I was in Greifswald for 8 days for Greifswald International Students Festival 2012, or GrIStuF 2012, people say.
My first impression on Greifswald wasn’t that good. I had the earliest train from Bochum, which by the way, is located in the west Germany. So technically I crossed Germany from the west to the east to reach Greifswald. I was exhausted after six and a half hours on the train and one 3-minutes transit in Stralsund, where I had to change train in different platform while carrying a heavy luggage and a backpack. That was the first time I ran like crazy in my life.
The walk from the central train station (or Hauptbahnhof, as the Germans say) to the check-in counter didn’t give me a pleasant view. The sky was grey, the buildings were old with flaked off paints, and there was nobody in sight. It was like a dead city after zombies invasion.
Lucky for me, I had the most amazing host, Sophie. We walked for about thirty minutes to her apartment and she said, “I promise you, this is the last time you have to walk.” The next day, she gave me her bicycle to ride everywhere. Let’s skip the part when I fell down and crashed a traffic light or when I scratched someone’s red Mercedes when I fell for the second time. Long story short, I was in the university hall for the opening ceremony. The first sentence of the opening speech was, “Welcome to Greifswald, a city which most Germans don’t even know that it exists.“
That didn’t make my impression of Greifswald any better. But people say, first impression can fool you. It did to me.
It didn’t take long for me to fall for Greifswald. The beach, the (once in a blue moon) blue sky, the harbor, the Fish Market, the glimpse of Baltic Sea, and the view of the city from Dom St. Nikolai. By the end of the festival, I was yearning for a few more days in Greifswald.
People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.
Dagobert D. Runes