I arrived in Frankfurt ahead of schedule around 11:10. The flight fed us dinner and a small breakfast, just enough for me to be on my merry way. That gave me enough time to freshen up, grab my bag, and find the Deutsch Bahn station in the airport. Now that I was in Frankfurt, I heard German everywhere! It definitely surprised me, since it’s just not something you tend to hear on the streets in Williamsburg. I also realized how much German I’m able to understand depending on the person and the subject. The weather was on the chilly side, but nothing my coat and sweater couldn’t handle. Plus, compared to the weather Virginia had been having, it was a drop in the bucket.
I found my way around and bought a Deutsch Bahn student card (so I get discounts on travelling for my stay here) and a ticket to Erfut. I was a little nervous at the time because my tutor, Lukas, and I had talked about him meeting me at the Erfurt station, but it wasn’t clarified and I had no way of contacting him with no internet and I didn’t have his phone number yet. I decided not to think about that for a little while and find my train.
The tracks with my suitcase and a man.
My 1:02 train on the Leipzig track.
Once I got on the train, I had a couple of hours to relax. The ICE (the train I rode) was very different from any trains I’ve ridden in the US. It was very clean and there were several people on it: some with large suitcases like me, and others with just a briefcase or small backpack. It was also very quite. Except for a few hushed business conversations here and there, no one talked at all. I didn’t mind though, for I liked just looking out the window and taking in the scenery.
I noticed that all the towns and cities had a very distinct German look to them. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I didn’t expect them to look just like they do in TV shows or movies. While the cities were big, there were luscious green fields right near by with people and dogs always walking through them. The cars were either the usual, nice BMW, Volkswagen, or Audi or they were the European Citroen, Peugeot, and the like. The trucks all had flat fronts, which is very different from most of the US trucks. It was comforting to see familiar companies though, like UPS or DHL.
I eventually got to Erfurt and decided to wait for Lukas (my tutor) in the main part of the station for a little while. We walked past each other a couple of times, but eventually figured it out. I took the tram with him to the university where we checked in and I got my key. The tram fascinated me. It runs all through the streets where people walk and drive cars. In the downtown area, there are people everywhere walking just before the tram passes or even right next to it!
Anyway, we found my room where I met one of my suite-mates. Lukas and I exchanged numbers to avoid more confusion, and we parted ways as I began unpacking.
That evening, my suitemates showed me the closest grocery store. We fixed dinner, and I went to bed fairly early.