Day Nummer eins…und zwei!

Hallo friends, loved ones, and Vikings–greetings from Potsdam, Germany!

This blog is named “the traveling twelve”, because there are twelve of us who came from SD and traveled by plane Thursday to reach our destination–Germany. Along the way we will meet up with Valerie (Augie student studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany at the moment), and Andrew (Augie grad who teaches in Germany at an assistantship). The traveling twelve will become the traveling fourteen. The alliteration just sounded so nice at first!…

My name is Heidi Rittenhouse, and I am a senior elementary education and German major at Augie. I have been summoned to blog about our adventures in order to share them with you all!

I think it is safe to say that we are all having a WUNDERBAR time so far in Germany (and will continue to immensely enjoy ourselves until we must leave next Saturday the 26th)! I am writing this blog at 1:09am in the hostel lobby, because 1.) this is the only time I have found so far to take time away from the excitement of new adventures and experiences to sit in the hostel and go online, 2.) my roommates are sleeping, and 3.) I must pay 2 Euro for every hour I wish to snag the hostel’s wifi–not quite the same as in the U.S.A. So, please forgive any typos, run-on sentences, or off syntax. Even though I am an Augie senior, I think I get a pass on those for the time being… 😉

Our journey started on Thursday, March 17th–Jake Bury’s 21st birthday AND St. Patrick’s Day, go figure–when we met at the Sioux Falls airport at 9am. We saw many folks decked out in green apparel, including hats, necklaces, and outrageous t-shirts. After a short ride (what seemed like literally 30 minutes) to Minneapolis airport we waited around for about an hour then hopped on our plane to JFK airport in New York. Dr. Lhotzky had each of us students bring one container of honey roasted peanuts along in our luggage to bring to our German Coordinator, Sigrid Sommers. Apparently she really loves those peanuts, but they do not sell them in Germany. Anyhoo…comical event in MSP was that Jake Bury popped open his canister, thinking that the honey roasted peanuts were a flying gift to us from Dr. Lhotzky, and started eating them. We all asked Jake what he was doing, then cleared everything up…

After a 2 hour layover at JFK (neat airport–wide array of diverse people from all over the world) we were on the plane to our final destination–Berlin Tegel airport! Some of us sat by our colleagues, while others “met new friends”, speaking German and English–and probably some Germish/Denglish–along the way. After optional viewings of The King’s Speech, Wall Street: Money Never sleeps, Karate Kid, and the Office (all offered in English, German, French), dinner (pasta or chicken with various sides–I thought it was quite tasty!), breakfast (banana and english muffin with egg), and lack of circulation running to the legs and feet, we finally made it safely to Germany, got our passports stamped, met with one of Sigrid’s assistants (Julie), und hopped on our bus to take us to our respective hotel or hostel. Upon arriving in Germany everyone was so excited to see nothing but German advertisements and to hear our beloved German language.

Julie gave us each folders with various maps and pamphlets, a Potsdam pin, and a transportation card which we can use in Potsdam until Saturday the 26th. We oriented ourselves a bit by walking around the city and riding the tram to our first destination–the store that exchanges currency. We also stopped at Kaiser’s market/convenient store to buy drinks and snacks. I couldn’t help but notice the wide (and beautiful) array of chocolates! My (and I’m sure many others’) souvenirs will consist of chocolate (Milka, RitterSport), Kinder Bueno, and Haribo gummies.

We ate lunch at Giardino Babelsberg–a nice Italian restaurant–and met Sigrid and her son Kristian. The food was delicious–and included in our expenses! Most people ordered either the Schitzel or a pizza. Kristin got a pizza, thinking she ordered the marinara pizza, but found out that she told the waiter the wrong meal number, and received a calamari/seafood pizza instead! The little squid atop her pizza were too cute to eat, so she had to re-order…

Next the group had a 2 hour break before dinner (didn’t we just eat??), so many people went back to nap and/or relax. I took a two-hour nap and was completely knocked out the whole time–AND still slept the whole night through later on. We walked to a nearby restaurant called the Ratskeller where some people ate dinner while others just ordered drinks. All were merry, regardless. After dinner we had free time to do whatever we pleased, but most people went back to the hostel to hit the sack. Val and Andrew reached Potsdam tonight, so they will be with us on our upcoming excursions and adventures!

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