Fun, Familiarity and Farewells
Now that my blog is up and started I thought I would expand a bit more on what I have been up to in these past two weeks. As I previously mentioned, my journey out here was no problem at all – Dom (my boyfriend) travelled out with me, we were met at Düsseldorf Airport by family friends and taken to my new apartment where I met my Landlady and her husband, who also happen to be teachers at the school I will be working at. Dom was a complete star and patiently accompanied me whilst I got all the bureaucratic bits and bobs out the way, and trust me, in Germany there is lots of it! We also spent a while exploring the area surrounding my apartment, finding out where the nearest supermarket, bank, post office etc are. The area of Düsseldorf in which I’m living used to be its own village and is a complete contrast to the city centre, with lots of trees and green areas, quiet roads and a sense of community spirit.
Once the ‘boring’ stuff was completed and out of the way, we also made a trip to the Grafenberger Wald (Grafenberg Forest) and spent half a day wandering around the Wildpark (Wildlife Park), home to a number of deer, wild boar, wild cats, foxes as well as many other animals.
During the week we also made a trip to Köln, where we visited the Dom (Cathedral), did some window shopping and had an amazing lunch in the Altstadt (Old town). I have never eaten such a big pizza as I did there!
On the Friday we visited my school, where I met my mentor teacher and was given a tour of the place, which is massive! The building has five floors plus a huge cellar where the sports centre and music rooms are – I will most definitely be getting lost. I also met several members of staff including the Head Master and was made very welcome by everyone – let’s hope the kids do the same!
At the weekend there was a big festival in the Altstadt as the city of Düsseldorf celebrated its 725th birthday. There was a parade along the Rheinufer (banks of the River Rhein), a historical market in the old town and a stage with live performers.
The Altstadt was absolutely packed with people so after a short while of joining in with the crowds, we snuck off to enjoy the German tradition of Kaffee und Kuchen (Coffee and Cake) which I suppose is the German equivalent of Afternoon Tea.
Once our stomachs were contented, we headed to Königsallee where we found a classic car rally, including the towering red presence of a London bus, and a multitude of quality classics including (as Dom informed me) three Aston Martins DB5’s, an E-type Jag as well as vintage Porsche, BMW, Mercedes & Italian motors.
Having already enjoyed the sight of the traditional red bus and the memories of home, we ventured over to the department store Karstadt where they were advertising “Fashion straight from London”. Rather sceptically we thought we would see just how “London” their store was, however scepticism quickly became awe, shock & amazement as we stepped through the big department store doors to what could only be described as the biggest House of Fraser – John Lewis mash up one ever could envisage! FCUK, Ted Baker, Hunters, Accessorize and even Topshop! To top it all off they were giving out free champagne and cupcakes on each level of the store.
Sadly, Sunday came far too quickly and Dom and I had to say our farewells. It had been so nice having someone to help me settle in, and after waving goodbye at the airport I made my way back to my apartment and packed my bag for the week ahead in Maria in der Aue, outside of Köln. I had a great time there, met some lovely people and was reunited with the lovely Abbey and Rebecca from Uni.