Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 3 - Bremen, Germany (WEDDING!)

I slept pretty well last night. Matt rolled over at 10am and woke me. I can't complain, I guess. That's quite a bit of sleep. We called Denz about 20 minutes later...and he was all cheery and chipper and had been up since 7! He's an animal!

Oh, and the outlets miraculously worked this morning. I think a maintenance guy or someone came and flipped a switch. I think we just blew a fuse or something. Actually, I think my adaptor - which is ancient - blew the fuse. And possibly fried my hair dryer too. Haven't really had time to try it again, but it popped yesterday. Oh well. At least we can charge our phones later today.

So everyone else was already up and had eaten breakfast...and they were all waiting on us in the lobby. Awesome. We jumped up and took quick showers (no washing hair - no time) and ran downstairs. The waitress in the restaurant gave us two hard, dry pieces of bread and a bottle of sparkling water. I guess that's all you get when you miss the amazing buffet...

We were on the road before 11, headed for old town Bremen. In the rain!

Took about 30 minutes to get in to the city. We drove right by the central strain station again. I kind of wanted to go back in and buy more scarves, but refrained from asking a car full of guys to stop for shopping. I don't think that would have gone over so well. (Saw another Mercedes taxi and the driver flashes the peace sign for me as I took a picture!)

On the drive in, I asked the guys what the plan was for tomorrow. Denz and Pavol were supposed to drive us to Berlin for the day, we would find somewhere to stay that night, and fly out early the next day. Well, glad I brought that up when I did, because they failed to inform us that they were no longer going back to Berlin! They were going to Hamburg instead. Ha, so much for our free ride on the Autobahn to Berlin. Our flight is out of there early Monday morning, so one way or another, we have to get there. Because I AM going to Switzerland!! So - new plan - since we don't have wifi readily available here, we sent Matt's mom a text and she is going to look in to train and hotel options for us. Might get interesting tomorrow...

Anyways, we eventually found a parking garage and had to drive up 11 floors to find a spot. It felt like an awful roller coaster and we were all about to throw up by the time we found a parking spot.

View from the top of the parking garage

Bremen - or the area we were in, anyways - was just gorgeous. Old, old churches with the bells ringing. Just so German! Except for the STARBUCKS that they just put in on be corner of the square! Yes I DID visit there. I've been dying for some freaking normal water. Everything over here is "sparkling" and I just can't do it anymore. Starbucks was my savior. Free, clean bathroom, free wifi, and "flat" water. Hallelujah. I was a happy camper.

We walked around the square for awhile, through a little farmers market with free samples...and then the rain started up again. It had cleared up for awhile, but the rain came fast and hard this time. We ducked in to a little bar and had a beer (with Matt's old tennis coach, who met us down there) to wait out the storm.

The storm passed, the sun came out...and the boys were still sitting there chatting and drinking beer... A couple hours later, we finally left to go eat lunch. (After one more stop at Starbucks for free bathrooms and free wifi!)

Roman's sister and her boyfriend also met us in Bremen for the day, and they took us to a little German restaurant just off the market square, called John Benton.

I had a bowl of tomato soup and some sort of turkey sandwich wih mushrooms. Sandwich was edible (I gave half of it to Marianna's boyfriend), but the tomato soup was great. Really hit the spot after my minimal breakfast.

John Benton restaurant, where we had lunch

It had totally cleared up outside by his point. Gorgeous blue skies, but still pretty chilly (60's). We walked to a little coffee shop for some sweets and to let our food settle. It was kind of killing me by that point to be doing so much sitting and chatting when all I wanted to do was run off and explore this new city!!

Matt and I picked out se sort of pastry with cinnamon and raisins and icing. It was a big block, and we figured she would just cut a piece off. Nope. We got the whole thing! Both our eyes got huge when she picked the WHOLE thing up and slapped it on a plate for us. We just wanted a couple bites each. I guess we have breakfast for tomorrow if we over sleep again.

Next stop was the little grocery store next door. I had already downed my flat water from Starbucks and needed more. We found the water, and started shaking away, not wanting any more "gas" in ours. A worker saw us and said, "gas." We asked for still or flat water and he pointed to these giant green bottles. We snagged four and went for the long check-out line. When we got up to pay, Matt's MasterCard wouldn't work. The employee said something in German about no MasterCard. Tried my Visa. Same thing. He said something again in German, kind of irritatingly. Long line behind us. We didn't think we had enough euros to pay cash...until we looked at the amount on the screen. 1.30 euros for four huge liter bottles of water?! Thats like two dollars! So anyways, we finally hand him some cash, he smiles, and says, "Have a nice weekend." Come on!! He knew English the whole time and was just being mean!
Shaking the water to see if it had gas in it or not
We made our way back down the 11 floor roller coaster parking garage, and headed back to the hotel. We needed a nap before the big party. Especially after Romans sister told us the wedding would probably go all night. Literally. She mentioned 5 or 6am.

I had actually convinced the boys to stop at the train station on the way home to buy more scarves. I told them it was a cool building and they should see it. But of course we couldn't find it! Oh well. I suppose I didn't really need another scarf. And I'll probably find more in the next 7 days anyways. :)

So back to the hotel, and straight to bed. We set an alarm for 5:15pm. Oh, and I let Matt sleep in his own bed for the nap. I don't remember if I wrote this or not, but I pretty much slept on top of him last night until I woke up sweating at 7am and kicked him out, haha. I slept great until then though. Not sure if he did, but I think all the German beers and schnapps shots probably helped him. ;)

Alarm went off at 5:15 and I was NOT ready to get up. Too bad, because I had only allowed myself 45 minutes to get ready. Wedding was at 6. At least it was only one floor down in our hotel. Quick shower, quick hair drying, and I was totally ready on time.

Down in the lobby, everyone (about 60 people) was lined up holding tennis racquets and field hockey sticks - and roses. They played "here comes the bride" as they walked in, and when they got to the end, they had to cut a rope with a dull butter knife. Weird tradition! Then they blew a big horn. I don't know. I guess it's a German thing! I have a video of it here.

We stood around and talked for an hour or so, had some wine, looked at pics from the actual ceremony the day before. It turned in to a gorgeous evening. The room has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river, and decorated beautifully!

A singer sang some songs (in English) and everything else - speeches, etc - was in German. No idea what was being said or going on, haha.

We sat down at our assigned table. Me and 7 guys. Of course. ;) First up was traditional wedding soup. And it was SO good! It had little mini meatballs and cheese in it. Mmmmm.

The rest was a big buffet. With everything imaginable on it. Including a big CHEESE selection !! My favorite! Lots of meats and lots of fish and seafood. Bremen is in northern Germany, very near the North Sea, so seafood is big here. Lots of it was raw - and I just couldn't do it. I mean, like an entire eel with a tomato in his mouth that people were just pulling the raw meat off of. Yuck! Everything else was great though.

The bride and groom had their first dance, And we watched some videos of them growing up. It was all pretty cute - except we couldn't understand some of it.

They had a big canvas against one wall with squares outlined on it. Turns out they blew up a big picture of Roman and Corinna and cut it in to squares...and handed them out to everyone to PAINT them on be canvas. Matt got one. I refused. I have zero artistic ability. People were over there for a long time trying to get their square just right. Pretty cool idea. Something really neat to take home from your wedding.

Pavol painting his square
The party continued, with constant dance tunes. Like, my kind of music, techno style. The Germans have awesome taste in music. Loved it.

When we found out about the change of plans for tomorrow earlier in the day, we sent Matt's mom a text to see if she could look in to hotels/trains in Berlin for us. She sent us a couple of texts while we were sitting at the party, and ended up finding - and paying- for a room for us at Holiday Inn AT the airport. Couldn't of been more perfect! We were pretty pumped about that. And the guy next to us (who lives here) had a train app on his phone and looked up train times for us. There is one about every hour from Hamburg to Berlin, so we should be fine whenever we are ready for the 2.5 hour train (with one change of trains) tomorrow!

I didn't really think the party was going to go all night. It wasnt THAT crazy. But then at midnight they had everyone go outside (in the freezing cold) and gave everyone a balloon to let to. Kicker was they all had SPARKLERS tied to the end of them. We all lit them at once and let them go in to the night sky. It was seriously so awesome!! One of the coolest things I've seen at a wedding! Tried to get pics but I don't think they turned out so good. We'll see....

The cake finally came out shortly after that, and it had sparklers on it, too!! LOVED it! They did the traditional cutting the cake together and feeding each other. He was very nice, and so was she. It's so mean when the groom slams it in the brides face, haha. I was anxious to get a piece. It looked so good. And it was! It was some sort of German came with blueberry cool whip kind of stuff in the middle. Yum! Nothing like I've ever had in the US.

Matt and I finally made our way over to do our part of the painting. Ha, it didn't turn out too good. I'm going to blame at least part of it on the people who did squares around us. We had part of Romans shoulder, chin, and ear. Ears are hard when you only have black and white paint. And when you're drunk. The finished product is definitely going to be hilarious!

Almost finished product

It's well after midnight and I think the party is actually finally just getting started. I broke down and got a red bull (well, I asked for red bull and they used some sort of energy drink) and vodka, so I think I'll cut it off here. Typing might get ugly, haha. I'll write more tomorrow! :)

(I'm not going back to proofread or see what I talked about twice, so ill just apologize now! For the past tense vs present tense, too. I write here and there -- whenever I have a few minutes, so I know it gets messy.)

One last thing: We're getting CRAZY in Germany tonight!! (I might of just done a shot on the dance floor while dancing with the Matt yelled Nooooooo)

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