Follow Nate, a student in our Summer Programme in European Studies, throughout his time in Maastricht and Europe. Last weekend he travelled to the South of Germany with his friend and former room mate Austin.
This is an interesting story. Today was our trip to Friedrichshafen, Germany and everything was supposed to go perfectly.
So, naturally, nothing went right. I’ll start off in the morning. We get a late start because of how late the night before went: our first issue. We wait in line at the train station for a bus ticket; only to find out we could simply buy one on the bus. As we walk out of the station, we see our bus pull out of the stop. +15 minutes.
We get on the bus and wait until we arrive in Aachen, but unfortunately we miss the stop and have to run all the way backwards to the previous place. +25 minutes.
When we finally get on the train, DEAD GIRL. There’s a girl just lying there, motionless on the ground. We quickly switch entry ways, but it doesn’t matter. The train is held up until she is removed. +20 minutes.
Thankfully she had only passed out and ended up walking off the train unharmed, but when we get to the airport, we have obviously missed the plane by 9 minutes. All chaos ensues in my mind. We think about going somewhere else, going back to Maastricht, or just staying in Cologne… we eventually decide to try and make arrangements to take a train to Friedrichshafen, even though it will cost us another 248 euro. Tough luck: the machine won’t take any of our credit cards. Just when we’re about to give up we notice the ticket machine also takes cash… so we scramble to find the money and thankfully we have exactly 250 euro in cash. EXACTLY.
We get on the 3-hour train ride and just hope we are going in the right direction because the tickets are very difficult to interpret. Thankfully, we arrive in Friedrichshafen 10 hours after we left Maastricht, an of course, it’s pouring rain. While simultaneously trying to read the directions on my phone and trying to keep it dry, we somehow find our hostel. As we walk down the alley towards the front door, we see some instructions for how to enter, which involves calling a number and simply waiting for them to give us a password. After several dropped calls, we finally get through and enter the hostel… and it’s beautiful. What a relief!
After a long day we go to a few close bars and relax until it’s time to sleep.
The next day we woke up early and rented bikes which was easily the best decision we made all weekend. We rode for about 4 hours through about 5 towns before eating lunch. After the Zeppelin museum, we decided it was time for a nap. Dinner came quickly after and we made plans for the rest of the night. One option was a party boat, which was on the water from 8 to 2… very late. After much deliberation we decided that was too late and hoped we wouldn’t regret that choice. When we walked by the port at 8 we saw people boarding the boat and knew we picked right. I’m fairly certain there wasn’t a person on the boat under the age of 45. Score! So we decided to go to a few more bars before attempting to see The Amazing Spiderman at 11. After slamming a few cold ones, we entered the theater and the trailers began… dubbed in German. Hoping this wasn’t permanent but confident it would be, we waited for the movie to start. We watched about 30 seconds of the film, and then realized there was no point as neither of us understands any German. Somehow, we got a refund too!
Our last day in Friedrichshafen was a busy one as well. Early in the morning, we took a catamaran over to Konstanz, which was about an hour ride both ways. On the boat, we met a couple named Mary and Manuel who spoke English, and told us they would take us to the airport after our trip to Konstanz, which was great! While in the city, we got lunch, walked around, sat by the river, and bought a few souvenirs before getting back on the catamaran. Mary and Manuel never showed up. So we had to get a taxi to the airport, and we arrived 2 hours early just to make sure we didn’t miss our plane this time! The trip back was fairly uneventful, other than the fact that we got back at 10:30. We were so happy to get back and quickly fell asleep that night.
About the author:
Nate Valorz is a rising Senior at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. Born in Boston, MA, Nate was raised in Charlottesville, VA for most of his life before moving to Newport News to study Communication with minors in Computer Science and Leadership.