I finished up Deutschkurs this week. and I am now scheduled for my language test. We will see how it goes. I still have another 6 or 7 months, before I have to have it completed, but I figure this way if I flunk it, I will know what I need to work on. I was the most worried about the speaking part, because I was thinking they were actually going to make us have a conversation, It turns out the speaking part is actually pretty easy, You have to do your introduction, name, age, phone number, where you came from, languages you speak, where you live, etc… Then the examiner will ask your address or phone number, something like that. The final part of the speaking test, is you are given a page with pictures of objects. You have to ask and answer one or two questions about an object. I think I can handle that.
I am now the most worried about the written part. I have to write a short letter/email, about a subject the Examiner brings up. It could be making a doctor appointment. It could be writing a hotel asking about a reservation. That is a little harder for me. I have found some websites that list about 25 topics that have been used in the past. I am going to be practicing by writing on those 25 topics over the next few weeks. The best news on the test, is that I only have to have a 60 to pass, so I could theoretically bomb one section completely, and still do well enough to pass the test. What will still be funny to me, is that even once I pass, I still can barely get by. The key is finding someone that talks slow enough that I can understand them. I pick out one out of maybe 10 words, at normal speeds. That is good enough for the test, because I already know the answers, so I am keying on certain words or phrases. In the real world, only hearing 10% of the conversation is not that good! Of course, I am sure Julie would be ecstatic if I heard 10% of what she says! 🙂
Now back to the adventures:
We stayed close to home the last two weekends. It was quarterly filing season, and we were afraid to go away just in case Julie had to work. We will be making up for this next weekend. We leave this Thursday for the town of Zermatt. Zermatt is very close to mountain, that I am sure you have all heard of before, The Matterhorn. So hopefully next weeks, the video will be more exciting, and the pictures more breathtaking than this weeks post.
We went to the Zürich Zoo last weekend. Julie and I both like visiting zoos, and this one was pretty good, The Zoo has a wide variety of animals from all the continents. Of course many of the African animals were not on display, though. The part I was most impressed with was the biosphere. There is a very large rain forest in the Zoo. The strangest thing was the heat differential. Outside the temperature was around 10 degrees ( about 50 degrees F). Inside the biosphere the temperature was 25 (77 degrees F). However, we climbed up some stairs towards the roof, and the temperature jumped to 30 (86 degrees F). Of course it was also one of those really humid temperatures. My glasses fogged up immediately, so I couldn’t see anything at all for about 15 minutes!
This weekend we took the train to Rheinfall.
Side note: One weird thing about the German language is they make proper nouns by simply mashing the words together. Rheinfall in English is Rhine Falls. Another good example is der Kühlschrank. Kühl is German for cool. Schrank is German for cupboard. So a Kühlschrank is literally translated as cool cupboard. In English we could call this a Refrigerator.
So back to the falls. We live about 50 KM from the falls, so it is about an hour train ride. Perfect distance for a short trip! The Rheinfall is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. They are approximately 150 meters wide, and 24 meters high. We certainly need to go back this spring to see the falls at their most powerful. During Winter the water flow is about 250,000 liters per second. During the summer the water flow is more than doubled to 600,000 liters per second. For comparison sake, if you have ever been to Niagra Falls, the American and Bridal Veil falls together have a flow rate of approximately 286,000 liters per second.
We are already planning on visiting again. I figure when my Nephew comes this summer, he will want to take the trail down to the base of falls. I think it will be pretty similar to the trail pictured above at Niagra Falls. 🙂
It is getting close to bed time, so I will post all the pictures up later this week. Hope you all had a great Valentines Day, and a fabulous weekend!