fly the seven seas

Observations of a Sydney girl rocking Germany


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A Prost! to purity

While enjoying a quiet beer with an Australian, you’re guaranteed to hear my boyfriend pose the following question:
Do you know what’s astonishing about both Australian and German beer?
  
After receiving a shrug, he would reply with:
 
Well of course, German beer contains four ingredients and each beer tastes different from the next. Australian beer can contain up to hundreds of ingredients and it all manages to taste the bloody same. I’m not sure which technique is more of an art form?!

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Honouring the summer of summers

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted – more than 9 months in fact. And sadly – the grey days where I left off are just around the corner. It’s been a busy 9 months and i’ve had flythesevenseas too often on my mind that its embarrassing that I haven’t simply just pushed myself a little. But here I am.

So before the grey days return, I have to say thank you. Thank you for being graced by the summer of summers this year. My third summer in Munich (and Germany) has come to a close, followed by dreamy, golden Autumn (more to come).

Summer in Munich was very sweaty. Sydney sweaty. A stinker as we would say back home. And I loved it.

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Shades of grey

It’s officially here. I don’t have to look past the long faces on the train passengers every mornings to know that its that time of year again. That time where, everyone would happily donate every woolly jumper in aid for some small hint of warmth.

After the excitement of Christmas has worn out and a few days on the slopes have been enjoyed, the sight of snow is just bleh. The once-dreamy, romantic and festive love of snow is replaced with awkward-looking piles of icy mounds on the side of the road.

The days of sunshine here and there are too easily missed when most days are just plain grey. The nights’ frost draws a silver grey outline on trees. Street pollution paints the unmelted snow on the roads with a dirty grey. Frost and snowfall shadow cars in a dark grey. Look around at the train station and you’ll notice the sea of blacks, browns and greys (with the odd fur trim) of coats and scarves – this grey is contagious. And simply just endless. (I’m not going to dare post any photos of this bleak grey – no thank you!)

This feeling is not just because I’m a “displaced” aussie unaccustomed to the endless winter – with every third person down with the flu, or simply just over it – its quite obvious that if a petition to end winter now were created, we’d be seeing the buds of the crocus’ popping out of the grass next week. Sadly we know this just isn’t going to happen. It also doesn’t help to see the latest spring fashion flood all shop windows, knowing that anything new bought will sit in the cupboards for at least another 5 weeks.

Now I agree, this post is far from being cheery – and rightfully so – what I wouldn’t give to be sitting on the balcony in a loose singlet, listening to the hum of bees sucking the nectar from the parade of lavender, while the sun beats on my cheeks causing sweat beads to drip down my arms. Much better than shielding my eyes from chaotic snow flakes. So – what do I do when I know that such days are simply out of reach? I dream. Of sunny days. Of endless blue. Of shorts and flip-flops. Of sticky nights. Of days by the lake. Of sand-covered ankles. Of mango smoothies by the pool. I dream. And it helps.

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I also like listening to these guys.

Join me – let’s fight this grey.

Cheers,

Alex


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The golden days

It’s been a little bit quiet around here lately on the blog front. My apologies. On the life-front however, it’s been quite the opposite. After a bit of a slump I’ve embraced a change of mindset and have immersed myself in positive changes and experiences:

I explored London with good friends from Sydney, escaped to the idyllic island of Limnos in Greece, spent afternoons along the Isar in Munich, started an amazing new job with perhaps the coolest team ever(!!), spent a weekend in Düsseldorf, watched a couple exchange sacred vows at the Wasserschloss (palace surrounded by water) of Nordkirchen, and enjoyed a last taste of summer for the year as I soaked in the Spanish sun in Fuerteventura (with abovementioned cool team).

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Fanaraki Beach, Limnos – Greece

 

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Mornings at Jandia Playa, Fuerteventura

 

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Hinterbrühler See

 

While it may just sound like a lot of travelling – and indeed it was enough – I allowed myself the time to recalibrate, refocus and re-embrace my mojo. Amen to that.

After the warm days, the rainy days and the upside-down days of summer, the Oktoberfest sunshine and the confusion that is early autumn, we now find ourselves in the zone of golden days – a pocket of time between the last (sticky) Bierbank from the Oktoberfest is packed away and friends begin to huddle around the Christmas stands clutching mugs of Glühwein with fingerless gloves. These golden days parade the beauty of warmer days passed and at the same time serve as a warning for the grey winter skies ahead.

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The Rhein

 

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The pigeons of Düsseldorf

 

 

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Mornings are crisp but warm enough to enjoy the empty streets without frostbite.

The brigade of quilted-jacket-clad commuters catch glimpses of golden rays before making their way to their desks.

Greedy squirrels, scurry, scavenge and spring from tree branches with cheeks full of nuts.

Clear blue skies end with firey-skied evenings.

And this is what hits me the most about this time of year – the unbelievable beauty of these pre-winter skies. In the brief moment following day break you’ll see the grey skies open to reveal psychedelic streams of purple, orange, red – signaling a cloudless, turquoise day to come.

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I’ve always, and most probably always will be, fascinated by the many personalities of the sky. For me it is a realm of endless possibilities, it is at the same time simple and complex, spiritual, influential, and with all its pleasantness has the potential to cause inconceivable disaster.

And although the clocks tell us how close winter really is, take a second to look around. This moment is enchanting and breathtaking – but if you stay in bed too long, can be too easily missed.

Inspired by the gorgeous weather last weekend we took a drive to Andechs, just south of Munich. After admiring the impressive Cathedral grounds which sits perched upon the Andechs “Berg” (where they even brew their own beer), we headed along the pilgrim trail towards Ammersee in Hersching.

Despite the foot traffic the route was calming, with streams of sun weaving itself through gaps in the forest around us and of course the sound of running streams in the background. We arrived at the promenade along Lake Ammersee at the perfect moment – just as the autumn sun reared itself towards the horizon, drenching the icre-cream eating crowds in a deep golden light. I was in peace – the light creating a feeling of serenity – a perfect way to feel on Sundays.

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And without a doubt the Biergarten crowd and I were on the same page…

I’m still searching for an explanation for this golden phenomenon but for the moment I’m happy to just accept it and appreciate every beautiful day (especially when it falls on the weekend) as it comes.

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Embracing Oktoberfest

Tomorrow at 12pm Oberbürgermeister (Lord Mayor) Dieter Reiter will mark the official begin of München’s most renowned annual event as he taps the first keg of Oktoberfest Bier in the Schottenhamel Bier tent, follows this with an “O’zapft’ is” and a good swig of his Maß.

Once tapped, the 13 other tents can begin to serve the München-brewed Bier to their thirsty guests.

For the next two weeks to follow, the sights and smells of the Oktoberfest will be ever-present throughout the city; throngs of tourists crowd the main train stations and the city centre, Tracht will be worn from dawn to dusk and the streets will buzz with groups of extra jolly, sometimes sweaty and most often tipsy, red-cheeked revellers.

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You know it’s summer when…

you are bombarded in the face with an army of 1000 fruit flies when throwing your rubbish into the communal garbage bin. Fruchtfliegen are definitely on everyones hit-list during the summer. Only after reading that the female fruit fly can lay up to 400 eggs in a few days and the entire next generation of flies within 10 days, did I realise how disgusting a swarm of flies to the face really was.

Once the temperature and humidity rises, you are bound to find a mini convoy of flies hovering over any fruit or vegetables left on the kitchen bench, around the bin or around the vinegar jars. But this isn’t a German phenomenon – these little beasts are everywhere.

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Fußball fever

The last few weeks have been intense. I had never thought I’d need to recover from a football (soccer for my fellow Aussies) tournament – as a mere spectator. Now I thought I knew what I was in for. Germany, is a football nation – a trip to the stadium will not only prove the devote commitment and passion of the fans but illustrate how talented the football professionals are. Having now earned their fourth star, the deutsche Mannschaft are a football force to be reckoned with.

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Image source: http://www.adidas.de

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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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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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