Let me start this out with,
“Oh my gawd, I’ve only been away from Austria for almost TWO MONTHS… Can I cry now? Please? I want to.”
On top of that, apparently I really am terrible at writing everything day. I have scribblings of notes scattered in notebooks that I took on the trip, but based on my inability to actually write them down like a normal human being… Well, this means I’m two months behind on what all I wanted to write.
I could try and blame this on work and lack of sleep and any other number of things, but if I did that I’d be mostly lying. Sometimes that is true, but more often than not, it’s become more that I don’t want to write it down because I don’t want to be internally sad that I’m not there anymore.
On the second day that Maggie and I were blessed to spend with the lovely Andrea, we went to a place I was dying to go to. A comic book shop.
Unlike at home where there are just 6 that I can name off the top of my head, I hadn’t seen any, anywhere. Andrea knew of a little place in Bochum, so that’s where we went. Now, I hope this shop doesn’t take offense to this, but good lord were they tiny. Apparently comics are not a thing like they are here — well, by no means are the mainstream here, but they really aren’t mainstream anywhere else. Granted, I saw several Simpsons and Marvel/DC comics in the various train stations I was in, but it is nothing like the shops here. Considering this was the first shop I went it, I was still impressed, and I did feel my inner nerd finally ‘at home’ as I like to call it.
It was here that I picked up the first trade of Saga in German!
[At some other time, I’ll have to rave about my love for Saga, but that’s not for here…]
This hardbound book was one that I was excited to try and read, especially considering that it’s a direct, well mostly direct, translation of the English. So, I knew if I struggled with it I could
cheat and look at my English copy just practice more.
It was also here that I picked up a comic from Berlin.
This was exciting for me, getting a recommendation via Andrea and the shop owner.
If you’re interested in this particular book you can find information on it here >> Kinderland<<
(That’s one thing that I missed about home, was getting recommendations, thanks Destination guys and Jesse, you have officially spoiled me!)
I’ve not been able to read all of this one, or really any of the ones I’ve bought since I’ve been home, outside of a handful, just due to time and wanting to actually enjoy them. This is me with books in general, I cannot force myself to read anymore, it takes the joy out of it. The same applies to these comic books and mine from home.
After we stopped at this store and Andrea let me get my comic-fix we headed through town a little more to this, odd, looking place. We got out of the car, oops, I wasn’t supposed to tell we you rode in a car, eep, and walked down the sidewalk and this odd structure was looming over us. I didn’t quite know what it was, and I relied on Andrea that we weren’t going somewhere totally unnatural. Come to find out, we were headed to a mine museum.
Now, most people when they go on an International Trip might want to see the things that everyone else is going to see, much like we did initially in Salzburg by going on The Sound of Music Tour. However, this is stuff that my dear friend enjoyed and wanted to show me, so I trusted her. Plus, to me, the things that are off the beaten track are almost more interesting to me.
This place, the Deutsches Bergbau Museum, was not exactly something I could see many of my friends wanting to go do. However, Maggie, bless her, was totally up for it.
Apparently we odd apples find each other — always.
This place was unique. This Museum is situated right in the Ruhr district of Germany, and for those who don’t know what that area is, let me just tl;dr this because I don’t know enough about it’s history and I feel like it’s cheating if I use Wikipedia information. tl;dr – Lots of coal and steel mines. Lots of people. Now, not so much on the coal and steel industry — it’s not as profitable. Mines were abandoned after being exhausted for coal, and some of them have been turned into museums.
If you want more info check this awesome timeline of the Ruhr Area and it’s Specific History, the page specific to Deutsches Bergbau-Museum in Bochum, or the otherwise generic history of the Ruhr region.
I’m getting really good at this linky magic. Someone should give me a gold star for links.
So, the nifty part for me about this particular museum was that you were actually able to go in part of the old mine. Not super far down, because that can get dangerous. Before we made it down anywhere, we were greeted by things I don’t much care for in this world, Wax Figures. I don’t know why, but these things give me the heeby jeebes.
I’ve never likes wax figures, and there’s got to be a good reason buried in my memory as to why I will never go to Madame Tussauds. Eep. These things are beyond weird. The ‘men’ were watching over us as we piled into the freight elevator that took us down into the mine.
This little section was right near the beginning, and the walkway ran over a pit of water. That made the eerie factor rise a little, but I was almost left behind because I was trying to peer into the water and see if there was anything there. Oh well, next time I’ll figure it out.
See that Andrea, I said next time! We’ll hangout again!
After walking over this little area we waited to ‘go down another elevator’ and that was actually kind of cool. The elevator didn’t go anywhere but it simulated going down in the old mine with video screens on all four sides. The car itself shook, air rushed along the sides and it felt almost like you were actually going down. This kind of stuff still amazes me because our bodies are so easily fooled — Universal Studios is one of my favorite places to go because they really trip your body out in several of their rides.
However, without further ado, here is the best photos that both myself and Andrea took. She has the fancy camera, and I just had my phone. Oh well, the photos are pretty awesome anyways.
The mine was separated into multiple displays, and this one was one of the first we came to. This machine is a tunnel boring machine, or a mole, and man was this thing huge. Seriously it was huge. So, of course, what do we do, we took some pretty great photos in the start of a tunnel that had been bored (ahahahahah) away. Andrea looking right fine and somewhere in there I got the genius idea to pretend I was scared of the thing, Maggie just looked excited. Maybe this states something about our mental disposition, who knows?
There were several of the mine-trains around, so we hopped in one and took a picture together. Thanks to the gentleman who took this for us. It was hard to get all three of us in one photo, because I left the selfie stick at Andrea’s.
I bought a selfie stick for my trip and I ended up forgetting it most places, or only using it for dumb things. Figures.
Somewhere else in the mine was a section that was roped off, and well, me being me I can’t resist a good challenge.
PLUS, there were totally other people who walked over the barrier to sneak down this passage.
…. that other guy was probably a worker.
I know, I know, that doesn’t justify breaking the rules.
Cue Parentals: “What if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?” “I don’t know, maybe if they all had parachutes or something…”
Case in point, I was a terrible child to rationalize these things with.
I only went right over the rope, to pose for this picture, but then Maggie said she’d call Dr. Z if, jokingly, if I wouldn’t behave. So, when we later found a telephone she threatened to do just that.
Can you blame us? The photos are gold. Maggie being all proper and motherly, and I’m just being me who probably shouldn’t be allowed out my own without some kind of supervision.
It made it fun though.
We did run into a school group, they were kind of adorable. They totally weren’t like the kids I’ve seen at home on field trips where they lose their minds and run about causing havoc everywhere, these 15-20 kids were exceptionally well behaved, and answered questions when their teacher asked.
Oh and if you’re wondering they were somewhere in the Elementary School age.
That’s the one age group I give a break to at home about misbehaving when they’re out… Although, I’ve experienced Middle Schoolers, and they’re the worst lot, they like to think they’re the best of the best…. The High Schoolers are just apathetic and rude.
I was shocked that they weren’t doing anything silly or inappropriate, or maybe that was just the one group — although I’d seen a similar age group in Bregenz and they seemed the same way.
All throughout the mine were other machines like the tunnel boring machine, and some of them were odd, and I didn’t understand their purpose, and I didn’t know who to ask because there weren’t always little sign that Andrea could translate, or places where there was an audio tour option.
SO, without cheating and looking it up on their website here’s some more photos.
This area here was part of the newer high-tech part of the mine. Is it just me or does this scream 1970’s Spaceship Guy from the Lego Movie? The answer is yes. It’s always yes.
Unless it’s no.
I mean, come on, it totally would rock Spaceship Guy’s world. He would feel right at home.
The visitor mine took several years to construct, and this area was designed to reflect a current, state-of-the-art, longwall face that one would see in a mine today.
Remember, the answer is yes, it’s always yes,… unless it’s no.
And if it’s no then you can kindly see yourself out of this post.
The rest of the photos from the mine I’ll keep to a minimum because honestly they’re mostly still of us somewhat goofing off.
I should say of me goofing off…
Hey guys, I’m a minecart. Wooooooooo! :pretends to slide away:
Awkward Prom Pose with a giant drilling jumbo.
So awkward there’s not even a hoverhand going on.
Outside the museum you could go up to the top of the headframe, and look out over Bochum and the surrounding cities.
The website here describes the headframe better than I ever will, so I’ll let them do the explaining.
“Our green headframe is a well-known sight far beyond the borders of Bochum, and shapes the city’s silhouette. And yet our biggest exhibit did not arrive in Bochum until 1973. Until then, the headframe stood in its original location, above the main shaft of the Germania mining complex in Dortmund-Marten.
Designed by the well-known industrial architects Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer, the solid-walled double headframe was erected in 1943/44. In its time it was considered to be the largest headframe in the world, with a weight of 650 t, a height of 71.4 m, and a head wheel diameter of 8.00 m. It was also one of the most modern and powerful hoisting devices in the German coal-mining industry, and remained in operation until 1971.”
Basically it’s huge, and it’s green, and it’s really awesome looking. Oh, and that part about it being an actual headframe from another mine is pretty awesome.
It was warmer outside than it’d been anywhere in the mine, especially since the visitors mine averages a temperature of 12 C, but it was rather windy. So, up we went. Thankfully this time there was an elevator to take us to the top, because after the day before in Köln and walking up all those stairs, I was pretty content with not having to stairs for awhile. Low and behold, the life doesn’t take you all the way to the top,… but i made it up those last few steps anyways!
The view was worth it.
This is looking out from the first viewing platform over the top of the museum. On each of the four ‘walls’ of the viewing platform were these signs, these ‘Point of Interest’ maps were pretty cool to get a better impression of which way you were facing and what was off in the distance. Unlike here, I had no real base to understand where I was exactly, so having this was pretty rad.
This weekend several people from our Study Abroad group went to Vienna, so I waved in their general direction. We also tried to find the frame of Landschaftspark Duisburg while we were up there, I think we might have found it but it was a little hazy and it was kind of hard to make out some of the things in the distance.
We sat outside the museum for a little, but while doing this there was either a bachelorette party going on, or about to start, and they were taking pictures in front of the museum. They all had little heart shaped balloons,
Maggie got one. It flew away as they all ran down the lawn, so we caught it and kept it for awhile.
You can see the group of women in the background, looking all cute with their matchy-matchy outfits.
I’m glad we’re not the only place that has odd/weird pre-wedding events.
After all this we headed back to Witten to clean up, get fancy, because we were going to go to a party in Essen.
But first food! ❤
DO YOU KNOW THAT THIS WAS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE EVER HAD TO EAT.
No, seriously, the best.
Nothing beats Döner.
Well, at least not in it’s price range.
I told Jesse that it the one thing I really do miss food wise that was quick and easy to get, and you could find it almost anywhere.
After food-time we headed up to Andrea’s to get cute, because party, dancy thing. And being cute at those things is always important. Because duh, cute.
Note: I don’t go out, like ever. I don’t party. I don’t do a lot of ‘normal’ college kid things — if I’m going to hangout with friends I’m perfectly fine doing such over dinner and board games. Or binge watching a TV show with my best friend Rachael. Or you know, reading a book, in my house, in the semi-quiet. I don’t go out — hardly at all. When I have in the past I just get really anxious because there’s always so many people and they’re so close to you, and it just makes me uncomfortable.
Maggie can attest to all of the things that I just said about my reasons for not going out happened at some point that night.
However, we got cute, and went to this outside dance-club place, that I can’t remember the name of to save my life right now — I do remember that it had a monkey in it’s logo though — and we headed in.
Since being in Köln I had a rather icky stuffy nose problem, that decided to rear its ugly head while at the party. I knew that I couldn’t be around smokers much, just like I can’t at home, and wherever I was it seemed that I was followed by those who were smoking. Now usually one or two people doesn’t bother me, but this was like a cloud and a half. That, made a cough I had acquired become worse.
You know what though, the music was good. It really was — and even though Maggie wanted to dance I was enjoying people watching at first. I did go hangout on the dance floor with her and Andrea, but I really wasn’t feeling it.
Stupid body, making the fun I was having non-existent.
But, in lieu of that, I did get a decent video of Paji playing his violin. Seriously, you can watch it here.
I left Andrea and Maggie to have fun on the dance floor, and I wandered off to the side of everything and just watched, and of course listened to the music. Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just casually sipping a water over here because I can’t breathe. Andrea was a wonderful host, and seriously is an amazing friend. She and Maggie came up to me a little later and suggested we leave because I wasn’t feeling well. I told them to not worry about me and go have fun that I was perfectly content off to the side, but that logic failed the second time and we did go back to Andrea’s home.
Sleep was wonderful — minus the fact that we had to get up in just a few hours to go back to Bregenz.
It felt like the weekend had flown right on by, and that I would all to soon be leaving one of my dearest friends. I know, I know, getting sappy is never good, and I know I’ll see Andrea again and hopefully get to spend more time with her next time around.
Eventually this post has to end, but I’ll do so with my photos from the train(s).
I miss trains.
Apparently our train is running close to 40 minutes late. They keep announcing their apologies for a delay and something about a rescue team, and because I can't understand the words being said AFTER rescue team, in English or German, I'm marginally concerned. However, I have tea now, and my throat is less itchy. #trainsgonnatrain #trainlife #dbbahn #studyabroad #KiisAustria