Germany – settling in walks, eating out and flea markets

It’s been a few weeks since I posted. That’s mainly because we haven’t really been up to all that much exciting, just settling into living a ‘normal’ life in a foreign country.

Here are some photos of Ramstein & Miesenbach villages from when I have been walking into town to meet new friends for gelato at the local ‘eiscafe’:

Local walks

We’ve discovered some amazing walking paths around the village we live in. It seems that almost all of the small villages are connected by walking/biking trails. I assumed it would have been paths alongside the road.  This meant that google maps was not our friend when we set off on a few km expedition, and we had to back track that way we came. The paths go through fields and forests, which are idyllic and remind me of New Zealand.

The road that goes past our house leads to a lake called Seewoog. It’s a small lake that you can’t swim in, but it’s nice to look at. The paths that are for walking and biking go past the lake. There’s a little hut to buy brats and beer at and there’s often a few people there relaxing.

Here are some photos of a walk we did one summer’s day recently, when we walked from Miesenbach to Mackenbach:

Eating out

Thai thai

We have finally dined locally! We tried Thai Thai in Ramstein village. We each were very interesting  (not)and tried the pad thai. It was okay, but not the greatest. The Thai ice tea made up for it! We will probably be back sometime, but just for the occasion, not because it was amazing food.

Maharaja Indian food

One lunch time Nick asked if I wanted to go and walk into Ramstein village to try the Indian restaurant, ‘Maharaja’. Of course I did! We had a tikka masala and korma. Again, it was okay, but we can do better at home.

Seewoog 

We also have done a date night to the local Italian restaurant in our own village, by the lake Seewoog. Well, they forgot our order and then I had to try and communicate with the woman in broken English and broken German! We eventually got our food, which was actually pretty good. Chicken doesn’t seem to exist on menus as often here, pork is the meat of choice. I have to ask everywhere we go for vegetarian options now, since I can’t trust that there’s not going to be pork in it (if you haven’t guessed, I can’t eat pork or cured meats).  Still, the pasta was a cheese pasta and it was pretty delicious. We got a spinach pizza and it was also good, if not a little salty.

Needless to say, we haven’t had any mind-blowing food experiences yet. The only mind-blowing experience we have had was on base at Macaroni Grill, and that was mainly just because it was so nice to have a waiter that cared (even if he only cared just for tips).

Apparently, on speaking to someone who has been here for 10 + years, this lack of the care in the service industry is caused by the fall of the Berlin wall and the growing amount of the east moving to the west.

According to this person, even Germans are starting to get upset by the lack of service here. I was quite surprised that despite waiting for an hour, we didn’t get an apology about our wait on the food, despite other people having arrived, eaten their whole meals, paid and gone by the time we even queried where the food was at. It will be interesting for me to see if this is true, or whether it gets better as I learn more of the language and can communicate better (and therefore get more respect). I think it would be a shock for a lot of Americans when they first eat out!

Homburg flohmarkt

On the first Saturday of every month, the Homburg market comes to town! It’s the biggest flea market in the south-west of Germany, and there’s nothing I love better than a big flea market. Especially exciting is the fact we are in a country with A LOT of history, and therefore, some amazing finds will be had in the next 4 years!

I’m currently doing a project that involves tea cups, so I was on the hunt  (and got about 8 sets for under €25).  It was kind of fun communicating. It usually went something like this:

Me: *Point to tea cup* <pause>  (breathe deeply to prepare)
‘”Was kostet das?”

German: *Holds up fingers* “Drei euro”

Me: <Pausing to count up to that number in German in my head, like a small child counting on their fingers>  “Oh, fur alle?” (It’s usually a tea cup, sitting on a plate, with another plate, so I checked to make sure I wasn’t just asking about the tea cup)

German: “Ja”

Me: “Ok, ja, danke”

It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I was proud for trying because I heard a lot of Americans not even bothering and just coming out and speaking English to them without trying. I’d rather try and have them talk back in English than seem rude. I’m sure they have a giggle at my attempt, but I can only get better.

We tried out a local delicacy, a type of bread with pumpkin seeds on it. It was actually pretty good, but kind of tough to eat. We also at the end of it decided to get waffles, which was a little bit of a disaster. Nick did the ordering and we ended up with a banana and nutella waffle, which was meant to be a strawberry and nutella waffle – lost in translation. Nick doesn’t like banana. Banana is also messy. Of course I wore a cream top that day, and Nick and I had a cute couple moment where he tried to feed me the waffle. Except the banana slipped out the end… and down my top and in my hair. Luckily I could cover the damage, but I had nutella in my hair and on my top until that night haha.

This was my favourite find and I only paid €1 for the set:

IMG_0077

After a few hours there looking at a lot of war memorabilia (it’s amazing what you can buy, and although Nick has second thoughts about getting any, I think it would be a piece of history, and as the victors, why not ;)) we left for…

Ramstein flohmarkt

I’d been seeing a lot of random yellow signs around the place for a local flea market, so we went to scope it out. It runs every Friday and Sunday from 0800 to 1600 or so. It was in a huge old barn that everyone sets up permanent stalls at, so it has a kind of eerie feel. This teacup set so it was definitely worth the visit, and the best €3 spent of the day. It’s a French set:

IMG_0078

Kaiserslautern downtown tour

This Tuesday I went on a free tour.  Unfortunately Nick couldn’t make it due to a class. We set off at 9am on a bus and headed downtown to Kaiserslautern with an American tour guide – it was great and well worth the trip!

We went to the German-American center where we were given brochures and maps and so on, and they told us about their services. We then went on a walking tour downtown and learned about some of the history of the town. It’s a medieval town, and was used as a hunting residence of one of the Roman emperors around 1200 AD.  It was also one of the few towns allowed to keep both a Catholic and Protestant church, which were largely left untouched until the bombings in WW2 destroyed 60% of the town- it’s since been rebuilt.

There were parts of the walls that surrounded the town which were cool to see. We were allowed to wander around the shopping areas and then set off at lunch time to a German restaurant in the forest. I had a vegetarian pasta bake which was delicious!

It was great to meet people who were new to the area too, and to make some new friends.

That’s all for the blog this time. The next will not be long overdue, as I’ll be updating it after my kiwi friend Laura leaves. She is coming on Friday night for the weekend from London, and we’re going to visit some sites.

Tschüss!

Emma


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