fly the seven seas

Experiences and observations of a Sydney girl rocking Germany


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Of pot plants, golf balls and beer…

It has been a little quiet around here. I apologise.

My mind has been working on over-drive lately – pondering, processing questions and hypotheticals and making big decisions.

There have been moments i have wished I was sitting cross-legged on my favourite strip of Sydney sand, hoping for that aha! moment to appear before me.

There have been other moments where I see the beauty around me, realise the things I have achieved in Germany and the family and friends that have enriched my life here, and for that moment, its all ok again.

Its a little more than just being ‘home sick’ (when will they introduce the express-route to Sydney?) – this is something that will always linger around but likes to make an extra appearance when things get a little ‘tough’. 

In perfect timing, this short story landed in front of me – and helped me put things back into perspective. Its surprising that a friendly reminder is sometimes all we need to realise that the issues we create mountains of in our mind are simply molehills when considering the real problems of the world. OK, enough metaphoring…

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The lifeblood of München

In celebration of Pentecost (Pfingsten) over last week’s long weekend, Germany was blessed with blistering sunshine and temperatures over 34 degrees. The summer feeling has definitely arrived, which only means one thing: I am in my element.

I particularly love this weather – the hot breeze, light cotton dresses, sticky skin and jugs of iced, lemon water to cool down. Knowing that it probably won’t last long, I pull out my favourite summer pieces, courtesy of my Australian wardrobe, and embrace the heat.

Given that Germans are basically always partaking in some sort of outdoor activity regardless of the weather, it was without surprise that the flip-flops were out over the weekend. Returning back to München in the afternoon after a short getaway to the neighbouring state of Baden-Württemberg, the first thing we did was head down to the Isar for some waterside bliss. Naturally, we weren’t the only ones with this idea.

The Isar can be described as the lifeblood of München – running approximately 14km through München, it plays a central role in the lives of Müncheners – each person undoubtedly holding a unique relationship with this alpine river.

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Entertaining germanisms

Every Wednesday morning, I walk out of the apartment on my way to the station, to be greeted by the bright orange rubbish truck that slowly rumbles its way along the street. It’s fun to watch the routine of the brigade of orange-clad men as they hang off the back of the truck, hopping off in unison and dispersing to various houses.
Although I try to avoid walking past the truck (nothing like the waft of rubbish to kill any sense of a fresh morning) it is often the case that two of said trucks are making their rounds on both potential routes out of my street, making the pass-by unavoidable. Each time I walk past the orange brigade (with my breath held of course), I receive the most cheery ‘Guten Morgen!’ from all of them (such a greeting you would gladly welcome at the city’s local authorities office i.e. das Kreisverwaltungsreferat). I’m proud to say that I’ve put aside my cold Sydney ways and return the greeting with a smile and the pleasant reminder of unfamiliar friendliness. This is what I like about the Germans – they love to greet.

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A spring guide to Paris

I was lucky enough to reign in May with a weekend in Paris. Following on from my previous post, I thought I would continue the theme of springtime in the city with some tips for enjoying Paris in the spring.

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It goes without saying however that Paris is a beautiful city any  time of year. Inspired by my own weekend getaway, here are my suggestions:

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A spring guide to München

Longer days, the bright neon green of new foliage, unpredictable weather, a layer of pollen resting everywhere. Spring is definitely here.

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A city adapts itself over the seasons – the ‘wake up’ after winter being the most profound. Spring is therefore generally fresh, bright and cheery and Munich does not fall short of putting on a good show.

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Mixed traditions

Australians are a little bit special – most of us carry something extra around with us, something that confuses a few but mostly adds a little spice to who we are.

I’ve always grown up saying I was an Aussie – and with my mum’s strong bush accent, and childhood stories she shared at the dinner table, it wasn’t hard for me to figure out where I came from. When I learnt that this wasn’t the whole story, things got interesting. With both grandparents and my father having made the 4 week journey by sea to Australia from Greece, deciding to make a life for themselves on the land of opportunity, it was obvious that there was something more to me. This became clear to me as my family intertwined small aspects of the Greek “ways of life” between the picket fence and Hills Hoist.

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Ya gotta see the baby

It’s a fact – we all go gaga over a newborn. There is no denying how special it is to appreciate what God has brought in to the world and in particular, being able to observe how babies and infants experience their miniature world. (No, I am not one bit clucky).

In December last year, the celebrity polar bear couple of Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo, Giovanna and Yoghi, gave birth to a set of twin cubs. The cubs, who are still unnamed, remained nestled closely with their mother for their first three months of infancy but have recently made their first steps on solid ground. Sneaky paparazzi images of the twins served the curiosity of the community while under their mother’s care – creating some hype in the community.

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The public can now visit the tiny creatures and as you can imagine, I jumped at the first opportunity I could find.

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Incomparable

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m a weather girl. When the sun sneaks its way on to my cheek of a morning through the small opening of my bedroom shutters I can’t help but get out of bed and get outside. The dark days of winter, those days where the drizzle just didn’t stop, only made me feel like battling with the kitchen knife and a 2 kilogram pumpkin to indulge in a creamy soup.

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As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been blessed with some unbelievably beautiful weather as of late. Germany’s not known for its sunshine – in fact when summer brings a solid two weeks of heat and sun, the crowds are more than pleased.

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Hearty cravings

Before moving to Germany, my knowledge of German food consisted of popular items found on the menu of Sydney’s Löwenbräukeller (pronounced Low-en-brow in Australia, and Looe-ven-broi in German) – schnitzel, sausages, pork knuckle and sauerkraut. As a self-professed ‘foodie’ (as they say) I would often watch Maeve O’Mara’s Food Safari and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and was interested enough to listen to my mum’s tips to know that in general Germans love a good apple cake, a potato could accompany most meals and German bread was an art form.

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As with most cultures, German cuisine offers a variety of specialties across the country – there are the North-Sea ‘prawns’ (Nord See Krabben) from the north, the filled donuts (Krapfen / Berliner Ball) from the east, the interesting combination of mash potato, apple puree and blood sausage that is ‘Himmel und Erde’ from the west and the white sausage (Weißwurst) of the south.

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Something in the air

Change is on its way.

Statisticians, especially when it comes to the weather – love to make comparisons. Last year Germany experienced the darkest winter in over 60 years. This winter we were lucky enough to see the sunniest winter in 30 years. While I couldn’t have personally made this comparison, I definitely noticed the abundance of blue skies over the last two months (I was too busy gallivanting around Australia to care about Germany’s weather in December). This meant the midday lunch break was spent outside rather than huddled in the work canteen and my bike has been disturbed from its winter sleep a little earlier. And with the sun came a very mild winter, especially after last years ordeal (now I’ve started with the comparisons). We saw some light snow in Munich as early as October, another little batch blessed us in November and late January saw a weeks worth – just enough to kick around and know it was winter.

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