to borrow a phrase from Weird Al's song "Albequerque,"
I HATE SAUERKRAUT!!!
It is a German tradition to eat sauerkraut for new years, sort of the same tradition as Black Eyed Peas, so I partook. They didn't tell me that the American diet doesn't prepare your intestines at ALL for the mayhem which ensues. The Sauerkraut was very good, but I guess it was too good, because I had too much... Seriously, 2006 got off to a very painful start. From 9 in the morning until 9 at night, I was in various states of agony.
After a night of pretty bad sleep, I felt much better. Rather weak, because I hadn't been able to eat anything the previous day.
I'm getting better at the whole driving of a standard transmission. I drove from Ottersheim to 3/4 the way to Basel with basically no problems. On the Autobahn, I drove 160 kmph for a little bit. That's right, my American friends, 100 mph!
European drivers seem to have no respect for the speed limit. I mean, even more so than American drivers. We usually go 5-10 mph over. Europeans go easily 20-30 kmph over the speed limit. I think it's probably because you never see Police cars. I've only seen one Polizei car during my entire trip here. They probably don't enforce speed limits very much here.
We just got back from a whirlwind trip of Germany. We spent a night in Colmar in Alsace in France. A.k.a. Little Venice b/c there is a river going through town. Very pretty. Apparently, there was quite a heavy german resistance during WWII. The american General wanted to call in an airstrike and level the town. The french general convinced him not to because of the historical importance. Saving the town through house-to-house fighting cost over 2000 american lives... Beauty and freedom has a price, I guess.
Colmar is the birthplace of Frederic Bartholdi, the architect who designed the statue of liberty. When we were leaving the town to go to Straussburg, there was a miniature (well, still rather large) model of the statue of liberty. I took pictures.
We went to Straussburg the next day. Very old, very huge cathedral. It was started in the 1190's... not finished until the 1700's...
Went to Ottershiem for a few days to spend time with my aunt and uncle there. Also saw my cousin's kids again. I taught Ricky how to play Spit.
Spent New Years with Tillmann and company. Had fun playing with their dog Jula. She's a giant dog, but an attention sponge.
After eating new years' eve dinner (including sauerkraut) and watching Dinner for One with the Schwabes, Tillmann and I went to Christoph's for a New Years Eve party, where I ate more sauerkraut. God, even thinking about sauerkraut makes my stomach churn right now.
When the clock struck midnight, we all went outside to watch the fireworks. I swear, New Years in Germany must be the most dangerous place in the world. It's like a war zone here. EVERYONE buys fireworks! And not just a few, but armloads! The streets are littered with burnt out bottle rockets the next day.