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What Expug is doing in 2015 (TAC n more)

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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Super Polyglot
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 Message 129 of 364
19 April 2015 at 1:17pm | IP Logged 
Same for me. I've been to all those places. I don't travel first class though,
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 Message 130 of 364
19 April 2015 at 2:34pm | IP Logged 
The sitting places in the old ENs aren't really the most comfy ones when it's crowded
(and ENs often are). Actually the 6-person bridges aren't either but it's certainly
For night travels I prefer one of the few ICEs (eg. Munich-Frankfurt), plenty of space
and the seats are ok. The only problem is that the conductor changes every 1-2 hours and
you get checked over and over again ... don't even try to sleep on one of these.
The modern buses are great (eg. Passau - Frankfurt with MeinFernbus), but they take so
long. Old crowded buses are horrible.
It all depends on what's available. Sometimes I have to travel with the old ICs (with the
green seats and defunc power circuit - ie. no toilets and no A/C) - worst thing ever.
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 Message 131 of 364
19 April 2015 at 3:52pm | IP Logged 
I had bad luck exactly in the longest trips. The short-trip trains in Italy were also new and comfortable, as well as the short-trip trains and buses in Germany.

Holidays - final

As I was saying...I went from Munich to Frankfurt by bus. Bought it for 1 euro. It turned out the seats were very tight and rigid, like the train. So it was a long 6-hour trip when I couldn't sleep, and I usually sleep right a few minutes after getting on a bus. We arrived at Frankfurt Hbf and then waited for the bus that would take us to Heidelberg, that one from Meinfernbus, that one comfortable. But then we were already too tired to enjoy our day at Heidelberg.

Heidelberg looks quite charming, but the idea I make of historical towns is something more 'cozy'. Heidelberg has long streets even in the old town. We were staying close to the Hbf and since we arrived early the tourist info spot wasn't open yet, for us to buy the Heidelberg card that would also include access to the castle. So we walked and walked, arrived at Bismarck Platz and it was still half way. Since we arrived at the old town, than it was more useful to keep walking so we could get to see the old town itself. We arrived at the castle and found no place to buy the card on the way, so we bought the funicular ticket and visited the castle. We even ended up leaving on foot, but too tired to stroll through the park to the side. When we got to the main square again, we decided to have lunch and then see the old bridge. We crossed the bridge but that entrance to Philophosenweg was closed. And then we couldn't find a stop with the machine to buy the daily pass anymore. We walked and walked to Bismarck Platz again and then bought the ticket and took a short fare to Phlosophenweg. My wife was already very tired and so we only climbed the path a little. The view was still worth it, nonetheless. We took the trams back to the hotel, checked in at around 2pm and slept, just like in Munich. Anyway, we didn't have anything else for Heidelberg and the size of the old town, also with narrow squares and mostly long streets, almost like a modern city, didn't make it very comfortable to walk leisurely. At least after some rest we decided to have dinner in the old town. We took a tram that passed behind the town and so got to see more. We have dinner at a really nice brewery with the best customer service at the trip and perhaps the best food. I don't see why it doesn't have 5 stars at Tripadvisor, maybe it's because overall customer care at Heidelberg is better since it is a city visited mostly by Germans themselves. I don't regret going to Heidelberg but we both preferred Salzburg. My wife doesn't remember watching Sound of Music (in Brazil it's called 'A noviça rebelde' which I find even more appropriate of a title), so I can't wait to watch it with her and surprise ourselved with the spots we saw).

Since all bad has a good, the fact we didn't have anything else planned for Heidelberg made us wake up earlier. I hadn't bought the bus tickets because we weren't sure when we were leaving, so I ended up buying them with the bus driver, for 26 euros instead of 10, because buying online would mean spending on my credit card, when we still had cash to spend. That one bus from was even more comfortable than Meinfernbus, and even though there wasn't much to see through the Autobahn I enjyed the trip. Arriving in Frankfurt, we went to the hotel right next to the Hbf and were allowed to check in earlier. We left our luggages and returned to the Hbf to take a short train trip to a cozy neighboring town. I had checked for several options and considering time and distance, I opted for Limburg-an-der-Lahn.

This was one of the crucial times when knowing the local language mattered. I glanced at the display at the platform and noticed something about the train ending at Niederbrechen, written in German only. Then I confirmed with one of the passengers, who said I was right, we should leave the train in Niederbrechen and take the bus to arrive at Limburg. The bus driver was Russian and reminded me of the bus drivers here, taking unusual paths, doing unimagined conversions in narrow streets, stopping by to chat. At the station in Limburg, we arrived just in time to get a map of the town, but I forgot to ask about how we were supposed to get back. Anyway, we had lunch at what turned out to be an Italian-like canteen, it was the first place we saw. I didn't read any recommendations beforehand. Nice, it's just that we missed the chance to eat local food. We then went to the old town and were glad to see Limburg resembled more our idea of old towns, with Fachwerk houses, narrow, circular streets, a cathedral on top of a hill seconded by a castle and then we get down to the riverside and see a mill and the cliff where the castle and the cathedral were standing, from the bottom. We didn't stop at any places, we walked through the other part and saw some other interesting spots, like the fountain with a guy holding a barrel, and went back to the station. There the only info was that any of the trains back to Frankfurt were cancelled. The office was already closed and after a few minutes I had the idea to get back to the bus stop and ask. There were some people already waiting for the bus to Niederbrechen, including an old lady who doesn't speak English and who explained to me in German that that was the bus. Relief.

Once back in Frankfurt, we still had time for the Dome, Römer and the new shoppingmall at Zeil, with curvy, glassy roofs. You know, Brazilians visit Europe both for history and for contemporary architecture. We had Niemeyer but things are usually built very timidly here in Brazil, especially in my state, where Niemeyer's church looks just like a small chapel, in the proof of a huge lack of ambition at that time.

Our flight was scheduled to 6 am, so we didn't have much sleep. We went to Frankfurt Hbf and, even though I had read it before, I forgot the S-trains to the airport left from the underground in the early morning. I was scared to see the 4:15 train appeared as 'cancelled' and went to DB's post to ask. In critical situations and/or when I'm tired I resort to English, I admit. So we went down the stairs and waited. I was still a bit nervous, but all went well. Airport is usually time for duty-free shopping so all I needed to do was to be patient (even though we also bought stuff before the duty-free area because we had little idea of the prices overall and both had cheaper goods than in Brazil anyway). We had planned to do a lot in Lisbon, but it was Sunday and public transportation was functioning the way it does on Brazilian Sundays, that is, about 50% to 25% of the original timetables. It took us almost two hours to get to Belém, while it was expected just 1 hour. We only bought 2 pastéis for each, which we regret immensely, and it was still a long walk to the tower. Even though there was still time, we went straight to the airport. No Rossio, Chiado or Parque Eduardo VII this time. My wife said she didn't like Lisbon, but all she saw was some suburbs. And so the trip ended and we arrived safely home after flying over the Atlantic for the 4th time in life.

{Next: touristic and linguistic considerations}
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 Message 132 of 364
19 April 2015 at 6:26pm | IP Logged 
Welcome back!

I’m just now catching up on your holiday report. It sounds like your travels were exhausting and exciting at the same time!

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 Message 133 of 364
19 April 2015 at 6:36pm | IP Logged 
Just stopping by to tell you that I enjoyed reading about your trip. :)
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 Message 134 of 364
22 April 2015 at 11:33pm | IP Logged 
Thank you all!

At the extended weekend I went to my hometown for some rest, 15 hours on a bus each way. There I could watch one episode of Héro Corp and read 18 pages from one Russian book I started months ago and only read in idle times at weekends.

I had looked it up wrongly, there are still 14 more lessons left at E Nagu Eesti. That's a lot! I know it is taking me a lot of time in the morning and I have to look up a lot of words, but I'm still enjoying it. Estonian is really a nice language. I hope next textbooks will be easier and I will start enjoying short texts, but, based on my experience with Georgian and Russian, 1 year is not enough for that. Still, it's a lot of fun and I'm not in a hurry. Today's lesson was shorter and easier in terms of vocabulary, so I hope I retained a bit of what I studied.

Today was the best Georgian reading day so far; It didn't help that I got busy in between, so I can't claim it was the fastest, but it was indeed the one I found the text the easiest. I'm just halfway through the book and I'm becoming more familiar with some syntax. Should only pay attention to the third screeve, as always.

German was also ok. This book is the third in the series and has several dialogues, which helps. I keep watcing Harmonists with double subtitles, and this is even helping become used to the Berliner accent.

Things aren't properly stuck with Russian either. I started reading from Short Stories by Soviet Writers, and surprisingly it's easier to learn from than the novel Insurgent. I'm also quite used to the dialogues from Poor Nastya and starting to anticipate a few. Only Chinese seems to be stuck, at least spoken Chinese, as I noticed I'm learning more and more characters from my readings with Pera-pera.

So, it turned out the day was less chaotic than expected (I wonder if I forgot something important, though) and I'm even leaving work on time. I watched less Héro Corp though (forgot to get Saison 3 and the webseries Les survivants consists of only 17 minutes) and still had no time for Italian or Turkmen. The main reason is still the extra time spent on E Nagu Eesti, though in the middle of the afternoon I did get busier than usual.
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 Message 135 of 364
23 April 2015 at 11:58pm | IP Logged 
The day started calmly. The Estonian lesson still took a long time but I started earlier, so I think things will go better today and I may start digging up on things that were left on standby since before holidays.

I finished reading L'appel de l'ange, my 5th book by GUillaume Musso. I can't recommend this author enough for the goal of learning contemporary French vocabulary about computers, smartphones, airports, public transportation terms. The book is just a few years old and seem quite up-to-date. I'm still uncomfortable about reading more about the US than France, but it is still helpful nonetheless.

Today I noticed yet some improvement in my listening comprehension in Norwegian. I do think things well get really interesting when I finish the current series I'm watching without subtitles and start L-Ring a book. It will force me to slow down and concentrate in associating sound and meaning, even though it is supposed to be easier since it's enounciated language.

I'm having considerable trouble improving my comprehension of the Singaporean TV shows I'm watching. I don't know what this is due to. My reading skills saw some important improvement and the TV shows should already benefit from my continuous watching of series with similar content and characters and from the same place.

And it turned out I got really busy when I was about to finish Russian. I also had problems with my new pair of contacts which seems to have got damaged after only 1 week. Surprisingly, I didn't bring its box or my glasses so I had to wrap them in paper and use the old glasses I left here which are entirely scratched. Lots of work ahead and nothing else done regarding languages.
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 Message 136 of 364
24 April 2015 at 12:21pm | IP Logged 
Reading your log always awes me. You are so consistent and also amazingly able to
effectively study a fairly large number of languages. It's also great to read about your
improvements. Well done!

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