Happy Times

May 17, 2014 at 11:37 am (Germany)

IMG_5805For the first time since arriving in Germany, my Easter holidays this year did not involve  visiting a new country.  This is  a little bit disappointing, as it was a tradition I was quite fond off… but I made up for it by visiting  German city that has long been on my list: Dresden.  I also spent a bonding weekend with the hockey girls and got to catch up with one of my favourite people Debra.  She and her friend were visiting Frankfurt randomly so we met up for a traditional meal and spaghetti ice-cream.

IMG_0876I spent five lovely days in Dresden with a friend, who teaches on German side of my school.  Dresden was completely bombed during World War II and parts of the old city have been rebuilt.  Darmstadt, on the other hand, was the the test bomb for Dresden was not rebuilt so I found walking through the old city very interesting.  The city is actually, to be honest, my favourite major German city that I have visited.  The old city is lovely, the town has an amazing atmosphere and I love how it is situated right on the banks of the river Elbe.  Absolutely gorgeous.  The city is also really close to the sachische Schweiz, a wonderful national park with amazing rock formations.

This was the first stop on our trip and the reason why we decided to go in the first place.  Our goal was to visit the Bastei, a rock formation 194 meters above the river Elbe and part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains of Germany.  It was absolutely breathtaking even though it was filled with heaps of tourists.  The bridge was part of the defensive structure around Neurathen Castle… I am constantly amazed at some of the places that people chose to build their castles.  It was lovely also going for a long walk in the wilderness and the day trip was an absolute highlight.

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The next couple of days were spent ticking off different landmarks including the Semperoper and Frauenkirsche.  We had organised tickets to see ‘Giselle’ at the Semperoper and the building really was stunning.  The show happened to be the last performance of the lead ballerina so that was a nice surprise.  We visited the Dresden castle and particularly enjoyed the beautiful and crazy objects in the ‘Green Vault’.  Augustus the Strong opened his collection to the public and by 1733 also added extensively to his collection.  Some of the objects were just incomprehensible and man he must have had a lot of money to spend.

We spent hours at the Deutsche Hygiene-Museum, which sounds boring and a little funny, but was actually really interesting.  The permanent exhibition focuses on the human body, but it was the special exhibition titled ‘Das neue Deutschland’ (‘The New Germany’) that I found particularly interesting.  The exhibition was about migration and Germany, and being a migrant myself, a lot of things hit home or made me reflect on my situation.  I’m so glad we stumbled across it!

IMG_0908Our last full day we borrowed uncomfortable bikes from our hostel and rode along the Elbe to Pillnitz to visit Pillnitz Castle.  On the way we passed under the famous ‘Blaues Wunder’ (Blue Wonder) which is a bridge that was built in 1893.  At the time of building it was considered a masterpiece of technology as it is very long and has no river piers supporting it.  The bridge is a much loved symbol in Dresden, especially as it avoided being bombed in the last days of World War II after two people cut the detonator wires to the explosives!  Unfortunately the baroque castle was closed but we enjoyed walking around the beautiful gardens and the ride there and back was more than worth it.

Before long school, and of course the hockey season, started up again.  Armed with orthotics and a huge knee brace I am back running again.  So far all is going well and I am slowly adding time and km to my runs.  I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to play the hockey season so it is simply a relief that I can do that at the moment without pain.  The return leg of the season hasn’t started as well as we would have hoped with a loss and a draw but we are staying positive and hoping to gain some points in our game tomorrow.  Three of my year tens came to watch last week’s game in the rain!  They were so excited when I scored the equalising goal and I was chuffed that they made the effort to come to Darmstadt to support me.

IMG_0919 One of the highlights of the Darmstadt year is the May 1st wine walk and this year, even though it rained most of the morning, we also had a brilliant time.  I have been bugging Katharina to come for a while now and this year she finally caved.  I actually thought she would cancel on me when I woke up to rain but she stuck with it and I think really enjoyed herself.  Basically we walk around 12km from Bensheim to Zwingenberg… this takes us HOURS because we are always stopping at different wine stands for a drink.  It’s such a fun event and I’m looking forward to next year because Suzie has promised to come and it will be a Friday, which means I won’t have to work the next day YAY!

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Lots to look forward to at the moment… Schloßgrabenfest is coming up, I’m off to a hockey tournament in Lahr, Suzie’s 30th birthday and of course the summer holidays to name a few.

xoxo

P.s  More photos?  Check out https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152355205530589.1073741835.509745588&type=1&l=44117a976d

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