Month: October 2011

Herbst.

Autumn has come to Regensburg and with it the infamous Nebel, which unfolds to reveal the most glorious sunrises I have ever seen. A wonderfully musty smell haunts the air – old leaves mixed with the baking of bread – and everywhere the sound of bicycles treading through wet gravel, the clinking of boat chains, children playing, the last hurrah before winter’s harsh arrival. Herbal tea at pavement cafes, the loud voice of a kind professor, new German words, everywhere falling leaves of amber, auburn, burgundy. Shortbread baking and Kaffee trinken gehen happened. Kaffee and Kuchen at Eloise’s. A hilarious cinema trip. I lost my shoe cycling down the busiest street in Regensburg, continue to be mistaken for a boy in writing (apparently here Louise is not a girl’s name…), taught my first classes completely alone, made new friends, visited older ones in a tiny Franconian town. This evening Zachary and I ended up sitting outside on Haidplatz and cycling through Oberer Woehrd by the river, under the majestic stone bridge and past the most magical place in …

Servus!

After yesterday’s getting locked out of my house, cycling eight kilometres to retrieve the spare key and being hit around the head by a frightening Turkish woman at the Waschsalon, today had to be better. (Not that yesterday was all that awful – I still got to bake traditional Bavarian Kuecherl with Christl to celebrate Kirchweih, talk with my American best friend and eat dinner outside by candlelight.) Today was much better, a perfect day in all its ordinariness. But, honestly, what is ordinary about living in a place beside two rivers and a canal where the sun sets pink everyday and plums grow on trees in otherwise unremarkable suburban streets, where houses are painted the colour of cherry blossoms, and there are bicycles everywhere one looks? Sometimes I wonder, wandering around town, if the people who were born here, and have lived here all their lives – the ones who stand on their doorsteps calling out ‘Servus!’ to passersby – I wonder if they even notice the beauty anymore.   On Tuesdays I have to get …

autumn, leaves,

Dispatch #2

In the tradition of writing about my time here from strange places, I am squeezed into a tiny corner of my apartment between Andi’s Swiss camping table (now doubling as my dining table) and a wall – the only place where the internet seems to function at any normal speed in the entire 35 square metres! Despite this, though, I really like where I live. In these first whirlwind few weeks, it’s nice to have somewhere cosy and warm to come home to. The only downside is the rather insalubrious Hausmeister (the man who oversees the smooth running of the building). I thought he was a little bit hair-raising when I met him in broad daylight, but this was nothing compared to coming across him in the early morning darkness, standing silently in the bicycle cellar, his shock of white hair illuminated, eyes glinting. He’s seriously terrifying, and keeps muttering offhand comments about how I’m only twenty but am already ‘a working girl’. I have no idea what he was doing hanging out in a …

Dispatch #1

I am currently sitting (on the floor, next time I am definitely paying the 2.50 Euros for a seat reservation!) on a train to Köln to see Jana and go to the teaching course, and because I gave up searching for a seat at Aschaffenburg, I thought now would be the perfect time to write about my first week in Bayern. So this dispatch comes to you direct from my ad hoc office on the floor of an inter-city-express train… So far I can legitimately say that Bavaria, and Regensburg in particular, is a wonderland. A magical place of blue skies, bicycle rides, beauty, some of the most sweet and generous people I know. I have spent the past week staying at Rudi and Christl’s house just outside the city, and it is both peaceful and picturesque in every way. They have an apple tree on which three different varieties of apple grow, appropriate for a fairytale; they bicycle everywhere; and their family is so full of happiness and laughter. Konsi left for his year …