It’s that time again for a short blog entry. January has flown by and things at school are slightly confusing as three teachers in the English faculty are either sick or on parental leave. Therefore, my timetable has changed slightly and I have a few new classes. It has been snowing in snatches and the daylight hours are gradually getting longer (at the peak of winter the sun sets at about 4pm but now it sets at around 5).
Last weekend I was invited by fellow assistant, David, to go skiing on the Great Arber, part of the Bavarian/Bohemian Forest in Lower Bavaria. So on Friday evening I went to Cham in the Upper Palatinate via train, three trains to be exact, two of which were delayed so I ended up being one hour late. But I made it in the end and finally saw the charm of Cham. Once in Cham David picked me up and we had dinner at a fine Italian restaurant in town then went to the small village, Schondorf, where he lives.
On Saturday we spent the whole day skiing; now the last time I skied I was 16, so it’s been 14 years since I last hit the slopes. I didn’t do too badly for someone so out of practice, but luckily David is a skiing pro and was able to give me some tips. For lunch we had some delicious, nourishing goulash soup and Skiwasser (fruit syrup and mineral water) and by the end of the day my legs were absolutely aching.
After a late sleep in we headed out to Regensburg and were greeted with an enormous amount of snow. Some roads were completely invisible so we had to take a different route. Once in the nice little city of Regensburg, the capital of Upper Palatinate, we had lunch at Weltenburger am Dom, which serves beer from the oldest monastic brewery in the world and has plenty of rustic German fare. I returned to Erlangen after only one delay from Deutsche Bahn (a tree had fallen on the tracks) to be welcomed with much less snow.
This weekend André from up north came down south as the assistants in Meck-Pomm currently have a two-week holiday. Lucky bastards! Once he arrived we headed up to Bamberg as he was super keen to try the most famous style of beer in Bamberg: smoked beer. This was my third visit, and definitely not my last, to the historic beer city and it was bustling with tourists, most of whom were German interestingly.
We also tried another Bamberger delicacy, the Bamberger Zwiebel (“onion”), which is a scooped out onion filled with minced meat covered in bacon and served with a smoked beer sauce and mashed potato. It was the perfect accompaniment to a rustic and pungent glass of smoked beer. After another beer, a smoked wheat beer, we headed out to explore a bit more and got even more food, Bamberger Bratwurst, which is a larger sausage which is broken in half and served in a bread roll. After that we were completely stuffed and made our way back to Erlangen, after buying a few beers to take home. Later on I cooked up André and Heidi a very Franconian meal, consisting of Franconian Bratwurst, Klöße (potato dumplings) and Rotkohl (pickled red cabbage).
The next day after a traditional Bavarian breakfast of Weißwurst and pretzels we headed off to Nuremberg. It was interesting that Nuremberg was much less busier than Bamberg the last time I had visited Nuremberg was around December and it was absolutely bursting at the seams with international tourists. Since once of my favourite eateries in Nuremberg was only serving brunch, we tried our luck at an unfamiliar fast food burger chain called Burgerista, which turned out to be quite good. The burgers tasted homemade, the chips were perfectly cooked and the drinks also came with free re-fills. What more could you want in a burger place?
André continued on south after lunch towards the Zugspitze while I’m still in Erlangen longing for some holidays