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11 weekends of travel during a summer in stuttgart (2002)

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:30 pm

I lived in Germany during the summer of 2002 and I traveled nearly every weekend. I arrived in Germany May 28 and left August 23. Sometimes I use this blog to put things down that are at the edge of my reach memory-wise, so I can make a record of them. I actually have all of this written down in a notebook, but I can’t find it.

  • May 31- June2: Bremen, to visit Colin[1]
  • June 7-9: Düsseldorf to visit my Oma[2], Frankfurt to visit Sam Breuning[3]
  • June 14-16: nothing
  • June 21-23: Solingen, Köln to visit the cousins Füser[4]
  • June 28-30: München[5, 7], Bayrischer Alpen[6] for MIT-Germany/ MIT Club of Germany meet up
  • July 5-7: Vienne, Strasbourg France for the Vienne Jazz Festival[8]
  • July 12-14: Berlin, for LoveParade 2002 and visit with Justus[9]
  • July 20-22: Hamburg[10], Lübeck[11] w/ Christian
  • July 26-28: Karlsruhe for the “Savage Seven” ultimate frisbee tournament as a part of die Sieben Schwaben[12]
  • August 2-4: Romantic/ Clock Road, Rottweil; Stein am Rhein, Switzerland; Rottenburg ob der Tauber w/ Meredith Gerber[13]
  • August 9-12: Pittsburgh, USA for Colin and Heather’s wedding. Surprise![14]
  • August 16-18: Köln (to see Bugge Wesseltof) and Frankfurt, w/ Sam Breuning[15]


  1. Bremen smells like hops when the wind is the right direction because of Becks. The Schnoor area was neat, with its small and odd houses.
  2. My Oma didn’t realize I was related to her for the first hour of my visit; the Alzheimers had started to take its toll. This ended up being the last time I saw her. I regret not having stayed with her for the whole weekend, but at that point I thought I was going to visit again that summer.
  3. Sam was a cool British kid also with a German father; he’d been on the Cambridge-MIT exchange. We ended up hanging out a number of weekends that summer. I’ve since lost touch with him.
  4. My dad’s cousin (my “Tante”/ “aunt”), her husband and kids (my “cousins”) were all gathered at their palatial family estate in Solingen for a sculpture showing of a local artist set up in their gardens. At one point we all, including the artist, were sitting under some trees eating a snack and they asked me if I liked one of the statues near us. I said, in stilted German, that I did (it was actually one of the few I did). It came out wrong and they made fun. I said “echt!” in vain. At another point this weekend, another cousin-by-marriage of my dad’s who was also visiting announced, after having talked to me for five minutes that I spoke “perfekt Deutsch.” Right…
  5. We all met at a Biergarten, all the current students and the MIT Club of Germany members. I was stuck at the Club table for most of the night, which was extremely awkward. At some point I excused myself and snuck over the student table. Seeings as it was social interaction with people I didn’t know well, it was still awkward, but not nearly as much.
  6. We went hiking in the Alps and stayed in a rustic ski cabin that one MIT Club member had access to. Sam and I got a ride down with a guy who spoke with a typical German accent except, because he’d spent multiple years as a ski bum in the US, mixed it with ski bum slang and inflection all the time. At the cabin, I learned I was ace at splitting logs with an ax, usually splitting decent sized logs in one swing. During one of our day hikes we stopped at an inn, where a 10 year old kid was drinking a 1 litre “maß” glass of beer.
  7. It was the day of the final when we got back to Munich and I had the surreal experience of watching Germany play (and lose) in a World Cup final with 10,000 Germans in a public square where they’d set up screens. Turkey won the consolation match so there was some celebrating. (Note: Turkish is the largest minority in Germany by a factor of 4, at least at the time.)
  8. Vienne has a Roman amphitheatre with gorgeous acoustics. Sam knew the mayor of Vienne so we got VIP passes into the events, including into a VIP area the first night where we passed the London Times jazz critic. Vienne was about 450 miles from Stuttgart, a good 7 hours, which we drove non-stop on Friday afternoon, on half a tank of diesel in a pretty amazing VW Passat TDI. We still missed most of the first act. Also, French radio sucks. I bought a CD-tape adapter after this road trip.
  9. The LoveParade is a parade along a mile-long route on which 40 heavy duty trucks with world-class DJs and sound systems drive for an entire afternoon. Estimates for my year were 500,000 in attendance. Oh and there were a lot of topless girls there.
  10. My (second) cousin Christian lived in Hamburg at the time. He’d stayed with us in America in the early 90s and he was out to repay the favor by showing me a good time. We went out with some friends. On the way there, he’d talked to them and said he was bringing his cousin (“eine Cousine from mir”) with him. We got there and the friend said “this is your hair dresser (Friseur)??” See, they might sound alike on the phone; yes that doesn’t work in English and I don’t care. This was the first night that I drank more than one beer in a night, in fact, probably quadrupling my total beer consumption ever in just that night. The goal was to stay up all night and go to the Fischmarkt when it opened at 6am, but it ended with me falling asleep in a bar at 4:30am, having had multiple beers (mostly Heinikens while watching a crappy, but, let’s be honest, fun American cover band) and a good quantity of vodka. Incidentally, trying to explain complicated concepts in German wasn’t easy, let alone to a group of strangers in a loud bar while intoxicated. And, Malta, I can’t say your name correctly sober either; but you can’t say “squirrel” to save your life, so there.
  11. The bells of the main church had fallen and melted from the bombings in WWII. They’d be left as a beautiful and poignant reminder. Lübeck in general is a wonderful small town.
  12. “Savage seven” means no subs (the seven you have to start is all you have). Having gotten roped into this at the last minute, I played seven games of no-subs ultimate frisbee in two days. I can still remember the intense pain, mostly in my calves that I felt for the rest of the week. Walking on flat ground and up stairs, my right calf hurt intensely; my left calf hurt similarly walking down stairs. I couldn’t, and didn’t, win. Of course there were 6 flights of stairs between my office and the cafeteria/ train level at work.
  13. This was a fun little road trip with another MIT-Germany person; Meredith was in Munich for the summer. We went to some classic historic German places. I also made my only trip to a Switzerland, to the town of Stein am Rhein, which was noted by the “strict” border crossing. “Passports? No, we don’t need to see those. In fact, you don’t even have to come to a full stop. Just roll on through!”
  14. After the rehearsal dinner, I had some friends over, got tipsy on Mike’s Hard Lemonades and had to search for the right words to use in English. That I was thinking partly in German was a big step for me and I noted my progress.
  15. Bugge Wesseltof had impressed Sam and I with his electro jazz stylings in Vienne. Plus we liked his awesome name, so we drove like maniacs (once again) to get to Köln by show time, only to be disappointed by his collaborative work with a female jazz singer.

One Response to “11 weekends of travel during a summer in stuttgart (2002)”

  1. Sarah Louise Says:

    oh Germany! My dad worked in Koln when I was five until I was seven. We lived in Bonn. When my parents lived in Warsaw in the early 90s, we visited Berlin and Dresden a lot. Dresden rocks!

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