Don’t be silly Sir, dead flies can’t swim.”
So much for German efficiency. I really don’t like starting these entries off on such a bitter note, but I must confess that the bubble has burst; the stereotype has finally been debunked! It all happened today on my journey home from Kronach (which turned out to be some form of quasi-Duke of Edinburgh expedition), after visiting my close friend Emma Sawers for the first time since moving to Germany. A delayed departure at Bamberg Hauptbahnhof meant that I missed the connection between Forchheim and Ebermannstadt, which in turn meant that on arrival (an hour late) at Ebermannstadt, that I missed the last bus home. I was then forced to wait 45 minutes for a taxi (which was also delayed), freezing my nuts off, Ipod battery almost dead, and to rub salt into the wound, was obliged to pay for the incurred taxi fee. I understand that the remote location of Gӧβweinstein doesn’t help matters, but a journey that took two hours longer than it was supposed to really put a downer on the day, especially as I had my evening all planned out meticulously in my head :). If you want to understand just how frustrated I was, just ask Grace, she was on the phone to me at the time ;). Anyway, apart from that it was a quality day catching up with my best mate; exchanging funny stories, recalling old memories, but most reassuringly, discovering that we’re both finding this year as challenging as each other.
One thing that I do really love about travelling in Bavaria, is that everywhere is just so picturesque! I’ve talked to a lot of locals during my stay here, and they’re all fascinated with the beauty of English gardens. Yes, I totally agree, English gardens are brilliant, but the countryside around here is simply an eye-opener. The images above are literally just flash points, from when I’ve looked up from reading my German grammar book (it’s up there with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) on the train, and seen hills, trees, and lots of Bavarian men driving tractors (they love it), stretching out endlessly before me. It wouldn’t have been the same without spotting a few of those stoic Germans along the way however, sweeping up leaves the way the Germans do best (I still don’t understand that obsession!).
So, moving on. Kronach is a Landkreis (district) which is conveniently near to me (half an hour by car), so near in fact considering the size of Germany. It’s a really pretty Franconian town, quite a bit bigger than where I live, but just the right size for Emma. There are some great lookout points there just like there are here, so I made sure that I took a lot of snaps. Emma’s working as a language assistant at two of the local schools, with Mondays and weekends off (lucky :)), and she’s so popular there already, that she’s made it onto the front page of the school website; check out the link. According to her colleagues, she lives in the ‘posh’ end of town, and I must admit, it was very classy! I got some great photos from on top of the hill where the local castle is situated, with the sun beating down it was a really good setting. I came across a sign (which you can see below), which makes it quite unequivocal that dogs are NOT ALLOWED to deposit in Kronach. There’s also a really clean river (or was that just the light rays from the sun?!) running through the town centre; rivers always go down well with me, and was one of the main reasons why I chose to go to Exeter University. I met the local Doner Kebab store owner who Emma reckons fancies her (he was smiling at her a lot), and checked out Kronach’s post office, which wasn’t much different from any other post office. Overall, a great day and hopefully will be seeing Emma (and Tom and Ellie) very soon!
I’ve run into a bit of money recently after winning a couple of bets at work (don’t get too excited it wasn’t any life changing sum of dollar). With Grandad Vogl, Lutz, temporarily in charge of the hotel whilst Bernd and Heike are on holiday, evenings at work have been a bit more intense as G.V. has been letting us bet how many customers we’ll serve each evening. It wasn’t surprising that the grand master himself won the first couple of rounds (he has been in the business for 50 years), but last night I knocked him off his perch and took the winnings myself! The only problem is, is that I’m pretty certain I’m going to throw all that gained money away when I bet next (beginner’s luck doesn’t last for any extended period and I can’t claim to be an expert gambler).
On the football front, for those who are interested, I’ve taken a MASSIVE step. After scouring for hours on the internet for the cheapest price, I’ve finally ordered a football jersey for the first time in years. It’s not just any jersey mind you, it’s the German national team top with the name “Ӧzil” on the back (as in Mesut Ӧzil, the quality Turkish-born midfielder). For 43 Euros, I was almost as impressed as I was when I watched Bayern Munich trounce Napoli 3v2 last night with Christian in the Champions League. 8 of Bayern’s players play for the national team (Neuer, Boateng, Badstuber, Muller, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Gomez, and Kroos), it’s basically the whole German squad playing together on a weekly basis, no wonder they always beat England!
So yes, it’s been a fairly slow week so far, what with having finished at 8 on Tuesday, 5 yesterday, and the day off today. No complaints on the free-time front then (although there’s a bus with 95 people arriving at the hotel on Saturday). I’ll be seeing Grace in 20 days time, so that’s another thing that I’m hugely looking forward to :). Thanks everybody for reading, and until the next the time, schӧnen tag noch!