I Spent a year in Germany Part 2
For spring break I had trouble finishing my term paper on Effi Briest. Ten pages in German. Effi Briest is a German novel by Theodor Fontane. I read it for a class in German literature. Most of my friends were already gone, when I left for Paris by way of Frankfurt. I was headed for Spain, Portugal and Morocco. I had a semester of Arabic under my belt and was looking for a chance to use it.
Paris was nice, my second time there. I have found Paris is best taken in small doses, besides I had other places I wanted to see.
I went to the Louvre. I got to see all of those ancient art things, I had studied last year. It wetted my appetite for Egypt even more. The train through the Pyrenees at night was fantastic with snow and bonfires. When I got to Andorra I was disappointed to find I wasn’t the only traveler there. I bought a pair of shoes and some stamps and got my passport stamped. It’s quite a place nestled between France and Spain.
Spain When you cross into Spain at Port Bou you have to change trains because Spain uses a different bogey. Barcelona was nice.
Visited the University of Madrid which has another Vanderbilt Exchange program, one of four at the time.with others in France and England, the students were also out on spring break but I had a nice talk with the director. He seemed to appreciate my visit. This is a larger university than Regensburg. On the way back from Morocco I stopped in Cordoba and a festival at Valencia, where I saw a bull fight. I had to wait till 1992 to get to the Alhambra in Granada with Katie.
After Madrid, the train broke down on the way to Lisbon. We had to transfer to a bus. The trip took forever. Lisbon is a beautiful city on the Atlantic ocean. It’s the western most city in Europe. After a few days in Lisbon, Portugal LIS Portela Airport I flew to Casablanca CMN مطار محمد الخامس الدولي on TWA.
Morocco Morocco is on the Atlantic Ocean. I could see the Atlas mountains in the distance. Someone needed my help. A man was trying to write his girlfriend in English. After I helped him he invited me to visit his home. I was taking Arabic so a visit to an Arabic speaking country was essential. Both of my grandmothers had been here. One loved it the other not so much. So I had to see for myself. Actually depending on your point of view, they were both right. More on that later.
Casablanca is a large port on the Atlantic ocean. There is nothing left here from the movie. I spent a lot of time just walking around looking at things. It is very interesting.
MSA you can only understand educated speakers
My first time in Africa, I also had time to visit the cities of Merakech, Fez, Rabat, and Tangier. Morocco has a shameful 40% literacy rate.
My dad’s friend Buck Morse had worked for Purina in Tehran. The first time I saw Persian writing I was about nine. I thought you’ve got to be kidding, people can’t really read that. I must admit as a left-hander I was intrigued by the idea of a language written from right to left. No Hook. It is because the ancient stone writers held the hammer in their right hand and the chisel in their left.
When I told people I was studying their language they’d say,lets hear you read Arabic very nice Iqra! I bought an Arabic book for kids called Iqra! . Things are different here. The week ends on Friday. I love the music. Arabic music is based on maqams with a seven tone scale, unlike the western scale of eight tones.
On the way back to Germany I stopped to visit my friend in Chalabre, France near the medieval city of Carcasonne.
The train along the Mediterranean is beautiful. I also stopped in Geneva and Zürich, where I bought a watch for my birthday. I had that watch till I was 40 years old. It was a good one. It was a left-handed Heuer with the winding stem on the right side. I fell asleep by accident in the train and woke up in Milan. The closest I ever got to seeing Leonardo’s Last Supper.
Liechtenstein is located between Switzerland and Austria on the Rhine. also German-speaking country. Vaduz is the capital. Located on the Upper Rhine, Liechtenstein has a valuable art collection. So by now I had visited three of the five smallest countries of Europe.
I still haven’t made it to Monaco and San Marino the other two. By the time I got back to Germany my backpack was destroyed. Called our director to let him know I was fine. I couldn’t repair the backpack, so I had to borrow a suitcase. I also loaded up on supplies. Then took off for Scandinavia, the second part of my trip.
I was in Aachen for Easter. Then I left for Scandinavia. Stopping in Cologne, Bremen and Hamburg. Bremen is the home of the famous town musicians.
Denmark. Copenhagen and Hamburg. I met my friend Hilde in Hamburg and we took the train to Copenhagen. We had arranged it before. Her father worked for the Bundesbahn, so she got a discount and can ride anywhere in Germany for half price. I saw a special Iraq exhibit of Eshnunna statues from Iraq. I’ve been to Chicago twice and they haven’t been on display. This was a traveling show from Baghdad.
Tivoli is a famous amusement park in Denmark. It was closed for the season. I went back with Katie, the kids, and Margaret in 1999 and got to see it. We had a great time. It just goes to show if you don’t get to do something the first time, there is always a chance for the future. I have learned in traveling if you try to do too much and see everything in one time you are just going to end up making yourself and everyone else miserable. When you get to a place that you have come along way to see you should see what there is to see there and not go rushing off somewhere else.
Norway and Sweden In Oslo I visited Nazi defense resistance museum. and home of the Nobel Peace Prize. Stockholm was the farthest north I got that year.
The downtown reminded me of Regensburg. Downtown Stockholm is an island. The city hall Stadshus looks like the Anheuser- Busch brewery in St. Louis. The best part of Stockholm was the Milesgaarden home of Swedish sculptor Carl Miles. It displays many of his works in an outdoor park setting. Miles did the design for the famous Meeting of the Waters sculpture outside the St Louis Union station. It is still cold here and things are expensive. I can’t wait to leave. After a month of intensive travel I’m ready to get back to my studies and see my friends.
Austria Later that Spring we went on a Uni sponsored trip to Vienna and Hungary. There is a direct train to Austria that passes by Melk Abby, and through the Wachau on the way to Vienna. I had a better visit to Vienna than the last time.
Italy That summer I took the train to Rome, looking for Katie. It seems odd but at the same time she was in Germany with her brother looking for me. My daughter said what you were each looking for each other at the same time? Why didn’t you just email each other. Actually at that time snail mail was the only way and you had to write at least three weeks in advance just to be sure you had time to get a reply. Actually, I had a system worked out. When I had an idea about a place I wanted to go, I would write to the national tourist office for information and would read about the highlights, and others things that sounded interesting, before planning my trip. No internet in those days. Also a trip to the library was invaluable and just talking to someone who had been to that country before.
While in Rome the strangest thing happened, I got a telephone call in my room. I thought how odd, no one knows I’m here. It was my high school teacher. They invited me for dinner. Katie and I stayed at that same hotel on the Via Sistina on another trip to Rome years later.
My friend,Ted and I set off in search of our friends Roberto and Marisa, whom we had met in Turkey. We made a stop in Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliette.Verona is a medieval town on a river just like Regensburg. We Found Marisa in Arco a small town on Lake Garda the largest lake in Italy.We had to go to Bologna to find Roberto, where he was a student .
On another trip to Italy I visited the port city of Trieste. It was fantastic. I stayed in a youth hostel and saw a dolphin in the Adriatic. Home of James Joyce in the 1920. Near the border with Yugoslavia and hotly contested. I wish I could have stayed longer. Once part of the Austrian Empire. Remember captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music? It was the port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Sitting on the border with Slovenia in northeastern Italy, it was annexed by Italy after WWI.
View through the Alps and the Europabruecke in Austria was fantastic. Italy seems irresistible to me. I’m studying for finals on the train. There were just too many distractions in Regensburg. The Summer semester in Germany was a short one. May was full of holidays. No one feels like studying much in July.
- Eshnunna Statuettes, Eshnunna, Iraq, 2700 BCE (17green.wordpress.com)
- Regensburg – An awesome tourist city in Bavaria, Germany (dianaabend.wordpress.com)
- Short trip to …. Lake Garda (joanaslittleworld.wordpress.com)
- We decided to go to Turkey for Christmas, Germany 1977-8 (mrted57.wordpress.com)
- Productions of the World: Lisbon, Portugal (resourcemagonline.com)