A Travellerspoint blog

first days in augsburg

bicycles and beer

View Autobahn, adventuring, and Outside Inn on ctamler's travel map.

augsburg is beautiful. i wish that i had taken some pictures already so that i could show you, but there's been quite a bit too much to do and process the last few days. i was deathly ill for about three hours the morning we flew out of pittsburgh -- though i pulled through, thanks to andrew and my mom. i didn't throw up on any airplanes, and felt well enough to have a sip or two of chardonnay, courtesy of air france. they give out a lot of free wine. i didn't even steal their airplane blankets.

thirteen somewhat grueling hours of travel later (our connections in jfk and charles de gaulle necessitated sprinting), we met up with melanie (our professor) and cassidy (her son) in stuttgart, and then took the train to augsburg. the train was sleek, clean, fast, nothing like the trans-siberian. glass sliding doors on the inside and everything smelling of new. two hours of that and we were in augsburg, welcomed by klaus and his small army of german university students.

we are staying with leonie, who goes by leo, and her boyfriend joel in their apartment. it's in a picturesque part of the city, all narrow, narrow cobblestone roads and ivy. they treat us too well: big german breakfasts and our own beds and they cleaned their books out of the bookshelf so we'd have a place to store our clothes. leo insists that we use her shampoo. she's one of the students performing in our production (the others are vinz, nora, steve, sebastian, 2 evas, and ulli, most between 24-28 years old). we went straight to her apartment to get rid of our stuff on friday, and then some things happened very quickly:

1. she told us they had arranged bikes for us.
2. she asked us if we wanted to go to vienna with the two of them.
3. she told us to put on our shoes and come to the train station.

so here we are on about 4 hours of sleep out of the past 24+, and our first introduction to the city not two hours after our arrival is navigating what seemed to be their rush hour on our new bikes. we dodged planes, trains, and automobiles and were only marginally terrified, or at least managed to make it appear so. after the train station (we bought the train tickets to vienna, so that's where we'll be on thursday and friday), we rode to the university, which was thankfully much less stressful. it's a very bike-friendly city; you can tell by the bicycle on the "walk/don't walk" lights, which might actually be better called "walk or cycle/don't walk or cycle" lights here. also, there are usually bike lanes. so we had the worst first and it's been much less daunting since.

we had our first rehearsal, which was really just a meeting, and then christina and i went to dinner with most of the students, at a bavarian restaurant, where i had kaesespaetzle, which is delicious and like fancy macaroni and cheese with fried onions on top. also my first radler, which is beer and lemonade. we had some schnapps that tasted like drinking concentrated mouthwash at a finnish bar and went to bed at a reasonable hour to kill our jet lag.

in the morning -- this is yesterday -- we did some rehearsal planning with melanie at her apartment. maybe you are wondering what we are doing in augsburg, exactly. well, we're mounting a bilingual production of neil labute's autobahn, sort of, except we are only using three scenes from autobahn. we're using a scene and monologue that nora wrote, and one scene that i wrote. christina is acting, and i am assistant directing and doing dramaturgical duties, as well as revising my scene. i do a lot of scene-cutting (some of labute's scenes drag), schedule-wrangling, note-taking, and such duties, at the moment. the german students are mostly inexperienced but also, mostly, quite game. german directors are apparently very dictatorial and melanie is not like that, but they're taking to it well.

did i mention that we bike? a lot? it's about a 20-minute ride to the university, and we bike everywhere we go, so yesterday after rehearsal it was to the park for a picnic, and then to another restaurant (this one italian) for dinner and beer, and then to the move theater, mephisto, for a short film festival. i am always hungry because i am always on a bike. also, my butt kind of hurts. i bet this will improve, though.

today, we rehearsed, and then melanie, christina, leonie, cassidy, and i went with klaus and his wife to a biergarten. these are absolutely fantastic things, a bavarian institution, big outdoor areas where you can buy beer and food and listen to music. this one was in the middle of a big park. there are bikes and kids everywhere, and lots of trees, and where there aren't trees, people barbecuing. leo says this is very typical of germans: first day of sunshine and they all try to barbecue. she is taking her toefl this week (in vienna), so our deal is to help her with her english until then; after, she will help us with our german. i ordered the beer myself for us: drei radler, bitte. we drank radler because it is the cyclist's drink -- less alcohol because it's mixed with lemonade, but still beer.

well hey, then we came back to the apartment and did some work for this coming week, and i'm taking a break from my cutting/wrangling duties to write a substantial blog entry.

Posted by ctamler 09:42 Archived in Germany Tagged round_the_world

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