Year: 2011

Love letter to Walhalla.

                  Magical Walhalla, my favourite. First I fell in love with a river, then an island and now a 19th Century temple in the backwoods of eastern Bavaria. Overlooking a bend on the aforementioned Danube, ten kilometres upstream of the little city that is home. On evenings succeeding a sunny day, the sun sets over the river in most spectacular fashion, turning the sky a brilliant orange. On the more familiar days of rising mists and a sky swimming in clouds, Walhalla seems to stand on the edge of the Earth, headboarded by shivering trees, its steps tumbling down into a pure horizon of white.                     This Sunday Regensburg was enveloped in fog; thus Niki, Piers, Mim and I took Linie 5 to Donaustauf through the grey to visit my beloved Walhalla. Crazy, beautiful things always happen at Walhalla and that is why I love it so. It looked so spectacular in the overcast damp that I fell in love with …

today it is raining in regensburg. heavy, icy, european rain which i am so thankful for. for the grey and the cosiness and the cathedral bells churning as rain pounds the pavement and as I pedal down narrow alleyways, cobblestoned, hair flyaway in the dark. watching fleeting clouds dance across the ever-changing, darkening sky. thankful for the clattering of my shutters, so loud it feels the world is tumbling down. thankful for the knowledge that it’s not. that the afternoon can be spent sitting in a warm room reading, drinking tea. there’s something of the wonderful in an oh-so-ordinary rainy day. yesterday was nikolaustag. a tried and true german tradition i previously knew very little about. a gaggle of schoolchildren burst into the staffroom dressed as angels during the erste pause and started to sing. the teachers joined in. i marvelled at the entire spectacle, somewhat bewildered. but also very touched. it was entirely sweet. a little girl danced around the room distributing chocolate. later, as i was planning lessons in the school library, one …

A Weekend in Salzburg.

We spent the weekend in Salzburg (we spent the weekend in Salzburg!) and stayed with a lovely new friend at her fifth floor apartment in a turn-of-the-century house on the corner of a very normal street. Normal for the Austrian Alps, that is. And by normal, I mean, turning aforementioned corner to be met with mountains. Not yet snow-topped, tumbling, beautiful mountains. I’ve always thought of myself as a coastal person but Alps, oh Alps! How I love you.

Recently…

Some perfect late autumn days… A magical sunset bicycle ride to (my new favourite landmark) the Walhalla Temple… The first SNOWFALL of the winter on the 15th November 2011…a wonderful surprise on an early morning walk to school! (And nobody batted an eyelid whereas I walked around over-excitedly taking pictures…) A day trip to Nuremberg with some of the loveliest girls on yet another school holiday (this time: Buss- und Bettag, a church holiday), where we admired the Christmas decorations, sat in a warm cafe and walked around the Altstadt (very pretty.) Not pictured: remembering how much I love the youngest classes with their ten-year-old enthusiasm and endless questions, a twilight drive to Straubing with the Maiers, a fun evening with Piers and Eloise and her visiting friend, organising pen pal writing with the 9. Klasse, a tour of the Schloss Thurn und Taxis (Regensburg’s very own palace) and excitement for the en masse family visit this weekend!!

Auf Regen kommt immer Sonnenschein

On Tuesday, cycling home from school, I somehow managed to end up falling off my bike and wind up at the emergency clinic, leaving swathed in bandages and looking very invalid-like. After a few days of not being able to walk, I’m much better and am realising all the nice things that happened as a direct result… The old man I’d never met before who spent his lunch break taking me to the hospital, for one. And my friends who visited with chocolate and well wishes. And everyone who has wished me ‘Gute Besserung’, and the teacher at school who is now so worried for my safety I think he wants to adopt me. And thank you to everyone who phoned or sent e-mails, it was most sweet! A reminder to always wear my helmet, even if I’m the only person over twelve in the whole of Germany who does so, and even if it makes me look most un-glamorous. As someone recently said to me: staying alive is always in style! The 99-year-old woman …