I bought a train ticket to Hausen for New Years before I even came to Wolfenbüttel, so I knew that was my plan all along. Corine and Volker were flying back to Germany from Arizona on the 31st, so we would all meet back up in Hausen to ring in the New Year! When making our plans, we discussed that they would land in Frankfurt around 7:30, so I bought a ticket that arrived at 9:30. So my train was supposed to leave here at 5:50.
The Great Train Debacle
On the morning of the 31st I woke up around 10:00 (perfectly normal time for a self-respecting academic) to get started packing and picking up my dorm before my train that evening. I noticed that I had missed a skype call from Corine, and my phone was off because the battery had died. I called Corine back on skype and realized she was sitting in her office in Hausen! She said, "Are you not coming today?" And I responded, "Yes, but not until this evening, remember?" "Are you sure?" I double-checked my ticket. 5:50 departure and 9:30 arrival. Then I realized my mistake. Because I am in Germany, the ticket would have read 17:50 and 21:30 if it were in the evening. Ugh. They were worried because Volker had gone to the train station to pick me up and I wasn't on the train. Then I didn't answer my phone (because it was dead). So I'm a terrible person!
I had bought the train ticket because it was such a great price at 20 Euros. It must have been so affordable because it was outrageously early in the morning. Hindsight is 20/20. Discount tickets are non-transferable, so my options were limited: buy a new ticket (last minute, would cost a fortune) or travel on the incorrect ticket (an offense for which they can fine you). After the people at the ticket desk in the train station didn't have mercy on my soul, I decided to try the latter.
I was so nervous! Most of you know that I am a strict rule-follower. So when the woman came down the aisle checking tickets, I had my ticket in hand and was ready to spill my guts and beg for mercy. She was checking the ticket across the aisle from me when she looked over, we made eye contact, I smiled and nodded my head, and she proceeded to walk right past me and check the ticket behind me. I couldn't believe it. I had been pardoned by the gods! She must have thought she'd already checked my ticket! I remembered an old teaching that my father had instilled in me from a very young age: look confident, make eye contact, act like you're supposed to be there, and no one will ever question you. He was right! It worked!
Four hours and two trains later (all without having my ticket checked) I arrived in Limburg, and Volker picked me up to take me to the house in Hausen!
New Years and Hausen
After all the drama of the train, we made it to Hausen. We had plans to make fondue and party with the neighbors for New Years. Great food and great company, and an amazing firework show in town! In Germany, all the neighborhoods do fireworks at midnight. And they don't hold back-- It was quite an impressive display! It was a foggy night, but the fireworks lit up the whole sky, diffused through the fog.
On January 3, we went to nearby Limburg to visit the shops and the cathedral. What a neat little town! Elaborately painted half-timbered businesses line the streets of Limburg-- we went to a chocolate shop and a gummie bear store, because we have the right priorities!
The cathedral is amazing! It was built at the beginning of the thirteenth century, and completed rather quickly (unlike most other medieval churches of this scale), which Corine pointed out is why the architectural style is more uniform than is often the case.
|Limburg Cathedral on the Lahn River|
Back in Hausen, I tried to win over Corine's cats (Willi and Wuni) who had just come over to Germany from Arizona. They were a bit shy at first, but by the time I left they had warmed up to me ever so slightly. Maybe next time they'll actually be my friends!
Back to Wolfenbüttel
I decided to actually purchase a valid ticket for my train ride back to Wolfenbüttel, which is good because it was checked several times during the journey. The entire train ride was snowy and pleasant, and it was even snowing here when I got back! It snowed all day and the next day too, but hasn't since then. This town looks even more adorable in the snow, if you can even imagine! I can't wait until it snows more and I can get out and take photos around town to share. Stay tuned.
2015 was an incredible year, and I'm counting on 2016 to keep the ball rolling!