Almost Summer…

June 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm (Germany, Travel)

Amazing there are only four weeks of school left before the holidays.  They have just crept up on me and I am in the middle of marking and organising grades stress.  I probably should be spending my time on that now… not to worry.

Since the Easter holidays I have been lucky enough to spend three weekends away.  First we travelled down to Switzerland to celebrate Martin’s nephew’s christening.  It was the middle of April and we arrived in a full on snow storm.  None of us had our winter things with us and Martin had already changed his winter tires!  The christening was in a cute little chapel and it looked absolutely magical in the snow.  The whole weekend was a lovely family affair, although at times tiring for me with so much German (including Austrian and Swiss accents) flying across the room.

IMG_9410Next up was a long weekend in Vienna with Martin and three of our friends.  Martin’s parents have a flat in the city as Aga comes from Vienna and her mother still lives in the city.  Martin visited her every day and I went with him twice.  His grandma had a lot of trouble understanding my German.  🙂  Vienna is almost like a second home for Martin so he was very savy about where to go and where to eat.  We spent a lot of time admiring the city and eating,  the food was brilliant, which is not always the case when you are visiting a city and don’t know where to eat.  Mind you, Martin is a food lover so this is hardly surprising.  Two highlights were visiting Schloss Schönbrunn and seeing a production of Oscar Wilde’s ‘An Ideal Husband’ although unfortunately in German.  The city is absolutely beautiful and I am looking forward to exploring it again in the future.

Last weekend I was in Amsterdam for the 2013 Kate and Katha weekend.  Amsterdam had been on my must see Europe list since arriving in Europe so I was very excited.  It was also really nice to have some quality time with Katha as we haven’t seen as much of each other as we would have liked as late due to our busy schedules.  The trip started in perfect form with red wine and M & Ms in the train.  🙂

IMG_0034We did a good job of seeing the city by walking a lot and visiting one museum a day.  (Koninklijk Paleis, Rijksmuseum, Van Gough Museum and the Amsterdam Museum)  We also went on a boat ride along the canals and visited the Albert Cuyp market, the best known market in Holland.  The city, with all the canals, is simply beautiful to wander around and the amount of bikes was jaw dropping.  I have never seen so many bikes.  Crazy!

IMG_0018The highlight for me was the Rijkesmuseum.  Anybody that has been to our house in Australia often would recognise the painting ‘Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem’ by Rembrandt.  There’s been a copy of this painting in our house for as long as I can remember and it was such a buzz seeing the real thing.  It felt like a little bit of home right in the middle of our trip.  It’s much smaller than our version at home but I would have recognised the painting anywhere.  When mum and the boys were in Amsterdam 2000 my three brothers walked out of the museum in disgust when they found out that the painting wasn’t currently on display.  hahaha

The Red Light district, while not exactly a highlight, was very thought provoking.  The women, the smell, people gawking (me included)… It was interesting to see how the women in the windows reacted to the people passing by: sometimes shame, sometimes flirty, sometimes apprehensive.  They were all shapes and sizes as well as ages and it got me thinking about their lives and what led them to or keeps them in this job.  I hope that it was their choice rather than a forced one, because those women are a meat market.and they often have to put up with drunken and drug fuelled behaviour.

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DSC_0101Of course there have been other exciting things happening close to home too.  Martin and I had a massive start to May with Danny’s 50th birthday party backed up the next day with the annual May 1st wine walk.  We walked the 8km from Bensheim to Alsbach and enjoyed the fairly good weather and the very good wine.  We walked with the same group of people as last year but this time we all brought extras along with us.  In the end we had a really cool mix of German and English speakers and a great time was had by all.

DSC_0415I’ve also been lucky enough to have visits from Damaris and Uli who both came for a weekend respectively.  While Damaris was here Martin drove us to have a look at Kloster Lorsch.  This had also been on my list for a long time, but I was pretty disappointed.  The site is currently under construction so their wasn’t too much to see.  😦  Damaris still hasn’t had the grand tour of Darmstadt though 😦 but I did manage to show it to Uli.  It was great having them both to stay because I hadn’t seen either for ages.  It’s also nice to know that some of the Engen ties from my exchange days are still in tact.

Otherwise things continue on as usual here.  I’ve been ultra busy fitting in as much as possible especially as I have been doing a German course on Thursday evenings.  Hockey and Martin time have had to take a backstep but it has been very rewarding taking the time to concentrate on my German.  There’s three games left of the hockey season and we still haven’t won a game… relegation seems pretty much set at the moment.  School is busy as always but on the upside I had a very positive observation lesson from my school principal and I should have an ongoing contract beginning in the new school year.

At the moment I am very much looking forward to seeing Jo on Wednesday and exploring Berlin with her over the weekend.  🙂  I also have a dinner/Darmstadt mini tour date with Elise who I worked with at the pharmacy on Tuesday.  I randomly noticed that she is in Frankfurt so that was a nice surprise.  A little bit of Aussie sunshine is exactly what the doctor ordered… plus Jo thinks she might be able to fit not one BUT two boxes of barbeque shapes in her luggage for me.  😉

xoxo

P.s  More photos?  Check out https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151640601240589.1073741827.509745588&type=1&l=8cd459c2ff

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