Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

We joined the trampolining club at the university, and were invited to participate in a fun inter-club trampolining competition! Naturally we signed right up!

Münster lies about 3-4 hours west of Braunschweig – just outside of Lower Saxony (where our student permit gives us free train rides), so we went as far as we could in Lower Saxony (to Rheine) and then took another regional train for a few euros to get to Münster.

We arrived late Friday night with a bit of time to practice on trampolines. Afterwards we had a late dinner of pasta and a few beers we went to sleep in the gym. Around 2AM somebody turned the lights on by accident, and it took atleast 15minutes and maybe 20 people to tryand figure out how to turn them off (it was the circuit breaker). People repeatedly hit the buzzer switch instead -HONKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK-.

The next morning after breakfast we moved to the competition hall:

The competition hall

Some of the judges

The competitors list

There were 3 parts to the competition –  a set level routine, a freestyle routine (10 jumps, anything you want), and a 6-person syncro routine. For our syncro routine we decided to do a theme… we all wore pajamas.

Here’s the video:

Two of our group of six won gold in their categories! (as you can see in the video) I didn’t win but I was competing in a higher level because of my backflipping ability, it was still alot of fun!


Our pajama team!

The trophies!

Our team at the podium

Attempting a 2-person flag

Our team again

That night there was a party in another school hall, we were the last ones there until they closed at 5:00AM – then we had a massive snowball fight.

All in all, a great weekend.


Decided to test out our student passes, and travel for free in Niedersachsen! (Lower Saxony). We headed up to the north coast to a city called Wilhelmshaven!

Unfortunately we discovered they don’t work on the NordWestBahn trains (a separate train company for the north coast), so we ended up paying 28 euros for a day pass for 2.

We arrived in the city around 11:30, turned on our GPS, and headed for the coast. Instead we found an inlet.

Some nice apartment buildings, facing the city on this side, the sea on the other.

An abandoned mini-golf course

Now that's an outhouse.

An interesting statue

We made our way towards a bridge… to the coast… unfortunately it was under construction, so we made our way back into the city.

Found a bus stop that reminded me of home…


As we walked through the city we noticed a sign for a Flohmarkt! (a flea market). We wandered inside and found lots of antique goodies!
I ended up with a gold 17 jewel pocket watch, and Ian, a pewter shot glass! We also saw some old fencing swords but thought better of it… at the time.

We headed back to the coast, and this time checked out the Oceanis museum:


It was pretty interesting, but aimed more at kids… there was a rather cool pirate game though…

In 3D! You got to aim and shoot the cannons at pirate ships, and a squid boss!

After that we went back outside and thought again of the fencing swords…

“You know… we might actually be able to bring those home… the handles might come off…”

“Hmmm…. your right….”

“But I only have 7 euros left…”

“Hmm… I only have 7.20 left…”

“If the shopkeep accepts, we take em!”

We wandered all the way back to the flohmarkt, and sure enough, the swords were still there. Unfortunately he didn’t speak a lick of english. A few other shopkeeps helped translate and we managed to barter the swords down to 14.20 for both. We were poor students.

Here’s a map of our first path..

I sheathed my sword behind my leather jacket and we continued to walk… all the way back to where we started, towards the bridge in the OTHER direction.

After another half hour, we saw this:

We crossed our fingers that the sea would be on the other side...

Thankfully it was.

The North Sea!

Just call me Duncan.

Oh yeah.

Two swords are better then one!




Bring it!

Another style...

Our swords... Made in Toledo, Spain! Perhaps antique!?

I christened mine in the sea (note the seaweed)

For reference, here’s the route we took back this time:

Route back to the train station

We removed the sword handles, and stuck the blades in Ian’s backpack. To any passerby… well we don’t know even know what they looked like… Some random pieces of metal.

Made it home in about 3-4 hours, and now the swords are safely resting on our walls – ready for our next duel.


After our Monday lecture, we hopped on a train and made our way to Bacharach, Germany to stay in a castle over night! Train took about 4.5 hours; an ICE to Frankfurt, and then two regionals down the Rhine to Bacharach. We arrived around 6PM, but since the clocks already went back on Sunday, it was already dark out!

We wandered through the town, which was mostly empty!

We saw a structure on a hill and went to investigate…

A skeletal church?

We continued past and started climbing a dark staircase through a forest… we knew the castle was on top of the mountain, but we weren’t sure where…

Atleast there were lights...

5 minutes later...

A sign! Finally knew if we were on the right track or not!


Found it!

After checking in, we headed back outside to explore the rest of the castle mountain…

The castle

Sitting in the battlements

The castle and I

Climbed up another stone building and got these pictures of the castle and Bacharach

Nice view of the Rhine, high speed train going by

A few of the mountain vineyard

In front of the castle

In front of the second building/rock

We headed back inside to have dinner – since it was November 1st, there were still some halloween decorations up… Spider spaghetti anyone?

It was quite good actually!

We woke up early and I attempted to do a time-lapse of the sunrise... Sadly, I didn't account for the height of the mountains. The sun never came up in the time we were there

Part of the castle in daylight

The vineyards

The town

City hall

Turns out you can see the castle from the train station... in daylight

We left Bacharach at 9:30AM, to be home in Braunschweig in time for a language appointment at 15:00PM.

Frankfurt train station

Made it home with plenty of time. This weekend we’re off to Amsterdam!

We arrived in Luxembourg at around 8PM… in the pouring rain.

Nevertheless, we started walking and taking pictures!

Stumbled upon a very cool giant passageway, looked like it was once a river, but now filled with trees, and grass

Cool lighting everywhere

Another view of the stairs

The bridge

Interesting column...

Good thing my cameras waterproof! ...right?

Another shot of the streets

Interesting fountain

Train station

Now, the plan was to catch a night train back to Hannover… Problem is, it was leaving from Metz, France at 23:53. And the train to Metz had been cancelled. However, they provided us with a bus!

The bus to Metz!

We arrived with 5 minutes to spare… Only to find the train station shut down, and security everywhere. No trains leaving.

Hooray. Damn strike.

We ended up staying in a 2 star hotel over night:

For $33 euros, not too bad.

In the morning there was a single train to Saarbrucken, Germany. We headed there to find a working transfer to Braunschweig!

Saarbrucken, Germany

Cold pole?

Very strange... statue?

After a bit of exploring we caught the next train to Mannheim, where we could transfer to an ICE home to Braunschweig!

Since we were there, we decided to hangout in Mannheim for an hour, and see what we could see…

Don't do it!


Now that's a cop!

Poor Mercedes...

Found a palace of some sort!

The church inside the palace...

Inside of the church

Found a bigger church!

Very impressive inside

Finally we caught a train back home. One day later then we originally planned of course! Oh well, we saw a lot more then we were going to!


To Castle Eltz!

Posted: October 23, 2010 in Germany
Tags: , , , , ,

Our EUrail pass is finally coming to an end… we have 3 days left after this trip!

Grabbed an early train to a place called Moselkern, a small town close to Castle Eltz. But first we stopped in Koln!

Had 45 minutes to kill, so we climbed a giant hill and found Fort Constantine!

Great view!

And of course, who would I be without doing a flag?

Or my silhouette

Walked back to the train station and continued on our way to Moselkern!

Arriving in the small town of Moselkern

We started following signs...

Sounds like a challenge!

10 minutes later...

First glimpse!

Can you spot Ian?

There he is!

The entrance

Stopped for lunch - Lasagna and cheesecake/chocolate cake

The armoury

Was is dast?

Yeah. It's an AXE-GUN.


Some interesting treasure...

Inside the courtyard

We also had an actual tour of the inside of the castle, but sadly, no pictures allowed.

Hiked back to the train station and off we went! To Luxembourg! (Hey, it’s only 2 hours away, why not?)



Had a class trip to Wolfenbüttel today… Wolfenbüttel you might ask?

The HOME of Jägermeister. That’s right, the company that makes Jägermeister is located just 10 minutes south of Braunschweig. We can even get there on a regular city bus.

Flags out front

Jägermeister was invented in 1935, by Curt Mast. It literally means Hunt (Jäger) Master (Meister).

Largest bottle available: 1.75L

Now unfortunately, pictures were only allowed in two places during the tour… In a room with some of the 56 herbs used in Jägermeister, and again in the basement where all the barrels are stored…

25 known herb ingredients out of the 56 used

A view of one of the old high pressure filters

Jägermeister base before alcohol and caramel are added

The 56 herbs and spices are steeped for 2-3 days in alcohol, and then filtered using high pressure. The depleted herbs and spices are then shipped off to an unknown burial location, so others cannot discover the secret spices. The Jägermeister base is then stored in oak barrels for exactly 1 year.

One of the 7000L barrels used for storing the Jägermeister base

This is just one row of barrels. You're looking at well over 100,000L worth of Jägermeister base, capable of producing up to a million liters of Jägermeister

Myself and the barrels - and these are the smallest barrels they have!

After storing the base in the barrel for 1 year, it is then added to a mixture of alcohol, caramel, and sugar in exact proportions. It is then filtered through a high pressure filtering system. There are 386 quality control checks throughout this entire process. They make about a 40,000 liters per batch or something, so the factory is not always running. There are only 15 employees that work on the floor. Everyone else in the building (500 or so people) are office workers, or quality control inspectors.

It was an amazing tour, and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the area. We also got a mickey of Jager, and 2 shot glasses when we left =)


Today just so happens to be the International Suit Up Day, as inspired by Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother.

I informed my new friends and we proceded to suit up, and go bowling.

Heinz and Tom

Pizza first!

Colleen and her "Brunswick" bowling ball

This is it!

Our entire group

The birthday boy, Yida!

A very successful suit up.

On the way home a german asked about the suits. We explained. He knew about HIMYM!