Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ziehen und Drücken, Germany, Part VIII

Now that I've been home an entire WEEK, I really should finish this! (So I can finish my Morocco posts. From June. Heh.)

My last week was busy with work, except for Monday. On Monday, cables were cut in Maryland. This shut off PPPL (in New Jersey) from the outside world, internetly-speaking. This meant that I (in Germany) could not remotely access all of my work on their servers. It was fixed only after I gave up and left IPP around 4:30 with the blessing of my supervisor. :) I biked directly downtown, hung out in yet another bookstore for a while (bought a German New Testament, refrained from buying 2349 German novels), picked up some Döner for dinner, and bought some fresh bread for breakfast.

Tuesday was much more productive. :) Before work, I ran. After work, I visited Elisen Park for the last time and loaded up on chocolate. Yessss.

Wednesday night, I attended an organ concert in Dom St. Nikolai with Gabi and Macro. Someone from the university performed several pieces on the gorgeous instrument:
Yay Organ!

The music was lovely, but the ambiance was amazing. As the sun set, the cathedral darkened and the twinkling candles became more noticeable. It was peaceful.

We walked over to the main market square to zum Alten Fritz, what several people told me is the best place to get good, real German food and beer. I had the most delicious Schnitzel and Bratkartoffeln I've ever had. Sooo goooood. I also had their house-brewed Schwarzbier. Love it. Karla, Amro, and Sebastien joined us. It was a lovely little goodbye gathering. :)

On Thursday, we were rather productive. We even made two plots! :D I had a good goodbye chat with P. We didn't get all that we planned finished, but we made progress. I said goodbye to the grad student friends and hope I meet them again someday. On the way out, I took pictures! Now, if you've ever been to the UW physics buildings, YOU CAN SEE HOW MUCH IPP RESEMBLES THEM.

The lovely Stellaratortheorie department:
Stellarator Theory!

The beautiful, sunny, clean main hall:
Disco lights

And the jazz paintings:
Jazz paintings?

Now, I have problems with "push" and "pull" doors. I often choose the wrong action. Don't judge me. Just sympathize with how hard it was in GERMAN! Karla told me the trick, though, which was probably obvious. "Ziehen" in RED means "stop and pull":
The bane of my existence. Ziehen=pull

"Drücken" in GREEN means "keep going! Just push!" ;)
Drücken=push. Easy? Sure...

I spent Thursday night packing, finishing food and wine, and watching German TV. I miss German TV. Sort of.

I'll leave you in this post (there will be one more in this series) with a picture of my dear, beloved, trusty bike, with its beautiful pink duct tape gear fix:
Mein Fahrrad!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gottesdienst und Fischer-Hütte. Germany, Part VII

Whew! I am home now, recovering from jetlag (crashed hard at 9:30pm, woke up wide awake at 5:30am, dozed until 8:30am, got up for a latte and Project Runway) and lovin' Faraday, who missed me. :) The last week was busy and awesome, so I will continue posting about it!

August 15, 2010

Last Sunday, I woke up at 6am and went on a 10-mile run! This was the first "long run" of my marathon training schedule. The weather was perfect, at just under 70 degrees, with clouds and a cool breeze. Now that I don't live there (back Internet Stalkers, back!), I'll post a map for you:

YES. I actually made it to Wieck (the town I missed on my August 11th run)! Wieck is adorable. I returned later that day with a camera, so we'll save my observations for for a bit.

As I was leaving the town, I found the river trail everyone told me about. It connects Weick with Greifswald and hugs the river Ryck (as you can see on the map). Like the towpath, it's a flat, dirt path wide enough for biking and running. I passed several old gentlemen fishing alone in the early morning. We exchanged nods and "Morgen!". The trail spit me out at the Greifswald fishing boat docks, at which point I turned into the town, ran around the Nikolai Dom, exited at Anklamer Staße, and zipped the last couple of miles home. Overall, it was an encouragingly speedy run--with the cobblestoned-towns being speed bumps.

After a quick stretch, shower, and breakfast, I biked back up to Greifswald for the Gottesdienst (church service) at Dom St. Nikolai! It was a Lutheran service, and completely in German, of course. In this big, beautiful cathedral, there were only about 40 people in the congregation, and as soon as the service ended ten of those (including me) whipped out cameras and morphed into tourists. (The cathedral appears to only be open around events and services, hence the church-tourism?)

I really enjoyed the service. We sang hymns from the (German) hymnals (pronunciation practice!), accompanied by the organ.
Light on the organ

They dedicated a cute little baby, and I *think* her grandmother sang a song to her. I stood up when they stood up and sat when they sat, and looked sheepish along with the other tourists during calls-and-repeats (this non-denominational evangelical chick has NEVER understood that, not even in English). During the sermon, the only parts I clearly understood were passages from Matthew (19:14) and Luke (18:9-14). They can be told with simple enough vocabulary and are familiar enough that I recognized them. :) I heard one word repeated a lot, and looked it up later: die Gnade, which means mercy or graciousness. Cool.

Nikolaikirche is beautiful. It was started in 1250 and finished in 1400ish. At some point, the interior was painted white, and the paint is peeling:

I like the imperfections. They are charming.
Die Welt

After that, I walked over to Gabi's apartment just off of the main square. We biked along the river to Wieck for lunch at die Fischer-Hütte (the Fisher Hut)! I had amazing sesame-crusted Zander, which is apparently pike:
AMAZING sesame pike at die Fischer-Hütte

Wieck is where the river Ryck meets the Greifswald Bodden, a bay which connects to the Baltic Sea. It has adorable fishing boats, a pretty bridge, cobblestones...
The Ryck river
Cutest fishing boats
Die Brücke
Wieck's incredibly charming

...a pier with funny faces and a cute cafe with good coffee and terrible service:
The river enters the Greifswald Bodden, which connects to the Baltic
Cute cafe

...and neighborhoods with THATCHED ROOFS (REETDACH) EVERYWHERE.
Mehr Blumen

After coffee and a walk through town, we had Eiskaffees. These are brilliant inventions. They involve ice cream and coffee. Mine involved vanilla ice cream, kaffee, egg liqueur (don't knock it til you've tried it), and the heaviest, fattiest, most delicious-est whipped cream ever. A-maz-ing.

We biked down to Die Klosterruine Eldena--the ruins of the Monastery of Eldena. The abbey was founded in 1199, dissolved in 1535, and mostly destroyed in the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) (thank you, Wikipedia!). It was made famous throughout Europe by Caspar David Friedrich's paintings in the 1800s. Like this one.
The abbey was dissolved in 1535
They set up chairs here for events
It was severely damaged in the Thirty Years' war

Here is my delightful new friend, Gabi!

And here I am, with medieval ruins, which is actually one of my favorite places to be:
Love it here

After that, we parted ways and biked home!

Distance ran: 9.92 miles.
Distance biked: 7.9 miles.
Distance walked: a lot.
Enjoyment had: indescribable. :)

Lots more pictures here. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010


August 14, 2010

After sleeping in Saturday morning, I dressed for all expected weather conditions (capris, tank top, flipflops, sweatshirt, rain jacket), packed my Berlin bag full of gummi bears and my camera, and biked in the continuing deluge to the train station. I arrived 45 minutes early and completely soaked. I squished my way to the ticket machine, which was not working. I sloshed over to the ticket counter, and (IN GERMAN) bought a ticket from the friendly lady. I squeaked outside and shivered on the platform with the other drowned souls for half an hour until our train arrived.
I have half an hour to wait.

I read my new German novel, slept, dried, and looked out the window at the rainy green world. An hour later, we stopped in Zinnowitz, where I needed to change trains. The sky opened up and drenched us anew in the 30 second run across the platform to the waiting connection. Great.

At the transfer in Zinnowitz

A short ride later, we stopped in Peenemünde on Usedom Island. It was definitely still raining in this charming town...
In Peenemünde!

...but at least the museum was only five minutes away.
Museum Peenemünde: birthplace of the rocket!

Museum Peenemünde is a former Nazi weapons test site. This is where the rocket was born! Wernher von Braun and his team of physicists developed the V1 and V2 rockets here in the 1940s. The exhibits consisted of the buildings themselves (those which were not destroyed during the war) and very interesting displays on rocket science, how they fit into WWII, and a discussion of how this site brought forth the predecessors of both horrible weapons of mass destruction and inspiring space flight! The scientists were originally motivated by the latter, but politicians directed their research to the former.

After buying my ticket (IN GERMAN), I re-entered the soggy outdoors.

The first building was the control center:
The first building was the control center for rocket testing.

The cool relief map of the old site was the first stop outside:
Map of the area

This crane was used for transferring coal from the mine:

This bridge leads to the main factory:

The site is conveniently on a harbor:

An old Soviet ship is part of the museum, too.
This kind:
That's what it is
Soviet ship

It reminded me of many trips aboard naval vessels with my dad when I was little. :)

Lifesaver and big gun
Herr Kommandant

Like my wet-weather garb?
Raaain gear!

The pump house and rooms in the factory reminded of Doctor Who sets!
Reminds me of Doctor Who sets.
More cool rusted factory things
Power station control room

Here's a blurry and reflective picture of Wernher von Braun:
Wernher von Braun

Don't end up like this sign; stay back from the test zone!

After the history of the site, they had a section on what's happened since WWII. The Allies competed for the German technology and scientists, and the museum looked at each of their development. Naturally, this focused on the USA, Russia, the Cold War, and the Space Race. Our (inside) tour ended with some disturbing depictions of how the world sits with its stockpiles of WMDs:
Again, scary

Outside, the last stop was a model of the V2 rocket:
Model of V2 (I think. Got too tired of rain and left.)

I didn't go over to it; I was COLD by now and starving, and we know how I get when that happens... ;) I asked the ticket lady on the way out to recommend a cafe to me (IN GERMAN). She told me (IN GERMAN) to go out and go left and then right but NOT left because there is nothing and KEEP GOING and you'll get to Cafe am Deich. Okay. Got it.

Turns out, I didn't have it. I asked a lady at a gift shop (IN GERMAN). She said (IN WHAT?) to "follow the road to the fire and take a right". Feeling like I could figure what the heck "the fire" would mean, I trudged off.

By now, there were puddles ankle-deep completely covering the road in some places, and buckets of rain were still pouring from the sky. I passed a Pacific Science Center-like museum, a toy museum, and a U-Boot museum, all of which would interest me on another, less soggy, hungry, tired, and cold day. Finally, I saw this:
OOOH. "THE FIRE". Yessss.

And this:
Peenemünde proper
That looks decidedly downtown-ish.

And this:
I'm so close!!!

I actually never made it to Cafe am Deich. I stopped at the first cafe I saw. I was only their third customer, and immediately requested coffee (IN GERMAN). And then a menu. It was here that I discovered that "Fischstäbchen" are fish sticks. It's not what I was going for, but it was filling and warm. :) Which was actually what I was going for, so go me.
i didn't know I was ordering fish sticks.

To verify, I asked the server (IN GERMAN) how to get back to the train station. She told me a different, shorter way than how I came. It sounded fine. Shuffling off in my still drippy clothes, I found the train tracks, and huddled with the shivering masses until our train came to rescue us.

Goodbye, Peenemünde!
Leaving on the train! IT'S STILL RAINING.

I had to wait about half an hour for my transfer, but once it came, I got a window seat and fell asleep. My bike was still at the Greifswald Hauptbahnhof (SCORE!), and it was actually NOT raining for my couple mile bike home. I took a super long, hot, bubble bath and slept incredibly well. :)