Here are lots of fun highlights of my 8th month out on the continent. (Wow. 8th).
- 2nd March: Bonn and Haus der Geschichte
Though it took a few attempts to do so, I finally got round to visiting Bonn, due to Shane being able to take me there on his Semester Ticket for free on weekends. Bonn was the capital of West Germany, and is also the home for one of Germany’s ‘Haus der Geschichte‘ (‘House of History‘). It was an extremely interesting museum which covered a range of areas of Germany’s history, and I’d recommend it to anyone who happens to visit Bonn one day!
Aside from the Haus der Geschichte, Bonn was a very pretty city with lots of things going on around the centre. We also checked out the Cathedral there, where I got questioned about my Karneval scarf, and I learnt the hard way that ‘Schal’ (scarf) and ‘Schale’ (bowl) are two very different things. But at least I will never forget it!
- 6th March: Burgers at Menschingstraße
I was kindly invited to Menschingstraße by Fabi and Sabrina for some burgers, so as to prevent us going to Jim Block yet again and using up more money. The evening was very fun and there were loads of ingredients and sauces to use up, as well as beer and other spirits.
We were soon joined by some others who live in the same accommodation, where we discussed certain German and English words. My favourite was perhaps that a ‘slug’ in German is a ‘Nacktschnecke’ which literally translates to as ‘naked snail’ – it does make sense, no matter how daft it sounds (I did laugh quite a lot at it but, as I say, it makes more sense than English, I guess!)
Sabrina also learned that ‘slug weasel’ which myself and Millie taught Fabi last month, pretending it was a really bad word, actually isn’t a really bad word and doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. What a silly slug weasel she is!
- 9th March: A day trip to Goslar
Due to Deutsche Bahn failing us and cancelling the one train we could take to Osnabrück for the day (meaning we wouldn’t be able to get there until around 1pm when it might be not really worth it), Shane, Lucianna, Sabrina and myself took a train to Goslar, with Goslar being one of the ‘9 cities of Niedersachsen’.
As we left the train station, we came across the biggest queue I have ever seen, and a good 5-10-minute walk later, we discovered the queue was for casting in one of George Clooney’s new films! Holding in our excitement, we carried on past the queue and had a look around Goslar, which has quite a pretty centre, despite the building work going on on the Rathaus (what is it with Germany and Baustelle?)
Interestingly enough, we also came across a red British telephone box, smack bang in the middle of a small plaza on the outskirts of the city centre. After oohing and aahing at it, we took a few pictures and left it behind, to later find out it was actually a gift from us some few years ago!
- 10th March: A trip to the Wilhelm Busch Museum in Hannover
I’d heard the name ‘Wilhelm Busch Museum’ a lot of times having travelled through the tram stop a lot of times every day last August, and on a quiet Sunday it was time to finally see what it was all about. All in all, it was quite a cool museum, where I discovered that Wilhelm Busch was actually a caricaturist, among many other things. The museum was filled with different sketches by many caricaturists, along with Wilhelm Busch, and we learned a lot of German words throughout the exhibitions!
- 15th-18th March: Barcelona
It was finally time to leave Germany for somewhere other than home. You can read more about my trip to Barcelona here: ¡Hola Barcelona!
- 19th March: A day trip to Göttingen
After Phoebe and I arrived back from Barcelona, we had a week of nothings to do with it being Niedersachsen’s Easter Holidays, so we decided to do as much as possible in the first week before I was visited by some of my family in the second week. On the day after we arrived back from Barcelona, we hopped on a train to Göttingen, which I visited back in August to meet up with Elsa, a friend from my university, where it had totally chucked it down for most of the day.
All in all, Göttingen is a very pretty and very typically German town. We had a look in the St.-Jacobi-Kirche (St. Jacob Church, I guess), where an old lady running the small shop at the entrance told us a great deal about the history of the church, especially about the door handles (which were quite cool if I’m honest) and she ended up giving us 7 postcards in total, all with different door handles on, along with 2 other little booklets with the church’s stamp in it. It was quite bizarre at the time, and I thought she was just trying to sell us things, but when she gave us the 7 postcard for free (which we actually didn’t realise until we got on the train back to Hanover due to everything being in an envelope), I realised she was just a considerably friendly lady who wanted a chat about her church!
- 20th March: A day trip to Hamburg and the Miniatur Wunderland
On our second day, we headed to Hamburg, so I could finally visit the Miniatur Wunderland, which I tried to go to back in December but couldn’t due to a long queue and a certain surprise birthday party. I’d been to the Miniatur Wunderland on my exchange a few years ago, and I felt I couldn’t have a successful year abroad if I didn’t make time to visit the amazing place again. It’s hard to explain in words how cool the museum is, but Phoebe, who’d never been before (who’d never been to Hamburg for that matter) was extremely impressed and tried as much as she can to not use up all her memory card space on her camera. There are also signs that they’re going to build an England section in the museum, but not for a few years yet, but that’s another excuse to return there in a few years’ time.
Other than the awesome museum, we had a look around Hamburg, and there’s not much I could really report on it with me having visited it already a few times. The Rathaus is still pretty amazing though to look around, but it’s just a shame the weather wasn’t the best so we had to keep going indoors every now and then so we didn’t freeze!
- 21st March: Ilka’s birthday breakfast
Ilka, my wonderful mentor, turned 40, and she invited me along to her big birthday breakfast party at her home. I was a little worried at first that I wouldn’t know anybody, but I soon turned up to some teachers I know, as well as Wiebke who’s just finished a work placement at my school. There was a brilliant feast there, and I even tried a cake with quark in it. And I liked it.
- 22nd March: A day trip to Osnabrück
Second time lucky, Phoebe and I headed to Osnabrück for the day, with it being Phoebe’s changing point when she normally goes back to Herzlake from Hanover. So instead of her rushing off on her long journey, we stopped off in Osnabrück and had a look around the city which I’d never been to before, and Phoebe didn’t see a great deal of when she had her induction day last year.
Osnabrück is actually not one of the 9 cities of Niedersachsen which tourists have to see, despite it being pretty big, but I soon realised why. The Rathaus and Cathedral are pretty impressive, but other than that I wasn’t overly impressed with any other part of it (though the cold might have added to that with me being more concerned about keeping inside and warm than exploring Osnabrück). There were, however, some nice cobbly streets, as well as a street named ‘Bierstraße’ (‘beer street’) which we had a good chuckle at.
- 23rd March: Of Monsters And Men in Bremen
Something Shane and I booked a while back finally arrived – Of Monsters And Men concert! And they were fantastic. I know several of their songs, but not their whole album like I do with Florence + The Machine when I went to go see her last month, but that didn’t give me a disadvantage at all. The band were really lively and absolutely fantastic at what they do. Naturally, ‘Little Talks’ received the most reaction from the audience, but all of their songs were pretty brilliant and the band seem like they work and get on really well with each other which was really nice to see, especially when the main female singer, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, had a bit of a laughing fit half way through ‘Little Talks’! (If you’re not quite sure who Of Monsters And Men are, take a look at this video and you might recognise the song: Little Talks Live – I tried to find the original album song but I couldn’t, but this live version is still pretty good!
- 25th March: First German Haircut
The only thing to comment here is that I got my first haircut in Germany. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, though I got nervous at the end when I realised she hadn’t really cut it as short as hoped so as to save her bother (and me trying to say stuff in German) I just accepted it. But it’s not that actually bad (so he says himself).
- 26th-31st March: A visit from Finlay
My month was perfectly topped up with a trip from my cute little nephew, Finlay, along with Katie and Steve. It was so much fun I wrote a separate blog post about it: When Finlay came to Deutschland.
Other things to mention:
- The French course is going pretty well and I’m slowly getting into the gist of speaking French again after the massive gap I had from learning it at Uni last year.
- I’ve signed up for a lecture at the University of Hannover which looks into the similarities and contrasts between German and English. I am extremely excited in a massively geeky way.
- I’ve also signed up for Japanese and Spanish classes at the University – but in these cases, it’s not 100% that I’ll get onto them (hence why I’ve gone for both). I find out next week, and I’m basically going to do which ever I get, but if I get both I’m going to go for Japanese because I reckon it’s a little trickier to find a Japanese class than a Spanish class in general!
- I’m going to Paris at the end of April! Woohoo!
- After a big fail of starting an English club with 13. Klasse (i.e. nobody turned up after I’d prepared stuff), I’ve offered it to 12. Klasse who seem more up for it and who I prefer, too. This should hopefully be starting in a couple of weeks’ time if all goes to plan!
- The scare war has died down – but I got Elsa once this month whereas she didn’t get me at all. Muhuhaha.