fly the seven seas

Observations of a Sydney girl rocking Germany


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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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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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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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Happily ever after

Forget the news about efficiency, debt bailout packages, Oktoberfest records and NSA phone-tapping – Germany really is just one big fairytale.

Like many young girls, I grew up reading and was read the classical fairy tales from The Brothers Grimm (Die Gebrüder Grimm) and Hans Christian Andersen. Yes very cliched, but just for the record – Rapunzel, The Princess and the Pea and Snow White were my favourites.

Little did I know that decades later I would live amongst the settings and inspiration of my childhood fantasies. Since moving, I have managed to prance around the royal gardens and courtyards of some (or, lets say a handful) of Germany’s many palaces and castles.

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The Hopeless Wanderers 3.0 – the last leg

And the road trip re-cap continues. I hope you’re not over it yet, we’ve still got a little left! I promise I will go back to discussing all things German very soon – pork-knuckles, snow flakes and fairytale castles, it’s all coming.

I last left off in Esperance, where, after a day of absolute bliss, the weather had again turned. This didn’t stop us from trekking on.

Cape Le Grand National Park

Located approximately 45km east of Esperance, Cape le Grand set up some high expectations for us with its marketing campaigns containing the below:

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Up until this point we had not made a single kangaroo spotting, a live one that is. For tourists and homesick natives, you can imagine how disappointing this would be. As we drove in to the Lucky Bay campsite, where we had planned to set up base for the night, we were pleasantly greeted by two roos, foraging for scraps left from campers (not the healthiest of options). We squealed, Alex jumped out of the van with the camera – nothing could wipe the smiles off our faces.

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Hopeless wanderers 2.0

News of heat waves across Australia and seeing photos of friends enjoying the summer swelter has meant I am still dreaming of our big adventure. We’ve had the case of the grey blanket in Munich over the last few days – not too cold but still enough to make you want to be huddled under the blankets all day.

Over the last week I’ve found myself flicking through the photos we took – mouth still agape at the vibrant blue skies and endless horizon. In my previous post I mentioned how varied the landscapes were across the trip – every new section revealed something new. And while it is hard to believe when you are driving in the same state, it is no wonder that when covering hundreds and thousands of kilometers that both the structure of the landscape, the weather, as well as the flora and fauna can dramatically change. Driving 4,500km from Munich – lets say we’re heading south east, and I would be somewhere close to Tehran, Iran. How many countries, landscapes and political disputes would we cross along that journey? Hmmm…Australia is big.

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The hopeless wanderers 1.0

Being an Aussie in a foreign country is hard. When introducing myself to any non-Aussies I meet along my adventures, 9 times out of 10 and the (naturally) well-travelled German will ask what I think of Australia’s list of natural wonders. Alongside the other 9 out of 10 Australians – my standard reply is, “I haven’t had a chance to go (insert famous landmark here) yet”. To a foreigner this doesn’t make us look too good – especially given the way Australia is marketed – the unknown outback, boxing kangaroos, endless dessert, snakes, spiders and crocodiles.

Being an Aussie in Australia is on the other hand, is easy – most of us haven’t seen much past our back fence, except for the mandatory school trips to Canberra and perhaps a trip or two to Melbourne/Sydney, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay. Not having travelled across Australia is more ‘Aussie’ than we think.

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