Well, first of all, it is SUPER HOT here right now. Apparently, this is unusual. Also, Germans don't seem to believe in air conditioning at all, but they do seem to be firm believers in cooling from the inside out-- "eis cafes" are packed out, people everywhere digging into huge gelatos and ice cream sundaes. We have yet to try this method, but it looks pretty effective...
So, I have been trying to think of a word to describe Amberg, and I think adorable, picturesque and idyllic are the best I can come up with. The city was originally smaller, and walled in, with a river running around and through it. The "old city" is the downtown, with the smaller shops, theaters and cafes. All of this is still mostly the antiquated structures, including cobblestone streets and wooden bridges. Our apartment is right in the center of all of this, on the main pedestrian street. There are larger, more modern roads outside of the walled city, and this is where you'd find things like car dealerships and big stores. All along the outside of the wall is a beautiful parkway for people to bike and walk along the perimeter of the original city. There are streams and gardens and play areas all along the way-- we have been taking this route over to our apartment as we do our business. We have eaten most of our meals so far at restaurants in the main plaza by the very big, very beautiful old church, with a big fountain and outdoor seating-- incredibly dreamy! And we hear those church bells tolling throughout the day.
Something that struck me right away as we drove from Frankfurt to here is that the terrain looks very much like Portland's! Lots of wild greenery along the roads, but also beautiful farmland. Really lovely.
The driving over here is intense. Cars drive really fast, tailgate like crazy and there is little space between cars in their lanes. Drivers are very aggressive, gunning and breaking all along the way! We've already heard stories about American drivers being intentionally bumped from behind for not being speedy enough! Jeff will be taking his driver's test soon, but I have no timeline for doing it. I think I'll just wait until it seems like I need to be driving-- I plan to get a bicycle soon, and that should meet most of my transportation needs-- the train station is a 5- 10 minute walk.
The quality of food here is very high. All of the produce is super fresh and beautiful. All of the eggs have yolks that are a deep copper color-- scrambled eggs come out very orange! Although I don't particularly care for most traditional heavier fare, I think I will love eating here. I've noticed that there is an open air market set up in the mornings in the plaza I mentioned earlier. All of the produce was beautiful, so I am very excited to be able to do daily shopping there-- it's a few blocks from our place.
More stories and updates soon!