A Church, A Dragon Rock, and ‘Oh hey, Tim Burton!’

Hello friends!

Last night, around midnight, I had nothing to do but sleep. But I can do that when I’m dead, right? . . .

So instead I spent a few hours going through my photos from this past week, and I figured I should write up a post so I have somewhere to put them before they start piling up beyond the possibility of organization. So! Here’s this past week’s (or week and a half maybe?) breakdown:

My classmates and I spent a PAINFULLY long 2 weeks in Editing class, our progression through which was incredibly slow, and we mainly edited footage that had to have been shot in the 70s or 80s (think giant glasses, male jorts, perms, and cheesy music). Do I enjoy editing? Yes. Do I enjoy listening to equally repetitive and unclear information in a cramped, stuffy editing lab for 7 hours a day while our professor tries to filter through the mass of chatter and questions? No, no I do not. Why? Because I value my sanity.

But the week certainly had its comedic moments.  Amanda wrote a hilarious story about a meteor crashing into the classroom (pure genius), Amanda and I made a slam poem out of the material we were supposed to edit/play around with (it was entitled “Fiery poops,” it was complete nonsense, and it was absolutely fabulous), and, once the delirium struck, all of our conversations were pretty hilarious.

We also watched a film called the Cut, which was a documentary about female circumcision in Africa. The director came to talk to us about it, and we soon learned that she had filmed the documentary in her own village, where she too had been cut as a young girl. I knew very little about the practice beforehand, but to watch it in such a raw documentary and then have the opportunity to speak to someone who had spent their life searching for a way to tell her story was truly amazing.

The next evening some of the lovely people from AIB (Patricia and Mauriz) took us on a night trip to Cologne, where we took a short tour led by this man: IMG_8187

Who had a fabulous accent (it was German and yet British all at once).

We saw the Cologne cathedral (which is hard to miss seeing as it’s right outside the central station),

533 steps to the top of the tower on the right. And apparently stones fall from the top rather frequently. {tourists beware}
533 steps to the top of the tower on the right. And apparently stones fall from the top rather frequently. {tourists beware}

saw some remnants of Cologne’s days as a Roman city, some statues, some more remnants of Cologne’s history, and a few cute side streets.

Those are my fingers. and that is a 2,000 year old stone wall sitting in an underground parking garage. I touched a piece of rock older than America.
Those are my fingers. and that is a 2,000 year old stone wall sitting in an underground parking garage.
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If I remember correctly, this used to be a fish market

But, I must say, my favorite portion of the trip to Cologne was the group dinner. We all sat down at an absurdly long table with hungry stomachs that anxiously awaited the (free) meal we had all been talking about. And, my friends, I had schnitzel for the very first time. “Jägerschnitzel” (hunter’s style?) to be exact. And I will never look at American gravy or country-fried steak the same again. Because there is simply no comparison. And of course, we had to get a glass of Kölsch in Köln (the German’s way of saying Cologne).

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I apologize, but this is going to be an absurdly long post.

Because the following weekend we went on a hike to Drachenfels, or “dragon rock,” which my body was not prepared for. Firstly, my legs were not prepared for a 4 hour hike up the side of a mountain. Secondly, my ears were not prepared for that kind of altitude. Lastly, my eyes were not prepared for the gorgeous sights I would see in these Seven Hills behind which live the Seven Dwarves and their good friend Snow White, or from which the story of the Lord of the Rings was derived.

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there are random chalk hearts on the ledge of the restaurant beneath the ruins

A fair number of us (us being all of the programs currently studying at AIB) gathered in the main room of Bonn’s Hauptbahnhoff at 10am on Saturday morning, hopped on a subway train heading for Königswinter, and a short ride later we arrived in an adorable town along the river.

The founder of AIB, Rainer Zack, led us on our hike (with a brief stop to explain the story of the Drachenfels {dragon rock}). After a leisurely few minutes cutting through the town, the incline began. And I thought I was going to die. I am not an athletic person. I’m not even a slightly in-shape person. And I was walking up the side of a mountain.

Thankfully we took a break to stop at a castle halfway through the hike, which gave us all a breather and the opportunity to explore Schloss Drachenburg.

IMG_8316 IMG_8329About an hour later, we continued our hike up to the top, where we met up with the rest of our group that had opted for the 11am hike. By then we totaled about 90 people {I wonder what the people around us thought; here we are in Germany, 90 Americans complaining in obnoxiously loud English about how steep the hill is}.  I thought it was a steep hike before, and my assumption was quickly corrected. But I must say the view and the experience was worth it.

the ruins atop the Drachenfels
the ruins atop the Drachenfels
My lack of breath was quickly overshadowed by this view of the Rhine
My lack of breath was quickly overshadowed by this view of the Rhine

The hike back was a bit of a struggle, as Rainer took us on another one of his wrong turns, and we ended up hiking up and down the mountainside through the wilderness. Which was gorgeous, but was NOT what I expected for the hike “back down” the mountain (hills? mountains? it all felt the same). But we eventually found our way back, saw a nifty art gallery in an old warehouse, and got a free ice cream cone courtesy of AIB.

After that we took a boat back to Bonn, where we went to the welcome BBQ at the old AIB and somehow managed to pull a rather funny skit out of thin air. Beer, Sausage, and good times. It was great.

Thought I was done, right? HA! I told you this would be long.

The next day was completely free, and some of our classmates when to Luxembourg, but my friends and I decided to hang around the area for the day. The day before on the subway we saw an ad pass by that said something about a Tim Burton exhibit, and we decided it would be fun. And we were right.

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So Katy, Amanda, Sydney, Kelcey, Alex and I hopped on a train. The museum was in a nearby town called Brühl, and right outside of the train station there’s a gorgeous palace with a massive secret garden.

The museum was just around the corner, and it was only 5 euro to get in. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let us take any pictures, but it was amazing. They had Tim Burton’s childhood drawings, unfinished projects, school notes, napkin doodles (complete with coffee stains), and some of the models from his claymation movies. My favorite were these giant polaroids that he took as side project, one of a very strange black flower, and some of the various Jack heads and Sally parts from The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

We wandered through the museum for a couple of hours, the made a pit-stop at the palace on the way back to the train station. Where we discovered that the ‘secret gardens’ were far more vast than we had imagined.

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Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to see all of the gardens or the inside of the palace, but we’re determined to go back and explore.

But for now, that’s it. Until next week folks!

Here’s the rest of the pictures from the past few weeks:

Cologne {Köln}:

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Drachenfels Hike:

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Brühl:

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