Full of busy

This week has been full of busy, as the woman who taught me street dance when I was 15 used to say. I haven’t even been on the computer in the evenings, believe it or not! Instead, I have been cleaning. Yes dear readers – you did read that right. Me, the world’s worst housewife, cleaning. No, I haven’t gone mad. As I’m sure you’ll have guessed, there was an ulterior motive behind it. My sister and her boyfriend are coming to stay on Wednesday – for the first time since I moved here nearly 6 years ago! I happened to casually mention to my sister that Karlsruhe is close to the Hockenheim Ring (goes to show how much attention she had paid to where I was actually living!) and suddenly she really, really wanted to visit me – on the condition that the visit could be combined with a trip to the Formula One. And so Jan and I organised tickets for said event and after months and months of counting down (on my sister’s part) the time is nearly here. Which, of course, meant the bedding for the spare room needed to be washed and the bed made, food and beer purchased, and the flat cleaned from top to bottom. Admittedly it’s only my sister, so it doesn’t really have to be spotless, but the state it was in before was really not necessary either. Jan also went and bought the equipment to attach the shelf that fell down for no reason a while ago very firmly to the wall, so we were finally able to move the CDs that have been cluttering up the bookcase back to their rightful place. Instead of just putting them on the shelf (which I would have done), Jan proceeded to arrange them in alphabetical order. This shouldn’t have surprised me really – he’s asked me several times to do the same with my books “so it’s easier to see where everything is”. So far I have resisted – I have too many books by the same author that are different sizes, and I hate seeing all the different sizes randomly mixed throughout the shelves. My books have to be arranged from tallest to shortest. It looks so much neater that way! And seeing as most of the books on the shelves are mine anyway I’ve decided I have the majority vote on this one 😉

I probably won’t have time to blog while our guests are here, but I shall be back once they leave. Hopefully with interesting tales or, failing that, at least a few pretty pictures. Right now, I shall leave you with a song by the band that we’re going to see at Das Fest on Friday. It will be interesting to see a band from almost my (sort of) home town in my adopted home!

Fun at Das Fest part 2

First I have to get the two bad things about today’s trip to the Das Fest out of my system, then we can go back to the fun.

So, bad thing number one. The man at the entrance stole my water!! As far as I was aware people are allowed to take their own water in on Sunday morning for the breakfast. According to this man no drinking water is allowed in at any time. You have to buy it there. I wouldn’t mind buying it there so much, but they only sell fizzy stuff and I hate, hate, hate the taste of carbon dioxide. Extremely sulkily I watched as he threw my water bottle in the bin. Then when we got in I saw at least 3 people with bottles of water much bigger than mine. I know for a fact those bottles weren’t bought at the Fest becasue a) they don’t see big bottles and b) even if they did sell big bottles they certainly wouldn’t sell Vittel. Taking my water away was just plain mean!

Bad thing number two. I had to use a port-a-loo. I’m now officially traumatised. AT least it was still fairly early (around 12:30pm) so it was clean and had toilet roll, but still. It was horrible. For one thing it was on a slope so the whole time I was in there I felt like it was about to tip over. Then there was the fact that the door was sooo hard to shut, which made me wonder whether I’d ever get it open again. The thought of being trapped in a port-a-loo for ages is not pleasant! But I survived, I managed to do what I went in for without actually touching the toilet (eeew!) and the door did open again when I wanted to come out. Still traumatised though!

Now back to the fun. The day started with the classic breakfast… everyone brings along something to eat and has a picnic on the grass while an orchestra plays classical music on the stage. A nice experience, although the lack of shade in front of the stage is sooo not good for me. I’m now sunburnt despite making use of the free suncream DM were giving out. And I used the highest sun protection factor. Curse my pale skin!
After breakfast we headed down to the river to see the duck race. This year 7,000 people bought a duck (or rather a ticket to represent a duck). Seven thousand ducks floating down the river looks brilliant! If you ever get a chance to see a rubber duck race definitely do. Neither of our ducks was among the first 25 to reach the end, so we didn’t get a prize. But we do still have a chance… the fasted 200 ducks win something, but only the first 25 prizes are handed out then and there. Tomorrow a list will appear on the internet so I can see whether we’ve won one of the smaller prizes. And if not, well it’s all for charity.

Once the duck race was over we headed back towards the main stage via a tap in the ground that we had spotted on the way down to the finish line. The tap produces drinking water, so I refilled the bottles of fizzy water that Jan had bought during breakfast. There’s no way I haven’t drunk enough water today!
Back at the main stage a band called Soundnugget were playing. The name has been bugging me all week. I knew I’d heard it somewhere before but couldn’t think where. The answer came to me yesterday… I read it all the time on one of the posters down in our bar. They played at one of our residence parties a few years ago. I missed them the year they played here, but today at the Fest I got to hear them and they’re actually pretty good. Young lads, in their early to mid 20s. They sing in English and are very enthusiastic.
The band who came on next we weren’t really bothered about seeing, and Jan wanted pizza, so we wandered off towards the so-called “sportpark”, bought pizza and went in search of the freestyle frisbee show. We found a few people doing stuff with frisbees, but nothing that looked like an official show so after watching some skateboarders doing tricks and stopping for a while to watch some random sport involving people juggling skittle shaped things on a volleyball court, the idea being that each person had 2 white ones while an orange one was passed from person to person, we headed back towards the main area. DM had a little tent where you could print out 5 photos from your camera for free so we took advantage of that before heading back to my place. Now Jan has gone home and I’m drinking gallons and gallons of water and praying that the sunburn isn’t a sign I’m going to be ill later. I get sunstroke soooo easily and I have to work tomorrow…

Fun at Das Fest

It’s the weekend of Das Fest here in Karlsruhe, as I’ve mentioned.. ooh, I don’t know how many times over the last few days. For those who don’t know (and actually care), Das Fest is the biggest free open air music festival in Europe (I believe). Not the biggest festival, obviously, but the biggest one that costs absolutely nothing to get in. Occasionally they have big name bands/singers there, mostly before they become big names but there are some that play Das Fest even after they’ve become famous (the first band I ever saw at Das Fest was Jethro Tull by the way… back in 2004). Apart from the music there are various other things going on, including activities and entertainment for kids, a beach volleyball tournament and a freestyle frisbee show (where people do things like throw frisbees up in the air and roll them down their arms).

So last night we went along to Das Fest to see German band Sportfreunde Stiller play. I quite like Sportfreunde Stiller, despite the fact that they don’t actually sing that well. They’re fun though and, as mentioned yesterday, brilliant for people learning the language. They were the first German band whose lyrics I could actually understand without looking them up. They put on a good show last night, made people laugh, had the crowd dancing and I was very pleased that I could sing along with almost all the songs they played. YAY. Personally I thought they were much better than the band who played before them, Revolverhead. Revolverhead released a song for this year’s European Cup which was quite frankly terrible!

This morning we met up with some other people from my student residence (and some who used to live here) for breakfast at Cae Emaille. The food at Emaille isn’t brilliant, but it’s a student friendly place where everything’s cheap (and it at least tastes better than the so-called “Mensa” (canteen) at the university). After breakfast Jan and I went to buy some rubber ducks. No, not real ones!
Tomorrow at Das Fest there’s a rubber duck race along the Alb, the little river that runs through the park. The  money raised goes to SMA Deutschland e.V, a charity that helps children with muscular atrophy. So even if you don’t win it’s worth taking part. And for those who do win there are some pretty good prizes, including a hot air balloon trip for two, a Canon printer and a football signed by KSC, the local football team (who are actually quite good and have made it into the top division).

Tomorrow it’s off to Das Fest again for the classic breakfast (bring your own breakfast and have a picnic in front of the main stage while an orchestra plays classical music) and the duck race. We decided not to go this evening because it started chucking it down and neither of us is particularly interested in Fettes Brot or KT Tunstall (who I’ve just discovered spells herself KT… and I’ve been calling her Katy all week. I’m sure if she ever discovers my blog I’ll be devastated!)

And now I shall leave you. I think I’ve rambled on for long enough!

The end of another week

How is it Friday already? That’s insane! This week has gone way too fast for me!
I’m very tired this morning. Friday is always a tired day for me. You see there’s a bar in the cellar of the student residence I live in. I live on the ground floor of the building. Guess what the ground floor is above?
That’s right, the cellar. And my room happens to be one of the ones that’s above the bar part of the cellar. This means every Thursday from 9:30pm onwards I get to hear the music drifting up from the bar. I wouldn’t mind so much if it was good music, but last night I was treated to the likes of Girls Aloud and Christina Millian. It was a long, long night. It’s a good job Friday is followed by Saturday and (usually) a nice long lie in.

Well, today is the first day of Das Fest, the free music festival I wrote about in a previous post. I love that it’s in Karlsruhe and that I can get there easily by tram. If it had been Mannheim or Stuttgart life wouldn’t have been nearly as good.

Tonight Jan and I are off to the aforementioned Fest to see Sportfreunde Stiller, a German band (in case you hadn’t guessed by the name). Quite a few of the Germans I know don’t like them, but I guess there must be Germans that do like them cos they seem to be pretty popular. Personally I think they’re brilliant for anyone trying to learn the language. They sing each word sooo clearly that I could understand them even at the very beginning of my year abroad. Not like some other bands I could mention. Kettcar for example… the only one of their songs I understood most of us without looking up the lyrics first was Balu, which also happens to be one of my favourite songs of theirs (not because I didn’t have to look it up, just because it’s a gorgeous song). Incidentally, Kettcar played at Das Fest a few years ago and I missed them! Still haven’t qite got over that yet.
Anyway, tonight it’s Sportfreunde Stiller. I’m not sure yet whether we’re going tomorrow. I do know Katy Tunstall is there then. As are Fettes Brot, another seemingly popular German band. At least I’ve heard the name… a lot. Never heard the music though, or at least not that I’m aware of.

But before I go and see the music I have 9 hours of work to get through.
I can’t believe Monday is the start of my last full week at this company!

So many plans

My mum called last night. She wants to come and see me at the beginning of AUgust and has asked me to book a hotel! This is the 4th time she’s said she’s coming to see me and the first time it’s got as far as flight bookage… I’d better get the hotel sorted before she has time to change her mind and decide staying in Munich with my uncle is a better idea after all (she’s actually flying to Munich with my Grandma and Aunt, then her and my brother are coming down to Karlsruhe by train to visit me for a weekend).

We also booked tickets to Hamburg last night. Yes, I’m actually going now. YAY! We’re flying there but have decided to take the train back (cos it’s cheaper). Believe it or not, it actually worked out cheaper to buy first class train tickets than second class ones. Bizarre or what? (The special deal cheap second class tickets are all sold out and a normal price second class ticket costs more than a special deal first class ticket). So that’s the weekend after next sorted. And next weekend (or this coming weekend if you prefer to look at it that way) it’s Das Fest in Karlsruhe, the biggest free (as in for no money) open air music festival in Europe. Excellent! They usually have fairly decent / biggish name bands on too. This year, for example, Katy Tunstall is there on one of the days.

So that’s the next few weeks. How did my life end up so busy?