For the uninformed, the title translates to “Snow, Snowman and Snowball Fight.” Which pretty much sums up the past two days.
On Friday we had our first snow in Stuttgart, and to say that the Australians were excited would be an understatement! In our morning tea break of our German classes, a large contingent converged on the square across the road from the classrooms, and thus began the first snowball fight of the course! As I had actually taken food to eat in class that day, I stayed inside the classroom, opting instead to figure out how to open a window, and proceed to take a few photos. It was a somewhat successful venture, but it would have been better, had I been able to take some shots when it had been snowing heavily.
I didn’t envy our poor German teacher, having to deal with a class of distracted students longing to go frolic in the snow. Yes, frolic. Its a pretty apt description.
The rest of Friday was relatively boring in comparison. Ainslie and I went grocery shopping so I could cook dinner for all of us, and were appalled at the price of meat! In the supermarket it wasn’t too bad, but the butcher was easily three times more expensive, especially for the chicken! Upon that discovery we quickly returned to the supermarket to buy some meat before leaving.
When we arrived home, I got straight into prepping and cooking. One thing I have noticed while I am here is that a full meal of meat and veg is not a regular dinner meal. As most Germans eat their main course at lunch (and the Mensa meals are great for that), they tend to have simple food for dinner. But regardless of that, Klaus and Margit were very happy with the Honey Cinnamon Chicken Stir-fry I cooked up. There were absolutely no leftovers, and I had cooked a larger amount than usual! After dinner I was very tired, and retired early as we had to leave early for our trip to the Black Forest and Baden-Baden.
Saturday was our first official excursion for the Winter University, and it was amazing! Ainslie and I had to leave home early as the trains don’t run as frequently on weekends, and two of the other girls who were staying around the corner from us hadn’t even gotten up yet! We were the second pair to arrive at the meeting point, and soon after us a large group arrived. After waiting for what seemed to be forever, the buses arrived! Megan, Cara and I happily found some seats near the front, but our enthusiasm for the day dimmed when we realised we were on a bus with the group who had stayed out all night, drinking and dancing. They were pretty rowdy during the bus drivers introduction, and the student assistant’s translation, but that wasn’t the worst part. About ten minutes into the bus trip, they were complaining they needed the loo, and one was even sleeping in the aisle of the bus even though we had been told to use our seatbelts!
Wolfgang, our bus driver, was kind enough to pull over at the next rest stop so they could use the facilities, and strictly told them they had two minutes as we had a tour guide waiting for us to arrive in Baden-Baden… Fifteen minutes later and they were finally all back on the bus with their hot chips and various other snacks. To say the rest of the bus was unimpressed would be an understatement. If they wanted to go on a Contiki tour they should have booked that, instead of wasting all our time.
On the plus side though, Baden-Baden was awesome. As a spa town and temporarily a French base of operations, it was spared from the bombings in the World Wars. As such, all the original buildings remain, and the casino which the town is famous for, is still in its original condition! As we walked around town and were told about the major sights, I quickly came to the conclusion that the Casino manager almost owned all the important buildings… Even the main church was financed by the Casino manager!
After our tour around town, we entered the casino, and I don’t think I’ve seen a building with an interior quite as opulent as this. For such a plain exterior, the Casino is a beautiful work. I’ll post a gallery soon with the photos from it, its amazing. Once we had finished the tour of the Casino and town, we had free time for lunch and an hour or so. Lunch was just a quick stop at the local bakery, and the first decent coffee I’ve had since arriving in Europe, I was so happy. With food in our stomachs and free time on our hands, what did we do? Well a snow fight of course! We found a decent sized park near the river and after playing with a stranger’s adorable dog for a little, the first snowball was thrown and off we went!
It was a fight of epic proportions, and we didn’t limit ourselves to just snowballs. Guys and girls alike were tackled into the snow, a snowman was made, and much fun was had. Its probably the most fun I’ve had in a while, and it was awesome to just relax, let go and enjoy myself.
When we returned to the buses, Megan and I decided to switch bus, and off we went to the Schwarzwald und Mummelsee! The Black Forest is famous for many things, my favourite two being the Schwarzwaldkirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake) and the Tales of the Brothers Grimm. It was snowing extremely heavily when we arrived, and so a Hansel and Gretel joke had to be made, though we left that until we actually entered the forest. I think I drank a good three (small) cups of coffee after we entered the hotel (pictured above), two before my cake and one after… And it was definitely worth it! The cake was amazing, almost as amazing as playing in the knee-hip deep snow afterwards! It was hip deep for some of us smaller ladies, but one of the Megan’s didn’t have that issue… At all! Oh it was so fun, cold but fun!
The rest of the evening was almost dull in comparison, but we still had an adventure trying to find a place to eat on a Saturday night that didn’t have people waiting for tables… And so, three wrong trains and two toilet stops later, Emma, Megan and I arrived at the super expensive Maccas, and perched on a bench out in the cold with our nuggets and sub-par Big Macs. All in all a fantastic day!