Posted Apr 21, 2011, 9:31 pm
Now, before I start telling you about the first trip in my known life, I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Urmel and I was sitting on a shelf of the local Oxfam shop one day, when I was picked up and poked testingly by some cold fingers. When I looked up, I saw a girl standing there who made up for the coldness of her fingers by her bright and cheerful grin. "I guess I found my voyager!" I heared her exclaiming joyfully and found myself being lifted up and carried to the registry. The prodding and poking continued, money was exchanged and soon there was nothing left but darkness. I'm used to being stored and cuddled, so I did not mind - apparently this was just another situation of transport that gave me the opportunity to ponder the new circumstances.
My guess turned out to be right when I saw daylight and with this, the smiling young lady, again. She lifted me out of her bag, placed me on a comfortable table cloth and started explaining conspiratorially. I listened with tension.
The talking continued and images and sceneries shaped in my mind. I liked what she said and immediately felt important. It seemed that I was chosen for an important and not too easy mission! My goal is to travel the world and learn as much as I can to help spreading the knowledge about as many places of our beautiful world as possible!
She showed me lots of postcards from various people around the world. It seems so fascinating to me that there are such nice people everywhere who have a sense for connecting with others, completely strangers by then, to share and make each other smile. And all the places to go! So much to see! Such a huge world with so many places, each of them interesting and special in it's own way!
I fully identify with this goal - it will be my pleasure to acquire in-depth bits of information of random places and to make many friends among the most interesting people who I will meet while travelling the globe.
Thus, my mission begins!
Posted Apr 22, 2011, 1:24 pm
I soon felt really comfortable in this flat with my new roommate. She said I should feel and act like home, so I started to explore a bit.
First, I had some capucchino, which was really necessary after this exciting briefing and the eventful evening. I did not fail to notice that my host seems to be a bit on the chaotic side of life, but she assured me that the chaos on her desk was only due to her being so busy. However, I didn't mind - more to discover for me, then!
We discussed my plans during the coffee break and got carried away by all those fantastic possibilities! But we came to the conclusion that it would be a good start to pick about 5 missions that I should aim to complete.
Being interested in russian culture and country, my host proposed me to be send to Russia one day. I would really like to do that! I once heared of the Red Square and thus, point 1 was settled: I wish to visit it some day!
Another idea was formed while reading other toy voyager's blogs in preparation of my mission: I wish to see the Chinese Wall one day! My host supported this idea. She suggested to visit Angkor Wat instead, but since this probably won't be so frequented as the Chinese Wall, the latter one is perhaps easier to achieve. Who knows, maybe I can see both?
We pondered about other monuments - then my host remembered an episode of the Simpsons where they stood on a place connecting 5 different states of the USA. We googled, but we didn't find this spot (it seems it was made up, so I allready learned something today!) but another one called "Four Corners Monument". I wish to set foot there someday!
Acquiring knowledge being my mission and all, I decided that it would be a good idea to do some sociological field research about cultural habits and customs. My choice fell on the study of a Singaporean shopping mall and I give my oath that it is just a coincidence that you can have lots of fun going shopping and relaxing there, too. It is the same scientific drive that motivates me to try one of the famous English Breakfasts once. Well, I admit that I would probably also have lots of fun to do so.
After this long evening of discussions, my host noticed that I could hardly see a thing. They don't hire hairdressers at the shop I came from, so my hairdo might have gone a bit wild during the months of living on a shelf. This is why I got a haircut:
How bright the light, how intense the colours! I admit, it might have been good time to do so and I guess it might even prevent the bumping into things and tripping over unexpected hindrances that accumulated during the last weeks.
While we stored the scissors back to where they came from, I chose to start packing for my trips! First I need something to brush my teeth, so I can keep on smiling broadly for the camera!
Hmm, these might be a bit too huge for me, regarding my little arms. But look how glossy my eyes shine, now that they aren't covered anymore!
I decided to take a bit of toothpaste with me instead. I'm sure I'll find a little brush somewhere, too. I somehow like the toothpaste, it has lots of green in it!
Prepared like this, I went to bed soon. I dreamed of all the exciting places I will visit.
These were very nice dreams and maybe they will come true soon.
Posted May 2, 2011, 9:48 pm
Today was my very first day of ever travelling somewhere! My host visited the Animal Park Sababurg together with her boyfriend who just has some of his well-earned days off work at the moment.
We drove off at about 11am, here you can see me in the car while still standing on a crossroad in Göttingen. In the background you might spot a bank...the famous new town hall with it's skaters and fountains in front just happens to be on the right side of the viewer...just outside the picture. Of course. Maybe we will go there one day to take some photos, too - there are lots of skaters whose activities are welcomed by the town council; there are even some
obstacles provided for them.
It was a très agreable drive to there - the surroundings are very beautiful and driving on a sunny day while heading to an Animal Park always make things fun.
When we arrived there, we saw that there was nearly no one on the parking lot - perhaps it is a good idea to visit attractions during work days. And look how blue the sky was! It's said that green and blue don't go well, but I think I look good on this photo, anyway. Just forgot my sunglasses (and likewise did my host).
Short after entering the park, I had to shout "wheeee" and climb up one of those statues that greet the entering guests. Can you guess what it is..?
Here is the solution: It is a statue of an enormous buffalo! The Animal Park is known to breed races that are endangered or part of local history and buffalos are one of them. I don't know it that's the reason why this statue is placed there, but it definitely inspires a lot of people to climb it (my host at her first visit included).
At short walking distance from the entrance, you can find the new penguin world. They really did a great job building a facility for the penguins where they can retreat and breed. There are two places you can watch them; here is one of them:
It's a window built half under the water bassin they got! It's such an improvement to the bassin they had before and I'm glad to see they seem to like it there. The other possibilities to see them are from outside the shelter and from inside the exhibit. That's right - every exhibit in the Animal Park has a so called "contact area" where you can, well, get in contact with the animals, if you, and of course THEY like to do so. Dangerous animals not included, of course. I think that's a great idea - the animals often are kept in really, really huge areas and only come there when they search the contact. This is what distinguishes those parks from zoos - in the latter ones animals are kept for viewing pleasure of the humans, in parks, humans are guests who might or might not see animals since they live in almost natural habitats where they can retreat or run around places you can't see, too.
Next, we visited some pot-bellied pigs who were sleeping. In fact, they were even snoring. My host couldn't stop laughing after she heared the snores, but she could at least keep the camera steady long enough to take a photo with one of them:
They are really peaceful animals and enjoy being petted behind their ears. Well, it isn't entirely certain if they are just being peaceful since they seem to sleep 20hours a day and aren't really capable of running due to their weight, but they always happily munched the feeding pellets you can obtain in the park for a small fee.
We spent some time at one of the small lakes there afterwards. You can't see them there, but there are a lot of koi carps in this area. They were enormous! So my hosts couldn't stop watching them for some time.
Did you know that kois have become a common motive for tattoos? It's because they are associated with Asia in general, I guess, but I would like to know the symbolism behind that. I guess green haired little Urmels wouldn't make for a bad tattoo-trend either!
Here you can see me in front of some Mangalitsa!
They are a sort of wooly pigs that have admirably cute piglets. My hosts always are calmed watching those and thus they stood there for over half an hour, observing the Mangalitsa.
I observed them, too.
In german, it's called "Wollschwein" which means "wooly pig".
Afterwards, we walked on. You have a really nice view on the Castle Saba, which gives the Animal Park its Name. Well, you right now not so much, but I promise it looks really nice! Like out of a story book! It's also called "Dornröschenschloss" which translates to "Castle of the Sleeping Beauty", after the known fairytale of the Grimm brothers. It really lives up to this name since the whole Castle garden is covered in Roses during Summer! You can have cake and tea there, too.
After admiring that view, I noticed something tickling the fur on my right arm..
I got a bit scared and tried to cover my eyes, but this brought the beetle only nearer to them..making it appear even bigger!
But it was good to do so, since I then noticed that it sported some really cute antennae! It also shone quite adorable. I started to like him and helped him to move on with his travels by providing a good place for a take off and he soon flew away to discover the park or probably some flowers or whatever is of interest to small bugs.
I then rested under one of the great trees that are everywhere in this huge and beautiful park. We already spent about 2 hours there! Time really flies when you are with animals.
I also smelled some flowers. This is a "Löwenzahn". It translates to "Lion's Teeth", so the word Löwenzahn has dual meaning - one for the flower, one for the fierce teeth of a dangerous animal. I have no clue why they called this soft and friendly coloured little flower like that.
It is also called "Kuhblume" which means "Cow's flower" and "Butterblume" which means "Butter flower" in some regions. In English it's Buttercup, if I'm right..the affection shown by cows for this plant might explain why so many cows in certain video games are called "Buttercup", ponders my host.
Well, I have to take a break from writing now - my journey through the Animal Park isn't finished yet! I write more, soon, there are so many things to tell, but my host has to take her shower now and I think I should brush my teeth with this adorable green toothpaste, too.
Posted Mar 16, 2012, 5:00 pm
It is my sad duty to inform you that Urmel was lost in Australia. He begged a friend of mine to take him with him on his voyage there and he agreed to care for my little Urmel.
Sadly, when they held a photo session in a park, Urmel didn't come back with them and decided to stay there.
There are still some fond memories and pictures of Urmel I'd like to share with you, but right now, let's just be quiet for a minute and think of Urmel, sending our wishes he was found by someone who took them home with them. Perhaps he wanted to explore the country on his own.
Goodbye Urmel, I loved having you around. I had such fun with you! Hope you have a nice time in Australia. I will miss you, but perhaps you have found nice friends there who take care of you!