September 2005


Wandertag and Packing

Today was Wandertag – or, as we would term such an event in English, Hiking Day.

I could insert a joke that plays on German stereotypes, but I won’t. Suffice to say that my mere suggestion of it will cause some of you to figure it out. However, if you do, or don’t, please remember that stereotypes are not always true.

The hike was fun-and thankfully the first long hill was in the shade, so it wasn’t that hot. From Jena we took a train to a small town, where we got off and walked across some corn (e.g. maize) fields and then up a hill until we reached a Count’s house-which was small, in size but deceptively big. There were many rooms in the house, lots of bedrooms, and many small spaces.

There was even a functional drawbridge!

After that we toured an old gaming site, and that’s gaming as in deer hunting, not casinos. The site was first built before 1700 and took advantage of a spot where deer liked to gather naturally. I would try to describe the facility, but it would require too many words and I do not have that much time.

A short distance away was lunch-bratwurst, little meat patties, beer, water, and more awaited everybody from the office. It was a most splendid lunch break, and included a congratulatory gift to the cafeteria lady who was recently married, Frau No-Longer-Wimmer. (I have the sound of her new name in my head, but I am clueless how to spell it.)

Presently we started hiking down the hill and through the woods, until the woods ended and we emerged into corn fields. The temperature soared to at least 95°F, and we all melted.

The funniest thing about the hike was how fast it went. We started on time, but reached our first destination 30 minutes early because we only took one break. We returned to the train station just under two hours before we were supposed to-although it would have been nicer had we arrived two hours and 5 minutes before we were supposed to. Trains only stop once an hour and we missed it by a few minutes.

Anyhow, I don’t have much time to write because I am packing. Since getting home I have done a load of laundry, am currently running the dishwasher, am downloading a few things to listen to, and have done most of my clothing packing.

I leave in 11 hours.

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