Why go halfway round without ever dicovering my own country?

I know so many people who have saved up to take what they described as “a trip around the world”. Except it wasn’t really. None of them went to Russia. Or any part of Africa. I suppose the fact that Australia was involved means they technically did travel across the world, but you don’t see many countries while sitting in an aeroplane! Personally, I’ve never understood the appeal of such far-flung places. Yes, it’s an adventure. And the photos I’ve seen of Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the like are all beautiful. But why would I want to fly all the way to Sri Lanka when I’ve never even popped across the channel to Ireland? Or go out of my way to visit the Taj Mahal when I’ve never seen the Colloseum in Rome? Is a perfect sandy beach in Greece somehow inferior to one in New Zealand purely because the flight to get there is only 3 or 4 hours rather than 24? I think not! Not that I have any problem with people wanting to see the world. All other cultures are interesting, and can definitely see how a trip to India would be amazing! But personally I would prefer to get to know what’s on my own doorstep than focus all my energy on getting to places that are as far away and exotic as possible. The first item on my list of places I want to visit is the Ukraine, because my Grandad was from there, closely followed by Sweden and Norway. And I also want to go to Austria again (read that last one carefully… it’s the one without the kangaroos 😉 ). The one exception is Canada, which I’ve wanted to visit for a while.  Right now, though, I’m concentrating on seeing as much of Germany as I can. It is my chosen home, after all, and my little corner of Baden-Württemberg is far from all there is to it. Deutschland, here I come!

Mannheim

Yesterday afternoon Jan and I decided that, for once, we wanted to do something with our weekend, so we (or rather he) booked a car from Stadtmobil and headed off to Mannheim.

On the way into town we spotted a planetarium. Neither of us had been to one for years so we parked the car and went into enquire. It turned out the next show was due to start an hour later, at 6pm. We figured we might as well go for it so we bought the tickets. With only and hour to wait there was no point in heading into the town centre, so instead we went to Luisenpark, which was just across the road. It cost 5 euros to get in, which seemed a bit much to go into a park,  so at first we weren’t going to bother, but there didn’t seem to be anything else in the area so we thought why not. So in we went and, as it turned out, the 5 euros was actually well worth it. It seems Luisenpark is not, in fact, just a park, but contains, among other things, a Chinese garden, an open air stage and a model farm. An hour was nowhere near enough to see everything, but we did go into the Pflanzenschauhaus, which literally means plant exhibition house. It’s basically a giant greenhouse divided into various rooms, including an aquarium, a butterfly house, a section for reptiles and, of course, lots and lots of plants. We saw an otter, a banana tree, a coffee plant and – my favourite part – giant tortoises! We couldn’t find the tortoises when we were at Karlsruhe zoo the other week so I was pleased to finally see some in Mannheim.

Giant tortoise
Giant tortoise

By the time we made it out of the huge greenhouse our hour was almost up and we had to rush back to the planetarium where we saw a show about the race to get to the moon. It was quite interesting, but Jan and I agreed that planetariums seemed so much more impressive when we were little.
After the show we were hungry, so off we went into town for some food. I had gnocchi which were basically swimming in a garlicy-oil. Delicous!

After dinner I showed Jan the building where I will soon be working then we went for a look around. We discovered a real English tea shop that looked so inviting that we just had to go in. We both treated ourselves to a small cream tea, consisting of a pot of tea each and a freshly baked scone with real clotted cream and homemade jam. Mmmm.

In The Tea Salon
In The Tea Salon

It was a lovely afternoon and the perfect way to spend my last Saturday as a 25 year old.

The list! The list!

OK, before I get on to the actual topic of the day, which is my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, there is something I have to share with you.
According to my stats someone found me last night be searching Google for penis shaped friendship bracelets. I can think of only one thing to say to that, and that thing is WHY?!!?

And now, without further ado, I shall move onto the list.
I am also going to make a page with it on, so in future you will be able to see my progress without having to search for this blog post. Errm, that is, of course, if anyone’s actually interested in my progress. Other than me. Right. Anyway. The list!
I have split it up into sections for ease of reading and stuff…

The Places I will Go
1. Take an intensive Spanish course in Spain
2. Visit 5 places in Germany that I’ve never been to before
3. Eat frog’s legs in France, fondue in Switzerland and goulash in Hungary
4. Go to Europapark (theme park near Freiburg)
5. Go for a ride  in a hot air balloon
6. Go to the Christmas market in Ettlingen
7. Go to 5 other Christmas markets (not including Karlsruhe)
8. See the Northern Lights
9. Go on the London Eye
10. Go to Berlin with my boyfriend
11. Go to Luxembourg
12. Buy a 24 ticket for the Karlsruhe transport network and spend the day visiting different towns
13. Go on a boat on the Rhine
14. Go on an overnight train journey and spend the night in a sleeping compartment
15. Have a picnic in a town I’ve never been to before

Reading, Watching, Listening

16. Read 50 books from the list of books I want to read (which you can find here).
17. Read 15 non-fiction books
18. Read the Little Vampire books in the original German
19. Read War and Peace
20. Read all of the Anne of Green Gables books
21. Read 5 biographies/autobiographies (these will not count towards the 15 non-fiction books!)
22. Read 5 German children’s books
23. Watch every episode of ER – to make life easier for me I will count it down by season.
24. Watch 27 films from the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die” list
25. Watch a film in Spanish
26. Go to the cinema 10 times
27. Watch 5 films from the year I was born
28. See a Shakespeare play (not Oddsocks!)
29. See a German play
30. See Eddie Izzard live
31. See a musical
32. Discover 3 new (to me) bands that I like and buy an album of theirs
33. See 3 bands/artists live (not at Das Fest)

It’s All About Us
34. Kiss my boyfriend under the mistletoe
35. Cook a 3 course meal for my boyfriend on 3 different occasions
36. Bake Jan a birthday cake
37. Go for a nice meal together at a restaurant we wouldn’t usually go to; get dressed up for it
38. Kiss outside during a thunderstorm
39. *Secret* (No, it’s nothing naughty. Just something I want to surprise Jan with. Keeping it secret until after I’ve done it in case he decides to read this)
40. Get a flat with my boyfriend

Getting Creative
41. Complete a cross stitch picture converted from a photograph that I took
42. Complete 3 other cross stitch pictures
43. Hand make 10 birthday cards and send/give them to family/friends
44. My photo challenge! Assign a theme to each month of the 1001 days & take 50 pictures during that month.
45. Make something and sell it
46. Make a dreamcatcher
47. Take a photo for each letter of the alphabet and make an alphabet book with them (A is for…)

For My Health
48. Eat a portion of fruit every day for 2 weeks
49. Do not eat chocolate, cake or sweets for 1 month
50. Be in bed before 10pm 50 times
51. Walk home from the train station instead of taking a tram 10 times
52. Take vitamins every day for 30 days in a row
53. Go to the dentist

Learning and Education
54. Take 2 more OU courses (apart from the one I already have booked for October)
55. Learn calligraphy
56. Learn basic Russian
57. Learn basic Japanese

Eat Me! Drink Me!
58. Find 10 restaurants in Karlsruhe that I’ve never been to and have a meal there
59. Bake 10 different cakes
60. Make jam
61. Have sparkling wine for breakfast
62. Go vegetarian for 2 weeks
63. Make lemonade
64. Drink a cup of green tea every day for a week
65. Eat fish twice a month for all months of the 1001 days
66. make gingerbread people
65. make mango chutney
66. Find a recipe for garlic soup and make it
67. Find 6 recipes that use avocados and make them
68. Attend a wine seminar
69. Eat one meal with chopsticks every day for one month

Because other people are important too…
70. Host a pancake party
71. Host a tea party
72. Give (at least) 50 euros or pounds to 3 different charities
73. Visit someone I haven’t seen for a while (= more than a year)
74. Bake cookies, put them in a nice tin and give them to someone as a birthday present
75. Write a letter to my grandparents
76. Send 20 postcards for no particular reason

Getting Organised
77. Get all my photos from Hamburg, Prague, belgium, Paris and Rome printed and put them in albums
78. Sort out my underwear drawer. Thow away anything that is holey, losing its elastic or just generally looks shabby.
79. Sort out the clothes I still have at my dad’s. Give anything that is too small or I’m obviously never going to wear again to charity.
80. Find all my recipes and put them in a folder. No more searching the entire flat every time I want to make something!
81. Do my taxes
82. Find all my bank statements and put them in a folder

Money, Money, Money
83. Pay off my overdraft
84. Buy a pair of red shoes
85. Buy a printer
86. Pay Jan back
87. Start paying off my student loan

The Flat
88. Get a new quilt to go with my new bed
89. Get tubs/jars for everything in the kitchen that evil moth beasts might be interested in
90. Get curtains for the bedroom
91. Wash the dishes on the same day I use them for 3 weeks

I like making  lists!
92. Identify 101 things that make me happy
93. make a list of 101 quotes that I like. The list can include song lyrics.

Other stuff, or the I couldn’t be bothered to think of more categories section
94. Build a snowman
95. Buy a colouring book and colour in the whole thing
96. Do a jigsaw puzzle.
97. Join trip advisor and write 10 reviews
98. Go bowling
99. Buy myself flowers
100. Release 10 bookcrossing books into the wild… the proper wild that is, not official bookcrossing zones!
101. Leave the computer off for an entire weekend. Not when on holiday – it has to be a weekend where I am actually at home!

That is it. And I must tell you it took ages to come up with 101 things!
If you decide to do your own 101 things in 1001 days list let me know in the comments box so I can come and look at your ideas 🙂

I will be starting to 1001 days on 13th August 2009, which makes my end date Thursday, 10th May 2012.