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Continuation of my German trip report

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Here's the first part of my trip report on the Goethe Institute in Göttingen and several days elsewhere.

Göttingen itself is an attractive city, with a lot of half-timbered houses and some carved facades. The downtown streets are pretty much pedestrianized, and they're usually very busy with shoppers, strollers, and sidewalk cafe sitters. One Saturday there was a lot of political campaigning, and I had to use my brush-off phrase once or twice--"Ich bin Americanerin," with as strong an American accent as I could dredge up.

Back to class. At first I had trouble understanding the teacher, but I soon realized that the problem was that I wasn't focusing, wasn't paying attention closely enough. As soon as I realized this and started paying close attention, it went well. Clearly, I can't zone out and still expect to understand a foreign language.

This was by far the most rigorous Goethe Institute I've attended. We went very fast and covered a lot of material. I assume that is because so many of the students plan on studying at the University of Göttingen and will attend the Institute until they are completely fluent in German. This hasn't been the case at earlier, smaller institutes I have attended.

When time came for me to leave the Institute, it was really a wrench. I had become friendly with so many of the students, especially the two women doctors, Darein and Hana, and the Libyan orthopedic doc, Walid, and I was sad to leave them. We had a party the last day of class Hana asked me if I was coming back, and when I said no, she expressed regret. Walid shook hands with me when he said good bye, which I felt was really special.

So, the session I was attending ended on Friday, May 30, but the day before the end was a German holiday, Himmelfahrt--Ascension Thursday. I decided to take a one-day trip to Goslar, which I had accidentally discovered last year when I got lost.

I made a reservation at the Hotel Kaiserworth a few days prior, and then on Thursday I went to the Bahnhof and bought a ticket about an hour before train departure. I train was jammed at first, but at the first stop, many people got off and it was more comfortable. I took a taxi to the hotel and was really impressed by the exterior. It was a sort of reddish color and was decorated with statues and fancy dormer windows. The picture I'd seen on the internet was a night picture, and didn't really do justice to the facade of the hotel.

I went to my room through various passageways and arrived at a piece of heaven on earth. Well, I'm exaggerating, but after spending a month on a two-inch-thick mattress with a questionable comforter, I was delighted to see the bed, which had a real mattress and a fluffy comforter. The room was quite elegant and very comfortable.

It was raining pretty steadily, so I didn't wander around much. I went up the street a bit to a restaurant called "Butterhanne," which I think means butter churn. German food is a bit heavy for me, so I don't usually order a full dinner. I saw what looked like a chef's salad on the menu, and I ordered that. It was delicious. The beef, instead of a few slices of cold beef such as I would have found at home, seemed to have been sauteed in butter. Then there were various vegetables, also delicious. I ordered my usual drink--an orangensaftschorle, which is orange juice mixed with club soda or sparkling water, as nearly as I can tell.

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