, and they help to keep you hydrated.

  2. It’s about the journey, not the destination

Bon Voyage!

Beecology Lip Balm Reviews

lemon-lavender-lip-balm-2_300I achieved what I never thought I would. I finished a whole sick of chapstick. To reward myself I decided to buy a fancy, nice lib balm. After extensive research (read: Google searched “best lip balm”) I found this article, which rated Beecology’s Lemon Lavender Lip Balm as the best lip balm on the market. It was only $3, so I decided to check it out. Turns out that Beecology is the kind of company I always want to do business with. They strive to make their products natural, sustainable, and to give back to environmental and social causes. For signing up for their mailing list I got a 30% off coupon and shipping was cheap and fast. They even included a handwritten note with my order and a sample of their oat and honey soap.The nice note attached to my reciept

The lip balm itself was quite delightful. It keeps my lips feeling soft most of the day without making them sticky. Plus, it smells like a spa. I actually take it out sometimes just to smell it. So, if you are in the market for a nice, natural, sustainable lip balm that doesn’t cost much and gives back, I would highly recommend that you check out Beecology.