Monday, June 20, 2011

Mother's German Experience

Ahhh these weeks have flown by all too fast and now here we are, finally arriving in the final countdown.  It is incredibly heart breaking to know I will be leaving in a matter of days, so I try to avoid thinking about being 5000 miles away from the place I now refer to as another home.  It isn't like I won't be back, I know I will.  And the sooner the better.  But until then, well, I guess I need to go home, work and finish up my college degree.

In the midst of these final weeks I had my most expectant guest arrive: my mother.  My parents have never been to Germany to see this aspect of my life which is becoming more and more a huge part of who I am, so finally introducing her to my friends, host family and life here was really a great feeling.  Unfortunately my dad could not make it due to work, but I know he'll get here someday.  So no worries.

On June 3rd my mom arrived in Frankfurt around 7 am after her long flight via Detroit.  We had a full week of traveling, people and experiences ahead of us so we of course started her entire trip with a lovely nap. And then we checked out Marburg.  I'm pretty sure her favorite thing about Marburg was the chocolate shop in our old town shopping district since we spent the most time there, but she genuinely liked the town from what I gathered.. so.. success.  Well minus the hike to the castle, but in all honesty, who did enjoy that...

Oh yeah.. we also checked out the huge rose garden up by the castle.  I had previously only seen it in winter season so it was pretty impressive this time around.  Of course my environmental mother was just more than completely enthralled by it, but hey. It was cute.

After our day in Marburg we headed off to Munich early Saturday morning.  Munich is in the Southern Eastern corner of Germany (well, it basically IS the southern eastern fourth..) called Bavaria.  This, people, is where the Lederhosen and Biergartens come from.  Oh and that weird polka-ish brass band music too.  Oh and the Mountain horn things.  Ok well anyways.  That is not typical Germany, it is only typical for that region.  But that of course means we had to voyage the journey down and see it!  I have been there once before on my first initial trip to the fatherland in 2007, however, I only spent a day or two in the city and really do not remember it well at all.  A return trip was well appreciated and I was able to enjoy it more now at my age than I did when I was 17.  My mom and I checked out the famous Hofbrauhaus Biergarten, the shopping district, the two towered churches, the English gardens,  Neuschwanstein (Cinderella castle .. which technically is an hour south of Munich but whaaaatever..) and a bunch of other things.  It was a really great time but short, so we were only able to fit a certain amount of things in.  But oh well.  Here we gooo..

So, after those 20 or so pictures I believe you get the gist of it all.  It truly is a romantic and beautiful region of Germany filled with tons of things to see; I'd definitely recommend it to any northern European traveler.  Oh and random note, the main BMW factory is located in Munich for all those car lovers.. check it out.  Seriously.  Actually after this year I feel quite educated in the German auto industry after somehow stumbling upon the Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, etc factories/repair shops/ whatever.  Needless to say, my first real car will be German.  But who is really that surprised?    That's what I thought. 
After Munich we headed up to Hamburg on one of the most expensive/fastest/farthest distance trains in Germany.  Mom was thoroughly amused by the ride.. I slept.. and read.. and slept.. yeah.  But after 6 hours of riding we arrived in Hamburg to Sarah and her family.  :) 

We were only able to spend 2.5 short days with them, but they were full of people, sights and great food.  The first night I introduced my mom to my host family and friends.  It was a lot of people for my mom to meet at once, but apparently she handled it just fine and thoroughly enjoyed them all.  The food also rocked- German BBQ.  My host dad definitely knows his BBQ.  All in all, the first night was definitely a success.
The next morning we took my mom into the city center for some typical tourist activites.  We checked out the Alster (river basin in the middle of the city), the city hall, Europa Passage shopping mall, and took a boat tour of the merchant district and harbor.  I think she was pleasantly surprised by how clean and green the city is.  Seriously, Hamburg is probably the cleanest city I've ever been in, minus Dubrovnik where they mop their streets. But anyway.  It was a fun day packed with new sights for her, familiar sights for me. 
Busy, busy, busy.  But fun, fun, fun.  As you probably can see from the pictures, the weather wasn't the absolute best conditions, but it wasn't actually raining hard until the second day when we went to the botanical gardens in the city.  I'm going to take a guess and say that the gardens were my mom's favorite part of the entire city due to her love for nature and what not, but even I, a not-so-large nature enthusiast, found myself enjoying them.  They had awesome green houses with plants from all around the world, large greens outside, and a Japanese garden as well.  They're located right across from the University of Hamburg, so basically really close to downtown but not completely in the city yet.  They're actually in affiliation with the University, which amazed my mother to no end. 

So yep.  After eating a traditional German lunch of noodle salads and wurst, mom and I headed back to Marburg to pack up my room and send her back to the states via Frankfurt.  All in all, it was a crazy busy week but a ton of fun showing my mom around the country I've come to love and call home.  She now has a glimpse into a huge part of my life which she never had before, which is an awesome feeling for me personally.  Next thing to do, get my father over.  But that's an adventure for another day..