>>> 7 years ago in Spain.
Jan and I were the only ones left in the residencia, it seems, oh, for all of September. With everyone back to their respective countries, our evenings were pretty much spent at the local pub having epic conversations about everything and anything. Seriously. Everything and anything.
(We had a friendly debate over the difference between deer and moose and elk and reindeer. Theories got more absurd the more we drank. And at the same time, things oddly made sense. Like, whoa.) Well, one random night at the pub, Jan (or I?) had this epic idea of trying every beer on the menu. All 70+ cervezas. But Jan only had 3 weeks left before heading back to uni in Tübingen. That means 3-4 beers a night. Every night. For the next 3 weeks. I can't hang with that amount of beer, but because Jan is German and Germans love beer ... Challenge accepted. And that's how we became regulars at Erasmus pub.
Needless to say, I had tons of practice with the German tradition of
>>> June 2014 in Austin.
Commence the initial stages of Eurotrip 'planning' by Jin, which involves hitting up a few old friends / fam bam living in various parts of the Deutschland and giving them heads up that we're on our way. (Ends Eurotrip planning by Jin, lol.) Jan responded right away:
" ... if you're ready to make the journey - fairytale castles, one of the finest medieval old towns in Germany and our warm hospitality wait for you." - Jan
Wow. Tübingen sounds even smaller than what Jan had described it 7 years ago! It also sounds oddly like Salamanca ... and exactly the quaint Germany I was looking for. Can't wait!
>>> August 2014 in Tübingen.
So everything about Tübingen was beyond phenomenal, all thanks to our awesome hosts, Jan and his wife, Stef. From getting personally picked up in Stuttgart to their tour guide prowess (and eagerness!) to their incredible hospitality. (So many memories to mention just in their tiny, cozy home! They offered us their bed, prepared fresh breakfast + coffee every morning on their patio, cooked intimate dinners, showed Vince how to make spaetzle, taught us a German card game - all from the comforts of their home!) I now see why Jan ended up in Salamanca all those years ago. Tübingen IS the German version of Salamanca. Only colorful.
And just like Salamanca, Tübingen is incredibly rich in medieval history, utterly simple in lifestyle, and picturesque all around. There are only a few places in the world that I can call surreal. Tübingen is def on that list.
On the last full day in Tübingen, I had tried to keep my birthday under wraps and almost got away with it until dinner time - after a full day of castle hunting and brewery hopping - when Jan actually checked his FB. (From what I remembered from my ole German roomies, Germans have their own version of FB.
But I didn't get that memo that FB sued StudiVZ a few years back. D'oh.)
'Jiiiiin? FB is telling me your birthday is today??!'
Zang. So close. So after dinner, Jan and Stef 'surprised' me with a pretty impressive (and catchy!) German birthday song and presented me with last minute German chocolates in lieu of a birthday cake. What I am surprised about is that there are FOUR German birthday songs.
Imagine my befuddlement when Jan and Stef said they couldn't decide what song to sing! Wow. I must say. That was pretty awesome. It's been 7 years since the last I've spent my birthday in Europe. Both times, coincidentally, Jan was there! Full circle!
But the Eurotrip adventures didn't stop there. Like almost all our flights back to the states from Europe over the past 8 years - we ran into a snafu. Nothing like having Jan hook us up with an Autobahn card, become temporary unofficial German residents til the end of 2014 to get that card (Good to know we have a home in Germany for the next 3 months, haha!), wake up at 3am, get Jan to drive us to Stuttgart, catch a 5am train ride into another country, make multiple transfers in between, and miraculously end up in Brussels. Just so we can catch our 10a flight over the pond. Whew!
Another memorable Eurotrip in the books! Huzzah!
Jan and Stef : we are most definitely looking forward to y'alls visit to Texas - hopefully in the near future! - and return the same high-standard hospitable kindness that y'all have bestowed upon us! Seriously, you two are amazing hosts!
Danke for every generous detail! Let us know if y'all need a recommendation on Trip Advisor ... 'roomies'. Oh, and there are tons of PAYDAYS here in Austin. No bribes. Just sayin'. =P
besos ... jin.