29 May 2007

Pentecost Weekend

Monday was the Christian holiday of Pfingstag, or Pentecost as it's known in English. As a state holiday in Bavaria school was out today and yesterday making a four day weekend. Unfortunately plans to travel for the whole weekend fell through, but I managed to see some new sites.

Saturday I went to Würzburg with the International Organization. I spent most of my time roaming around the city with Dylan, a fellow Tennessean new to Eichstätt this semester.

The city lies about two and a half hours northwest of Eichstätt in Bavaria. I was slightly dissapointed by what I saw there; I would say that Eichstätt is more beautiful than this city of 100,000. One of the city's draws is its wine. The region around it produces some of the most wine in Germany, and the hills around the city are covered with the parrallel rows of grape vines. There was also a famous African festival going on while we were there, but it turned out to be an over-priced and over-hyped attraction in my and Dylan's oppinon. Really, the highpoint of the day was playing frisbee in front of a former palace. The first photo below is from the historic bridge over the Main River looking at an old palace. The second is a view down the same bridge and toward the city's cathedral.

While in Würzburg Dylan and I killed some time in a bookstore. I found a German travel guide on the USA and curiously turned to the section on the Southern states. One of the things the thick section began with was a very short dicitionary on what it called the South's English dialect. Words included lickity split, sugah, knockin' boots, and ya'll.

On Sunday Dylan and I quickly realized how dead Eichstätt was due to the four day weekend. Nearly a soul was out on the streets at night, and when we walked into a popular bar we found it deserted as well.

Yesterday I went on a bike ride with Alexi down the river from Eichstätt. We visited small villages along the banks of the Altmühl and took in the sites of the nature park. At times these villages were nothing more than a church and a handful of houses lining the street.

Here are some views of two houses we came across. Viewing the other buildings in the region reminded me that the Baroque architecture of Eichstätt really is unique for Bavaria. While highly decorated with flowers and gardens, most of the houses we saw displayed plainer facades than one finds in the meteropolis of the Altmühl Valley.

Further down the road this lone tower caught our eyes. We pulled over to investigate and found out that it actually stood on a man made island off of the river. Our curiosity raised when we discoverd that it dated to the 1100s, but were unable to determine its original purpose. One glimpse into the hole at its base revealed that its only use today is as a roost for birds.

The ride was also full of views like the one below. Here one sees a field of poppies in the foreground and a village behind it. Bavaria truly is an attractive corner of the world.

At night I went out to eat with Dylan in a restaurant neither of us had visited. We were drawn in by the fact that the menu was written in the Bavarian dialect as opposed to standard German. Imagine trying to read a menu in English written by a first grader. Not that those who speak Bavarian are uneducated, rather the Bavarian dialect looks and sounds surprisingly different than standard German.

Afterwards we decided to go the Theke bar, but found it closed due to Pentecost. Dylan commented it was like an episode of the Twilight Zone, a bar closed in Germany. It was the first time I had seen the Theke closed.

It's been raining the entire day today, and as such I've stayed mostly indoors. It's actually only the second time it has rained like this since I have been here. Most of the time rain only comes in the form of a mist or light sprinkle, and usually at night. While on this weather subject, I'll also state that I've only heard thunder once here. I miss the thunderstorms that roll across the Memphis region during the Spring time.

No plans for the next weekend, but hopefully something will develop.


mc said...

Hey Nick these pictures are great! Are you familiar with Meissan Germany? I have been noticing lately porcelain pieces from that area of Germany. It appears to be near Dresden close to the border.

Nick O. said...

mc: Thanks. Nope, never heard of it. But I have heard of porcelain from Dresden before. Maybe the famous stuff actually comes from Meissan but Dresden gets the credit.

natalie said...

Aww, Theke! I miss you!

The travel book you found sounds a lot nicer than the one I found in France. Knockin' boots haha!


Grandma Morgan said...

Hi Nick, Your postcard put me in tears. I was so glad to hear from you and miss you alot. I am so glad that you have this opportunity of seeing the world. You changed my opinion of Paris after seeing some pictures it is so beautiful. You are tempting me! I may want to see Paris myself.

I am looking forward to seeing you in August. It has been such a long time. Love, Grandma

Nick O. said...

Grandma: I am of course looking forward to seeing you again as well. You should try to make to Paris at least once, it is a beautiful city. Not as much can be said about the people, but they really aren't as bad as the stereotypes would have you believe.