Monthly Archives: September 2012

Visit to Kessler and Heidelberg…

…were amazing. I’ve been to Kessler also in February, but when there’s an opportunity to visit the oldest sekt factory in Germany, I’ll use it every time. Sekt is sparkling wine which is made in Germany – kind of like Champagne is sparkling wine which is made of specific grapes which are produced in  the Champagne region in France. First we had a tour around the factory, which is pretty amazing because it’s inside  the oldest stone build house in Esslingen, and then we got to taste different kinds of Kessler Sekts.

Here’s a picture of us having Sekt. From the left: Me, Haksoo from South Korea, Marko from Finland, Toni from Finland, Mickey from England and Otto from Finland.

 

The next day we had an intercultural training. We were basically talking about differences between cultures so that it would be easier for us to understand each others. Lot’s of interesting stuff came up. We talked about stereotypes and ways to greet friend and a teacher.     For us Finns the meeting with a teacher is not nearly as formal as in other countries. Everyone seemed shocked after I told that I could even go for a beer with some of my teachers :).

Here’s a picture of me and the lecturer. On the board you can see stereotypes and common things that we thought about different countries. About Germany we wrote things like punctuality, lederhose and Hitler.

 

On Saturday we went to Heidelberg. The trip took about 2 hours by train so we had to leave at 7 a.m. Everyone was pretty tired from all the “fun having” last night. Some of us slept only two hours :D. Here’s a pictrue of Toni, Otto and Heikki from the train. You can also see Monika, our international coordinator from Hochschule Esslingen who has done a great job guiding us into German everyday life!

 

Heidelberg is a historical city with university and up to 35 000 students live there during the semester. I think it’s my favorite city from now on. Only bad thing was that there were thousands of tourists and of course everything was expensive. Main tourist attraction was the castle in the hills. Here’s some pictures from there:

Haru, Heikki, Siradhep, Ruben and Kike on their way to the castle.

 

Áron, Otto, Toni and Heikki listening to the tourist guide. They seem VERY interested :D…

 

Here’s a taste of the view to the old city. Thanks to Otto from this picture!

 

Here’s the inner yard of the castle.

 

Here’s the biggest wine barrel in the world. It was in the castle and it can hold up to 228 000 liters of wine which lasted for 10 months in the castles  inhabitants use. It was ****** huge! On top of it you can see Heikki, Toni and Áron. Again thanks to Otto from the picture!

 

And here’s a view from the castles balcony.

 

Here you can see the massive structure of the castles walls. Unfortunately I didn’t hear that why is this tower broken…

 

After the tour guide we went to circle around the old city. Main purpose was to find a place to eat and maybe drink one Hefe. The tourist guide told us that there’s a place for students to eat cheap and we found it. It wasn’t even that cheap but the food was really good and there was lots of different things to eat. I think that I liked the food so much because it was very similar to Finnish food. Also the campus area was amazing. Here’s a picture from the diner. There was also a bar where you could get Hefe for 2,75 €.

 

Oh, and one picture for Jussi. If you want a good pipe then send me 345 € and I’ll buy you a Porche Design :D.

 

Now it’s time to start making myself useful. Next week we might rent a car and go to the Alps. You might hear from it later ;). Lot’s of hugs and kisses for those, who feel like deserving it :).

-Johannes

Visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum…

…for the second time. I did my first visit there in February 2012 but I went there again because… well I was said that it’s a compulsory. But it was a good visit anyway. I’ve noticed that in Germany  the teachers think that a student, no matter what his/her age is, is not an adult. The classes that I’ve been in allow only two absence and I think that there’s no such thing as academic freedom in Germany :).

But to the point. Here’s the museum outside. It’s been designed by Dutch architectural company  UN Studio and it was opened on 2006. One of the guides said to us that if you check all the places inside you walk 5 kilometers.

 

From the visit I have a special photo for Kossu. He had one of these and it was exactly the same color :).

 

Although, I think the price tag wasn’t quite the similar…

 

There was lot’s of technical details for example how different engine parts are made. Here is a good picture that shows how connecting rods are formed step by step. The manufacturing method is forging that “gives the components an efficient fiber matrix”. These connecting rods belong to a V6 diesel engine.

The museum doesn’t only show/tell the history of Daimler-Benz company, but also the main turning points of the worlds industrial development. It’s a really interesting place and even if You’re not interested in cars, You should visit there if possible.

 

Oh sh*t my laundry is in the machine… Got to go. Bye!

-Johannes

 

First German class,…

…first hiking, first visit to gym, first visit to our local “Biergarten” and first trip to Stuttgart. That’s basically everything that this post is about but first a picture with almost the whole bunch:

This is taken in front of our dormitory. Big thanks to Kike! He’s a really nice guy from Mexico and he said that I can use all of the pictures that he has taken/will take and there’s a lot of them:).

 

I’ll start with last weekend. On Friday we went to Stuttgart to visit the local bars, lounges and clubs. We went there by S-bahn which is similar to Finnish metro, and about one hour later we came back :D. We couldn’t get in any of the clubs because we had no girls with us. That’s the way that it’s done in Germany, so if you want to party in some of the clubs than make sure that in your group there is same amount of boys and girls.

The trip to local “biergarten” on Saturday seemed to fail also. Biergarten is a German word for restaurants terrace or “beer garden”. We got in and noticed that it was a mess. The tables were full of glasses and there was this little group of people in the only clean table. They said to us that the owner of that bar had changed and it wont open until the first of october but then they started asking about us and what we do in Esslingen. Then they gave us beer and showed the bar (they were the new owners). One of them, “Holy Roly”, showed the biergarten and played some piano for us. It was really nice and the people there were really friendly. Also the interior was nothing like in a Finnish local drunk house. After that they invited us to the opening and we promised to advertise their bar to other exchange students also.

Here’s a picture of the new owners and employees. Big thanks to Heikki from this one.

 

On Sunday I decided to go for some hiking. I knocked on Toni’s door and asked him to join me. It didn’t take long from him to decide that his in. We went to the nearest hill and started climbing it up. The sun was shining and the route was surrounded by apple and plum trees. I don’t know if it’s forbidden but we ate them every time we had a chance :D.

This is taken from the route. You can see Hilltop campus on the left side of the picture.

 

On Monday we had our first German class. Our teacher is energetic woman. I’m not sure how to speak to her because in Germany you have to call your teacher with his/her last name and with Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. or doctor or professor or etc….. in front and Karla only told us her first name. So I believe that she want’s us to call her by her first name. I have to ask her though cause it felt like she’s really strict about everything and I don’t want to be impolite. But she’s the kind of teacher that I like: strict, knows how to teach and “activates” everyone of us. It’s amazing that she doesn’t speak almost any English and I don’t speak almost any German but still she can teach me…?

Intensive studying. Big thanks goes to Toni this time :).

 

The teaching really started from scratch. We were divided into four groups by our previous knowledge about the language (1 no knowledge – 4 good knowledge) and I’m in group 2. I thought that it would be my level but the teaching is really slow and includes only the basic things. I mentioned this to Karla but she said that the speed will increase and promised that I’ll learn to speak German :).

 

In the evening I finally got to check the hilltop campus’ gym out. I think I’ve never been to a sh*ttier one 😀 but I don’t care. There’s no possibility to do deadlifts and the squatting area sucks big time. Maybe I’ll check some of the Esslingens other gyms.

Here’s the gym. Some athletic dude was in the way. I couldn’t almost take a single picture without him in it because he was so gigantic.

 

Aaand the gym from another angle (again the Hulk is there!?)

 

And finally the squatting area. Notice the “No smoking” sign :D. Too bad. I’m used to smoke while doing squats. “Sporttirööki” as we say in Finland.

 

The gym was divided into two separate rooms. Here’s the other one.

 

I think I’ll start doing my homework now… We learned a lot of new words today and Karla want’s us to know them all tomorrow so I better start memorizing them.

Greetings to Kossu, Maikki, Nadja, Jenny, Niko, Jussi, Tarzan, Senni, Mami, Hannu, Viljami, Josefiina, Vilhelmiina and all the other loved ones! I’m good and life here is good also so nothing to worry about. Miss you <3.

 

-Johannes

 

First week is over…

…and I’m exhausted in a good way. There was this little party yesterday so I didn’t have the time to write in the evening. Heikki had some “Salmiakki kossu” and Otto had some Lakrisal so the other exchange students get to taste a bit of Finland. Only the Turkish guys liked the Kossu and I think that no one liked Lakrisal.

Here you can see the aftermath or “the dagen efter” of the party .

 

Before the party we went to this old castle up in the hills to have  Flammkuchen which is a German dish. It means Flame cake and is similar to pizza.  The international office offered the food. We also tasted Bananen-Weizen which was not so good :D. It’s a wheat bear with banana juice (surprise). There’s also weizen with sprite but I think that’s a waste of a good wheat beer.

Here is a picture of the route to the castle. The route was surrounded by vineyards.

 

Today we circled around the city because of all the freetime. Heikki bought some cigars and it made him very happy. I wonder why…?

 

One Hungarian student is a lot with us which is really good. Now we speak English all the time even to each other if his near. He’s also really hilarious so we’re getting good laughs.

Tonight we’re going to Stuttgart. We got our student ID-cards today so traveling with public transportation is now free in the Stuttgart area after 6.00 p.m. and on weekends and public holidays.

This first week has really been a lot easier than I thought. There’s lot’s of free time and all the advice that we get from the international coordinators are good. They’ve told  us everything that we need to know about living in Germany. Next week we’ll start studying German four hours a day. I think that’s going to be frustrating every once in a while but I know that it’s all about the attitude. If you think that something is going to suck then it definitely will and vice versa.

Now I’m starting to get ready for the trip to Stuttgart.

 

-Johannes

 

 

Arrived in Esslingen…

…three days ago. Haven’t been able to contact any of my friends or my family properly, because we haven’t had internet connection until this afternoon (I’m really sorry guys!). Now I’m in Starbucks drinking shitty and expensive coffee just to be able to use the internet.

The trip went well. I traveled to Helsinki on Sunday to see my friend Senni before I go to Germany. We walked at Lauttasaari which is an Island really close to city center. Still there’s lots of woods and green areas so I really liked it.

Here’s a picture of me in Lauttasaari on the shore.

 

I didn’t really sleep at all during the night between Sunday and Monday because of the excitement. My alarm clock “woke” me at 3 something and I took a taxi to Main bus station in Helsinki. From there I took a bus to Helsinki-Vantaa airport. I thought that I was going to travel alone but at the airport I suddenly saw a familiar face.  Toni, a student from JAMK also was on the same flight.

Here’s Toni at Stuttgart’s airports railway station.

 

There were some minor accidents on the trip. As soon as I got out of my appartment in Jyväskylä – my bags carrying handle broke up. Luckily there was another one. I also lost my bags closing strap (the one that ensures that the bag won’t open) on the way to the bus station. I also had to take some stuff out of my other bag at Senni’s  apartment because it was too heavy for the hand luggage (big thanks to Senni!).

The instructions from international coordinators of Hochcschule Esslingen were really great. We found all the trains and buses to get to our apartment. There we got our welcome packages (I actually got it on tuesday) which included all kinds of informations to make our lives easier here. Then we got the keys to our rooms and I immidietly checked it out:

It’s kind of small and I share my bathroom with a Ukrainian girl but it’s okay. I also share the kitchen with 5 students but there’s nobody there ever. And I don’t mind even if there is. It’s funnier to cook in group.

After we had settled down we wen’t to a bar which is located in the basement of our dormitory(!) :D. “The hefe” is really cheap (I’m not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing)…

This picture is from the outside of the bar. From the left:Heikki, Toni and Otto. All of them study at JAMK and I was actually their tutor in their first year so I knew all of them before this trip.

 

I think I’m gonna stop writing now… There’s still tons of things to tell but I’ll save them for this evening. I’ve heard a rumor that there’s going to be a big party tonight.

Kisses and hugs to everyone back home. I miss you all so much, but I didn’t come here to do that so I’ll just try to put you out of my mind… That sounds a “bit” self centered but if I’m thinking of you my whole trip will suck.

Over and out,

-Johannes