Over the weekend I had a really great time in Baden-Wuerttemberg. I went there to visit my friend Michael who lives in Berlichingen, a very small village there. If you are not aware, Germany is made up of several "states" or "Bundeslaender" just like in the United States. Cologne is in the Mid-West of Germany and is in the state Nordrhein Westfalia. There are other states such as Bayern, famous for Munich and the "Black Forest", Hessen, Saxony, and also Baden-Wuerttemberg. All together there are 16 different Bundeslaender.
Michael is a really good friend of mine who was an exchange student in the US for a year, and since then I have seen three other times; in Rome, Germany in 2006, and also again when he visited the US for a second time. It was great to go down to his village again, and spend time with him and his family, who are all extremely welcoming.
It was a three hour drive to get there, and once you are outside of Cologne, Germany is completely different. Cologne is very much a large city with big streets, big buildings, and it's fair share of graffiti. Once you travel a bit south of Cologne, the cities become much smaller, and you can experience much more of the German culture.
I think that every American who has not been to Germany has an idea in their minds of what it is like, but they don't actually believe it exists. I know myself, before I came here, I thought about biergartens, burly men playing accordions, sausages, people drinking and singing songs, and of course lederhosen. Well, let me tell you, in Baden-Wuerttemberg it really does exist!
Michael's village and surrounding villages only have a couple hundred people in them, and they are far out in the countryside. There are rolling green hills, streets with no middle line, and little clusters scattered about where people live. In the villages, the streets are all cobblestone, houses can be as old as the 1600's, and some villages even have a great big wall that surrounds them, from medieval times. It is truly an incredible experience to see, and believe me, they don't have many tourists here.
One thing that was cool, was that during the summer time, all of these villages hold small festivals. The area is known for it's vineyards, so the wine season is typically a reason to have a party in the streets. I went to two of these festivals, and it was really incredible to see. The main road was turned into a biergarten, there were all kinds of vendors selling sausages (wurste) and beer. There was a traditional German band playing, and the whole village was attending.
I tried to capture some of my weekend, but didn't take too many pictures. I did however take a couple of videos with my camera, even though they are not the best quality. I have linked up a video I made to the blog post for you to see, and just combined all of the video I took, and some of the pictures within it. The video is taken while riding a bike into Michael's village, Berlichingen.
I better end here, as it's time to get to bed so I can get up for work in the morning! There's another blog post coming very shortly!
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