I just pulled off the most Australian thing I have ever done whilst overseas.
Let me explain…. It’s a beautiful day today in Tübingen, Germany. The song birds are singing, the sun is shining bright and at a whopping 28 degrees and it’s been said that today is the hottest summer day of the year in Germany! The Germans are out walking, running, bicycling and paddling in full force – basically Germans are being the epic Germans we have all come to know and love and they’re all outdoors, right now, enjoying this gorgeous weather!
Positioned straight though the middle of Tübingen is the Neckar River and from the looks of it, every single person in Tübingen was on it, in it or around it. There were paddle boarders, row boats, kayaks and paddle boats meandering up and down the little river….. and then… there was me.
Ya see, I found a surf board and I thought it would be cool to go for a paddle with the rest of the locals. But I mean, this green board that I found isn’t a stand up paddle board – this is an actual surf board. So, let me set this scene… I’m in Germany on a surfboard paddling on a lake.
In true Tara fashion, I thought nothing of it. I grabbed the surf board, and wandered down to the river. I hopped on and paddled straight up to the town.
At about 500 meters, a boat full of German guys tried to have a chat. Since I don’t speak much German, things got a bit awkward. I explained in my broken German that, “Ich spreche kein Deutsch” which translates to, “I don’t speak German.” Then, the one guy yells out, “English?” And I said, “JA!”
Then, they all huddled in together and were talking amongst themselves. Almost like the scene out of the hunger games, one really brave guy stands up in the boat and says in very NSFW broken English, “Can I come in you?”
I burst out laughing! I just couldn’t help myself. This was the biggest translation fail of the year and it made me feel a lot better about all my translation fails that I have been guilty of. These poor guys didn’t really have a clue what they just said. After they saw my reaction, the huddled in together once more, and spoke amongst themselves. Another brave German ‘tribute’ attempted to speak for the group, “Can I come with in you?” I bust out laughing again but this time much harder! They had a look of bewilderment like I just took their favourite puppy away. After I was finished laughing I said, “Nein” and paddled away! The guys didn’t laugh this time. They totally thought I rejected them. I kept paddling on – it was for the best.
In front of me was the beautiful main Tübingen bridge and it was covered with gorgeous pink and purple flowers. To the right of me, the publicans sitting in the bier garten just watched as I started to paddle under the bridge. I kept paddling until I reached the little island in the middle of Tübingen. When I got to the rocks, I made sure not pull off any quick moves – I didn’t want to make a giant splash in the water, so I gracefully climbed up the slippery rocks whilst carrying my surfboard to a grassy area. I sat down on the surfboard in the sun and just soaked up the warm rays.
After about fifteen minutes of sunning myself and people watching, I knew it was time to go home but I didn’t want to paddle – my arms were aching and the wind was blowing the opposite direction. I paddled a good 1,000 meters and doing that against wind would be a comedy sketch for everyone watching this girl attempting to surf Tübingen. I grabbed my surf board and walked up the stairs.
This is when I had a very distinct realisation that… I’M NOT IN AUSTRALIA ANYMORE. All German eyes were on me and from the looks of it, Germany was not ready for a true-blue Aussie encounter. I mean, this was basically turning out to be an episode of Home and Away meets Tübingen. As soon as I reached the top of the stairs, I was on the main road of Tübingen.. and within seconds, every single German head turned to see why the heck why someone that’s only wearing skimpy swimming togs, is walking around barefoot and carrying a surfboard though the middle of town.
Grandpa’s and grandma’s stopped licking their ice cream, kids in stroller pointed. One photographer even stopped dead in her tracks, turned and took a sneaky photo of my surfboard from behind. I was the biggest thing to hit Tübingen and I wasn’t sure if I liked it.
I pressed the walk button so I could cross the street and waiting for the green man to appear felt like HOURS. Locals were peering out their car windows and I felt like I was being secretly judged. Some people I passed didn’t even know that they were making eye contact with me whilst others shielded their eyes. I mean, nobody was safe… even bicyclists were at risk from hitting things because the just stared whilst peddling down the road like it’s their very own speed-free autobahn.
I decided I was creating way too much of a distraction in little Tübingen so I walked as fast as my little legs could whilst carrying a surf board.
I finally reached the house, put the surfboard away and took a deep breath. I decided it was best not to emerge the rest of today. This Australian caused way too much disruption in this gorgeous little town for one day.
A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!