Back at the end of February, we went to Rostock again for the weekend, because it was Andrea's birthday.
Also because it's close, Hannes' parents want to see more of us now that we live here, they feed us delicious homemade food and alcohol until we're ready to burst, and their apartment is super cozy. Although this time we had the cozy apartment all to ourselves, be because the 'rents were in the Italian Alps on their annual ski trip (which is a pretty standard thing for Germans).
Taking the train there is usually a very simple, 2 1/2-hour, straight-shot kind of affair, but for a while now, the tracks have been under construction. What's more, they found out that the section of track they're working on is built atop exactly the same kind of soil that recently gave way under a nearby section of the Autobahn and took a big chunk of the road with it, so the construction will continue throughout the year while they work out a solution.
Instead of taking our local train three stops to the main station and then another fairly comfortable regional train to Rostock's main station, we now have to change trains in Lübeck, and again in an inaka (middle-of-nowhere) town called Bad Kleinen, to a gasoline-powered local train that's as tall as a building but has far too few cars and seats to accommodate the inter-city traffic at busy times.
So, even if we were changing trains in Good Kleinen, it wouldn't really help.
We left on Friday night after Hannes had gotten off work, and I think we got to Nico and Andrea's house around 10:30 that night, as the birthday party was winding down, though that of course didn't stop us from hanging out for several hours and drinking too much.
I brought a hair fascinator I had made years before and a necklace in a pretty fabric pouch as a gift, which I was all too glad to remember having set aside for her while I was plowing through the storage unit and all my worldly possessions. (Because Hannes is bad about this kind of thing in exactly the stereotypical way you would expect of a man, and never gets birthday cards or gifts for anyone. We did put together some really awesome gifts for his parents while we were living in Tokyo, though, because it's easy to find unique and interesting items there, and because I wouldn't get off his case about it.)
Anyway, it was a nice time, and I talked with the usual female suspects about the hilariously lame softcore erotica novels they've been passing back and forth. The next day we were interested in going to the zoo, or on some other kind of little day outing, but I had a horrible hangover. The first time I woke up it was quite early, and Hannes thought, "Oh, huh, that's unusual, but it's cool that she's awake already," but I was actually rushing to the bathroom to puke.
I think we're just getting old.
Miraculously, though, after sleeping it off a bit longer and then having a bit of starch, caffeine, and headache medicine, I was ready to go out and do something in the afternoon.
There's a folk village-type place outside Rostock, but because it starts getting dark at 3:30 in the afternoon in winter, they're only open until 4 until April 1st. It was the same story with the zoo, and a number of other places we googled. Not wanting to give up on going out altogether, we ended up saying, "Okay, what the hell," to an amber museum in a nearby town.
The Baltic coast is famous for its amber, and it's everywhere. People used to pluck massive chunks of it from the surf and rocky shore, and I look forward to beachcombing for some of my own like a nerdy middle-aged local once the weather is warmer. I've always liked the stuff, it's cool, and it makes great jewelry. We just wanted to get out of the house and figured, how bad could a wee drive to a quaint town to look at some rocks and stuff be? At least it was something.
Well, I have to say, it was great. We were thoroughly impressed by how modern and interesting the museum was, and it turns out that Ribnitz-Damgarten is a very attractive resort town full of cafés and small private art galleries, not to mention the adorable houses and brick gothic architecture typical of the region.
We parked right next to this big old church and the town's large park, hoping the amber museum was nearby, because it was super windy and absolutely freezing.
My gloveless hands (don't ask me why I keep doing this to myself) went totally numb and claw-shaped while I was taking these.
The church is technically a Klosterkirche, one that used to be a cloister, and - oh.
Houses the amber museum.
All the amber is in there.
We parked at the first available place and wandered over to the nearest building without realising it was exactly where we were going.
"Well, hurry up, open the door!"
-Jurassic Park score plays softly in background-