The first time my youngest daughter and I went to Nürnberg together we were having a great time (even though our german was pretty shaky). Our flat was nice and everything we needed was pretty close, shops, cafes, bakery. Best of all we had a 'Mobicard'. These are great, a group of up to four can use any bus, tram or train for a week, about $30.
We'd been everywhere with it. The Reichdokumentcenter, Fürte, all around the town. We could just hop on a tram and get off where it looked interesting, then jump onto another one to get us somewhere near home, close to West Freidhoff (Wet Fried Horse, aren't mnemonics great?). We'd been there for a couple of weeks and I was looking through a booklet I'd picked up to find something new to do.
"Hey look at this" I chortled "There's a zoo. Let's go to that..... There's dolphins." I pointed at the picture.
"Oh. How far?" Said Natascha a bit suspiciously......alright, we'd had one or two little adventures in the first weeks I must admit.
"It can't be far." I replied "You'd have to be mad to put a couple of square miles of wild animals too far from the city. Nobody would bother to go.".
Natascha was tempted by the dolphins. I pointed at all the pictures.
"C'mon, we can get a tram, it says so here. H27 from Hapbahnhoff." Tascha wasn't so keen on that, it'd taken us a week to discover that there was an underground passage beneath the six lane highway outside Hapbhanhoff railway station. We'd been running over it to get to the other side when we first arrived. That got your heart pumping alright. In the end we decided to give it a shot. We made a picnic to take with us.
Hapbahnhoff is just outside the city walls on the south side, there's lots of tram stops there but we found the right one pretty quickly.
"Are you sure this is going to be alright? You remember what happened the first time we went to Fürte." From Natascha.
"Have faith oh ye of little stature." I pointed "Behold, our transport arrives." Indeed, here was a tram, and, with the right number on the front too. We hopped on.
Not too many people on it, maybe fifteen or twenty. Perhaps the zoo wasn't too popular? Maybe they'd all seen it before?
"Where do we get off." Tascha was looking a bit nervously out of the window.
"At the zoo."
"Which stop is the zoo?" Ah, yes, indeedy. Which stop? I didn't have a clue. But, things always work out in the end, my german friend had told me what to do. If you need help just ask somebody young. Everybody young speaks english. I looked around the tram. Just one young girl, about twenty, everybody else looked older than Methuselah.
Yay, she spoke english. What a shame she wasn't from Nürnberg. She didn't even know there was a zoo nevermind how to find it. I looked around the tram again. Ha, over there was a friendy looking hausfrau, I'd ask her.
"Entschuldigung ich bitte. Wo ist das...das..." Bugger, I didn't know the german word for zoo.
The hausfrau widened her eyes at me. I smiled while a trickle of sweat started to form at my temple. Jeez, this was embarrassing, what could I do? Auch, the perfect thing. Charades. Now what animal would you be likely to find in a zoo? An elephant.....perfect.
I dangled my arm from my face just like an elephant (I'm pretty good at charades). Gave a little squeal, pantomimed picking up an apple and eating it.
The hausfraus eyes bugged out, Natascha tried to pretend she didn't know me, the young german girl moved towards the exit. Old men with faces like walnuts edged their hands towards their belts where I was pretty sure they all had Lugers and Walthers left over from the eastern front. This wasn't going too well. I made clawing motions like a tiger and growled.
Suddenly the hausfrau leapt to her feet and dragged me along the carriage. I thought she was going to throw me off but instead she pointed at a six feet long map on the wall. Ah, the last stop with a big picture of a tiger behind bars.....that would probably be the zoo then. I thanked her and skulked off back to my seat.
The zoo was great fun. Well, apart from the little bit of trouble we had with the camels...and the wallabies.....and the tigers. I might put that in a later blog.
When we got back to our flat I looked up the german word for zoo. Apparently it's 'Zoo'. I also noticed that the german word for crazy is 'Kreizi'.
It's amazing how much the english and the germans have in common.