Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lost in Osnabrück

I'd been invited to a guest lecture at 9:00am in the University of Osnabrück (I've learned that "Osna" comes from the phonetic pronunciation of a river that runs through this part of Germany [something like the 'Hausna,' I'm not sure how to spell it], and the 'brück' means bridge, so it means 'bridge over the Hausna river') so I had to wake up at 7:00am.  I probably wouldn't have done it, considering the hour and coming so close after my flight, but I realized how much I would be needing Nadine's help, so I went anyway.

I followed the directions, boarding the 7:52am train (free for students), and expecting to get off at 8:33pm at the Osnabrück Hbf. stop.  It's 8:38pm, I'm jumpy from the frequent stops and feeling like I should already be there, and I see Osnabrück Hbf. out my window.  So I get out, and I'm in the middle of Osnabrück--just not the middle I wanted to be.  See, when I saw 'Osnabrück Hbf.' I was seeing the next stop, and I didn't know there were two stops in Osnabrück.

My first clue was that I couldn't find the 21 bus.  The nearby leaderboard showing approaching buses and their times didn't have the 21, so I started walking in the opposite direction--hoping I'd see something familiar.  Osnabrück is a much larger city than Quakenbrück, and it's that much more difficult to find a part that's familiar.  So I get to the bus stop on Nonnenpfad, and I admit to myself I'm lost.  I call Dr. Figura, my new best friend, and he gets Jessica to call me (since I can't get my phone to work for her number yet) and I tell her I'm on E.-M. Remarque Ring at the Nonnenpfad bus stop and she says she'll pick me up in 15.

I take the time to study the map on the board I'm standing by, and I have a revelation.  I don't have to actually understand the names, as long as I can memorize them to the extent of visual recognition.  I follow the colors to their ends, and see the numbers identifying them.  I check a list of stops by name (in order) to make sure I'm reading it right.  I see I can take the 31 to Neumarkt and then the 21 to CaprivistraBe to get where I need to be.  Right then, Jessica walks around the corner.

I apologize, attempt to be charming, we chat, she drives me to campus, she comments on how DIL will probably be willing to buy me a wardrobe, we arrive at the guest lecturer.  He's a Japanese man speaking in English with a thick accent (I started wondering if it was more difficult to understand a Japanese accent if you had a German accent), talking about the Nuclear disaster after the earthquake and tsunami.  Apparently, they had assessed the probability of a significant earthquake and a tsunami happening at the same time as being very small.  He showed statements showing concerns for this sort of disaster from 1975, and how people didn't much care to do anything about it.

Afterward, Nadine and I went to lunch.  Not either of the cafeterias we went to last year in Osnabrück, but the nicer one they'd been hiding from us the whole time (they raised a wooden portcullis when it opened [really, a portcullis]).  The food was fantastic as expected (fried fish filet with dill sauce, feta cheese salad, cherry/chocolate pudding, apfel juice).   I'd never even been in the area, but it was somewhere practically in the middle of town because we walked to the inner city area where they hold the Mayfair (we went there often, even after Mayfair, to shop) and looked for something to hang my clothes on.

Yeah, my room is kinda sparsely furnished.  Nadine said there really wasn't anything like what I was looking for in Osnabrück or Quakenbrück, but there was an Ikea outside of town.  We bought coat hangers (8 for 4euro).  When we were done she took me to the train station so I could go back to Quakenbrück, and told me a little late that it only runs once an hour.  We have ten minutes.

Nothing like adding in a little drama.  We hop on a bus, get to Neumarkt, run up the stairs, down the stairs, and get there right on time ("Wow, excellent planning to get us here on time."  "Plan?  Yeah, I totally planned this.")  I make it back to Quakenbrück with no trouble.

At 6:30pm, I leave the flat for the Lowen Apoteke (Lion Pharmacy, AKA 'Golden Lion') to meet Dr. Figure.  His wife owns the pharmacy, and he introduces us briefly.  Dr. Figure and I make our way around town, and he introduces me to the owners of all the restaurants and bars.  He shows me the Im Eimer, and explains how it means 'in the bucket' and how people say 'Ich bin im Eimer' for a laugh--'in the bucket' being a similar phrase to our 'to kick the bucket.'  We have pizza and beer at a local place, which is fantastic (I get the ham and cheese pizza, but the cheese is definitely different from what we're used to).  He shows me the Coat of Arms on the restaurant, going back to the seven orders of knights who guarded Quakenbrück hundreds of years ago.  Ya just trip over history here.

1 comment:

  1. It's got to be hard not to FREAK when the portcullis is raised like it's normal. Maybe you can get a picture of that another day.

    Be sure you find out when the last train of the day runs. Drama comes when you've got 10 minutes to make the LAST train.

    I like the way Dr. Figura knows what's important - introducing you to the owners of the restaurants and bars!