Germany, What a great surprise
Once Upon a Saga:
The adventure has begun and I feel it under my skin. This is going to be great!!
I've got to be honest with you. I am sure Germany has a lot to offer but my main memories are from past years on the freeway going through Germany from Denmark to Austria. Well, my girlfriend and I did do the Berlin Marathon this year so I do on and off have a window into something else. But it has mainly been a transit country for me.
Then I got lucky. I try to use Couchsurfing as much as possible but you need a host and that is not a given with short notice. But Yegor accepted me into his home in Bremen. I was supposed to meet him in the afternoon so I had some time on my own in Bremen first.
The train station did not look like much and I just picked a random direction and started walking. Soon enough my backpack felt heavy but I did my military service when I was younger so I soldiered on and quickly found myself in the city center. Which by the way is nothing less than spectacular in Bremen! No doubt that Bremen must have been a rich city in the middle ages. I located the tourist information and they advised that I could find free wifi at Starbucks and that the Red Cross has an office a little outside the city center.
After some wifi surfing and a cup of tea I was on my way to the Red Cross office. My duffel bag on my back...still getting more heavy as I walked in the light rain. After some time I arrived but it was Friday afternoon and they had already closed. Fortunately I spotted a window on the first floor and the lights were still on. I decided to walk across the road to get a better view. That is when Rosevita saw me from the window. I guess I wasn't hard to see standing in the rain with my big bag and my Indiana Jones hat waving like a maniac :)
I had a good talk with Rosevita and later on with the financial and staff manager before heading back to the central station. You see, I have promised the Danish Red Cross that I will deliver a short "always present" story about the Red Cross in all 187 member countries of the World. In return I get to travel as Goodwill Ambassador and carry the Red Cross emblem. Something that might come in handy later. But I must say that I am happy to be spreading the message of the Red Cross Red Crescent being present all over the World.
Finally I got an SMS from Yegor about where and when to meet. I got on the tram as directed and met him 20 minutes later. We had good chemistry from the beginning. Yegor is 22 and originally from Ukraine. He is in Bremen studying and it just so happens to relate to shipping. Good man!
Yegor had to work a nightshift which he had forgotten all about but still welcomed me into his student apartment. We decided to head out to take a look at Bremen and I had the best tour guide anyone could imagine. With his gentle nature and educated manner he pointed and guided me throughout the inner city of Bremen and we had a great time talking and discussing all aspects of everything. Local history, foreign countries, culture, Hollywood movies and much more. Then he suggested a place where we could enjoy an arm long curry wurst and a small beer. What was I thinking!!? I almost left Germany without eating a German sausage! I jumped at the offer and filled myself with one of the most stereotypical meals I can think of for Germany. And it was goooood!
An hour before midnight Yegor gave me the key to his home and went to work. Now that is trust! But it works both ways. I need to trust him and he needs to trust me. No problem there.
I woke up between 7-8am this morning when Yegor came back from work. He brought breakfast. What a champ! So we sat down and enjoyed the last minutes before he needed to sleep and I had to go. I'm telling you: "a stranger is a friend you haven't met before".
I had 40 minutes before my train left to Amsterdam. I rushed down to the city center in order to do a few photos in the daylight. The rain had gotten worse but that did not matter. Another deal with the Red Cross is to make a photo of me in each country. But this trip does not pay itself and I am also required to please the main sponsors; Ross Offshore and Ross Engineering. No problem I am happy to do it and I found a great spot to make a picture with their company logo. A unique product in the end. Who else has something from every country in the World?
I also a have a few ideas which I try to put into practice. the project group and I thought of some great things I could do in each country. Like take a picture of the sunset in every country. But I did not see the sun at all in Bremen. We also though it would be fun to take something from Denmark and give it to someone in Germany. Then find something in Germany and give it to someone in the next country etc. I gave Yegor a special coin from Denmark marking the "three brothers" which for many years was a marker for sailors to see. But I forgot to get something from Germany. I guess I can find a German Euro which will have to do. I must get better at this!! This is not supposed to be a coin run...
Well, I am on a train now. I figure that will happen a lot for the next weeks to come. I started writing you while I was still in Germany and now I will end today's blog while I am in Holland. I have found a couchsurfing host in Amsterdam so let's see if he shows up to meet me.
This is great!
Torbjørn C. Pedersen