Hi everyone! It’s been quite a while since my last blog post but I’ve been so busy working, socialising and travelling that I’ve not had time to write. Who knew that working a full-time job could be so time consuming!? I’m ashamed to say that I’ve even started doing some of the things that I judge other people as being lazy for doing. Yesterday, for example, I even bought ready-grated cheese. A new low point.
Since I last wrote about the world cup madness here in Germany, my national team, England, has been knocked out. Representing in Germany!
This photo was taken before the second group-stage match against Uruguay (which we lost 2-1)… I definitely looked a lot more sheepish on my way home! There are lots of public viewings like this one all over Germany, and there is always a good atmosphere. Despite being with lots of people, and the flags were definitely a conversation starter, I actually felt pretty lonely that evening! Stuttgart is a really mulit-cultural city; everywhere you go, you hear different languages and see different types of dress. But, that evening, I was the only English girl at the viewing. I actually saw more Uruguay supporters!
Last weekend I made a trip up North into the neighbouring Bundesland/state, the Rheinland (bet you all recognise that one from school history class!) to visit my uni friend, Emily! She lives in:
(M-eye-nts, not M-ay-ns)
You could be forgiven for not knowing Mainz… I didn’t, either, before I visited! Mainz isn’t a very famous city, but I think it’s a bit of a hidden gem! I would definitely recommend a visit. Sadly I didn’t manage to take any of Baden-Wurrtemberg’s beautiful weather with me and it was overcast and rainy all weekend, but it was still lovely!
I went to Mainz to see the city, but also to catch up with my friend, so we spent a lot of the weekend gossiping over Kaffe und Kuchen, or, in true German spirit, beer!
I always thought that having a hot drink and a cake (afternoon tea) was a very British tradition, but apparently it’s also traditional in Germany. This was our excuse, anyway, to do it twice in as many days! Maybe, like Christmas trees, it’s another tradition we got from Albert!
On the topic of food (one of my favourite topics), I had my first Currywurst of this trip at the weekend. I loved Currywurst when I first tried it last summer in Munich, so I can’t believe it’s taken me almost a month of being here in Germany to have it again! It’s German sausage in a spicy tomatoey sauce, and it’s a relatively new thing but Germany has become famous for it. Lots of people think it’s disgusting and some German people have told me theiy’re embarassed by it, but I think it’s delicious! Although, apparently “real” Currywurst can only be eaten in Berlin, and I haven’t been there yet to try it!
I’ve really had my share of curry this weekend, because we sourced the ingredients to make Madras from scratch. Curry is incredibly popular in Britain, but not so much in the rest of Europe, and it’s one of the things that lots of expats really miss. You can’t buy ready made sauces like you can in the UK’s supermarkets; usually you can’t even find the ingredients to make it from scratch. We were (perhaps a bit too) excited to find spices and powder and coconut milk at the market and made this beauty. It should have served four, but we devoured it between the two of us!
In between eating and drinking, we did see the sights. Emily lives in a flat almost in the centre of town, so it was ideally located for sightseeing. Her flat is big, airy and proper (as opposed to my attic) and I realised just how much i’m starting to miss being able to stand up at the sides of rooms! Still, I’m staying positive about it; I don’t pay rent and beggars can’t be choosers!
Although Mainz is quite small (it has a population of 200,000), it has a huge cathedral. Unfortunately, although it looks a bit like the Disneyland castle from the outside, it’s not nearly as impressive inside. In fact, I’m really glad that entry was free because it’s probably one of the least impressive cathedrals I’ve ever been in. The third picture is actually of the interior of another church we stumbled across.
The town hall and castle were both impressive looking buildings, but sadly they were both closed to the public, as was the Roman theatre.
Mainz, like Stuttgart, is about as inland as you can get, but I’ve sat on a beach in both! In Stuttgart, we have a rooftop beach bar, and in Mainz there are two man-made beaches on the banks of the Rhein.
The Rheinland is one of Germany’s main wine-producing areas, so I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t drink any while I was there. To make up for it, and just so I could tell you whether it was any good or not (it is), I’ve bought some from the supermarket back here in Stuttgart! Most of the free space in and around Mainz is dedicated to vineyards; they are even in the garden of the the district planning building …good planning!
Graffiti is legal in Mainz and some beautiful murals have been created in the subways. To show you just how big this graffiti is, I’m the dot in the corner of the picture and at nearly 5 ft 7, I’m not short!
I’m planning to spend this weekend in my home from home, Stuttgart, to rest up and save my pennies/cents for my trip to Vienna next weekend! Life’s exciting at the moment! Bis bald.