The day we left did not start out well. First, my camera refused to work. It still kept saying that it couldn't read the card, and when I tried putting the card in my computer the screen froze up. Luckily, Alisha's camera worked perfectly well, and she took tons of pictures which I plan on stealing and sharing with all of you as soon as I can. Anyway, the day just got even more fun when I decided to check my e-mail before I left, just in case there were any last minute changes in my flight. There weren't, but there was a message from my mom. Apparently after I bought my bus ticket to Madrid visa called my house reporting card fraud. I called the company before I left, letting them know exactly where I would be and how long I'd be gone. I've also used the card three or four times to take money out. If someone HAD stolen my card, I would have been really pissed at Visa for being so slow at catching it. I tried to call the international visa number Mom gave me once I got to the bus station, but I was having some cell phone difficulty and couldn't get through. I tried again in Germany, but, of course, my Spanish cell didn't work there. Fortunately I had enough cash on me for any emergencies, but I did not like knowing that I probably wouldn't be able to use my card until I returned to Spain.
Anyway, after a five hour bus ride, an overpriced taxi, and a packed three hour plane ride, we arrived in Berlin where we met Olga and her dad. They live in Bad Oyenhausen, which is three hours away. We had planned on just taking a bus there, but they refused. Olga lived with Alisha's family from September to the beginning of February while she was studying in Minnesota, and her parents wanted to repay them. They were so incredibly hospitable. Besides going well out of their way to pick us up and letting us stay with them, they bought tons of food and paid for our bus fare whenever we went anywhere.
Our first full day there Olga showed us around her town. It's not a big tourist area but it's a cute place, with little stores and pretty parks and a couple really cool looking theatres. After exploring, we went back to her house. Olga's birthday was a week earlier, when she was still in Minnesota, so she was having a belated birthday party with her friends back in Germany. Alisha and I were a little nervous at first, since we don't know any German past a few words (I took one semester my freshmen year but very little stuck), but everyone there had been studying English since fifth grade and knew it really well. Only a couple of them, Pia and Johanna, talked to us the whole time, and they were really nice and loved having the chance to practice their English. We spent most of the evening talking to them, eating really good food, and playing this karaoke game on PS2. Overall it was a really fun night!
The next day we took the train to Hannover and went to the Sprengel Art Museum. It was fun, and some of the pieces were really cool, but others I just didn't get. Seriously, if all it takes to get your work in a museum is to make a giant hole in the middle of a canvas I could have been famous back in elementary school. Once we got back to Bad Oyenhausen we just chilled in Olga's room, played a little more Singstar, and went to bed early because we had to get up early to go to Berlin the next day. Our flight didn't leave until 4:15 on Sunday, but we wanted to do some sightseeing before leaving.
We got up at five the next morning to go to Berlin, and somehow I managed to sleep most of the way there. We met Olga's mom's cousin, who was a tour guide and took us on a personal driving tour of Berlin in his tour van. We saw SO much- buildings for royalty and government, world war two memorials, parks, and, of course, the Berlin wall. We also stopped at Checkpoint Charlie and had our picture taken with a guy dressed as a soldier in front of it. He got really excited when we told him we were from the U.S. and started speaking in broken English: "Bush is an...arsloch, yes?" It took me a minute to remember what arsloch was before I started cracking up; let's just say it's not a word I learned in class. After driving around a little more he dropped the three of us off at the Jewish Museum (yes, that's what it's called, but in German). It had a Holocaust section, which was, of course, heartbreaking. It also had a lot on Jewish culture and religion and history, which was really interesting. After that we drove around a little more, then they dropped us off at the airport after our goodbyes and thank yous. We got back to Granada a little before three this morning.
We start classes tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited. I have a couple classes with some of the people from my Winona group, so that'll be nice. I have one class Mondays and Wednesdays, four Tuesdays and Thursdays, and none on Fridays (YES!!Long weekends!!!). I'll write more at the end of the week about how everything goes.
Oh, and for those of you who don't have facebook: I got a flickr account so you can see the pictures of Granada I have so far (the ones I loaded on my computer before my memory card died). I'll add the Germany pictures once I get them from Lish.