Think those German models will milk my udder?
Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
44Trip End Aug 03, 2008
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Again, it's pretty annoying that the reception desk isn't always staffed - it's a pain in the butt, especially first thing in the morning when you're trying to check out! I had hoped to use the nearby internet cafe before leaving for Fussen, but it wasn't open yet. It was already getting hot - going to be another scorcher today.
I picked up some water before heading to the train station - the cute cashier made me wish I spoke some German, though her accent definitely was not as cute as that of the cashier from San Sebastian, and her "ees feef-tee feef-tee" comment
An announcement was made in German as I stood on the train station platform - having no idea what was said, I asked a nearby girl for a translation. Train problems, so we were to hop onto a different train with a slightly different schedule. Given our tight connections times, we weren't sure if we'd catch our trains.
Since the train was doing double-duty, it was completely packed - we wandered around but couldn't find even a single seat, so we ended up standing near the doors. Good thing it's only a 45 minute ride, and that was enough time for the girl to give me her interesting life story.
She's Russian, and from a circus family. Born in Moscow, her family started touring when she was 5, and she was able to see a lot of Europe while growing up. Over the years, she's learned to speak Czech, English, German, and Romani (I think that's what she said, not to be confused with Romanian) Several years ago, she decided to leave the circus to find her own life, as she put it. All the sisters left as well, but the brothers stayed (I don't think her or her sisters ever performed).
After leaving her family behind, she spent the first eight years in Frankfurt, studying and working, and has been in Baden Baden for two, working as a radio station writer. Funny - she didn't like Frankfurt, either - I have yet to meet a person that likes it.
She's off to meet her sister, who is arriving from Morocco, before they head off to Marseille and then the Cote D'Azur
It was interesting to hear about her sister's experiences while living in Morrocco. She's living in a small town, that is poor by Moroccan standards, but she does know some more affluent Moroccans. Being in both social circles is apparently quite rare because of the vast disparity between the rich and the poor.
She attended both a "rich" and a "poor" wedding recently, and found it pretty bizarre, how two groups of people from the same country can live such different lives. Anyway, this girl's story was pretty interesting ... I found it even more interesting when she mentioned she was meeting up with her twin sister ... interesting ... I guess they had both wanted to come to Canada for Quebec's 400th anniversary this year, but weren't able to work it out.
I have this terrible habit of not finding out names of people that I meet while traveling - I finally found out hers just before we arrived in Mannheim. Virginia - who knew that it was a common Russian name? And I suppose I should have known this, but it turns out that it's originally a Spanish name
We arrived late in Mannheim and in our rush to catch our trains, I forgot to get her email address. But fear not - I know her first name and place of employment, and I have proven in the past that it's all I need to stalk someone! Or maybe she can visit if she comes to Canada next year, and bring along her twin sister ...
My next train was busy, but I was able to find a seat. Some German lady asked me if I was from Vietnam? I think she was trying to make sure I didn't sit in a reserved seat. Why aren't hot women so helpful to me in Calgary? Must be the Axe body wash ...
Some guy ended up moving seats twice, because he kept sitting in reserved seats, and the person with the reservation would invariably kick him out - but really, he should've known as it's clearly marked on each seat. He finally gave up and stood near the exits.
I had just enough time in Mannheim to grab a fish sandwich from Nordsee - lettuce, tomato, remoulade, on a sesame bun - yummy! As I munched on my sandwich, I noticed that the German lady who tried to help me with my seat was joined by her friend. Wow! Later on, another beautiful woman sat down, and then another ... is this train car filled with models going to a model convention? Why can't all train rides be like this? Where do I get tickets to the aforementioned convention?
I didn't have much time to catch my final train to Fussen - it was pretty full, but luckily I used my rail pass today, and was able to find a seat in first class. First class soon became very crowded, but unfortunately NOT with a model convention, but with pubescent boys with pubescent BO. NOT good on a hot and crowded train ...
Later on, the train conductor came by and told me to change cars, because they were dropping off some of the cars at the next stop. I changed as he suggested, only to find out that I needed to go to the very front car, and was still in a car that would be dropped off. We all stepped off and got onto the correct car, where it was another crowded train ride, and I ended up sitting next to a lady who was probably a stray who got lost on her way to the model convention. What gives? I repeat - why can't all train rides be like this?
Fussen is a neat town, but quiet and small. When I arrived at the hostel, the reception was closed, so I used the expensive (5 Euros/hr!) and painfully slow internet. A good thing is that they've got really cheap laundry here; a bad thing is that check-out is at 8:45!!! That's pretty stupid.
I dumped a load of laundry in the washer and went in search of food. A food court was mentioned in the guidebook, but it was a bust - closing up when I got there, and there really wasn't much selection. There was no Italian, Turkish, or Chinese joint as promised in the guidebook.
I came across a bakery that was closing up and had half-price wraps, so I was all over that! I grabbed one with turkey, and loads of veggies - but the pickled cabbage was unnecessary. The second was tuna - with olives - nooooooo!!!!!! The red onion was nice. With the savings on the wraps, I got TWO desserts! The wraps were actually a rip-off on regular price - 6 Euros for two half wraps? Not worth it. I felt pretty sick after drinking a litre of milk with dessert - I had so much that I actually mooed and sprouted an udder! Too bad I couldn't find one those girls from the German model convention to milk me ...
Though I'm not an opera guy, I was intrigued by a poster I saw for "La Traviata" - I caught a bit of it in Vienna once (see blog entry entitled "A perfect day being a Wiener" http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/europe_2006/1156691160/tpod.html?tweb_UID=pwong ), but never got to finish it, and would love to work it into my schedule tomorrow, if possible.
Back to the hostel to finish my laundry - a bunch of kids came into the laundry room, pointed at me, said something, laughed, shut off the light, then closed the door. I thought it was pretty funny ... until I heard the lock click ... luckily for me, it wasn't locked. Phew!
It's another family-oriented hostel, but at least it's cheap. There's an age limit of 26, unless they have extra beds - I couldn't remember if I mentioned my age when I booked, and was a bit worried they would turn me away when they found out my age. But I had nothing to worry about - later on, some guy in his 60s showed up in the room.
The guy had some putrid BO - he told me he was here for a marathon, but I'm not sure if he'd make it. The 10 minute walk from the train station left him completely soaked with sweat! If you can't even handle that ...
Out for a walk (and some fresh, non-putrid BO air), and to use an internet cafe. They were playing Shawn Desman's songs - Europe is in serious trouble if his formulaic, cheesy pop has infiltrated its culture! Fussen is pretty lively at night, for a small town, and is nice to stroll around. So far, I'm pretty surprised at the beauty of this part of Germany. It's quite beautiful.
Back to the hostel, where I finally finished "A Tale of Two Cities" - incredible! Despite knowing what the ending would be almost 2/3 of the way into the book, it's impressive how Dickens managed to keep you in suspense, leading to an incredible finish. Despite the crappy start to the book, it was one of the best books I have ever read. Now I need to go back and read those first 60 pages I read two years ago, because it's now been long forgotten!