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Michael’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 18 Jul 2006

Location: Freiberg, Tubingen, Frankfurt, Germany

MapEntry 50: Germany (July 13th - 16th)

The last few days of Clints holiday, and me having a travel partner, was filled with making our way up through Germany to Clints departure city of Frankfurt.

The first morning we drove from Laussane to Freiberg after the Olympic Museum visit. The drive wasn't too bad and we arrived reasonably early in town. The problem was finding the youth hostel. Being in Germany, we were stuck at another YHA based hostel, which meant large groups of kids... real large groups. The hostel was overrun with children on a school trip. We left the hostel and headed to town. We blew some time at the internet cafe, and then walked around town looking for some Bratwurst for dinner... no good, so it was Subway for me and Maccas for Clint.

That night I had a couple beers with the only overaged people in the hostel (again, the bar shut early) and then headed for bed... a small city, with not much to see, and in a hostel well and truly out of town.

The following morning, we got up early and I had a much needed hair cut. Since I left home (over 4 months ago) I have had one haircut, if you could call it that, whilst in London. The guy barley touched the sides, and after I saw Kristy later in the day she said I thought you were going to get a haircut! So this one was needed. The only problem, no-one in the shop spoke any English. Definitely made for tough times, but a lot of pointing and cutting actions with my fingers, and I walked out much more satisfied than with the London effort - and my slowly developing rat tail was gone.

We then left town and headed for Stuttgart. Clint had the grand master plan of heading to Porsche for the Porsche factory tour. Not having an address for the place, I rang the office, and was informed that the factory tours were booked out until September. Hmm, way to for plan that one! So as a change of course, we headed to Mercedes to go to the new Mecerdes Benz Museum. It only opened upon May 19 of this year, and damn, that sucker is a doozy. The museum is 8 floors high (you catch an elevator to the top floor to start the tour), and chronologically details the history of the Benz and Daimler companies from the late 1800's, through to the mergers that made them the company Mercedes Benz that it is today as you make the way back to the bottom floor.

The museum is full of videos detailing the history, as well as over 130 cars in the museum. We arrived there around 2pm, and in the end didn't leave till after 5pm, well and truly over 3 hours in there.

From the museum we drove to Tubingen, just half an hour south, and caught up with Gaby and her daughter Pauly who I met on my first night in Cairo, over four month earlier. We caught up for a while, and then headed out for dinner. Man, for a place I'd never heard of, this is a really cool town. The old city is absolutely incredible. We sat down and the four of us had an awesome pork schnitzel dinner.

From dinner, we walked further into the old town. It was already dark, and the town was jumping with uni students out for a Friday night. We wandered over to the main park, and ran into a music concert that underway in the park. There were 5 satges, the first hip-hop, second metal, third rock, 4th electronica, and the 5th, the most disturbing English speaking music I had ever heard. Still not sure if it was a joke or a bad attempt at being serious. The olny problem being, the place was absolutely chockers with drunken youngsters. And having a 4 year old (Pauly) and stroller in tow, it got a bit hairy from time to time. But we got through unscathed, and left just before the music stopped at midnight. Back at the Gaby's apartment, Clint and I snuggled and crashed out on the couch for the night. Thanks again Gaby for the palce to crash, and say hi to Pauly for me!

The next morning, we headed off early to Frankfurt. We tore down the Autobahn and made it there pretty quickly. After getting ourselves accommodation for the night, we walked round town and found a beer and bratwurst (hmm, so healthy) for lunch. We snacked and enjoyed the sun, then relaxed most of the day away. For dinner we went to the tourist trap behind the hostel and for the second night in a row had a tasty monster schnitzel. Polishing off one of the bottles of Smirnoff we took to Pamps (and never drank) before and after dinner at the hostel, we went to bed having drunk more on the last night than any other night to date.

The following morning, we lazed around for a while, as Clint didn't have to fly out till the evening. In the foyer of the hostel, I actually ran into Danielle and Veronica (from Amsterdam hostel -Red Rooster and Chriny) who'd been hitch-hiking all over the place and sleeping in parks! Tough deal. After waiting for most of the day, I set off in the early afternoon, whilst Clint prepared to fly home. From Frankfurt I tore through 450km in just over 4 hours. The average speed on the autobahn was around 170km/hr. When the car pushed 200km/hr (a 4 cylinder, 1.4 litre wagon) it was incredible. The suspension wasn't particularly great, and it felt like the car was bouncing over the road at top speed. When the cross wind hit the car on bridges it was hairy too. But man, it is incredible when you slow down to 140km/hr (slow down?) the car feels like it is crawling. But the most exhilerating stuff is when you are tearing past cars at just under 200km/hr, as if they are stationary, then a ferrari does the same to you, must be travelling at almost 250km/hr...damn that is fast.

Well, by just after 6pm, I was chilling with Scotty in Bremen. My time in Bremen...next issue...