Resolutions 2014 (and a recap of last year’s)

I was going to start telling you all about Madeira today, but the computer is refusing to register the fact that the card reader is plugged in and contains a memory card, so resolutions it is. First, a recap of last year’s (which you can read about in detail here if you so desire):

  1. Get back to doing my exercise DVD. Nope! Failed on this one. But I did start doing sit ups and jogging on the spot, so that’s better than nothing…
  2. Keep on top of the housework better. Hahaha. As if! I kept this up until about mid-February (which has to be some kind of record, to be fair) then decided at various points in the year that I really, really would make an effort to keep the place tidy from now on… it never lasted longer than two weeks though.
  3. Become a better translator. I’m pretty sure my style is still terrible, but I have at least got faster. And this year I’ll be doing all the translations anyway, including the ones that need to “sound good” as well as being correct. My colleague is now on maternity leave for the next year so I’m the only one left to do them! Hopefully there won’t be any complaints…
  4. Finish visiting 30 German towns before I turn 30 and blog about them. Yessssss! This one I actually did, and great fun it was too! You can find a page with all the towns I visited under “Places I have been” at the top.
  5. Save up and do some OU courses. I saved up, but actually spent the money on flights to Madeira (they were expensive!). I did make a list of the OU courses I want to do though, so maybe some time I’ll actually get round to them…

That was all my resolutions for 2013, and I managed to keep a grand total of one out of five. Ooops! Maybe I’ll do better in 2014? Here are my resolutions for this year:

  1. Travel more. Looking at my review of 2013, I did actually travel quite a bit… but it wasn’t enough! This year, I want to make even more of an effort to at least go on day trips. Participating in the Take 12 Trips challenge should help with this one.
  2. Keep not biting my nails. For years and years, my New Year’s resolution was to stop biting my nails, until I finally realised that I was doomed to not keep that one. But when I had my wisdom teeth out this year, I managed to grow my nails simply because I was physically incapable of biting them! I’ve managed to keep most of them long since then (the others were victims of splitting and snapping.. how does everyone else avoid that?!), so this year my resolution is to try and keep them unbitten!
  3. Enjoy the time I have with my boyfriend and stop worrying so much about the future. I’ve decided to stay with Jan, despite the fact that he still doesn’t know what he wants and it’s looking less and less likely that I will ever have children. But even if I leave him, there’s no guarantee that I’ll a) find someone else. b) find someone else who wants to have children (either at all or with me) and c) even be able to have children. The few weeks before Christmas were fantastic and I was really happy… and I don’t want to throw away that happieness just because some arbitrary deadline has arrived. So I want to try and enjoy what we have and not worry about whether I will ever have children. I’m too late to be a young mother anyway, so even if it happens I’ll already be the kind of parent I never wanted to be!

That’s all. Only three this year… I think that’s enough considering I still have my 35 before 35 list to be working on as well! And what about you? Any resolutions for 2014? Or have you taken the more sensible route of not setting yourself goals so early in the year? 😉

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Goslar

Unlike roughly 90% of the other places in my 30 German Towns Before 30 series, Goslar is not in southern Germany! I went there in December 2009. Jan and I were staying at his dad’s for Christmas that year and a girl I’d gone to school with was living in Bad Fallingbostel because her then husband was posted there with the army. We decided such a perfect opportunity to meet up couldn’t be missed, and chose to do so in Goslar because it was roughly half way between where each of us was.

Goslar, viewed from the top of a tower
Goslar, viewed from the top of a tower

Jan was actually born in Goslar, but only because it was the closest hospital to where his parents were living at the time. So other than as a newborn, he’d never actually been there.

Being two days after Christmas, everybody still had their lights up.

Christmas lights in Goslar
Christmas lights in Goslar

A small Christmas market was still going on (unusual – most of them finish on 23 December!), so we stopped for a quick Glühwein.

Sign on the Glühwein stand - Waldhütte translates to "Forest hut"
Sign on the Glühwein stand – Waldhütte translates to “Forest hut”

Jan then spotted a tower that it was possible to climb, so of course we had to go up. One of the photos of the view is at the top of this post. Here’s another:

Goslar 3

As you can see, Goslar has a fair few half-timbered houses.

The main sight in Goslar is the Kaiserpfalz – the Mediaeval Imperial Palace, so that’s where we went next. No photos were allowed inside, but here’s one of the outside:

The Kaiserpfalz
The Kaiserpfalz

After looking round the museum, we walked back into town and found a cafe where we treated ourselves to some coffee and cake. Here’s one of the streets we walked down while looking for the cafe… so cute!

Goslar 4

By the time we’d finished our coffee and cake, it was starting to get late, and we each had a longish drive ahead of us, so we decided to call it a day.
Our trip to Goslar was brief, but I’m glad we decided to go there. It’s one of those typical cute German towns with numerous pretty buildings just begging to have their photos taken. When we were there, it was freezing, but I can see it being a lovely place for a walk in spring/summer. And the town is situated at the foot of the Harz mountains – the highest mountain range in Northern Germany – so it would be the perfect starting point for a day of hiking.

Aaaand that’s number 30, which means MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Horb am Neckar

On the way back from our trip to Rottweil, Jan and I stopped off at a place called Horb am Neckar. The carpark we originally selected on the sat nav actually turned out to be on a hill above the town, so we stopped there first and took some photos of the view.

Horb from above
Horb from above

My camera’s battery ran out not long after I took the photo above, so most of the rest of the images in this post are Jan’s – the reason I’m only writing about this now is because he only gave me access to said photos after I got back from England.

Horb has a population of around 25,000, but when we arrived at 7 pm on a Saturday evening, everything was closed and we didn’t see a single one of the residents. All the better for taking photos 😉

This is how photos come out when I'm trying to take them quickly before the camera battery dies...
This is how photos come out when I’m trying to take them quickly before the camera battery dies…

The town hall in Horb had some pretty interested decoration on it:

Horb Town Hall - photo by Jan
Horb Town Hall – photo by Jan

I got Jan to take the photo below for me because of the cool ship sign, then we walked up the hill to the church you can see on the right.

Horb am Neckar 3

The church is the Stiftskirche, or collegiate church, and stands at the highest point in the town. The view from up there is very nice!

View of Horb
View of Horb

I love the little red house!
The next thing we spotted was the Schurkenturm. A Schurke is German for a villain, but I’m not sure whether the name of the tower has aynthing to do with that…

Schurkenturm, viewed from the church
Schurkenturm, viewed from the church
Schurkenturm, up close
Schurkenturm, up close

This sculpture close to the tower was pretty cute:Horb art

It’s a stack of pillows (or cushions), all on top of each other.

Horb is a pretty little town, and if we’d stayed a bit longer there would have been some other towers we could look at, and we could also have gone down to the Neckar and had a walk along its banks. But it was already getting late and we still had an hour to drive back, plus it seemed like it was about to start raining, so we decided to leave. It was definitely worth taking the time to stop off in this cute town though!

 

Bad Wimpfen

With a mere two weeks to go before I turn 30, I need to get my last few posts written if I’m going to complete my 30 German Towns Before 30 challenge!

Bad Wimpfen
Bad Wimpfen

Bad Wimpfen is situated on the West Bank of the River Neckar, about 15 km from Heilbronn. We decided to go there because Jan had read an article about it on Spiegel online and it looked pretty.

Half-timbered houses in Bad Wimpfen
Half-timbered houses in Bad Wimpfen

For reasons that I can no longer remember, I had some time off in the middle of the week, so we ended up going to Bad Wimpfen on a Wednesday afternoon. Being the end of November, I was looking forward to checking out the Christmas market, but it turned out it was only open on weekends. I’ve since found out that this happens a lot in small towns…

Bad Wimpfen 3

The symbolic landmark of Bad Wimpfen is the Blauer Turm – Blue Tower. It was originally the keep of the Kaiserpfalz (Imperial Palace) and continued to be used as a watch tower until well into the 19th century.

The Blue Tower
The Blue Tower

I presume the tower gets its name from the vaguely blueish colour of the roof…
I have no idea where this next tower gets its name though. This one is the Roter Turm… Red Tower.

Red Tower
Red Tower

I suppose it does have a few red bricks…
Finally, there’s the Nürnberger Turmchen, or Nuremberg Tower. Turmchen means little tower, so a towerlet if you will.

Nuremberg Tower
Nuremberg Tower

Bad Wimpfen was the site of one of the most important battles during the Thirty Years War, and the town suffered great devastation as a result. This small tower serves as a reminder of the financial aid that Bad Wimpfen received from the city of Nuremberg after the Thirty Years War.

The view from the Nuremberg Tower could be quite nice… if it weren’t for the huge power station down in the valley behind it. I tried to get a photo that didn’t include the power station…

View of the River Neckar and beyond from the Nuremberg Tower
View of the River Neckar and beyond from the Nuremberg Tower

After wandering around for a while, we decided we were hungry. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant we ate at! They had the most amazing Maultaschen in all different varieties.

Bad Wimpfen Stadtkirche - the Lutherian Parish Church
Bad Wimpfen Stadtkirche – the Lutherian Parish Church

Bad Wimpfen is a pretty little town and there are certainly plenty of old buildings to photograph, but judging by how dead it was when we were there I don’t think I would want to live there! Not including the restaurant staff, we saw about 4 people all afternoon! But if you like half-timbered buildings and are into history it’s worth a visit. However, for the Christmas market, make sure you go on a Saturday or you’ll be disappointed!

Bad Wimpfen 4

Heilbronn

With exactly one month to go until my birthday (aarrghh!!), I really need to get a move on with my 30 German Towns Before 30 posts! Here’s one that I visited a few years ago!

Heilbronn is located in north-western Baden-Württemberg on both banks of the River Neckar. It’s best known for its wine-making industry, and the very first time I went there was for that very reason – it was the week of the annual Weindorf (literally Wine Village) festival and some ex-colleagues had arranged to meet up for a tour of the vineyards followed by wine tasting at the Weindorf. I wrote all about that trip to Heilbronn here, but without pictures which is why I’m re-doing Heilbronn for 30 German Towns Before 30.

Heilbronn is about 75-80 km from Karlsruhe, and is quite convenient to get to using public transport – there’s an S-Bahn (suburban train) that goes directly from one town centre to the other… and if you manage to get an Eilzug (express train) it’s even fairly quick, taking just over an hour.

Heilbronn/Karlsruhe Stadtbahn train pulling in...
Heilbronn/Karlsruhe Stadtbahn train pulling into the station outside of Heilbronn Hauptbahnhof (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I mentioned in the post I’ve linked to above, Heilbronn was bombed extensively during the Second World War, with 62% of the city being destroyed, including the old town area. Unfortunately, this means that, today, Heilbronn is nowhere near as pretty as most other towns in the region – admittedly one of the towns it has to compete with is Heidelberg, which makes things a little unfair! Here’s a photo taken from up in the vineyards. Heilbronn is down there somewhere:

Heilbronn from above
Heilbronn from above

And here are some of the grapes in vineyards:

Grapes, waiting to become wine
Grapes, waiting to become wine

After a guided tour of the vineyards, we went down into Heilbronn itseld for some wine tasting at the Weindorf. There were a lot of stalls selling wine down there, but all the ones we tried were from the same producer.

Welcome to the Weindorf!
Welcome to the Weindorf!

My second trip to Heilbronn was with Jan for the Christmas market – we had been to Bad Wimpfen that day and werde disappointed to find the market there closed so we headed to Heilbronn so I could get my Glühwein fix (he was driving). Before hitting the Glühwein stand, we took a walk down to the river where I took my only photos in the town that day. Sorry people of Heilbronn, but concrete and glass shopping centres do nothing for me! Here’s the Götzenturm (Götz Tower), which used to sit at the south-eastern corner of the city wall:

Götzturm, Heilbronn
Götzturm, Heilbronn

Being the middle of November, it started to get really dark soon after I took the photo above, so we went and looked round the Christmas market, failed to find any gifts then I had a Glühwein before we headed home. Here’s a terrible shot of the Christmas market, with a church in the background (all the photos in this post were taken with my old camera, which was even worse than my current one… and my current one isn’t the best!)

Christmassy Heilbronn
Christmassy Heilbronn

All in all, I can’t say Heilbronn is my favourite town in Germany, but if you’re into wine the Weindorf is worth a visit.

Rottweil

After looking around Nagold, we moved on to Rottweil, the oldest town in Baden-Württemberg. How old exactly? Well, it was founded by the Romans in AD 73. The town is famous for its medieval centre and one other thing. Can you guess what that other thing is?

I’ll give you a hint shall I…

Scupture outside the town museum
Scupture outside the town museum

Yes, it’s the Rottweiler breed of dog! It seems this kind of dog first became popular here then spread throughout the world. Rottweiler just means “of Rottweil” (in the same way that Berliner means “of Berlin… remember that speech?). Here are some more Rottweilers:

A Rottweiler and a puppy
A Rottweiler and a puppy

Sadly, I didn’t see a real one. Jan did, but it had disappeared around the corner before I could look.

One of the first things we came across after parking the car was the cathedral, or Minster (I’m not 100% sure of the difference.. if there is one?), so we decided to go in and have a look.

Heilig Kreuz Münster (Holy Cross Minster)
Heilig Kreuz Münster (Holy Cross Minster)

At one end of the cathedral, they had all these… staffs, I guess(?) for the various guilds, which I thought were pretty cool.

Rottweil guild staffs
Rottweil guild staffs

Sorry the photo isn’t the best… they were behind bars and I was afraid I’d drop my camera down the other side if I held it in there for too long!

On leaving the cathedral, we followed the signs for the centre. It turns out Rottweil used to be have an alliance with the Swiss Confederacy, which would explain why we saw a lot of things like this:

I don't know about you, but those wooden shutters just scream "Swiss" to me...
I don’t know about you, but those wooden shutters just scream “Swiss” to me…

Here’s the Schwarzer Tor (Black Gate). It used to serve as the women’s prison.

The Black Gate
The Black Gate

And this is the view you get when you look through it:

Looking through the Black Gate
Looking through the Black Gate

Rottweil is a fairly small town, but it’s beautiful! I don’t think I saw a single building in the town centre that didn’t have something that made it worth photographing… be it cute wooden shutters, a gorgeous display of flowers, an interesting old sign or some kind of decoration/painting. Here are some photos to show you what I mean:

After walking around for a while, we went to the Dominikaner Museum, which is included on our museum cards. They had an interesting exhibition about Roman Rottweil, including a Roman mosaic of the legend of Orpheus.

Orpheus mosiac
Orpheus mosiac

By the time we left the museum, we were hungry so we went in search of food. Jan suggested the Indian restaurant we had passed earlier in the day – Taj Mahal. It turned out to be the worst decision we’ve ever made. The service was slow, despite the restaurant being nearly empty and my curry tasted so sour that I couldn’t finish it, despite having not had lunch. So if you find yourself in Rottweil, don’t bother going to Taj Mahal!!

The town itself is definitely worth a look at though.

DSCN0747

Nagold

I suggested to Jan that we should go to Rottweil as it’s the oldest town in Baden-Württemberg (the German state we live in). He then suggested that, since it takes roughly an hour and a half to drive there, we should stop somewhere else on the way… and that’s how we ended up going to Nagold.

Buildings down by the river

The town of Nagold takes its name from the river that flows through the town. It’s known for its ruined castle, Hohennagold (which we didn’t see) and for the many half-timbered houses in the town centre. Can you guess why I wanted to go there? (Hint: It’s the same reason I love Tübingen…)

If your answer to the question above was buildings like this one, have a gold star!

The day we were in Nagold was right in the middle of their Kermes – a word that I wasn’t even able to find a translation for until I changed the spelling to Kermis, and even then it only took me to a Wikipedia article about the Dutch Kermesse! But, reading through the article, it seems to be the same thing. Basically, it’s a town fête or festival, usually in the form of a funfair although we didn’t see one in Nagold (if there were funfair rides, they wouldn’t have been directly in town). What we did see, were things like this:

Whale game

Judging by the other items that were lying around, the aim of the game was to throw rings into the mouth of this… whale? At least that’s what I think it was meant to be! A killer whale with a surf board…

Nagold is in the district of Calw, and with all the half-timbered houses, the two towns are pretty similar (click here to read about my trip to Calw). Most of our time in Nagold was spent just walking around taking photos. We tried to visit the town museum, but it turned out to be closed on Saturdays… because nobody would ever want to visit a museum on a Saturday. Clearly. Here, have some photos:

 

It had been raining quite heavily while we were in the car, but by the time we stopped in Nagold, it was only cloudy. Not bad considering the forecast was for nothing but rain all day!

After I had taken a photo of every single half-timbered house in the town (well… maybe not quite, but definitely a lot of them. What can I say? They’re just too pretty!), we decided to go for a coffee. We ended up at a place called Il Due, where I drank a Latte Macchiato with vanilla syrup and Jan had a cappucino. We didn’t eat there (although, in retrospect, I think we should have!) but the pizzas that were delivered to the table next to us looked – and smelled – amazing! But time was moving on and we still wanted to go to two places that day, so we paid for our coffees and headed back to the car. Next stop: Rottweil… but that’s a tale for another blog post.

Update from August 2014: I’ve decided to include this post in the Travel edition of the Expats Blog Hop over at Young Germany. Find the other entries here.