Since it was my first Xmas outside of Australia and I have no family here to celebrate with, my friend, Mirj, who lives in Nuremberg, invited me to her family’s Xmas celebrations, which was super nice of her. So I was not only having my first German Xmas but my first Franconian one, and it should be very obvious already that Franconia is my favourite region in Germany.
This was the penultimate week of school before the Xmas holidays and it’s clear that the festive season is here. Even though I’ve seen more Xmas markets in the last couple of weeks to last a lifetime and it’s begun snowing, it definitely does not feel like Xmas to me since in Australia unbearably hot weather and sweatiness tend to signify that the festive season is coming.
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.