„Frühstück,“ for ‘breakfast’

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Sabrina, Jason and I began our Sunday morning with a delicious breakfast Mone prepared for us. Unlike in the U.S., the grocery stores here are all closed on Sundays, so preparation is necessary.
After Frühstück (oder, ‘breakfast’), we took a tram to the Schloss to meet up with other classmates and see the museum, it was closing for the remainder of our time in Mannheim. The museum was pretty much just a sectioned off portion of the palace in which they kept the remaining ornate furniture, rather than desks and chalkboards (yes, our instructors write on actual chalkboards!)



After the ooo’s and the ahh’s at the fanciness dripping from the history of our present University, Ryan, Bryan, Kenny and I caught yet another train to Heidelberg. We were determined to hike to the top of Philosopher’s Walk this time.

“Ein kugel, ein Euro.”
One scoop, one Euro. This familiar phrase sent butterflies of warmth to my ears. I understood without doubt what these four words meant, thanks to my stay last summer in Berlin, when eating ice-cream was at least a once-daily routine.  The delectable Hazelnut and Pistachio flavors are just not as prolific back home. We all got ice cream. Natürlich.

We arrived at the train station and crossed the river to the base of the Philosopher’s Walk. The hike started steep, but we mustered through it at a fair pace, climbing higher and higher over Heidelberg.

And then we saw it.

The most epic spinning playground toy ever.

It plays the up-down weight game like a seesaw, but it also spins 360 degrees around.


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No AC in Fairytales.

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We felt the heat with the start of classes Monday morning. Air conditioning just isn’t a thing here, not even in a palace-turned-university. Here we were, thinking we’d be escaping the scorching Florida Sun for the summer…we were wrong.

We opened the windows, and with a breeze it’s bearable. I now truly understand firsthand why UF’s AC is always blasting…you’re more likely to stay awake shivering than sweating.

But I mean — I go to school in a palace, I can’t complain. It’s just a significant difference between our daily lives and the daily lives of people who aren’t used to being any temperature they desire at any point in the day.

We each have two German classes a day, and were assigned interaction leaders to hang out around Mannheim and speak German with. Sabrina, Jason and I went to the Neckar Strand on Monday to meet our interaction leader, Mone.

We had refreshments with our toes in the sand and watched the sunset right over the Neckar, the northern of the two rivers that pass through Mannheim.

Jason and I got döner from a little place in the Turkish district on the way back to our dorms. It was a tad spicy compared to what I’m used to, but so good. I don’t know how to describe döner if you haven’t tried it. It’s sort of like a gyro, I suppose, but different, delicious and cheap.

Its easy while abroad to want to just eat all your meals out, to taste and experience what this new place has to offer in food — but that is a trap. I learned last year, and though the rationalizations come in full swing again, spending money on train tickets is worth more than good food and beer all the time, even if it is Deutschland.

Marisol, Ryan and I took the number 4 train and found the rock gym! It’s north of the Neckar, not a far trek at all, and totally awesome. I’ll admit, I sort of miss the convenience of the rock gym in Gainesville, though that might just be missing having a bike. When we’re not on trains we’re on foot, and that’s neat, too.

Friday night, the ladies in the program dressed up and wandered to Filmriss, a trying-to-be-indie sort of bar. A few of us made some friends and went to the S.U.I.T.E., a club with two rooms on each side that played different music, so chances are there was at least something alright on at any point in the night. It played all sorts though, within the past 20-30 years. The vibe was cool, and we stayed late.

Days are long here. The sun is up around 4:oo and doesn’t set until nearly 22:oo. Military time isn’t new to me, so I don’t mind the 24-hour clock…except for the next morning, when all clocks tick’d me off a teensy bit…we had to wake up a short time later for a bus-ride to Baden Baden, but we slept on the bus and lack of sleep certainly didn’t get me down.

We went to Casino Baden Baden and if I could only use the word luxurious once, this would be that time.

The place was so decked with a wealth of history and splendor, it made me seriously consider selling my soul to attain such riches for a playroom of wonder like this.


We wandered to see the Roman baths, right down the way from the real baths that people who come to vacation in this town spend on. Baden Baden is a spa town. It is beautiful and clean and full. One day, I would like to return.

We split for lunch, and I saw a crisp orange drink on a blue-checkered table and just had to have it. I ordered the Käse Spätzel as well, and it was mouth-meltingly good.


On the bus again, we turned and twisted along the Schwarzwaldhochstraße, a road that reminded me vividly of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, which I wound around in my Jeep earlier this summer. We could see the blues of the mountain ridges as we rode high above them. The evergreens grew higher than any tree I’d seen before, completely dwarfing the Christmas trees I’d picked from the snow-covered forest that grew from my great grandmother’s land as a child.

We had entered der Schwarzwald — the Black Forest.

We came to a glassy lake called Mummelsee. We were warned to resist the temptation to break its surface so as not to anger Neptune, the water nymph who lives in its depths. I’m not certain of the extent of her fury, as curious as I might have been, but legend has it she’d create a great storm.

Emma and I took off our shoes and let our bare feet feel the rich earth by the water. Mannheim is mostly gray and tree-less, so this was a much-needed natural refreshment.

We continued on to the Triberg waterfalls. It felt so good to be near waterfalls again, having just come from working as a white-water raft guide in the mountains of North Carolina. Since I couldn’t go down them (as I left my canoe thousands of miles west of here…) I climbed up.

For more adventures of UF students studying abroad, please check out the UFIC Blog from Abroad!

Burrito Bros. reopens

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http://www.wuft.org/news/2013/01/24/burrito-bros-reopens-and-isnt-going-anywhere/

I gathered information from the video produced by Isatou Sarr for WUFT News, and wrote the story to accompany her multimedia during my shift today as web producer for WUFT News.

Ka De We–Ice Cream at the top

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After meeting with Timothy Fadek, we went for lunch at the Chicken Shack, suggested to us by the people at the Institut. Fall-off-the-bone Hähnchen, you could order half or a whole, mit pommes oder salat. Sehr, sehr gute.


After lunch, we took the train down to Ka De We, and ate iceream on the top floor. By the time we got back down to street-level to see the bombed-out church, it was closed for the day. Bummer.


Waiting for the train, I saw my first public cigarette advertisement– they don’t have huge Marlboro ads like that in the U.S.

Metro Diner — You Get What You Want

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I’ve eaten at the Metro Diner twice so far, and both times it was bustling with folks coming in to get a good meal — and getting exactly what they want. Serving size is satisfying, and the meal itself is good n’ hot. Waiters are nice, and don’t rush you despite the busy-ness of the breakfast-dining that goes on all day long.

The first time, we were put on the wait list, so we walked to the beach, since it’s located right on 3rd st.

The best breakfast is the Fried Chicken and Waffle — I couldn’t not have it the second time I went, even though I’d inclined to try something new. The Eggs Benedict was swell as well, I swiped a few bites from across the table.

Azurea, leaves you feelin’ blue

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Azurea, the restaurant on the water at One Ocean resort in Atlantic Beach wasn’t worth my time, much less expense. While the atmosphere is beautiful, you can see the sand dunes, ocean and sky from the table, and the food was decent enough to swallow — it was not the exceptional quality one wants to expect and receive at such a fancy-shmancy place. With all that money most obviously put into the design of the place, the food should at least be alright enough to make me want to return. Perhaps if they traded in a chandelier for a new staff of cooks…

 

Of course, I really did enjoy the atmosphere — which is why I am so disappointed. I would like to return, and will — when the food-situation is fixed to proper delectability.