A Day out in Dortmund

Authored By:

Zoe S.

The three months I’ve spent in Germany have given me all kinds of unexpected circumstances. However, never in my life did I think I would find myself on a full train being squashed to bits by every drunk BVB fan in the entire country. 

When my friend Eva and I decided to meet up in Dortmund, we had completely forgotten the Fußball match with the Borrusia Dortmund team against Borussia Mönchengladbach was taking place that day. If there is anything I’ve learned about Deutsche Fußball this far into my exchange year, which is regrettably not too much, it’s that the trains anywhere near the place of the match will be full to the brim. I’m not sure if full to the brim is an adequate term for what I experienced on the train to Dortmund. It was madness. Madness in the color of the black and yellow scarves that nearly every passenger was wearing in support of Dortmund. And even though I was being squeezed and pushed into the direction of every person conveniently holding a beer, looking back the situation was absolutely hilarious. 

Every time the train stopped at any station before the Dortmund Hauptbahnhof, even more people tried to get on the train. Not all of them were successful. Imagine it for a second, being so close to someone you can smell their breath and can barely prevent yourself from stepping on their shoes. Then, the train comes to the next stop, and you somehow get even closer to everyone around you, and it keeps getting tighter with every stop. Now that I’m looking back, it was actually so funny. 

Thankfully, my day could only improve after getting off that packed train. Afterwards, I met up with Eva and we spent the rest of the day exploring the pretty city of Dortmund. Dortmund actually has much to offer in addition to the thousands of Fußball fans. The Christmas markets in Dortmund have already started, and in the dark they have this beautiful, snug glow that reminded me of the Christmas lights in my own little town back in the USA. Dortmund felt so familiar. 

Dortmund also had Hollister, which is Eva and I’s new happy place. Our little home away from home. I really can’t explain how much I love Hollister, even if I know in my heart it’s much more sustainable to thrift. Somehow almost everything in that store is cute. There is an endless supply of soft, cozy sweaters and puffed sleeves. If I were wildly rich the first thing I would do is buy Hollister. Then I would buy a waffle maker. Dann wäre mein Leben komplett, weil das ist mein Traum.

Dortmund also had some great Asian food. My mother’s homecooked Filipino meals are one of the things I miss most about the USA. Eva and I stopped by a Vietnamese restaurant and had some Phở. It was so nice to drink warm soup indoors, out of the cold rainy streets of Dortmund. We also managed to stop by an Asian supermarket called Tains, which was truly my happy place. They had steamed rice buns with barbecue pork filling (in Tagalog they are called Siopao), coconut water, ube-flavored mochi, and so many of my favorite things. It always makes me so happy to find parts of my own culture so far away from home. 

Even though before this trip, I’d never been to Dortmund before, I found it very comforting to see familiar things with one of my best friends. I am very much looking forward to the Christmas season, especially Weihnachtsfeiern (winter break). 

Ciao ciao for now! 
Zoe Schauder