I will be unfortunately very concise, in terms of details, for as I have not taken care to post frequently, I would have too much to explain. So in this(these) post(s), I will be attempting to catch you all up on some of the main events in my life in these last six months.
After the wondrous excursions with not only my own family but also the families of my host brothers and sisters from the past years, I was back in Frankfurt to attend the last of my lectures and write the exams. My exams took place at the end of February, but since 90% of my friends from the semester would be leaving, I was trading off studying with traveling around the state of Hesse with my HessenTicket (allowing us to travel for FREE with any of the regional trains to any cities within Hesse, including traveling into the first train station of the surrounding states; pretty cool, huh?)
The first of these trips was actually one of the best! We had planned a Saturday to travel to one of the far northern cities in Hesse, Marburg. Marburg is one of the most traditional looking cities and also one of the more beautiful cities in Hesse. What was especially great about this Saturday (and the weekend for that matter) was that my best friend, Mike, and his girlfriend, Christiane, came all the way from Austria to visit!! They spent the weekend in Frankfurt, and on Saturday, we all took a trip to Marburg.
To the left is, shameful to say, the only picture I have from the day. But still, it was a wonderful day trip with great friends!!
After this wonderful short and exciting weekend, I finished my exams, and all of the great friends I had made in this first, short semester in Germany had traveled home. With my future plans, however, I intend to see some of them again one day (That is a topic for another day)! Since the majority of our friends had left, Debora* and I began doing our own day trips during the week and on weekends, trying to experience as much of this "free travel" as we could.
*As some people know but maybe not everybody, Debora is a wonderful girl, whom I met in the first semester. She is from Italy, speaks English, German, French, and, of course, Italian, and she studies Foreign Languages for Companies (it is a poor translation from German). She and I speak only German together, but since we are both not mother tongue in German, we communicate also through English and Italian words we both know. Since we have been together, I have begun learning more Italian and she more English. We have been in a relationship since mid-November, and it was during this time after Christmas (January, February, and March) when our relationship became more serious. At the time of my writing this post, June, Debora and I are approaching seven months together! It is quite exciting!
I will not go into much detail of our excursions in Hesse, because there is something better to come in the next post! OOH, what could it be! Anyways, here are some pictures of the cities she and I visited during the month of March.
Then she and I walked to the famous bridge, which hosts all manners of locks. The locks represent peoples' love. When you put an engraved lock on the bridge, you are to throw the key over the bridge into the Rhein river, thus committing themselves to the love. My parents had put a lock on the bridge, when we were there in December. Debora and I then visited the spot once more, so I could show her my family's lock. I was excited to see the lock once more. It is a cool feeling because I am sure some people travel, leave a lock, and then never go back to see it again. But for me, since I was able to visit it again, it was not so superficial.
These two characters here have a funny story. Their names are Tünnes (on the left) and Schäl (right). The story goes, if I remembered correctly: If you want luck with love, you rub Tünnes' nose three times counter-clockwise. If you want to receive luck with money, business, et cetera, you are to rub/shake Schäl's right hand. But! if you grab/shake/rub his left hand, which he has behind his back, it is something like bad luck, for he is discreetly holding that hand behind is back (kind of like crossing his fingers).
At then end of the day, Debora and I got home super late, for one: the bus came one and a half hours late, and two: Köln is about one and a half to two hours away from Frankfurt with the bus. But we made it home, eventually, and rested up for the next day trip.
Fulda: This city is not exactly super famous or anything, but we had heard from several people living in Frankfurt that it is one of the most beautiful cities in Hesse. For me, this turned out to be true.
We began our excursion from the main train station, and followed the map to this absolutely gorgeous park. It was here, after walking for a few hours, we took a rest on a bench an took in the serenity of the part. Many people in Germany truly enjoy taking walks during the day, especially on a day as beautiful as this one was, but there were almost no people in this park! It was actually quite nice to have practically an entire park to ourselves.
Whilst in the park, we noticed our next destination. But what was to come, was not something I had expected in such a quaint city. As we turned the corner from the park, we came upon this site, and we could not help but take about 30 pictures after each step. I have, however, shortened that number of pictures a great deal, to only some of the best looking pictures of this cathedral.
There was also in the distance a smaller church, (below), which turned out to be some sort of a place of resting. It was very small, cold, and dark. We were not allowed to take photos inside of this smaller church, but it was worth a visit for us. If any of you happen to travel to Fulda and into this small church, you will notice Debora and I signed the guest book!! Just in case, like I said.
Moving into the city, these are some pictures of the buildings in Fulda. And although it is considered a city, it had a very small-town feel to it. The city center was no longer than about a two-mile stretch, and everything was so packed together. But it was quiet and undisturbed by busy-ness and such. The people also seemed quite friendly. Debora and I ate a late lunch in a café, walked around a bit longer, doing some window shopping, and then we left for the day.
Of all of the cities in Germany I had visited this year, this was one of my favorites. It had all of the essential "now-a-days" things like shopping malls, restaurants, et cetera, but it also had this very romantic-era, quaint feel to it. Perhaps I would live here during my retirement! Who knows!!
Well, these are all of the cities, which Debora and I visited in March. In my next post, I will tell you about my favorite trip of my entire stay in Germany: Italy! Until the next post!