Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Always Time for Friends!

Remember the time my friend, Melissa, came to visit me in Bonn, Germany? Yea, it was pretty awesome. Haha! She was in Berlin for the week before and then caught a train down to Bonn on that week's Friday morning. I met her at the hauptbahnhof in Bonn and after taking a few moments to find each other, we headed back to the house, dropped our stuff, and then headed out via bike to see Bad Godesburg and Bonn.

First, I rode her the back way to show her some of the local neighborhoods and areas I have to ride everyday. We headed up towards Badgodesburg to walk through the area, get some lunch, and see the Castle. We stopped a little Donner joint for lunch and Melissa was like, "What is that?" about the meat hanging from the ceiling spit. Haha! It does look pretty sick at first, but it tastes good - promise. Haha! We grabbed donners and went to eat on the steps below the castle in the city before hiking up to the Badgodesberg castle.

I had never been up there before, even though it's RIGHT near my house, so it was cool to see the view from the top of the castle. You can virtually see the whole surrounding area, which is beautiful. We stayed up at the top of castle and chatted for a good while about our jobs and where lives are at now. It was so great because even though we haven't seen each other in over two years, there was an instant reconnection and it was SO good to visit with her. We stand the same on a lot of things and both are growing into accomplished individuals in different ways... It's cool to see the changes in both of us and how I feel as though I connect with her even better now with age. We're the same people, but different... you know what I mean. It's great that we have both grown in positive ways - good to see.
After we climbed down from the castle, we got back on our bikes and headed to Bonn. We biked along the Rhine - BEAUTIFUL! Haha... We stopped off at the Japanese Gardens, too, which was fabulous. I love that place! We walked around Bonn seeing how it's set up and just talking about culture here. We didn't have locks for our bikes, so we found a little ice cream shop that we could park our bikes by and eat our ice cream outside. Now, ice cream here that is made into fancy Sundaes has alcohol in it... yea. Luckily, I told Melissa this first and then when I forgot to order without she reminded me in time to save our Sundaes. Haha... We sat outside in the beautiful summer dusk, eating ice cream and chatted for about two and half hours before making our way home. It was just so nice - we chat like we've never been apart and are even closer in a lot of conversation than before. I wrote it above too, and it's true.

We came back, watched some of Bachlor Pad (Yep. Don't hate.), and then headed to bed to get some sleep before a beautiful and very interesting Saturday.

Saturday we got up and had a nice breakfast with the family before heading over to the main park by the Rhineaue for the MASSIVE flea market they have one Saturday each month. It's always cool to walk through and see the old crap, and new crap that people try and sell or pawn off. There is actually some really nice jewelry stands and such set up there, but past the few feet of legit stands, it turns into peoples old "treasures."

Melissa and I even gave in. We bought some old German lady's wooden elephant sets (they were elephants - I had to get them for my collections.. yes, I collect elephants), and Melissa found an old, authentic (we think) pistol from England. I'm not a gun fan, but it was a quite a classic beauty.

We packed up our "treasure" and biked over to the boating dock for a ride up to Linz, Germany. I've been to Linz before, but it was cool to take Melissa and show her around there. It's such a CLASSIC, old-school German town - touristy, but not overly so - and it's the perfect place to catch a little culture and downtown from the bigger cities. I plan on taking my parents when they come in November. It'll be quite a bit colder, so we'll have to see about the boat ride, but we can dream that it'll warm up for a few days... right? Right? Haha... We even found an American flag on the way up the Rhine - coincidence? I think... yes.

We walked thorugh the little city, got lunch and ice cream, Melissa did a bit of shopping there, and then we got on bikes and ventured toward home. I have biked home from Linz before (about 14 miles), and it was no big deal. I'm even in better shape now than I was before. However, this experience was different. We decided to bike down the same side as Linz, and not ferry across the river and ride back on the Bonn side of the Rhine. We were told the trail we were taking was a bit more difficult, but this was beyond what we'd planned for. It started out more hilly than the other side, and thus, naturally we took a bit longer. We even stopped to take a fun picture at the Remagen Bridge and I told her the stories of WWII, and how it was involved. Then, we found ourselves riding through some random little towns and trying to make sure we were following the biking signs... It was all pretty poorly marked and confusing, but we were doing alright... until a few miles down the road...

We ended up somehow going down a random back path that turned into a mini-jungle of German plants. You may think that's nothing, but then you have never heard of Stinging Nettle. What is sitning nettle, you ask? Yea, I asked the same thing the first time I touched some... So, for those who were like me, here is what it is:

"The stinging nettle is a herbaceous flowering plant found in Europe, Asia, Northern Africa, and North America. The leaves and stems are covered with brittle, hollow, silky hairs that contain three chemicals, a histamine that irritates skin, acetylcholine which causes a burning feeling, and serotonin. When brushing up against the plant with any bare skin, either the legs, or the arms, will result in a rash similiar to poison ivy." (Picture wanted?)

The rash has never happened to me, and we ended up in FIELDS of this stuff, but perhaps it turns that way for some. Thank goodness I knew what it was an TRIED to avoid it. However, it was like going through the Burning Bush. Yea. We started by feeling it just a little bit, but as we were in shirts and t-shirt... We ran into more and more of it, biking into it a lot, and ended up with some severe sting-age. Not cool.

After our hour riding through the burning bush and blazing sun, we found ourselves in Bruhl and running late for the YSA BBQ at our house. We caught a train back to Deutsche Telekom, right by my home here, and rode quickly on our bikes back to our house to get things for the BBQ ready. People were already there, but they were understanding when we explained about the stinging nettle... let's be honest. They mostly just laughed at us. We ran upstairs to change and came down for the BBQ and to finally just take it chill for the day. It really was a fabulous day, but we were both exhausted by the end and hit the sack after watching the rest of the Bachelor Pad episode.

Sunday was a good step for me... It was the first time I sang in church here (I have missed it SO much!), and I did it in German! I sang with Luise and the missionaries, and it sounded pretty good. We sang "Komm du quelle, judes sagens," OR "Come Thou Fount." We did the first and last verse in English and the second verse (the one MoTab does that's not normally sung) in English. We blended well, sang with the spirit, and others were touched - that's what matters. So good...

After church, Melissa and I ventured home, ate lunch, took a walk and talk in the park (again, SO good - she just gets me!), took some hardcore naps, and then got up when Luise came over that evening. The evening was mostly Melissa packing and us making her music mixes from my ITunes, chatting more, and eating choclate. Classic. Haha! She had to catch a train at 12:30am that night/next morning, so I took her and dropped her at the station to see her off and make sure she got on the right train. German trains are easy enough if you understand some German, but if you know NO German, it can be really tricky with no one to help you. I know form experience. Haha!

It was sad to say good-bye! I wish we had more time, but it was SO nice (and needed) to see a familiar face and rekindle a friendship that had dwindled a bit in the past two years. She really is an amazing person - I feel such strength from her. It's quite amazing, really.
My final thought - more of my friends should probably come and visit me while they have a free place to stay and free tour guide. Serious. Less than four months left, guys!
Song of the Day: I came across this jam recently while filling out my "twice a month music surveys" from a UT radio station. Haha! I know I'm not there right now, but it keeps me up to date on new music. So, here is Auburn (Feat. Iyaz) with La La La. It's gotta the ATB beat from the past in there - you know what I'm talkin' 'bout. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Sue said...

You look gorgeous in the picture of you on top of the castle. I love the yellow dress.