German Word of the Day:
noun, neut.; region, area, district
It’s leftover night. Okay, that sounds lame. What I mean is, I was looking through my pictures and realized I had a ton of onesie-twosies from this month that I wanted to share but didn’t want to write a whole post about. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been hitting the daily grind at school again, but in the meantime I’ve somehow found myself in a few neat places in north-west Germany. So in no particular order, here are a few spots to hit in Niedersachsen.
1. Wolfsburg: Home of the Volkswagen
I went to Wolfsburg with my host family to pick up the new car they had bought. Man, that place is the car-lover’s version of Disney Land! They have museums, show rooms, restaurants, fish ponds, gift shops, and super-overly-helpful staff. You could easily spend a whole day in the act of taking your new car home – I’m a complete auto-noob, so I was happy to go home after only 4 hours or so!
2. The Hanover Zoo
Last week, I saw the Hanover Zoo, which was named the best zoo in Germany in 2010. It groups species by geographic region, so you can wander through one continent into another, surrounded by the native animals as well as authentic types of plants and realistic-looking architecture. Although I wouldn’t recommend going in the winter, there were a few highlights, including baby elephants! (Cue internal shrieking.)
My favorite “continent” was Yukon Bay, which feels exactly like an old Alaskan mining town and has polar bears, wolves, owls, sunken ships, and penguins.
The absolute best part of my trip was when I bumped into a zookeeper near closing time… somehow, five minutes later I was sitting on a little stool and a mob of meerkats was eating mealworms out of my hands!
3. Water Palace
It turns out that I don’t even have to go all the way to Hannover to see some cool stuff. Just a few minutes away from my house is this Wasserschloss, a local “palace”, with a real moat, built in the 16th century. It’s been inhabited by the same family all that time and we even got to meet the owners for a minute. Can you imagine being the caretaker of a property that your family has lived on for 500 years? I love to visit these old places and think about that.
Hamburg is a city-state all of it’s own, which means it’s not part of the state of Niedersachsen, even though Niedersachsen surrounds it on all sides. It was once a pivotal seaport city in Germany, and is now a bustling and beautiful metropolis at the mouth of the river Elbe. I spent a day there last week, which wasn’t enough time to explore the whole city – I’ll be back.
And that’s a wrap – I hope leftover night was okay. Subscribe in the menu bar so you don’t miss it when I post some really exciting stuff… I have a few plans up my sleeve!