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Last Day!

14th December 2011

Today was my last full day in Germany.
Today was my last full day of my year long sojourn.
Tomorrow I would be winging home to real life.
Tomorrow I would be trying to figure out what to do next…

Early Starts

Nadine had a job to do in Cologne / Koln, and had to leave at 4am in the morning. She felt really bad about it as she was not sure what time she would get back of even if she would get back the same day.

This meant that Yvonne and I spent the day exploring. We went to a local craft shop near her house, and looked for strings and such so I could teach her to make jewellery. Then, she suddenly turned to me and said “Want to pop over to Holland?”.

Popping Over the Border

Coming from countries that did not have neighbors a hop skip and a jump away, that statement left me speechless. And anyone who knows me will know that is almost impossible to do.

So after dropping the kids off at school we hopped in the car and set off across the border. Its even weirder when you have no border control or passport stops. The only way to know you had left Germany at all was a slight change in housing design and the appearance of Dutch. I discovered my Afrikaans background meant I could understand a lot of it. Oh the fact that my cell phone provider switched mid commute.

We explored clothing stores, bought some coffee, found more craft stores and had a small lunch. It was fantastic, a day out before I big trip is always good to take your mind off of it. Yvonne, not being very fluent in English, had felt really nervous about spending time with me. But with hand signals and a little Dutch/Afrikaans and a limited understanding of German we were able to create our own language.

After buying some Christmas Gifts and finding some 100% wool fuzzy inserts we headed back to Germany.

Packing Up Emotions

My emotions were bouncing all over the place. It seemed to have taken such a long time to get to this point, to even start my trip. Now after 9 countries, 2 hemispheres and 345 days on the road, it was all coming to an end. Adding in a new relationship that was already having communication issues, you can only imagine where I was at.

Yvonne kept my mind off things by making me a bottle opener and some magnets using pics from my travels, in exchange I taught her some basic strings to make bracelets and necklaces. We also made Buddha a bottle opener using one of his favorite monkey pics. (Back home I would mail it to him but apparently it never did reach him).

Then it was time for bed. Nadine still wasn’t home and it looked like she might only be home around 5am in the morning and we had to leave for the train station in Koln by 7am.

Tomorrow involved a train to Frankfurt, a flight to Iceland and a flight to Seattle. I love to travel, its only the traveling part that gets me down on occasion.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Germany, RTW, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Chillin’ Out and Underwater Rugby

13th December2011

I didn’t do much today, Nadine was at work so I attempted to catch up on my blog and hung out with her sister looking at photos. Feels so good to be in a place where you can do that and not feel uncomfortable because it is someone else’s home.

Swimming and Rugby

Nadine picked me up in the evening and we went to do some swimming. Nadine tries to go swimming every week and watch a group of the guys play underwater rugby.

Yup, you heard me right, underwater rugby. In other words a bunch of guys in small tight swimsuits romping around like a group of seals chasing a ball… and they call it a sport!

It was hilarious to watch and good fun. We headed home for a nice hot home cooked meal. I love this family!!

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Germany, RTW, Travel

 

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Farms, Horses and Bratwurst!!!

12th December 2011

I Am Not Going To Call

That was the plan, no more calling that is it. But… mornings were the best time to reach him, maybe just one more time… Bingo! He answered, was so good to hear him. Apparently he was out at his mother’s place and was hiking up near the cell tower so had better reception. (Good Lord and I fell for that one too). But at least it put my paranoia at ease for the moment and I could enjoy the next few days.

Horse Farm

Yvonne was excited to take me to a friends farm who raised horses. She was Dutch and had married a German Farmer. The horses were stunning and it felt so good to be around such majestic, calming animals. We helped her get some of them out of the field and chatted about farm life.

My Final Christmas Market

The afternoon involved blog work and meeting Nadine in town. She took me to an amazing bead store, it was like heaven in little boxes with shiny things everywhere. I make jewellery using a special string and a variety of beads. Almost too exciting for one person to stand.

Nadine was excited to take me to her favorite Christmas Market, not the local one but one that was over an hour away. It was great fun and we spent a few hours walking around, looking at things, eating mini donuts like things filled with custard, and sugared nuts and drinking gluwein. Again it took me a long time to find the right mug and we must have walked to every single stand to check out the mugs. Finally I settled on one that was the best option.

My 5th and Final Gluwein Mug

And of course the last, but most important aspect of any Christmas Market, the bratwurst. It was delicious as usual but there had been a running trend of the bread roll getting smaller and smaller as I toured through Germany, and well, this bratwurst got first place.

I Think The Bread Is There To Hold The Sausage

A great night out with a great friend.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Germany, RTW, Travel

 

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Farewell Leipzig :( Hello Nettetal :)

11th December 2011

Morning Pastries

Today was another farewell day, I would be moving on towards the town of Cologne and another friend that I met in Coral Bay, Australia. Cathleen told me to sleep in and went out to buy us some fresh bread and pastries for breakfast. No better way to start the morning than German Pastries and coffee with a good friend.

Rideshares and Directions

We had managed to find me a rideshare to close to Cologne where Nadine lived and they were picking me up at noon. We packed and clean and got all sorted just in time for the rideshare to call and say they were running late. Well, they were a bunch of students who had come down for a party…

I called Nadine to let her know and get directions, it turned out she lived almost an hour from Cologne, but had used that town as it was the only one that was well known. She lived in a town near the Dutch border called Nettetal. Being a little irritated with life in general I got a wee bit frustrated. Cathleen, in her usual wisdom, told me it would be fine and all work out.

The rideshare arrived and I was suitably impressed by the very swanky car, not bad for students. Even had a seat warmer. I was given the front seat and after a tearful goodbye it was time to say farewell to a very good friend. Can’t wait to catch up again soon.

Soon we were on the road and chatting about what they were studying and my travels. I tried to call Buddha on and off but kept getting the network down message. (Maybe that was the one day the network really was down and the one time he wasn’t lying to me…maybe). Anyway we organised with Nadine to meet us at an offramp just outside of Cologne, and after missing the ramp the first time we finally found it.

Part of the Family

It was great to see Nadine again. We had met the first week or so in Coral Bay, she was part of my German Contingent, a running joke as our group was about 6 parts Germany, 1 part Bavarian and me and it seemed that with every one that left another German joined.

We caught up on the hour drive to her sister’s house where she lived, I felt really bad that she had come all this way to pick me up. Sometimes life surprises you with the kind of friends that are happy to go out of their way to be there for you. I had just left one such friend and was realising I had another one sitting next to me. No matter what curve balls life might throw at me, its good to know that occasionally it tosses me someone who has my back.

I was welcomed as part of the family by her sister Yvonne and her husband and 2 kids and nephew. They also had a couple of goats, sheep, a shetland pony with an attitude and 2 large dogs. It felt so welcoming and everyone was excited to meet me. The teenage boy had given up his room and Nadine and I shared it.

Well dinner was cooking I went to take my stuff upstairs and found it had already been taken for me, too cool. I sorted out my stuff and checked some email, I was still feeling very unsettled and stressed and wished I could talk to Buddha as it had been a few days, all I could do was email him and hoped he would reply. (Of course now I see that was wishful thinking as it turned out the girl he was living with had told him to stop stringing me along and he was beginning to listen to her).

Heading downstairs I felt comforted by the fabulous family dinner and all the chaos that came with it. More adventures await in the morning.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Germany, RTW, Travel

 

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