Sunday, May 14, 2006

Freiburg: 2nd Friday

We had to be at the Freiburg train station by about 7:30, so by the time we accounted for walking to the Strassenbahn, riding the Strassenbahn, the usual allotment of “Cru time” for people being late, and of course the special allotment of “Fack time” specifically for our temporally-challenged team member (“Fack time” = “Cru time” x 2.5), we had to tell people to be in the hostel lobby and ready to leave by 6:30. Everyone was reasonably on time and we managed to arrive at the train station right at 7:30.

As a preview, the plan for our “travel day” was to take a train most of the way to Ludwicksburg, make a hurried switch to another track to get the rest of the way there (I think we had 8 minutes between arriving and departing), tour Ludwicksburg for a couple hours, train to Stuttgart, tour there for the afternoon and most of the evening, and then train to Frankfurt where we had a hostel lined up for the next couple of nights.

Our tickets said that our train would leave on a certain track at 7:57, so after waiting in the cold for twenty minutes, we were quite glad to see the sign say that our train was pulling in at 7:50. We got on, found our seats, and were not a little confused when the train pulled out of the station at 7:53 (keep in mind that Germans are famous worldwide for being immaculately punctual). When the lady came around to get our tickets a few minutes later, we found out that we had in fact gotten on the wrong train. In a show of precise timing as only the Germans could do, there were two trains leaving the same station, on the same track, going to the same destination, and they were doing it all 7 minutes apart. The good news from that revelation came from the ticket lady, who told Chip that while normally it would be a huge problem to have us on the wrong train, today it wouldn’t be a big deal and we could get away with it. The added bonus was that we got to the station where we would switch trains that much sooner, so we didn’t have to rush as much for the next train.

“Surfing” the connection between two cars as we waited to stop for our 2-minute window to get off the train:

Mindy, what are you doing? II Tim looks scared:

Emily smiles for the picture, but Mindy just keeps on making faces at II Tim:

Got some interesting shots when I let Emily play with the camera for a while:




Fack again (holding, of course, a travel edition of Settlers of Catan):

Sound asleep:

Pauline’s a thinker:

We arrived in Ludwicksburg and immediately set out to find the local palace, nicknamed the “Versailles of Swabia” because of its strong architectural resemblance to Versailles in Paris. Along the way, we discovered a large square with two churches across from each other. One was Protestant and one was Catholic and they were faced off from each other almost as if they were in a duel. It won’t show up well, but here’s a little panorama I stitched together of the scene:

Mindy and II Tim by the fountain in the middle of the square:

Some pictures from the middle of the main courtyard of the palace:

We couldn’t go in the main museum area because they only let people in on tours (which took longer than we had in the city and were expensive), but there was a mini-museum on the theater of the palace that was free to wander about in. We weren’t the only ones wandering about in it, we found this cat just sitting on one of the ledges of the main staircase about 30 feet over the ground floor:

Fancy chandelier:

One of the very Versailles-like gardens outside:

After wandering around the palace for a while, we headed back to the train station so we could leave for Stuttgart. This time we did get on the right train, although it was a short enough ride that we just stood with our stuff instead of trying to find seats:

Our first priority upon reaching Stuttgart was to find some food. We wandered around a little bit and soon stumbled upon a McDonalds. Yep, we had McDonalds, in Germany. You know how they say that English is the universal language for air traffic control around the world, but you go anywhere else (think Asia) and it’s like no English you’ve ever heard? Yeah, McDonalds is kind of like that. It’s just different enough to be really similar but also really weird. For example, just like every other establishment in Germany, they have beer; McDonalds brand beer to be exact (and no, for the record, none of us got it). Or the Quarter Pounder is called the Royale (although I suppose it would be kind of strange to go to the drive through and ask for the “113 gram-er;” gotta love the metric system). Fortunately for us, the lady working the counter at the line we got in spoke excellent English, so we weren’t completely lost in trying to order food (especially trying to make a special order to fit Fack’s strict diet).

Then we had to choose if we were going to the Porsche Museum or the Staasgallerie Art Museum. We’d already split up into several smaller groups for the afternoon and mine consisted of Fack, Chip, Pauline, Liz, II Tim, and myself. We ended up deciding to go to the Staasgallerie, but then had not a little trouble finding it. Even after asking locals for directions we were thoroughly confused. Turns out there are a series of buildings that are part of the Staasgallerie, like a theater, music hall, etc. Even after we found the actual art museum building itself, it took us nearly a half hour just to find the entrance! I’m serious; the building was one of those fancy modern-style architecture buildings and had no apparent logical place to go inside or signs directing you to the entrance. Eventually we ran into a couple of Germans who had just left it and could tell us where to go.

We were really excited because we had seen giant ads up all over the city that there was a touring Monet exhibit coming to the museum (as you already know, I’m a sucker for impressionists, but Monet is by far my favorite, so I was psyched). But once we got inside we found out that the exhibit was going to run from May to September, so our hopes were dashed. The museum started out with the newest, most recent materials and then went back in time as you progress, so we wandered through a few rooms of strange abstract “art” (some of it was really nice, but the majority was…yeah, we won’t go there) , stopped at a room featuring a half-hour long video of Rube Goldberg type machinations, and then arrived in the Picasso room. First, a picture of the first thing you see when you get to the actual gallery part of the museum (II Tim absolutely loved this piece)(picture from Chip):

The Rube Goldberg-esque video (actually a series of clips with a certain piece designed as a cut scene to make it look like one giant contraption)(picture from Chip). If memory serves, the jug of water streams into the bucket below, raising the float enough to tip the chair into the pot on the table, and so on and so forth…

A few Picasso shots from Chip:

I don’t know quite what to call the style of this particular painting by André Derain (maybe a cross between pointillism and impressionism?), but I thought it was pretty cool:

Yeah, I love Monet (are we beginning to pick up a common theme here?):

This sculpture was really creepy because when we first walked into the room we all thought she was real (picture from Chip):

Now for the funniest part of our time in the museum; we walked into a room and saw these three busts on pedestals and Chip decided to involve someone in the shot to give a sense of scale for how big they are, so he asked Pauline to go over and stand by them. She walks over to the one on the left and puts her elbow up by the top of the pedestal to look like she’s leaning on it from the camera’s perspective. She didn’t actually touch it, but the docent in the room thought she had and flipped out. She comes running over yelling at the very bewildered Pauline in German and after a few seconds of chewing her out realizes she doesn’t understand, so she started all over in English. Turns out those busts aren’t anchored to the pedestal, nor are the pedestals anchored to the floor in any way, so it would be quite easy for the whole thing to tip over and destroy the artwork. Pauline was quite apologetic and visibly shaken (although not nearly as shaken as the docent who looked like she’d had a heart attack), but that didn’t stop any of us from making jokes about it afterward. I don’t know if they had radios or what, but from then on every docent in the museum watched us like hawks. Pauline even got yelled at again because she leaned against a wall while looking at a particularly huge altarpiece and apparently one isn’t allowed to lean against blank walls in an art museum. Chip's picture before Pauline gave the docent a heart attack:

A Rembrandt:

At one point we were sitting on a couch taking a break and looking at the pieces in the room when I noticed that Chip was standing right next to me with his camera hanging at his side just a few inches from my face. I mean really, what do you expect me to do, ignore it and go on with my life like a normal person? No! Of course I reached up, pointed it in my general direction (not easy considering its size and that I had no real grip on it) and pressed the trigger. Naturally, I wasn’t expecting it to turn out at all, but the result was good enough that I even put a small version of it on the airplane section of my summer project support letter:

Chip decided to take similar up-close shots of everyone present (I took the one of him, but these are all from Chip’s camera like the one above):

After we left the museum we spent a substantial amount of time wandering around looking for food, but being unable to find anything appealing it was back to McDonalds for us. You could tell Fack was pretty exhausted by the way he passed out on the table (we found a balloon on a stick and Emily managed to stick it in his hat and dreads without him noticing, even after he’d woken up):


We headed back to the train station and boarded our ride to Frankfurt. There was some confusion about which car we were supposed to be on (and people being in our assigned seats that didn’t want to move) and combining that with people being pretty tired and worn out made it a more stressful time than it needed to be. We eventually got to Frankfurt and found our hostel for the next two nights just a block away from the train station. The hostel wasn’t in the best part of town, but we set up some fairly strict rules to keep everyone safe and we didn’t have any problems. The hostel was filled to capacity so we had to cram all our guys into one fairly small room (fitting all seven of us and our stuff in there was a challenge to say the least) and the girls split more comfortably between two rooms down the hall.

Freiburg Table of Contents
Freiburg: Intro and the Team
Freiburg: 1st Friday - 1st Saturday
Freiburg: 1st Sunday - Monday
Freiburg: Tuesday
Freiburg: Wednesday
Freiburg: Thursday
Freiburg: 2nd Friday
Freiburg: 2nd Saturday
Freiburg: 2nd Sunday
Freiburg: The Quote Book


Post a Comment

<< Home