Last week, we spent a lovely couple of days in Münster (or Muenster, if you don’t feel like copy+pasting the umlaut). It was about a 90 minute train ride from Bielefeld. Matt was at a math conference that was very closely related to his thesis. It was quite a struggle for me, but I finally decided that it would be more worth my time to explore the city rather than attend the math conference with him.
We stayed at a hotel that had a great breakfast and a lousy reception staff. Have you ever been yelled at in German because you wanted a room where the door actually, like, closed? You haven’t? Oh, wait. That’s me. I’m the only one who has had that happen.
It’s been difficult here to pursue things that are missing or needed, which I was raised to do, while not bleeding over into the territory of the demanding, self-righteous American. There was only one key and if Matt left the hotel room, he would have to lock me inside of it if I were sleeping, showering, or just wanted the door to be closed. I didn’t think it was unreasonable to ask why this was and point out that I would be trapped there during a fire. But then the yelling happened. And, to make a point that everyone knows is true but perhaps needs reiterating now and then, it really stings to be treated like an idiot because you don’t know how to say the right words in another language.
On the point of pursuing things, we’ve encountered similar situations where it has been impossible to push to get anything done – “So…we’ve been here for over a month and my husband hasn’t gotten paid for his work…” “Well, sleeping sort of hurts, since the mattress is flat. Can we get a different one?” A lot of it is a shrug and a blank stare, or a gentle explanation of how things work here that don’t really get at the heart of the problem. Thankfully, this was the only time we were publicly humiliated about our question. Needless to say, we’re not going back to this hotel and you never should. I put an awful lot of breakfast food in my backpack before we checked out. That sure taught them a lesson.
Aside from the hotel, Münster was great. It’s difficult to walk around because there are bikes everywhere, and you have to watch out for both regular traffic and bike traffic. However, I spent my days walking around and around and around, with only a few near-collisions. I visited the farmer’s market, where I was able to speak to different vendors and rebuild my confidence after “The Troubles” at the hotel. It was, of course, much larger than the markets in Bielefeld, and there were many vendors that made bouquets and sold Dutch and Belgian candy. Matt and I had a great lunch of pommes and bratwurst for 4€ total. We also bought some clementines, which are everywhere here right now and not too pricey (3.20€ for ten).
There is a saying in Münster: “Entweder es regnet oder es läuten die Glocken. Und wenn beides zusammen fällt, dann ist Sonntag” (Either it’s raining or the church bells are ringing. And if both are happening, then it’s Sunday). It was indeed cloudy the whole time that we were there, which you can see in the pictures.
In Münster, I made yet another beer mistake – I ordered a beer that had some kind of fruit involved, and found it to be like fruit juice. With maybe some beer in it. It’s actually beer with syrup added to it and yes, I can *totally* picture the face that you’re making right now as you read this. You’ll see in the photo below that it looks like a daquiri, when I thought I was ordering a nice ole wheat beer. The same thing happened previously when I ordered a grapefruit beer, which was interesting and at least not as sweet as this “rot” beer. I’m told that you can get beers that have ‘hints” of fruit in them, which is what I’m used to, if you go to a specialty store here. Another common thing to do to poor beer here is mix it with lemonade, though I haven’t tried that and now at least I know to watch out for it.