When I use this service, I travel from Bremen – Frankfurt – Munich – Stuttgart – Frankfurt – Bremen. For my first trip i.e. Bremen to Frankfurt, I can’t find anyone that travel in my wanted date so I have to take a train. This also happened when I try to travel back from Stuttgart to Bremen. Nobody available at that time so I have to go back to Frankfurt and continue my journey by train.
In the part 1, I have explained about the procedure of traveling using this service. In practice, after you find the list of travelers that go at the wanted date, you have to confirm it at least with 2 of them. This is to avoid any inconvenient that might happen such as the traveler cancelled the trip or change into another time. So, it is better that you are the one who cancelled 1 of the confirmed trips.
Just like any other travel, sometime you can meet friendly people and sometime you just meet people that don’t match to have conversation with. Well, don’t be depressed if you can’t make any interesting conversation with your travel mates. Just enjoy the view or fall asleep like any other travel. At least you don’t have to pay much for it.
However, I try my best to visit all the sites which you can see under this topic.
The advertisements always have pictures of sexy girls. When I saw 2 to 3 leaflets in my post box, I thought German clubs and discos are really serious in organizing the parties. They pay models to pose for the advertisements, design it, and then print it. Imagine if they have to make the party every week. How do they manage it cause photo shoot takes time and then you have to select the picture from, maybe, hundreds of them. And then again doing the lay out before finally it is printed. Wooow!!! These guys are really hard worker and this is really a serious industry!
Until one time, a friend of mine saw one of the posters and said that he’s the fan of the girl in the picture!!! And I thought, how come he knows German models while he’s just a new foreigner like me. And that’s the first moment where I learn that the pictures in the advertisements are just pictures taken from the internet!! The girl that he meant in the particular poster is a Hollywood actress. He even showed me in google the actress’ name and find the exact picture that used for the poster!!!
Woooow….!! And I thought Germany is well developed country where they respect such a copy right issues or stuffs. In this case, there’s no difference than in Indonesia then!
If you want to watch the English version or original version movie, you have to pay attention on the schedule. Once or twice a week these movies have a chance to be showed. Just look on the schedule and try to find the OV (Original Version) code. Usually these movies only played 1 particular time per week so, not the whole day they will be played.
However, not all original Hollywood movies have a chance to be showed in the original version. Only blockbuster movies will have this chance and usually it showed about 3 weeks after the dubbed version first launched. So yes, you have to be really patient and of course also wondering why the original version that is ready to be played should wait for a long time.
By hearing the words ‘administration’ and ‘bureaucracy’ what come to my mind is a long tiring process full of documents. In Indonesia, usually there’re people who provide a service in dealing with this. So we just pay them and everything will be settled in no sweat. But here in Germany, of course I have to deal it myself. And I don’t know how complicated it would be. I know they have a good data system of citizen (I imagine it’s like in CSI TV series) so maybe I have to provide many detailed information for that. And I start imagining that I’ll be questioned to verify with what I fill in the form. I don’t know…
Anyway, first registering my residential place. Apparently it’s not difficult. I just have to fill in 1 form, which most of it I don’t have to answer cause I live alone, and then show my passport. The officer noted my name and my passport number and only noted my address from the form! I don’t know whether she only needs my address or she just noted that at that time and noted the rest of information later to make it efficient for the queuing sake. But it’s short and simple.
So one step is done. Next step: applying for Visa extension. For this, I have to show all the documents required at the front office before I can queuing for applying Visa extension. At the front office, there’s a senior lady. She asked what kind of financial support that I have in studying there. And since I am under the scholarship program, the requirements are somewhat just not many.
However when she looks at my photograph, she said that it’s not qualified as it’s not a biometric photograph. She told me to take a biometric photograph in the photo booth at campus. So I went to a photo booth and take a biometric photograph. It’s not easy, though, cause I have to fit my face into an outline face on the screen. And when I am ready to take my picture, the ‘click’ sound from the camera is not directly heard. So I thought there’s something wrong and I move my face, right at the time the camera starts clicking! But the good thing is, if we’re not satisfied with the result we can delete and try again before print it for real. So my € 5 isn’t wasted.
After I am done with my ugly picture; how come it’s not? It’s in the afternoon, after class, how should I look fresh?; I go back to the lady and show my picture. She confirmed it and allows me to queue. She also gives me 1 A4-double page form to fill in. This is the form that exactly the same as the one I filled in Indonesia. And since I photocopied the previous one, I just copy all what I wrote before. And then I am done. So I am ready to enter the room for Visa extension application.
The officer here is a guy. I hand over my documents including my passport. He takes my passport and types it into the computer. After a while, he looks at my documents and start dividing it. He returns my scholarship reference letter and my picture! He said that they are not needed! What?!! I spend € 5 for nothing??? Hey, I could use that for having 3 lunches in Mensa (student cafeteria)! Aargh…
Then he continues to divide. He takes the residential evidence and put aside the form. He doesn’t even look at the form! Apparently all my data are there in the system as I’ve been applied it before in Indonesia. Including my picture!
In the end, he just print the Visa extension and stick it to my passport. As simple as that! Thank God! But then, why should I need to waste € 5 for the ugly picture and time to fill in the form? You know what, I could write my name ‘Julia Roberts’ there and I am sure he won’t notice it!
For example in traveling using public transportation. In bus and tram, there is a platform that can be lower down to allow a wheelchair going in. Once the wheelchair is on the platform, it will going up to the same level as the bus’ floor. This platform also can be used by people with baby trolley.
If we walk passing an exit way of supermarket parking lot, for example, the car that wants to go out at the same time, will give us a chance to pass.
It also happens if we cross the street. Sometimes, the traffic light for pedestrians turns red while we are still walking in the middle of the street. In this situation, cars will wait. So it’s nice to walk as I don’t have to give my middle finger or popping my eyes cruelly to car riders in Jakarta whenever I cross the street.
I notice that some people here are just crossing the street without paying attention to the traffic light. Just like in Indonesia. With this, I don’t have any problem to adapt ;)
In this issue, most of the time, as a passenger, I go to the front left side cause that’s the side where I use to sit in Indonesia. I even have to set my mind before going to a car that I shouldn’t go to the front left side. Well, I still training myself on it.
The driving site is in the right side, again opposite from Indonesia. Another adaptation for me, I have to look left first in crossing the street. But of course I haven’t adapt it well, I keep looking to the right side first, and then left, crossing halfway, and then look to the right side again. What a waste of motoric movements!
In Indonesia, bicycle is identical to kids who still not allowed to ride motorbike or to people who can’t afford to buy motorbike. Well yes, there are people who try to make bicycle looks hip and cool again (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but still the general impression of bicycle in Indonesia are like that.
Well actually it’s understandable why bicycle is popular in Germany or even Europe. The weather is colder than my place in the equatorial area, so it’s nicer and even warmer to travel with bikes. And it’s also the reason why motorbikes are not too popular in Germany especially in Bremen. Riding motorbikes in cold air will make you feel even colder. And in Bremen, where the wind comes from the North Pole, riding motorbikes could be painful. You may end up having masuk angin or trapped wind inside your body.
Like motorbikers in Indonesia, bicycle riders in Bremen are the king of the roads. Although they have a particular line for bicycle, still they cross the road recklessly. Maybe it’s because if they get hit by a car, than most likely it’s the car who’ll be accused for the accident.
The bicycle riders also often don’t want to hit the break and choose to ring while cursing the walkers that blocked their way.
In my first day, I almost get strike twice by bicycle as I am not familiar with the lines for pedestrian and bicycle.
In Germany, people walks in the right side, while in Indonesia we walk at the left side. So if there’s something happened in our way, we’re moving to the left side reflexively.
This is why I almost get hit, when the bicycle rider rings me, I move to the left which is actually his line! And of course we’re stuck in an awkward situation. He has to break immediately while I don’t know where else should I be standing. Gosh, I didn’t know that a reflexive movement could be such a cultural problem.
The only problem for me so far is that when I have to buy big things like a knock-down cabinet from IKEA. It’s not easy to bring those slices of wood in a bus or tram.
As a consequences of well infrastructure, the schedule of these transportations are 99,9% on time. Only rare occasion that they are late, like 1 in 1.000 chances. However, if they ever miss the time, most likely it’s because they come earlier than the schedule!
As a person who comes from a country where time is flexible, it’s a bit challenge for me to always come on time at the tram or bus stop. Most of the time, I’ll end up running for about 20 m to the stop as I see the tram or the bus already reach there. In this situation, usually the drivers will kindly waiting for me to get inside.
For the ticket, in Germany there’re what so called daily ticket, 2-days ticket and even monthly ticket. With these tickets, we can use all public transportation within the city in the given period. For me, having the monthly ticket is very useful. I can just jump in to a tram or buss without having to care about where to buy tickets or prepare small money for it.
Yeah I know, Indonesian must be start thinking to challenge the rule. How if we don’t have any ticket at all. If you’re lucky, well you can travel within the city without paying at all. My Portuguese friend has tried this. For about 1 month, he keeps traveling within the city for free!
There’s a ticket called semester ticket for students. With this ticket, students can take any tram and bus freely within the city for the whole semester. Of course we have to pay it in advance, but it’s relatively cheap and you don’t have to be bothered in buying any tickets. And what makes it even better this ticket also applies for traveling using slow train to nearby cities! In this case, my semester ticket allows me to travel free to Hamburg and Hanover.
So if you want to travel to another city, you can seek for people who also travel to the same destination at the same period (day and time). There’s a website that organize this information.
There, you can find not only who’ll travel to where in what time, but also the specification of the cars that they use, smoker or non-smoker type of drivers, language that the driver speaks, the fare that they offer and of course their contact details. Amazing!
The meeting point for this kind of travel is at the main station of each city. Of course you might end up with nothing, nobody travel to your destination at your desired time. However, this kind of travel is a good alternative for cheap travel.
I can’t imagine this kind of travel can be happened at Jakarta. Picking up strangers to our car. Yes I know that many of commuters have done this kind of travel where a person with a car, while commuting to Jakarta, also picking up passengers. So the driver could earn money and spend less on gasoline while the passengers could have a nice and comforting seat rather than the possibility of having no seat in public transportation. But to travel inter-city? Uhmm… I don’t think so. Or maybe I watch too many movies where most of the hitchhikers are killers or criminals.
Bus only serves foreign travels like inter Europe countries. For within country, the options are limited. Busses only travel to big cities, but not to all big cities.
As an Indonesian, yes, this condition is a bit shocking as busses in Indonesia provide many options in inter-city and inter-province travels.
Of course the service travel is in correlation with the price. The faster the train is, the price is expensive. And the slower ones are cheaper. For example: From Bremen to Frankfurt using fast (and of course, expensive) train could take 3,5 h travel.
While using the cheaper ones could take more than 7 h! For comparison, driving from Bremen to Frankfurt only takes about 4 h!! So yes, it’s complicated in deciding which train that we should take. Especially if you travel alone, sitting on the train for a long times can make you feel uneasy or even nervous. You have to be well-equipped with whole bunch of self-entertainment like books, songs and movies in iPod, or even making Origami…!
You have to think wisely whether the cheaper price is worth it comparing to all the boredom and the opportunity to spend time longer at the place of your destination.
In Germany, if you buy a train ticket, that’s just for the fare cost and not including the seat. To get a seat, you have to pay extra. I’d rather to pay extra € 2 for a seat rather than walking along all the wagons to find one. But most of people tend to do the later.
And if you want to do this, you also have to know the route as reserved seats are written with detail travel. For example if you travel from Bonn to Bremen and you find a reserved seat with Köln-Dortmund written on it, that means this ‘empty’ seat will only available from Bonn to Köln and then the person that has reserved it will come. Another example, if you travel from Bonn to Köln and there’s empty reserved seat with ‘Dortmund-Bremen’ then you can seat there without worry. Once I tried to take a train without seat reservation and I end up have to move my seat 3 times!!!
But this seat problem only applies for the fast train. The slow train doesn’t even have seat number. You can just seat everywhere in an empty seat.
Although is not as worse as in Indonesia, the train is frequently late. But the term late in here means less than 5 minutes while in Indonesia it might be late for hour.
Once when I was in Frankfurt central station, I keep hearing the announcement that some trains are delayed. That must be a special day!
When I visit my friend in Sankt Wendel, I have to take fast train and continued with slow train. And when I have to go back, actually I am late to arrive in the station. But Thank God, the slow train is also late for 3 minutes so I don’t miss my connection!! Imagine, if I have missed it, I have to pay extra to get into the next scheduled train…!!!
In Indonesia I can’t put bread outside without having ants crawling all over it after some hours. I have to put it inside a very well closed container to keep it away from ants.
Amazingly, in here I can put bread in an open space for days (I never try weeks) without having any little creatures around it! It’s so amazing! My life will be easier if this can be happened in Indonesia. I don’t have to yell to anybody that brings food into my room…
My friend, Ari, even try to put expired bread in an open space for 2 days and no fungus arise! That would never happen in Indonesia. So I guess, it’s still safe to eat expired bread in here ;)
Anyway, I also have adapted this kind of behavior. I feel like I have to do something outside whenever the day is sunny. It seems that I feel guilty just to stay home in sunny days. I think, I even become a sun worshipper now. Whenever the sun is shining full, I always place myself directly under the sun light. I feel thankful that the sun is shining and I enjoy the warm that it produced. No wonder even though I stay at the cold weather place, my skin is getting darker…
A bit challenge must I face during summer time. The sun will set at night. Yeah, this is a strange term. How come you said ‘night’ when the sun is still shining? But to Indonesian standard, after 7 PM is night. The challenge that I have is usually in Indonesia, after the sunset, people tend to lower down their activities. Since during summer the sunset can reach 9.30 PM, I keep having tireless activities until I realize that usually I already get rest at that time :( What a weird situation…
Nothing special about washing it actually, it’s just the same as in Indonesia except the machines here have more options in type of clothes like wool, cotton, rayon, etc.
However the difference arises when you want to dry it. I know in Indonesia every washing machine also equipped by the drying machine. And since the sun is very strong in Indonesia and to save the electricity bill, people tend to dry the clothes under the sun. And this isn’t happening in here. Drying clothes outside could take you months! (Yes, of course I am exaggerating it. But what do you expect? It keeps raining in here!). So, even drying clothes under the sun is a luxury in Bremen…
Jacket (a protective outer covering) is a must. Whatever it is called: rain coat, pullover, poncho, or even sweaters. You need these to warm your body in the outdoor. But once you are indoor and feeling warm, you can take off these clothes.
As a girl, it’s natural to have a sense of fashion. And the skill to mix and match the clothes is necessary in here as jackets are not a type of clothes that usually owned in a large amount. Well at least in Indonesia, one doesn’t need many jackets in the closet. But maybe in here it’s different. It’s more important to have many jackets rather than the clothes underneath.
Anyway, in the end, I have to ignore any sense of fashion here. As long as I get warm, that’s the most important. I don’t care much whether my clothes are color mismatch or something like that.
Wearing 2 or 3 layers clothes are common here. It’s never too much. Nobody will look at you in a puzzled face. Imagine if we see someone wearing jacket in the middle of Sudirman Street in Jakarta! To decide whether you need 2, 3, or even more layers of clothes, you have to check the weather report. What describes in there will be the principal of your fashion style that day. That’s the rule to survive in fashion and weather.
Also, wearing the same outfit for some days isn’t a big issue here. As the weather is cold, the air is somehow clean and we aren’t sweaty, the clothes aren’t getting dirty or stinky easily. That’s why people tend to use the same outfit for some days. At least, that’s what I notice from my friends in the University. I don’t know whether the same behavior is also applied in offices.
Anyway, this behavior is new for me as in Indonesia it’s rarely that our clothes can survive without sweat and dirt for a day. So to use the same outfit for 2 days, it gives me a little awkward feeling at first. But washing un-dirty clothes everyday or putting back the used clothes into cabinet are also too much. And this make me have no choice other than to adapt, wearing the same clothes for some days. I feel like a cartoon character at first, by wearing the same clothes over and over again. But after 1 month, now I can wear the same clothes for a week!
Well of course I also wear some accessories here and there to make it look ‘different’ every day. But again, it’s not a big issue here. Wearing sandals is also a luxury here. The cold weather will strike your open feet without mercy. So wearing shoes with socks is normal, so does wearing boots during summer. Even inside the house it considered as normal.
I have an experience about this. When my apartment’s caretaker comes to my room to fix something, he just steps on my rug that I use as my sitting corner! Of course I feel surprised, imagine where that shoes have been!
Of course there’s a side effect for this, you can get fat! In my first month, I gain 2 kilos. And after 2 months, suddenly I need bigger clothes! (Of course at first I thought there’s something wrong with the washing machine, as I feel all my clothes are shrinking:( )
Another adaptation for your body, which is probably unpopular, is to get a cold shower! Am not joking… I am sure there’s a physics explanation about this like thermodynamic or so, but am not good at it. But it’s true, after having a cold shower, I can stand the cold! Yes it takes a very brave mental to do it, and I use to pray a lot before showering the cold water to my body. But it’s worth it. Of course it doesn’t mean that you can stand the cold forever. After some hours, you can feel cold again and it’s up to you whether you still want to challenge yourself or not. But again, it’s really worth it.
On a contrary, if we take a hot or warm shower, we’ll feel cold after it. Yes it’s nice to have warm water flowing on your body but as soon as you turn off the valve, you’ll start feeling cold and even shacking.
To get a balance, I usually take cold shower in the morning. I do this is to warm myself and to wake my nerves up in facing the day. And in the night, I have a warm shower to relax my nerves and muscles before going to sleep. Yes I feel cold after the warm shower, but hey I duck into my blanket right away, anyway!
I notice having shower 2 times a day isn’t a popular custom in here. Even many of my Indonesian friends are leaving their 2-times-shower-a-day habit in here. They only take shower once a day, and even my friend who have stayed for a year only take shower twice a week! Well I don’t blame them. The weather really prevents us to be sweaty and stinky. So having no shower in here won’t cause you many problems as in Indonesia.
To make it worst, raining is a daily agenda in Bremen. Just like Bogor but it’s 10 times colder! However the raindrops in here are smaller than in Indonesia. In here I could go out in a rain for 10 minutes and my clothes are not so wet, while in Indonesia I’ll be soaking wet. I guess that’s why the rain in Indonesia are called tropical rain, cause it’s different than the rain in 4-season countries.
Sunshine is an expensive thing in Bremen! Cloudy is normal :( I guess if there’s a pawang hujan (Oh well, I don’t know the English term for this. But this is a profession which prevent the rain to fall in certain areas as ordered) here, he has to work hard in moving all the clouds. Well it could be a good income, though!
Normal clouds in Summer.
When I travel from Bremen to Frankfurt, I notice that the clouds are getting less and less. And when I go back, the clouds are getting thicker and thicker.
Bremen is also windy. So although the sun is shining bright, still you can feel the cold that caused by the wind.
The average temperature is ‘some-teen’ degrees. 16 to 19 are common. In summer, it could reach more than 25 degrees but it doesn’t make you sweat a lot like in Jakarta. I guess humidity play a role in this. However, summer time also bejeweled by the clouds. So again, it’s hard for a tropical girl like me to live near the north pole :(
If there’s funny thing about the weather, it’s always raining in weekdays but it’s mostly sunny during weekend. [puzzled]
Their house is small because they can organize the space efficiently. That’s why they don’t need bigger house and chooses to live in doll house type. Well this is just my judgments. Probably there’re many more reasons behind it. But it’s just strange for me.
And not just for the house. The space in tram’s seat is also too narrow. If we sit facing each other, our feet can’t be relaxed. We have to retract our body tight on the seat so all the four foots can be fit in. Of course this is only applied for 2 skinny Indonesians like me and Ari. If I have to sit facing German, one of us should bend the knee toward outside! Nah, can you believe what kind of acrobatic movement arise when there’re 2 Germans sitting in front of each other? Gosh, what kind of calculation that they use when designing that thing?
My friends and I even find stranger situation. We are 3 skinny persons entering 1 small elevator. Even in there, we feel discomfort cause there’re not much space available. We have to stand straight to avoid contact with each other, which we’ll have if we stand in relaxing mode. But then when we see the directory of the elevator, it stated that it’s for 6 persons! What?!! Who design this thing? Isn’t there any anticipation that people inside have to breathe?
In this cold refrigerator land, I haven’t seen any AC at all. AC is only exist in the car. At least, that’s so far that I know. For buildings, and rooms, a heater is mandatory. Transportation means are also equipped with heaters.
Another building adaptation for the cold is having many glasses like a greenhouse. This is designed to generate a greenhouse effect, which will make the building warm in the inside. My Master Program Office is also having this type of building so we can take off our jacket once we’re inside as it’s so warm :)