My first impression of Hamburg wasn't exactly positive. It is a really big city and the sheer number of people, homeless people in particular, was unbelievable. Hamburg is also definitely one of the dirtiest German cities I’ve encountered thus far, the streets were littered with broken glass and of course it was windy and raining the whole time I was there.
Winter is officially here and there was one day with a couple of hours of sleet, which easily distracted one of my year 7 classes. Two days per week I start class at 8am and I’ve had to get use to riding a bike in the early morning at quite low temperatures and the associated wind chill.
This is going to be a short one because not a lot has transpired over the last two weeks. One particularly notable event, which was actually the only interesting thing to happen during the week before last, was the Laufgelage (“walking feast”). It is evidently the second biggest social event in Erlangen after the Bergkirchweih and is held once a semester, organised by the uni here and consists of a three course dinner shared with complete strangers.
Dresden has an absolutely beautiful old town, perhaps the most beautiful in all of Germany. The old town was heavily bombed during the war and has been immaculately restored; it has even earned the nickname “Disneyland” because everything is a copy of the original. Russian tourists flood the old town since there are direct flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
My housemate, Annette, invited a fellow English assistant, David, and I to her family home in Freudenberg in the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) region, which is about one hour east of Erlangen.
My third week of teaching English in Germany is over and I’ve almost completely settled into my school; I now know the locations of all of my 12 classes and have spoken to all 11 teachers I’ll be assisting, and all of them are more or less approachable and amicable (though I can’t say the same about most of the teachers in the other departments).
When Germans get really drunk, they almost start behaving like sober Australians. Yet, I didn't see any of the sort of mob violence that you would see on a typical night out in any Australian city, only a bit of vomiting and passing out.