Tell me ALL about it

Just two days since my last post, I’ve experienced a lot of exciting things. From Hamburg, to Oktoberfest here in Hannover. Here’s how the past two days of my year abroad went:

Thursday, as I posted before, was my first proper Tagesausflug (day trip) with my school. ‘Proper’ meaning we actually went out of Hannover. With 19 students aged around 12-13, as well as two teachers, I went to Hamburg to visit the Hamburg Dungeons, as well as take a trip on a boat on the River Elbe.

Main entrance of the Uelzen Bahnhof.

After meeting pretty early Unter’m Schwanz (literally ‘under the tail’, referring to the horse statue in front of the main train station), we caught our train to Uelzen, where we changed trains for Hamburg. We had 20 minutes waiting time at Uelzen, and the main teacher of the trip, Frank, decided to show me around the train station. At first, I thought it was pretty weird when he said he wants to show me the train station. A train station is a train station, right? Well, in this case, wrong. Uelzen train station was designed by an artist called Hundertwasser, and it looks absolutely fantastic. There are a wide variety of colours, as well as a fountain next to some steps. It’s so bizarre, but a really pretty place to change trains on your way to Hamburg from Hannover!

Skipping ahead, the Hamburg Dungeons were amazing. I’ve only ever been to the ones in York, and Hamburg definitely beats it. Not only were the actors amazing (admittedly like in York), but there was so much more audience participation, including shaky floors, as well as a water ride and a small freefall kind of ride at the end which made for some hilarious photos. At the beginning, we also had a group photo, where myself, Frank and a student were having our heads chopped off whilst the other students were screaming. Frank bought the photo and said he’d make us all a copy, but I haven’t heard from him yet… hopefully I’ll get a copy soon as it was a fantastic photo!

I was extremely glad, however, that I didn’t get picked for anything like I was in York just this summer when I went with Beth. I sometimes couldn’t understand what was actually going on (my dungeon vocabulary isn’t that great), and it was especially painful trying to understand a pirate who was ‘drunk’ slurring her words and with a Hamburger accent. I had no chance understanding what she was on about. I did bond well with the students though which was great, and it even got to the point where they felt comfortable enough to try and make me jump from behind, which wasn’t too great.

Casually learning a bit of Plattdüütsch on a boat.

Though I was on a boat on the Elbe just last month with the summer academy, I enjoyed being on the boat this time because Frank was kind enough to be like a little tour guide pointing out key areas of Hamburg we sailed past. After getting to the point where we couldn’t stand the cold wind any longer (an absolute contrast of the heatwave we had when I was in Hamburg last month), we headed down and Frank bought me a coffee. After sitting down, we came across a menu, which, on the back, had some Plattdeutsch translations of some Hochdeutsch phrases. Plattdeutsch being a dialect spoken in the North, and Hochdeutsch being the German equivalent of Queen’s English. Being the massive language geek I am, I ended up taking a photo of the menu.

My favourite phrase was that for ‘Ich habe Hunger’ (“I am hungry”, or literally “I have hunger”) which is ‘Ick heff smacht’. I’m not sure why I liked it so much, but the ‘heff’ sounds just like how the Germans pronounce ‘have’ in English.

Sorry, just a bit of language geek coming out there. I’ll go back to more exciting things!

So after a slow and painful journey back to Hannover, including having to stand for a good hour because the train was extremely full, we got back to Hannover Hauptbahnhof at around 7pm, when I went and bought stamps for two postcards I bought in Hamburg (I’m not saying who I sent them to purely for suspense). When I got home, I got a phone call from my future landlady to sort out when I’m moving in this weekend, and I will now be moving in on Saturday, which is technically today as I write this with it being past midnight. I’m half excited to be moving and half gutted that I’m leaving Eulerstraße!

Today, as a small leaving meal, Lisa cooked myself and two of her friends tea, which was delicious, though I can’t quite remember the German (or French?) name for it – though I’m sure Lisa will remind me once she reads this! I just remember it being French with ‘Kartoffel’ (potato) being at the front of the word!

Afterwards, we headed to the board game evening at the University. Now, I know certain ones of you might think that’s pretty lame, but it’s actually a great deal of fun, and it’s not just your basic games such as Monopoly, more games that you really have to think about, which is sometimes perfect for my learning German. 8 of us played ‘7 Wonders’ which I think I have definitely come to the conclusion is my favourite game, and I came 2nd (Lisa naturally came first!)

Oktoberfest Hannover with Herrenhäuser, a beer brewed in Hannover.

Then it was Oktoberfest Hannover time. I met with Millie (admittedly a little late so sorry about that again) as she said there were some fireworks for Oktoberfest going on, and in true British Council-style I said ‘yes’. When we actually got there, however, I was overwhelmed. Yes, there were amazing fireworks, but there were also stalls and rides. It honestly reminded me of Hull Fair, but with a German twist.

It smelt just like the Christmas Markets do, which has got me extremely excited for Christmas here. I cannot wait to visit loads of Christmas Markets and buy all the amazing things people sell. My first Christmas Market trip was when I was 14 years old in Year 10 at school to Cologne, and after that I went to a Christmas Market (usually always in Cologne) every, single year, until last year when I visited none at all which makes me very sad. But I guess living in Germany this year and being able to visit a mass variety of them makes up for it.

Anyway, back to Oktoberfest in Hannover. It was amazing. The fireworks were so good, the smell was so good, and I loved all the lights everywhere, as well as the fact that some toffee apples were called ‘Liebesäpfel’ (love apples) or something along those lines. There was even a log flume which Millie was determined to get me on but I refused. After having some beer and being complimented on my German by a lovely old man selling at the bar, I smelt and therefore wanted some crepes, and ended up getting a crepe with Toblerone in it. Yes, Toblerone. It was divine.

Absolutely fantastic sight when entering the Fest!

Millie seemed also extremely excited at every single thing, and came up with the most brilliant quotes which I just wish Phoebe was there to hear. But, as always, I’ve forgotten most of the quotes, but I do remember the following two which I will quote on here for you to laugh too (but, if it’s not funny for you, just tell yourself ‘you had to be there’, as you usually have to do when something just doesn’t seem that funny):

Millie: Oh, that looks exciting!

Me: …it’s Bratwurst?

Millie: EXACTLY!

Me: OH – I got some Pfand back today!

Millie: Oh my God, tell me ALL about it!

(‘Pfand’ being the money you get back when you give back empty bottles at the supermarket!)

So, all in all, it was such a great evening, that we’ve decided to go again tomorrow, but this time get there a bit earlier so we have time to do lots of exciting things, such as eat more food, drink more beer (those Steine – traditional 1 litre glasses – looked too good to miss) and, probably, have a ride on the log flume. Und ich freue mich natürlich sehr darauf!