Sorry Sir, it was toad in the hole you ordered wasn’t it?”
Good morning my lovelies, a big thank you to you all for tuning into my next blog instalment, especially when there are probably plenty of other more pressing engagements that are crying out for your attention :). I’m certain that you’ll all be pleased to hear that I’ve acquired some new batteries for my camera, hence the level of visual interaction within this instalment is significantly higher than in my most recent blogs! Currently writing, I’m absolutely hooked to the song “Welcome Home” by Radical Face, the song used on the Nikon Camera advert, therefore it’s on repeat whilst I type away. Anyway, back to life in Göβweinstein and all that has been going on.
“It’s like we’re an old married couple. We both fall asleep in front of the TV during our breaks whilst the fire is blazing away.” This, and variations on this (in reference to her and me), is what I’ve noticed Heike telling lots of visitors to Gasthof Stern of late. Not that this is either untrue or something that I find offensive, it’s simply that I’d like to clear up the reason behind my out of character midday naps. I would normally lay the blame on simply being too hard working (which sometimes can be true ;)), but ironically it has nothing to do with that, well, not over the last two weeks any. Pure and simply, I’ve been sleeping during the day in order to forget about how cold it has turned outside! Of late it has been absolutely FREEZING, and the now bare and white landscape is testament to this. I have been rather enjoying my periods of Winterschlaf (hibernation), particular when the fire is burning at full throttle; nothing is more gemütlich (cosy). About four or five days ago however, we had some absolutely glorious weather; complete blue skies, dazzling sun, but with temperatures that would make even the toughest Scotsman shiver. It looked a little bit like this…
This rather picturesque weather, soon turned into this, and to date, has stayed like this…
It’s quite normal at this time of year that business is quiet in the town, and due to the presence of the snow there has been hardly any coming and going at Gasthof Stern. It really is a massive contrast to what we were experiencing up until December! Not that we’re disappointed about this, as it gives everybody a chance to recuperate and re-charge their batteries. Christian has been on a long holiday, as has Bernd, whilst Stefan and I have been opening the hotel reasonably late into the day and shutting incredibly early. The last two weeks has consisted of the following: Waking up in the mornings around 8:10, in order to clear away all the things from breakfast. Then I will proceed to lock up at approximately 10:00am, meaning that I can have a pleasantly long break (which consists of going back to bed, keeping up to date with the news in German, reading and chatting with Charlie the dog) Around 3pm it’s time to open up the restaurant again. I’ll have around about 2 hours to just sit down, read my German novel, and serve Roland a beer or two (who is nowadays our most regular customer!). I’m not going to lie, I’ve been loving this relaxing sensation. I haven’t experienced being lazy since the summer!
All of this spare time means that we have had more opportunities to go out and enjoy ourselves. Most recently, Bernd, Stefan, Christian, Johannes, Balloo (Johannes’ dog), and myself, went to Bayreuth. Whilst there we dined at a top-notch Vietnamese restaurant, where the food was absolutely brilliant. There was also a really amusing drunkard there who kept trying to talk to the Vietnamese waiters in Spanish, which to me, underlined how drunk he was! We then moved onto an Irish Pub where I drank my first Guinness in absolutely AGES. And what a taste it was :). We had a cheeky game of darts and table football (which ended up 5v4 to Germany), and then cheekily stopped off at Burger King on our way home (as if we weren’t full enough already!).
One thing of significance that I have noticed recently at the restaurant, is the number of customers who have come in with really cute dogs. It always makes a waiter’s day when a customer has a dog (I don’t know why, it just does!). I got a cheeky video of a puppy that was running about the place the other weekend. Needless to say, everybody was lining up to stroke it!Vodpod videos no longer available.
In terms of my German, nowadays I feel so confident when conversing with people. Doubtlessly the constant interaction with friends and colleagues has helped overwhelmingly, but I feel that I’ve also helped myself by reading German books, reading the German versions of the BBC website, and generally trying to steer clear of English (except for Facebook of course!). I’ve received so many compliments about my standard of German (although everybody still notices my accent ;)), and this has boosted my confidence immensely. Obviously this has been a massive challenge to me so far; being away from home, in a new, foreign environment, working full time. But now, half way through my year abroad, I feel that I am really reaping the rewards. Florian has given me some really authentic German books to read, so once I’ve finished with my current novel, I’ll begin with those. Thomas Mann and Kafka, here I come!
I was considering recently the idea of an image to sum up Gasthof Stern and my time here. Finally I came to the conclusion, that there is no better motif than the typical Krug (flaggon), used here to serve the local beers. I have used this type of Krug countlessly, and in my eyes, it’s so stereotypically German! It’s a shame in my opinion that we don’t really use them that much back at home. Lowenbrau Buttenheim (the font on the front), is the local brewery (and I mean local), that produces the beer.
So, until the next time folks, I bid you farewell. I hope that the winds aren’t still too vicious back at home! I’ll be visiting Grace in just over two weeks time, which I am particularly excited about! In fact, I literally cannot wait! Remember that I’m turning 21 on the 31st (hint hint ;)). I leave you with a couple of photos of Charlie the dog and Cleo the cat. Undoubtedly, two of the cutest pets around!