A photo an hour: Sunday 12 June 2016

*I tried to write this post yesterday, but WordPress was having none of it, so let’s try again!*

Sundays are always the worst photo an hour days, mostly because there’s nothing to do in Switzerland. I’m not even supposed to hoover! (Although I sometimes hoover the bathrooms anyway since the fan in there is louder than my hoover and nobody would tell me I can’t shower on Sundays!). So welcome to the most boring photo an hour ever 😉

10:30 a.m. Starting the day with a cuppa. One of these days I’m going to start reusing pics from previous photo and hour posts to see whether anyone notices 😉

11:30 a.m. Folding some clean clothes. Can’t put them away yet since Jan is still sleeping…

12:30 p.m. Making scrambled eggs for lunch.

1:30 p.m. Herbal tea time.

2:30 p.m. Watching the news (also, I feel the need to point out that I showered between the last photo and this one. I wasn’t smelly all day!)

3:30 p.m. Jan put football on, but this was the match I had least interest in that day (sorry Turkey and Croatia!) so I only half paid attention to it while colouring in my new colouring book.

4:30 p.m. Still colouring, now with tea!

5:30 p.m. Starting to make some healthy snacks for a picnic type dinner.

6:30 p.m. Snacks!

7:30 p.m. Courgette crisps… kind of. They weren’t all that crispy. More experimentation needed. (I suppose you can call them zucchini chips if you like, but I prefer alliteration!)

8:30 p.m. Ready to support Ukraine! (Sorry Germany – I’ll support you again in other matches)

9:30 p.m. Watching football.

10:30 p.m. Football still on… keeping me up past my bedtime. Disappointed that Ukraine didn’t manage even one goal.

11:15 p.m. I didn’t want to wait up an extra 15 minutes for the hour, but I needed an even number of photos 😉 Didn’t really know what to take a photo of on my way to bed, so this is my glass of water on the bedside table.

That’s all. Told you it was boring!

Linking up with Jane and Louisa, as always.

Photo an hour: 18 January 2014

Yesterday, Jane from Is That You Darling was again asking people to join in with taking a photo an hour. At the same time, Manda from Break the Sky is hosting a “Day in the Life” link up. Her actual “Day in the Life” date was 14 January, but she invited those who didn’t record their day then to add themselves to the link up at any time until the end of the month. A chance to participate in two link ups at some of my favourite blogs couldn’t possibly be passed up! And so I give you the most boring Saturday ever. 😉

Not all of my photos were taken exactly on the hour, mostly because it’s not always possible for me to do that. I’d like to see you try to take a photo while wandering round Aldi with 2 carrier bags in one hand and a shopping basket in the other (which is wgat I was doing when I should have been taking my 3pm photo…)

11 a.m. (ish): I managed to hit off on my alarm instead of snoozing it, so I stayed in bed way longer than I was intending to. I’m up now, though, and it’s breakfast time.

Tea, toast and caramel biscuit spread
Tea, toast and caramel biscuit spread

12 noon: It’s shower time!

12 noon

1 p.m. Off into town past one of Karlsruhe’s giant construction sites. (Actually, “giant construction site” is a pretty accurate description of Karlsruhe’s entire inner-city area right now!).

Karlsruhe

2 p.m.: In town. A fairly crappy photo because I was trying not to include any people in the picture (there are laws against such things in Germany…)

2:10 p.m.: A bonus photo! I once told you that German dogs can go everywhere, including into shops, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to provide evidence! Photo sneakily taken with my phone so the owner wouldn’t get mad.

3 p.m. Just one more place to stop at then I can head home with my way-too-many bags of things I never intended to buy…

3 pm

4 p.m.: Time for the football! Checking out BBC Sport’s pre-match information on my phone. (We won, in case you care. And by “we” I mean Newcastle United).

Blackberry

5 p.m.: Half-time cuppa! Tea is a perfectly normal beverage to drink during a football match, right?

Tea

6 p.m.: Time to do some tidying. Desperately attempting to sort out the chaos that is the desk in the spare bedroom…

I am sooo ashamed of this...
I am sooo ashamed of this…

Somehow I missed my 7 o’clock photo, so instead I give you 8 p.m. (ish – my phone said it was 8, but my camera seems to imagine it was 10 to?).
Off back out because I forgot to buy washing powder and bread!

Stairs

9 p.m. Tea time! (The food type of tea this time). Lemon flavoured cous cous with vegetables.

9:15 p.m. I decided to take a bonus photo to make up for missing out 7 o’clock. Hoovering the kitchen while it’s still early enough. (My neighbours are actually nice and not the complainy type, but I still like to get the hoovering done while it’s “officially” allowed.)

10 p.m. Time to wash the dishes – my most hated household chore! (With the possible exception of dealing with BiomĂŒll)

Dishes

11 p.m. Flicking through some old cross stitch magazines for inspiration – I want to stitch my grandma a card for her birthday.

Cross stitch magazines

Midnight: Bed time! I wasn’t going to include this photo because it’s terrible (and boring), but you might as well have it…

Owl bedding

And there you have it! There’s still time to take part in January’s A Day in the Life with Break the Sky (or wait til 7th February and join in with the next one), and you can check out Is That You Darling’s blog post (link to follow once the post is up) to see other people’s Photo an Hour posts.

Munich

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post for my 30 German Towns before 30 series, and with only 3 months to go until my birthday I really need to get a move on! Today, it’s Munich’s turn.

Marienplatz with the Old Town hall and MariensÀule (Mary's Column)
Marienplatz with the Old Town hall and MariensĂ€ule (Mary’s Column)

The very first time I went to Munich was for Oktoberfest during my year abroad. Not knowing whether we would ever come back to Germany, Oktoberfest seemed like a must do. Unfortunately, I have zero photos of that day thanks to my dad’s girlfriend managing to delete ALL the photos from the first half of my year abroad from her computer. I only have those few photos that fit on my (at the time very small) memory card. My dad tried to make it up to me after the fact by buying me a memory card with room for over 1,000 pictures, but by then the damage was done. So no photos of ginormous beers, I’m afraid.

I went to Munich again in 2010 with Jan and a friend of ours, this time for a football match. We had plenty of time to walk around Munich before the football started, and this time there was no loss of photos! All the pictures in this post are from that occasion.

Part of the new town hall
Part of the new town hall

I’m sure most people will have heard of Munich, so I’ll keep my description of it brief. It’s the capital of and largest city in the state of Bavaria. Basically every stereotype people have of Germans (Lederhosen-wearing, huge beer-drinking, sausage eaters ring a bell?) comes from Bavaria. Almost nobody in any other state own Lederhosen (guys) or a Dirndl (girls). The part about the big beers is true for some places outside of Bavaria… but not all. Rheinland-Pfalz, for example, is more of a wine region.

More of the new town hall
More of the new town hall

Munich is a big city (population 1,378,176 in 2011!), which means a lot of traffic and a lot of people! But it is also beautiful – at least the old town is – I once had to go to the Neue Messe (exhibition centre) as part of a seminar and that area is not particularly nice!

Munich is, of course, famous for its beer (hello… it’s the home of Oktoberfest!) and there are any number of breweries and beer gardens to choose from. Here’s a photo of the LöwenbrĂ€u brewery:

LöwenbrÀukeller
LöwenbrÀukeller

LöwenbrĂ€u literally means “lion’s brew”.

The Viktualienmarkt is a daily food market and square in the centre of Munich. Apart from the usual market wares (such as fruit, vegetables and flowers) there are stands selling gourmet foods and one with freshly pressed fruit juices. Delicious! The maypole on the Viktualienmarkt features the Bavarian colours – blue and white.

Maypole1Maypole2

The football stadium in Munich is the Allianz Arena, home of the famous Bayern MĂŒnchen. On that particular day, the match being played there was an international one – Germany vs. Argentina.

Allianz Arena
Allianz Arena

Apparantly, if FC Bayern MĂŒnchen are playing, the arena is lit up in red, while for 1860 MĂŒnchen it’s blue. As you can see, we got a sort of yellowish white colour.

I even managed to get a photo of someone from my own team – JonĂĄs GutiĂ©rrez, an Argentine national, plays for Newcastle United in the Premier League. He’s the one with the long hair.

Gutiérrez
Gutiérrez

With only a day to spare (and part of that being taken up with football) I didn’t get to spend as much time in Munich as I would have liked. And, of course, on Oktoberfest day I spent all my time in a tent drinking rather large beers, but what I’ve seen of Munich I liked. I definitely want to go back some day and check out all the things I missed… For example, the Englischer Garten is one of the world’s largest urban public parks and is supposed to be fantastic.

For some much better photos of Munich, check out Alex’s of Ifs, Ands and Butts post on touring Munich by bike.

Weekend fun

I have more to tell you about Berlin, but the photos are taking ages to sort, so for now I shall tell you about my weekend instead.

Yesterday my friend brought her Wii round and a few of us had a games night. We invited my downstairs neighbour over so we couldn’t disturb anyone and did Just Dance. It was a lot of fun but sooo exhausting! And I can really feel my thighs today! At least I can definitely say I got my exercise this weekend! Photos do exist, but they will not be finding their way on to this blog ever.

Today, the sun was shining, so after watching Newcastle United lose horribly in a football match against their local rivals (I wish I’d stayed in bed!!), Jan and I headed out to look for signs that Spring has finally sprung. We found them in the form of blossoms… finally here a month later than usual!

Spring tree

My new shoes finally got their chance to go outside! Hopefully this is the start of this year’s good weather and I won’t have to get my winter boots back out again!

Polkadot shoes

Our yearly passes for the zoo ran out a week ago, so we decided to go and renew them, and pop in to the zoo while we were at it. We got to see the new baby giraffe! Very cute.

Baby giraffeWe also went to visit the alpacas, but they were too busy eating grass to pay any attention to us.

Alpaca

Walking round zoos is thirsty work, so we decided to head to a cafe and have an iced chocolate (well, I did. Jan had some yoghurty fruit thing).

DSCN2974

Then it was time to head home for our tea (or dinner, if you prefer), which is currently cooking. Meanwhile, I’m off to watch The Big Bang Theory.

“Message sending failed”

failedYesterday afternoon, I was following the Newcastle v Swansea match on the BBCs Premier League live service. I thought it was going to end in a draw, but about a minute before full time Swansea scored. Meh! I immediately sent Jan a text, thinking he might like to know. As usual, minutes after I sent the message my phone beeped – I have delivery reports switched on. I checked the message, expecting it to read “Delivered”, as it always does. Instead, I was confronted with the following: “Jan Mob. Message failed.” That has never happened before. If the recipients phone is off, my phone doesn’t beep and I receive a message saying “Pending”. Once they switch their phone back on, the phone beeps and the “Pending” message changes to “Delivered”. I tried again. Beep beep. “Message failed”. I went and fetched the house phone to call him… “The person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please try again later,” said a female voice – first in German, then in English. Hmm, odd. But he’d told me the night before that he might be allowed to go to the beach. Perhaps he was somewhere with no reception. I went to distract myself by reading some blogs.

unavailable_iconHalf an hour later, I could stand it no more. I dialled his number from out house phone. “The person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please try again later.” I went into the kitchen and plugged in the hoover. Another half an hour, another attempt. “The person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please try again later.” I made a cup of tea, ate a packet of Monster Munch and tried not to worry. For half an hour, then I tried again. It was 7:30 pm by this time, 8:30 in Turkey (he told me the night before that they’re an hour ahead). Even if he had been to the beach, surely he couldn’t still be there? Again “The person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please try again later.” It occurred to me that if anything had happened, I wouldn’t find out until a member of his family thought to contact me. In emergencies, the authorities call your next of kin. Parents… siblings… wives. Not girlfriends. I pushed that thought out of my mind and resolved to try again later.

After each failed attempt, I tried to force myself to wait longer before dialling again, thinking up different things to distract me each time. I washed dishes, played Freecell on the computer, ate a small tub of icecream sitting on the floor in front of the radiator, got out the playing cards and had a game of Patience (sorry, but no it’s not called Solitaire… that’s a game with marbles!).

Half an hour ago, I sent another text message, asking how he was and whether he’d been allowed to go to the beach. It failed.
I know he’s probably fine and the issue is with his phone. If anything had happened I’d have heard by now, right? But still… aargh! I cannot wait to have him back here where I can keep an eye on him (at least while I’m not at work). One more sleep…

*Update* I have now spoken to the boyfriend via Facebook. His phone has been blocked for security reasons (pesumably because he went over a cost limit, leading them to think it was stolen), but he is fine. Good job I managed not to worry too much!

More Friday letters

Photo5_red_ribbon
Photo5_red_ribbon (Photo credit: Jayegirl99)

Another week over, and another busy one it’s been. Ill colleague always means lots of extra work  for me. It’s over now though, thank goodness. Will have to make this a short post as I’m off to a birthday party tonight and need to get ready. Here are this weeks Friday letters:

Dear Americans at the bus stop. In the 4 minutes we were standing there, I actually lost count of how many times you used the word like – and the phrase I was like/we were like. Way to reinforce stereotypes! (Small sample: “Some people like come to class early and they like leave their bags on seats. Then they come back at like 10:15 and I’m like ‘who the hell are you?’”)

Dear “likers” of my blog. While it is nice to have people liking my blog, it’s a little scary when you do it within seconds of me pressing publish. The fact that you never actually comment does not make things better. Who are you and what do you want from me? (To those of you who like posts and leave a comment, I don’t mean you!)

Dear man at the train station. Thank you for rescuing my chocolate bar from the vending machine for me!

Dear weekend. I know I have lots of plans again, but could you please go by a little slower than the last one. After the week I’ve had I seriously need some rest!

Dear Primark. It’s probably kind of sad that I’m this excited about you opening in Karlsruhe, but I really don’t care. I LOVE my purchases (blog post on that to come).

Dear Newcastle United players. Could the injuries please stop now.  Six of our key players are out with injuries (plus a few I’m not sure about) and now Cisse is doubtful. It won’t be long before there are none of you left to play…

Dear sleep. I miss you. How does a lie in on Sunday sound?

That’s all from me. Party time!

Photobucket

Back to reality with a bump

After 3 and a half days spent with my boyfriend, during which we drank a bottle of wine while reading out random facts to each other from books of useless information, purchased a new plant (and soil to repot one of the old ones), attended a mini music festival in celebration of a local music shop’s 30th anniversary and watched Chelsea beat Bayern on penalties in the Champions League (allowing me to laugh at Bayern), my four-day weekend is now over, Jan has gone away to a trade fair and the washing machine decided to leak all over the kitchen floor. I think it’s fairly safe to say reality has kicked back in. All I want to do now is sleeep – ready to be up for work at 6 a.m. tomorrow. Which is why I’m keeping this blog post short. Good night world! I’m off to try and sleep in my big empty double bed all by myself. I suppose it’s good practice for January, when it’s looking more and more likely that I will be alone…

Alright winter, you’ve made your point!

I am sooo sick of being cold!

09 04 03
Photo credit: mattjiggins

In English (or at least in the UK) we have a saying – more like a proverb – “April showers bring May flowers”. The German equivalent is “Der April macht was er will” – April does what it wants (April is pronounced A-prill with an A like in the word “alphabet” and to rhyme with will). I’m starting to think the German version is more accurate. This April certainly has no intention of sticking with one kind of weather! We’ve had dark, threatening clouds, we’ve had fog, we’ve had lots and lots of rain, we’ve had a tiny bit of sun peering from behind the clouds (mostly while I was at work), but what we’ve mostly had is cold. Today the temperature got up to a whole 10°C (Google tells me that’s 50°F, non-European readers), but mostly it’s been somewhere between 5 and 8°C. I’ve had to get my winter coat back out and have been wearing a scarf in bed (oh… I forgot to mention that I’ve had my hair cut and my neck now feels incredibly exposed…. and cold!). Did someone forget to tell the universe that it’s actually spring now? You had your chance winter… April is not your month!

On a brighter note, my team came first in the slightly-delayed-due-to-Easter pub quiz last week. The next one is on 8 May when we shall have a title to defend! We then went out on Friday night to watch our quiz master’s band perform, and got in free in exchange for doing the door for them (taking people’s money) as the person that usually does it couldn’t this time. All together now: “It’s not what you know…”.

Also, Newcastle United are currently fourth in the Premier League and it’s looking more and more likely that they’ll be coming to Europe next year, either in the Europa League (which I only recently found out is what they’re calling the UEFA Cup these days) or the Champions League. Jan and I are actually kind of hoping they end up with an Europa League place, that Stuttgart get one too, and that they happen to play each other. In Stuttgart. So we can travel to Karlsruhe’s greatest rivals, wearing Newcastle shirts and cheer on my football team. Unlikely, but the fact that I can even dream about it shows how far the Toon has come this season.

Life is good. But it would be sooo much better with a bit of spring sunshine!

Frog’s legs, football and snow all in one week

You know it’s been too long since your last post when you go to WordPress only to find you’ve been logged out! (I have mine set up to keep me logged in).
In my defence though it has been a busy, busy week.

On Monday it was Jan’s birthday. He turned 30 (causing a friend of mine to say “Wow, you have an old boyfriend” when I told her. She thought he was only a year or two older than me, not 3 and a half). Thirty being a special birthday I obviously wasn’t going to let him ignore it – like he has pretty much every year since I met him! So I started asking him what he wanted to do at the end of January, and finally managed to persuade him to let me take him out for a meal. We went to a slightly more expensive than usual restaurant which we had both seen from the outside but never been in. Actually, the prices were slightly better than I thought they would be, but the total still ended up being over €100. That did include an apertif each, a bottle of wine, starter, soup, two main courses and a dessert though, so not too bad. And we tried frog’s legs. In case you were wondering no, they don’t taste like chicken! They were nice and I wouldn’t object to eating them again but it’s not something I need to do every day.
Jan has decided he’ll be having a proper party once the two of us have found a flat, so there’s still that to look forward to as well. (We are officially looking now… exciting, yes?)

On Tuesday I went out for dinner with a friend. I hadn’t seen her since before Christmas and it was sooo good to meet up. This time we went for a slightly cheaper option – a bar/restaurant type place that mostly students go to. I think it was the first place I ever went for a drink in Karlsruhe, way back in my Erasmus days. That was the same year I met my friend, so we spent some time talking about homw time has flown since then… my year abroad was 2003/2004 and now we’re three months into 2010. Unbelievable!

Wednesday was the day of the long awaited Germany-Argentina match and I was right there in the stadium! A friend of Jan’s got tickets ages ago, and since I had 2 days holiday from last year that had to be taken before the end of March I decided I would go along. Some things just have to be done at least once in a life time. The match was in Munich, so Jan hired a car and we left the house at 7:30 am to drive down there. I still can’t believe I was up that early on my day off! It took us until nearly 12pm to get to Munich (damn traffic! Damn roadworks!) so the first thing we did was go and get something to eat. I had the biggest burger I’ve ever seen! That alone would have been enough for me, but it came served with homemade potato wedges (with the skin left on. Mmmm) and salad. The best thing about it though was that the gherkins and tomatoes had been left on the side of the plate, so I didn’t have to pick them out before I could start eating. It also came with three types of sauce – ketchup, mayonaise and something that may have been mustard (I didn’t try it) all of which came in proper little jars. Excellent! We then went for a wander around town, did a bit of shopping (I got a new coat) took some photos and finally headed for the stadium. Those who watched the match on TV thought it was boring and that Germany were week, but from where I was sitting it was pretty good. Germany at least seemed to try for once (number 24 played excellently!) and I enjoyed myself, despite freezing to death the whole way throguh – the Allianz Arena is completely open and unheatable! Germany lost 1-0, which is a shame, but the goal was so pathetic that they almost deserved it. We left Munich after the match and drove back to Karlsruhe, finally arriving at just after 3 am. I’m very glad I didn’t have to work on Thursday!

Last night we were invitied to a friend’s place for a DVD evening, to celebrate Jan’s birthday. We watched Office Space, which is funny if a little strange in places. By the time we left (at just after 2am) it had started to snow. Not the nice kind of snow either, horrible little flakes that are basically just freezing rain… and all blown about by a nasty cold wind. We missed the tram as well, but luckily our friend has a car so he gave us a lift home. We went straight to bed when we got in, then woke up this morning to find it was still snowing (at least I did, it’s now 1:20 pm and Jan’s still in bed!). Snow in March is unheard of for Karlsruhe, and it’s meant to continue for the rest of the weekend. And there was me thinking Spring was on its way.

That was my week. Very enjoyable, but now it’s time to get back to the boring stuff. Housework and my dissertation are calling…

RIP Sir Bobby Robson

I was intending to write a completely different blog today, but then I returned home from a full day of activities, logged on to face book and was instantly confronted with 5 or 6 status updates informing me that Sir Bobby Robson has passed away. Footballing legend Sir Bobby Robson was first diagnosed with cancer 18 years ago, in 1991. 4 times he managed to beat it, but this, the 5th time, was too much for him. This morning, at only 76 years of age, Wor Sor Bobby (bit of Geordie there) lost his battle with cancer.

Cancer is an awful, awful disease. I have seen too many people go through the suffering that it brings with it. To have to fight it 5 times is more than anyone should have to face. But Sir Bobby never gave up. He was a fighter right til the end, and even after his many operations he never stopped smiling. With his charity, the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Foundation, he helped raise thousands of pounds for other sufferers, in the Newcastle area particularly.

Sir Bobby was a legend in the footballing world, leading England to the semi-final as manager in 1990 bfore returning to his native North-East to manage Newcastle United. For Newcastle fans in particular this is a sad day. But whether you’re into football or not I think everyone will agree that Sir Bobby Robson was a very brave man.

RIP Sir Bobby Robson. 1933-2009. We miss you already.