Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Travels Germany Vol III.

       I was just cleaning/perusing my emails and realized that I have been M.I.A. for quite some time now, and for that I thoroughly apologize.  The long and short of it is that I didn't have much to report for a couple of weeks, a lot of boring routine and as unbelievable as it is you can slip into routine even in a foreign land when every day has potential to be an inKredible adventure.

Athletes for Days.
        When asked by someone "Do you want to hear the bad news or good news first?" I always pick the bad news first, the blow is usually softened by the good news that follows.  I will start with the standard house keeping stuff and then hit you all with the knockout punch afterwards.  Football is going well.  It becomes very frustrating at times when you only have 18 people at practice, not even enough to scrimmage offense vs. defense and you really feel that you're working backwards and accomplishing nothing.  It's tough to go from a University practice where you have 80 bodies at practice a coach at every position and a well structured plan of attack for the week to where I am @ now.  That being said I've started to realize that the teams our team will be competing against are in the same routine and that our team will not get molly whopped by a vastly superior opponent.  Speaking of vastly superior opponents, our team scrimmaged against a division 1 team a couple of weeks ago, we got splayed out but were able to really recognize our strength and weaknesses; our offensive line is rubbish.  It was a glaring problem, GLARING.  It was a problem that was solved by recruiting a couple of beasts from the City of Lubeck's other team.  I'm very grateful for these new players because as the quarterback, who used to be a somewhat ignorant defensive back, I've started to realize once again how an offensive line is the backbone to a good offense. This football diatribe is only necessary because football is the vessel that has allowed me to get the new world experience I am so fortunate to have right now and for that reason I feel obligated to provide a brief summary of my football life.

         My new roommate/teammate/hombre came in about 3 weeks ago now.  Obviously there was potential for him to be a d-bag but the stars seem to have aligned and he is a stand up guy.  It's nice to have some company and someone who is the same exact mind state and place in life that I am in.  He's from Chicago and has a succinct Mid-Western twang.  He is impressed that i don't say "Eh" and that I have knowledge of American landscape, history and politics.  He is a well educated guy who graduated last year like myself and has so very little knowledge of anything Canadian.  It's becoming more and more obvious to me that America as a country has no interest in anything that isn't American.  It's not Rick (My roommate's) fault that he knows so little about Canada, it's the school system and Media in America's fault.  America is like a self centered teenage girl. 

         Now onto the good stuff; all the traveling I have been privy to in the last 3 weeks.  The last three weekends have included, and in this order, Hamburg, Kiel and Berlin.

Bringing my friends overseas, sort of.
         It was my second time in Hamburg and as compared to my first time included a few more touristic things.  Although the company wasn't quite as good the second time around (What up Andy!) I learned a little more about the city the second time around.  The day included a visit to the Beatlemania exhibit that was an homage to the Beatles and especially how their musical career began in Hamburg at the Kaiserkellar.  The Beatles are a lot cooler than I had always thought, I always thought they were a bunch poppy music makers with little to no edge, but boy was I wrong.  These guys made a lot of cutting edge drug induced music that creatively began trends and influenced so many of the artists that we listen to today.  Rick and I then went on a harbour tour and were witness to how vast Hamburgs canals and shipping district really is.  Next on our list was a well reviewed erotic art museum, but unfortunately the museum wasn't open and we needed to move onto the activity, which was the St. Michael's Cathedral. 
St. Michael's
Usually I am not one to be blown away or impressed by churches, but the architecture of St. Michael's was visually stunning. STUNNING.  Although I am not a proponent to the establishment of religion I have decided to dispel my bias throughout my travels through Europe so that I can witness history and architecture associated with churches.  The church had a spire that was approx. 100 meters tall and the view from the top was breath taking.  St. Michael's Cathedral concluded a fun filled day in Hamburg, a city that will be seeing a lot of my face.

          Not really sure why I included Kiel on the list of hotspot travel destinations I visited.  The trip to Kiel was a brief jaunt to have a friendly scrimmage against a The Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, the division I team I referenced in the 2nd paragraph.  I only really saw a football field and a McDonalds. 

The Amphitheater 
          The icing on the cake that has been the last III weeks was my trip to Berlin over the weekend.  In short, although I will venture next into the somewhat longer, Berlin is the greatest individual city I have ever visited in my short lifetime.  The feel of the city is like nothing I have ever experienced.  There is so much culture and history that it almost feels as though the city is a living and breathing organism.  My travel buddies were Rick and his College roommate Martin.  We took the bus from Lubeck early Friday morning and arrived in Berlin late Friday morning.  The first day included a great deal of sightseeing, walking and of course drinking.  We visited the Reichstag, Rottenborg Tor, the Brandenburger Gate, The Willy Brandt museum and Checkpoint Charlie. If I was to get into detail about all of these locations and attractions I would be here for hours, so as a youth from the internet era, I suggest, if interested, you Google all the locations I reference in this email.  It was also my first ever time staying in a Hostel.  A hostel is certainly something that takes some getting used to, people coming and going at all different times of the day and night, complete strangers sleeping right next to you and having to climb onto the top bunk!  It's a great atmosphere though as hostels house travelers from all over the world and a gang of people who are all in search of exploration, it also helps that they offer very affordable accommodations.  Friday night was a late night and Saturday morning was an early morning, a difficult combination to conquer, but mind over matter is what really matters.  On Saturday we met up with a couple of Berliner's that Rick backhandedly knew through one of his friends girlfriends.  Caroline and Martin (referenced all day as other Martin, and referenced as such throughout this email) made the trip.  They were both sweethearts who were really able to help us connect with the city in a way that we wouldn't have been able to had we taken a standard tour.  Other Martin is in school to be a tour guide and wanted to practice his craft, something that we were very grateful for. On Saturday we saw the East Berlin Gallery, the Turkish quarters, The Sony Centre, The Holocaust monument, and the Volkswagen museum.  We were then spoiled with some very tradition German food and beer, which got our night started.  We convinced Caroline and other Martin to stick around and party with us.  One of Caroline's friends is a bartender and was able to get us on the guest-list of the club she worked at, the best part being that the club was holding a private 18th birthday party for a young lady named Nelly.  It was pretty funny crashing an 18-year-old girls birthday party, but after every free round we gave Nelly her due and toasted the birthday girl.  Sunday morning was another groggy morning that was highlighted by us sleeping through checkout time and being kicked out of our room around noon.  All three of us were Zombies but were once again able to gather a little bit of motivation for one last adventure.  Other Martin suggested we hit up this thing called Bearpit Karaoke.  We stumbled into this park around 1PM that was loaded with so many people from all walks of life.  The atmosphere was electric and the good weather, coupled with a couple of beers helped to shake off the cobwebs.  The karaoke was so fun.  There must have been over a thousand spectators and so many people interested in participating.  When I initially heard about the event I figured there would be long points of inactivity where no one would be singing because they didn't have the testicular fortitude to sing in front of so many people. Boy was I wrong in my assumption and after the first 30 minutes there was a lengthy list of performers and an even longer list of people who wished to sing.  Bearpit Karaoke was the final exclamation point on a weekend that I wish never had to come to an end. 

         I have babbled quite a bit but I hope this email has been somewhat informative as well as entertaining.  I would love to attach some pictures of my journeys but if I attempt to do so my internet modem may burst into flames.  It doesn't exactly provide much of a connection, but it does allow for the basics of communications, which now a days primarily includes emails.  Once I upgrade from a I to I-a internet connection I'll be sure to send you all an assortment of the best moments caught on Camera. In the meantime thanks once again for the audience, I miss you all dearly and wish nothing but the happiness I am currently experiencing for all of you. That line was pretty corny and makes me feel a little like Tony Robins.  In reality I could go back right now and erase it but I'm gonna keep it in there cause I really do mean it.  

Jesse Ross Mack

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