Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ich habe mir einem Motorrad gekauft


About a month after arriving in Germany, I got my hands butt on a Yamaha Diversion S 600 (1992). It only took about two weeks to track down a motorcycle and complete all the insurance and registration paperwork to get a license plate. 


Coolest souvenir ever...

The only kind of selfies you'll get from me. 

The guy I bought it from, Tycho, is super cool. He graduated from the Informatiks department at the Universit├Ąt Stuttgart (the department I have my internship with) and has a HAM Radio license. He also teaches at an Aerospace Lab that offers robotics classes for kids from elementary to high school ages. I've been helping out there ever since (they had a German astronaut who helped with the Philae/Rosetta comet landing mission give a lecture! It was awesome). But yeah, we rode down to a HAM radio convention down near Bodensee.  


It's actually not that far away (like most things in Europe). It was only 200km to Bodensee/Switzerland area (about a 2 hour drive). Though, we took the back roads through beautiful tiny German towns which took about 4 hours. 


CASTLES ARE EVERYWHERE! It's so COOL! I'm driving along, and just glance over at the top of some hill, and there's a CASTLE! What!? Cool! It's so old! And it's still there! Probably because it's on a hill... easy to defend. Whoa, just think of all those super old people. Cool. 


Bodensee is just beautiful. Hopefully these pictures can do it justice. 








The drive back through the sunset was also super pretty. I still can't get over the fact that I read about all these places in my AP European History text book "big jack". 

We took the autobahn back. The autobahn is basically what you think it is. A freeway without a speed limit. After you see the greyed out 120kmh sign with three stripes through it, the cars take off. Most go around 140kmh (84mph), but every now and then a car goes screaming past on the left. At first it was pretty scary. In the states, I'm used to checking my mirror once or twice before changing lanes, but on the autobahn I have to check three times to get a sense for the acceleration of the objects in my mirror. 


Not sure if you can tell, but the cars passing definitely sound much faster on the side of the autobahn compared to US interstate highway. If you look closely, some of the cars in the back are going really insanely fast. The slowest car you see in the foreground is going faster than the top speed limits in the US (which is 75mph in Texas).  It's pretty crazy, but also kind of relieving. I don't get a shot of adrenaline every time I see the polizei; perfectly legal :). 

Oh and the roads are so good! They're very well maintained, unlike Connecticut. 

The next weekend I drove down to Zurich to hang out with Sara Falcone. But before I left, I had a little chat with the polizei. 


Derp. I parked in front of some old guys driveway coming back from the Uni at 3AM. I arrived just in time to catch the police officer writing my ticket for 15 Euros. 


I got a nice sarcastic sticky note though :) (Exact translation: Thank you very much that you me parked in have. This is a drive way and not parking spot!)

Unfortunately Switzerland has speed limits on all their roads. On the way, I got flashed by a stationary radar detector. Usually they capture the front license plate and bill you in the mail, but lucky for me, motorcycles only have a rear license plate. :3


Sara had a crazy good view of downtown Zurich!






The first day we swam in the lake and grilled delicious W├╝rste with a few friends, and caught the Germany vs. England Women's World Cup game. Unfortunately, Germany lost (the game was actually really bad with England winning in overtime on a penalty kick and dragging out the game with delays. I definitely would never want to win a soccer game like that. Was not impressed by England). 

The next day we swam in the river. It was great. Zurich is a very expensive city, but there were a lot of fun free things to try that locals do over the weekend. 


Right before I got on the slack-line, the guy said, "Make sure you get far enough away from the bridge, and if you fall, don't fall towards the bridge. Otherwise; you'll hit your head on the steel... lots of blood." :3


Yep, I jumped off a 12m bridge 4 times.


WHOA! They have beer from Alaska! I didn't know people outside the state actually drank this stuff! 


Thought you guys would enjoy this. Practically every car has a putz. I've thought about hanging some big truck nuts around them too many times. Not sure how the Germans would take it. 


After my internship ends on July 31st, I'm roaming around Europe sleeping on people's couches. Planning 6,000 kilometers in 18 days. 


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