This trip was intended to be a short, half-day tour of Münster, about an hour (by train) SW of Osnabrück. Wellll, it turned out to be much more than that.
So Brittany, Kevin and I took the 11:18 train to Münster (for free due to our semester ticket) and arrived sometime after noon. We got off the train and realized we had no idea what do in town or where to go. This was fine by me but the others wanted to check out a map so we could head to the city center. Fair enough, so we walked down a few streets into downtown Münster.
Münster is a bit larger than Osnabrück, and something like 40% of it’s population are college students. It has a nice shaded park that pretty much circles the city, for biking and walking, or in our case, wandering. Luckily the weather was beautiful so walking around was quite nice. Brittany suggested we go to one of the churches in the center of town, so we did. It was mostly pretty unremarkable.
Afterwards we got lunch and headed to the Dom, or main cathedral. It was pretty interesting, the church had gotten severely damaged during the war but had since been fully rebuilt. The stained glass was really interesting, quite modern and abstract. I took quite a few pictures.
There happened to be a market surrounding the Dom which Brittany was interested in. I think shopping sucks so Kevin and I walked to the zoo.
Well, the zoo was an hour away, and technically not even in Münster. We thought it was pretty amusing that we had walked from one end of the city, to the center, then all the way out of it in about 3 hours, so I snapped a shot. Soon afterwards we got to the zoo and realized it was going to be 12€ to get in. Not cheap. But I decided that 50 minutes of walking wasn’t going to be wasted, and we bit the bullet and went in. Before paying we called Brittany, who claimed she was bored and was going to catch a train home.
I couldn’t remember my last trip to the zoo so it was pretty interesting. It still seems superficial observing wild animals lounging around fabricated habitats, though. We caught a dolphin show which was pretty fun. If you’ve ever been to a dolphin/seal show I’m sure this one wasn’t much different.
Well the real adventure began on the bus ride home. It was nearing 6 or so and we just happened to sit next to a few kids near the back who were speaking English. This of course was a treat to us so we inquired. Turns out two of them went to the University of Münster, while the other girl was visiting from Moscow. English was their common language and they all spoke it quite well, especially Nina (sp?), the Russian. They were planning to get some real German food, and we mentioned that we too had been looking for some traditional German cuisine. So we decided to meet up again at 8 for dinner at this place across the street from Kai’s apartment. In the meantime Kevin and I wandered around a bit, got some ice cream (’twas a good idea in the long run) and an espresso.
The restaurant was pretty homely, and extremely busy. We sat at the bar and had a few glasses of one of the local brewery’s beers while waiting for the table. The beer was quite delicious, I’m sorry I never got the name of it but apparently the stuff doesn’t really leave the city anyway. By the time a table was ready, we had downed about 3 apiece and it was nearing 9:30.
Ah, but it was worth the wait. Kai was kind enough to translate some of the dishes for us non-native German speakers and we ordered relatively quickly. And my oh my our dishes were interesting.
I ordered a traditional Münsterisch soup on Beata’s recommendation, and it was quite good. Like french onion soup except with meat and a much rounder taste. Afterwards I ordered a plate of sausages with sauerkraut and fried potatoes. Oh man, was it good. I had been looking forward to trying a variety of unique sausages for a while, and there were about four varieties. One was a "blood sausage", and looked like a charred peace of toast. However, it was quite tasty though a bit salty. I can’t even remember what the others were but they were all delicious. The sauerkraut was leaps and bounds better than any I had ever had in the States, and the potatoes also excellent. The other very unique dish was called Tötchen. It basically was a hearty stew consisting of meat from a cow’s head mixed with meat from it’s guts. I was not brave enough to order it but Kai did (probably due to our reaction after hearing it’s description). He of course offered us some to try, and I obliged. The consistency of the meat was very strange (almost like squid) but the concoction tasted very good overall.
It was a fantastic meal, and leisurely, and by the time we left it was a few minutes past 11 (I thought this was a Spanish thing). So we went to Kai’s apartment and checked out when the next train was going to leave. 7 AM. We had just missed the 11 PM.
This news really had no negative effect on me as Kai had been a kind soul all night, and offered his room for us to bunk for the night. So we had a few beers, I tried some homemade Lithuanian honey shnapps (kind of like a thicker mead), and eventually we headed out to the bars. The rest of the night was spent drinking Weizens and having vibrant conversations with our new friends. By the time we got back it was almost 3:30, and we were reminded of the time switch. Woohoo! An extra hour of sleep is always good news for this guy.
I slept in my contacts and woke up feeling kind of shitty. But Kai again amazed me with his generosity and offered us a modest breakfast (tea and toast), and we chatted about his travels all over the world for a few hours. At one we caught the train back to Osnabrück.