My journey to Germany [Archives:2008/1165/Last Page]

June 19 2008
The Bahai temple in langenhain
The Bahai temple in langenhain
The ICE  train in Germany
The ICE train in Germany
Next to the Rhine River in Koingswinter.
Next to the Rhine River in Koingswinter.
By: Hamed Thabet
Never did I think that traveling could be such a pleasure and an excellent way of discovering until I was on a high-speed train in Germany observing the fast-paced and ordered life there, as people moved quickly all around me trying to find their correct seats, and not just any vacant seat!

I have never seen such a fast, magnificent high-speed train before and it will remain as one of the exciting memories of my trip to Germany.

I traveled to Germany to attend the Global Media Conference in Bonn, but I thought to myself, “Since I'm in a great country such as Germany, why not take the advantage of every minute and truly make use it?”

Baha'i house of worship – Frankfurt

The moment I reached Frankfurt, I decided to make the most of my time. At the top of my list was to visit the Baha'i House of Worship to refresh my own religious beliefs. I was born Baha'i, and the Baha'i have a place of worship on nearly every continent. In Arabic it is known as mashruqa'l azkar. It is built by donations given by Baha'is around the world and is a place of prayer and meditation open to people of all beliefs.

The Baha'i temple reflects the spiritual truths of the Baha'i Faith, which is the oneness of God, the oneness of mankind and the oneness of religion. It is a place where the peace and unity of mankind is witnessed.

The European Baha'i house of worship is about 30 kilometers from Frankfurt's central train station, so I had to take a taxi, which eventually cost me a scary 100 euros for the return journey.

The taxi driver who took me to the Baha'i House of Worship started to talk to me and I came to know that he was a Turk and had lived in Germany for about 27 years and loved it. He also mentioned that no one asked him about his religion and he had no problem at all with being a Muslim!

It was Sunday afternoon when I reached the Baha'i Temple and I noticed people peacefully praying, and I found myself unconsciously praying with them. At the same time it was my first time to see Baha'is from Germany.

Of punctuality and church bells

The most interesting thing that I noticed in Germany was that I felt that time is the most important thing there! And because of that people were running to reach their destinations.

I noticed that I was so affected by this environment that even I started running while looking for a taxi. I thought to myself, “Oh my God, what a quick impact this has had on me! Imagine me running instead of walking!”

I found myself once again at the station, taking a high-speed train to Bonn. Attending the conference was my official business, but I had a lot more fun going to different cities such as Konigswinter, Bad Honnef, Cologne, and another town by mistake whose name I don't remember!

What attracted me the most in all of these cities was Cologne, because once I arrived at the main station there, I saw a very huge church, which I couldn't stop myself from visiting.

I said to myself that I would visit the church first and then the city. Well, I entered the church and it was really amazing, with sculptures everywhere and statues actually embedded in the stone on every single part of the church.

While I was walking around in the church, a man who was working there told me that if I paid 2.5 Euros I could go upstairs to the top and you find something I would definitely like.

Without any hesitation I took the courage to climb all 550 steps (which I thought were a thousand) and what did I finally see? A BELL?!

It was a huge big bell (and of course at that moment I felt like killing that guy), but what was really worth the climb was the outstanding view of the city from above. Unfortunately, at this point I was extremely thirsty, and a small bottle of water costs 2.5 Euros, which is equal to nearly YR 700! I had to buy four small water bottles to satisfy my thirst. Then I discovered that I could have bought a big bottle of water, which was cheaper and would last longer!

Other traveling adventures

A day later, I went to visit Konigswinter and really felt that I was in heaven. I took a train from Bonn in order to get there. Everything was green and clean, without a single speck of dust or dirt. Many people told me to visit this town because the Rhine River is so beautiful there. And it was!

Then, when I was going back to Bonn I went to Bad Honnef for only an hour, but honestly I did not walk too much to discover the amazing things in it, and I took the train and came back to Bonn.

The funniest thing in Germany that I faced was when I wanted to ask about an address. Although all the addresses are well-written everywhere so that no one can get lost, I liked to ask people lots of questions to get into a conversation and finally would get lost!

When I was in Cologne and wanted to come back to Bonn by train, I asked a man if he could speak English, and he said yes, but only a little. I asked him about an address, and he tried to explain to me in German by moving his hands and saying yes and no!

I thought that I understood what he said and I took the wrong train to another town which I didn't know. After that a German man who was a lawyer told me, “You never get lost in Germany. Just follow the directions in the stations and you will be fine.” I followed his advice after that.

Though I learned how to follow the directions, I kept asking people just in case. A small mistake in Germany would cost me lots of money, and everything was too expensive for me, so I did not want to be a hero by not asking. I can say that Germany is a country with a clean and lush environment, with educated and respectful citizens, and has a perfect law and system. It is also a surprisingly tolerant country. I found many Iranians there, many of whom came to Germany after the Islamic revolution, while others had come before, looking for work or asylum. All of them said told me that Germany is the best place to live in and they have no problems at all with their being Iranian or their political lives.

Going to Germany was the best thing I have ever done in my life, and it is really a country that deserves to be visited.