Saturday, October 31, 2009


[ aka - an unplanned adventure for the weekend ]

I think by this point, I should finally make a blog-label that categorizes posts here on Blogger and make one that groups together ' Times that Chris Crachiola has been lost somewhere in Europe '. As much as I try to orientate myself to end up in the right place, somehow a great story emerges from my unfailing ability to end up south when I was supposed to be north, and then not knowing the right vocabulary to get myself back to where I need to be.

Well, this past weekend, some friends and I wanted to plan a little trip together. We all have the semesterticket which is part of our Student ID's and it allows us to travel to many major trainstations in the entire Bundesland of Niedersachsen for free on the Regionalbahn [ the slower trains with many stops ]. The trains may take twice or three times as long to travel to a destination, but with friends, and no charge, it is really great and a lot of fun.

In any case, we all decided to use our free weekend and make a 2 day trip to Hannover, one of the larger cities in northern Germany. The trip would take a little over two hours north, and from there we would begin our little adventure.

This is precisely where our adventure took an unexpected turn... before we even got off the train. Our group was a mix of 2 Italians, 3 Spaniards and myself representing America. One of my Italian friends said that she knew the train that went to Hannover, so we all followed and got on.

It may have been the right train... but only for a few stops, since we later learned that there was a crucial change onto another train to go north.

Well, we all enjoyed the journey on the train, laughed, had some snacks, and a little over two hours later, got off the train when it stopped... but quickly realized that we were no where near Hannover.

In fact, we had gone over two hours west, not even remotely near Hannover. The station attendants instructed us to the correct train to get to Hannover, but after waiting for the longer train ride to then go north-east, it would take hours out of our weekend. So we changed plans.

What is near to hear?

Well, there is a little city called Paderborn... it might be nice.

[ The Paderborn Horse [?] Welcoming our arrival! ]

And there we were, a few more stops away westward and we were in the tiny city of Paderborn to attempt and salvage some fun and adventure for the weekend. Everyone was laughing and making light of the situation since, realistically, when else would we ever go to... Paderborn?

Entering the town, it seemed that we had a little bit of luck. The city seemed nice and cute, and it also had a festival taking place, filled with many food stands, attractions and rides.

We enjoyed walking around, seeing the sites as well as all the typical German comfort foods that were being cooked around us, and even tested our stomachs going on some pretty dizzy rides.

The city of Paderborn seemed to have a perfect representation of a small German city, complete with churches, a small downtown, a market square as well as a nice Rathouse as a central meeting point.

Once we got to the Rathouse, we realized we were all really lucky, because for some reason, this particular weekend was also a big chocolate exhibit in the city, and the Rathaus had dozens of stands giving out samples of many different gormet chocolates. With the Italians leading the way, we made it our mission to sample every chocolate available to us!

We ventured some more, checked out the beautiful churches, enjoyed our time together, and the day was nearing an end. We decided to make the weekend trip only a day trip, but no one was complaining. Our little mistake with the train turned out to be a really great day of fun. Even so, we promised ourselves that next time we actually would end up in Hannover! [ but now all of us can say proudly that we have visited Paderborn, Germany!]

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