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Food Round Every Corner

I promised a blog post on great food in Barcelona and here it is. There was such great food everywhere in Barcelona, including bakeries down every side street that it was a) difficult to track everywhere we ate because we ate alot and b) to narrow down what exactly to put in this post. But I have managed to do it. Behold, the best places we ate in Barcelona.

Rasoterra

Off La Rambla, the vegetarian bistro Rassoterra is down a side street and inside is gorgeous inside – modern and chic and low lit.

The menu varies dependent on what’s in season and all of it looked incredible.

The best colour for food to be

Everything we had was fantastic, but beetroot soup was definitely the highlight.

Chivuo’s

Serving street food and craft beer Chivuo’s was a life saver on the first night we got to Barcelona. Then it turned out to be so great we went back another night.

Jam jar beer and chili popcorn

It’s a little hipster so if you’re not into that, this probably isn’t the place for you. But if you’re looking for great beer in jam jars and street food snacks, I highly reccommend Chivou’s.

Flax and Kale

Serving vegetarian, vegan and gluten free food along side meat and fish, Flax and Kale was highly reccommended and it turned out to be worth the half hour wait.

The presentation was great

Such a great combination of colours

I started with the fish taco, (though it turns out I don’t like fish tacos) and Beth had feta and watermelon, which I feel shouldn’t have worked but was fantastic.

Colours like the food fight in Hook

 Have I mentioned how much colour the food had?

Then Beth went vegan with stuffed courgette flowers which was one of the most colourful meals I’ve ever seen. And I had mini salmon burgers. I still think about these burgers in an almost daily basis. That’s how good they were.

Flax and Kale is guaranteed to have something even someone with the strictest of dietary requirements can eat, and that dish’ll be delicious. If you can reserve a table, do. While the restaurant is worth the wait, the waiting area gets a bit cramped.

Bacoa

We found Bacoa by accident in Madrid, but we loved it so much we went there on purpose in Barcelona.

Avacado for days

Beetroot and bacon = a fantastic burger

With a tick box menu, Bacoa makes it really easy to get exactly what you want. For me that was beetroot on a burger, and Beth that was smothering her food in avacado. Anything is possible when you eat at Bacoa.

Eyescream and Friends

Ice cream with eyes. What more could you want?

Each flavour has its own character and there are so many different topping to choose from. If you’re looking for something slightly different, Eyescream is the way to go.

Milk

A bar slash club that becomes the best place to get brunch when the sun comes up sounds like a pipedream. But Milk does exactly that.

We only went for brunch so I can’t comment on their bar slash club aspect, but this was the best brunch I’ve ever had.

Possibly the best food I’ve ever had

French toast with yoghurt and redcurrants was incredible. I would go back to Barcelona just for that.

Beth described it as vegetarian hangover cure

Beth had avacado, tomatoes, feta and egg on toast, which looked delicious too. Basically, go to Milk. The staff are lovely and the food is amazing. Just go.

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Magnificent Madrid

February in the UK is cold and wet and often miserable. Which is why it’s the perfect time for adventuring abroad. At the end of Feb, me and Beth went to Madrid, in search of tapas, art and a blue, blue sky. It did not disappoint.

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Look at that sky.

Flying at a reasonable time from Gatwick meant we could travel down to London on the day of our flight, which was awesome, though getting up at 4am was not fun. It meant that we got into Madrid at 2pm, giving us plenty of time to struggle with huge suitcases on the metro and to find our hostel before it went dark.

Our hostel was TOC Madrid and it was a like a good hotel. Quirky, polished and having rooms with balconies, we were really impressed with TOC. Because we’re adults now with shiny paychecks to blow, we stayed in a private room at the hostel (Which was still cheaper than staying at an actual hotel), rather than in a dorm, and it was so cool to be able to eat our lunch on a teeny tiny balcony.

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Balcony, balcony, balcony

When we’d siesta’d (4am is too early to be up, guys), we headed out into central Madrid to have a wander round. We headed to the Puente de Toledo aka the Bridge of Toledo. Very pretty, surrounded by gardens that’ll probably be better when it’s not February and dark. Then we ended up at Las Bravas  for tapas, which involved two different kinds of squid. Tapas is pretty great though it helps when you know what is you’re eating.

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Points for you if you can guess which two things are made of squid.

On Saturday we headed to the Musuem of Romanticism for breakfast, where it became apparent to us how little Spanish we know. Breakfast was delicious, but we decided not to go round the museum in favour of finding Caxia Forum. It was a great decision.

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Caxia is pronounced Kai-sha by the way.

Caxia Forum is an art gallery that looks like it’s floating and has a four storey wall of greenery next to it. It was a gorgeous day and the living wall was very impressive. Of course we went into Caxia Forum, which had an exhibition of Joan Miró’s work. He was modernist or post modernist – either way it was a lot of fun coming up with faux artistic reasons for the art.

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Four storeys. Four whole storeys.

After stopping off in the excellent shop at Caxia Forum, we headed across the road to the El Retiro Park, which is a public garden with a couple of art galleries. Madrid loves its art. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours with baguettes and beer in the sunshine. We eventually wandered to the Palacio de Cristal which is a beautiful art space in the park before we headed back for a quick siesta and then headed out for food.

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The Crystal Palace of Madrid is gorgeous.

We went for paella, because when in Rome. The restaurant was called La Paella de la Reina and Lonely Plant (my go to guide book) recommended it. The paella was great, though we struggled for half an hour to get the bill, because every time I caught the waiter’s eye, he’d smile and walk off.

The next day was Sunday, and according to all the literature, the thing to do on Sundays in Madrid is to go to the flea markets. So we did. Streets full of old paintings, second hand clothes and general tat/antiques. As always, the weather was glorious and it was lovely if a little crowded.

And then we had the best brunch ever. La Central is a bookshop who not only have an excellent selection of books, but had the one of the best meals I’ve ever had. For €23 euros you get, mini pastries, juice, tea or coffee, a main and a pudding. Of brunch. I had eggs benedict for the first time and a chocolate crepe (not at the same time), and the juice wasn’t bog standard orange or apple. No, it was fancy with over three ingredients and tasted fantastic. Simply incredible.

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After a relatively lazy day, that evening we went out looking for drinks. After some seriously great burritos, we wound up in a down at heel bar for cocktails before we went in search of another watering hole.

We sucked at finding places to drink. But it all worked out when we found a swish looking bar who had local beer. They also had a band playing who were American metal folk. It sounded pretty much like you’re imagining.

Monday was our last full day in Madrid and we began in the district of Chueca, where we found some amazing niche shops, some fabulously expensive clothes and some really lovely people. We ended up at a café called La Linda where they have their own juice and some pretty great toasties.

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Chicken, brie, mustard and honey.

Later that day, we tried to go to the palace but it was closed for an official event. So we wound up in Costa surrounded by a lot of English speakers before we headed to the Reina Sofia, one of Madrid’s most famous art galleries. On certain days, you can go for two hours in the evening for free, and me and Beth love us some free art galleries. And so we ended up at the Reina Sofia after dark.

Being in an art gallery in the evening was quite exciting. I was less impressed with the actual art gallery. From having interactive art that you weren’t allowed to interact with to endless rooms of paintings with no context other than the name of the piece and the name of the artist, it wasn’t super fun. So we left.

Our hunt to find food using the guidebook didn’t work very well, with all three places we headed for being closed. So we went to MacDonalds. They have a big mac but with chicken burgers. It was so good. So good.

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Much chicken, so good. 

On Tuesday we packed up and bade the hostel farewell, before heading back to the palace. This time it was actually open and we got to go round the very impressive building. Built to show off wealth and power, it’s still achieving those goals. Particularly the room where the wall paper is made out of porcelain.

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So impressive. 

Eventually we had to leave, after having the best burger at Bacoa, we took the metro back to the airport and the plane back to England. Our flight was delayed and then cancelled so we got an extra few hours in Madrid but in the airport wasn’t an ideal way of spending them.

Madrid was an incredible city and I’d go back. The art was great, the food was amazing and it has a constantly blue sky. What more could you want?

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London Town Funk

So before you read this blog post, you should go and listen to Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson. Actually, you know what? I’ll embed it below this paragraph. I spent the entirety of my time in London with it in my head, so you guys should get to live the experience too.

So much dancing. 

Thanks to the German department deciding what we needed after two weeks of exams was a week off – sorry, a reading/project week – I headed down to London to see Maddie. You remember Maddie right? She’s been in this post and this post and this post. She’s based in the capital and it is always excellent to go down and see her.

Wednesday I travelled down, and navigated the tube all by myself. To anyone who was irritated that I had a suitcase on a busy tube, please know I was just as irritated at myself. Taking anything other than oneself on the tube is the worst, especially when it’s busy. So please know that as much as you hated me, I hated myself more.

The rest of Wednesday was just chilling. So I’ll go straight to Thursday. The day on which we headed into central London so I could experience the majesty of the Liberty department store for the first time ever. Famous for its prints and haberdashery, it’s a very impressive place. Looking at the prints I can well understand why. They’re gorgeous and I was very sad I don’t have a spare £200 to spend on a wallet.

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Look at the pretties

After marvelling at the colours and prints, we found the monster section. In London, there is Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, where you can stock up on Milk Tooth Chocolate, jars of Mortal Terror, and even Fang Floss if you’re running low. And currently there’s a small selection of their products in Liberty’s. While potentially monsters of the nightmare variety, the brains behind the monster supply shop are anything but monsters in their souls. They work for a registered charity, who in the guise of the Ministry of Stories run creative writing and mentoring centre for children in East London. The monster supply shop helps fund it. So I took the opportunity to pick up a jar of The Collywobbles. Never know when it’ll come in handy.

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A small sample of their wares.

After perusing the monster line, we headed upstairs to their café where we had afternoon tea like the classy ladies we are. With finger sandwiches and mini cakes and scones it was delicious but seeing as I managed to get crumbs all down myself I’m not sure I’ll be allowed back.

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Maddie looking super sophisticated.

On our travels to various less impressive shops it began to hail, and I swear someone squealed excitedly because they thought it was snow. Hail is much less fun but no less cold. Thankfully we took shelter under the canopies of a couple of rather expensive looking shops and the hail stopped very quickly, allowing us to go on our merry way.

After a wander round some of the biggest shops I have been in, we headed back to the Tube, but when we realised that there was a queue up out into the street, we decided trying to get the Tube at rush hour was not our best idea ever and instead we went to Urban Tea, for drinks in an attempt to wait out the tube queue. One not very tea flavoured cocktail down and we decided to try our luck with the public transport and the gods smiled on us, letting us get home without having to queue for a ridiculous amount of time in the cold London night.

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Welcome to Spitalfields.

On Friday we hit up Spitalfields market, where we ummed and ahhed over various t-shirts and dresses, whilst making friends with the occasional market stall holder. Spitalfields is a covered market but that doesn’t stop it being bitterly cold thanks to the fact that while it has a roof it doesn’t have walls. So we went and got brunch instead of sacrificing a couple of toes in the pursuit of fashion. And as you may remember from the Berlin post, we do love our brunch,

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Life motto, perhaps? Certainly the bacon rolls bit.

The Breakfast Club consists of 80s music, word and formica tables and some pretty impressive signography. It also had the best American breakfast I’ve ever had. I mean, I’ve not had many, but this was so good. As Maddie put it, the sausages were as good as our parents cooked, which never happens when you order breakfast out. We stayed a long while and to be honest, I think the only thing that could have made it better were bigger mugs of tea. But I do drink a lot of tea, so maybe it was just me.

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Look how delicious.

After we finally left The Breakfast Club (without visiting the secret bar – if you go, you should tell them you’re there to see the mayor. Rumour has it there’s a bar hidden behind a Smeg fridge.), we ambled down to Shoreditch, dropping into pretty much every vintage shop we passed on the way, before we stumbled across an All Saints sample sale. I was super proud of myself for spotting the sign before Maddie, till I realised this meant I’d have to go to a sample sale. I am very much not sample size. Unless I get menswear. Which isn’t really a hardship. After experiencing a sample sale for the first time ever, I suggested we carry on further into Shoreditch, in search of Blitz.

Blitz is yet another vintage shop, but they also rework vintage clothes into new designs. I know this because as a fashion student Maddie gets to work with these kind of people. Man, she’s cool. All you get with a German degree is people texting you for answers on Hitler in a pub quiz. After availing ourselves of the free mulled wine, we wandered round the shop. It’s the world’s largest vintage store and well worth a visit. Of course I ended up buying some stuff – I’m a sucker for vintage and they were selling Ralph Lauren for less than twenty quid. I own a pair of Ralph Lauren trousers. Me. It’s such a weird concept I can’t quite my head round it.

Saturday we went to Shoreditch again, because there was a vintage sale. We may have over-vintaged this week. If there were any such thing as over-vintaging. Paper Dress Vintage were having an anything you fit in a big for fifteen pounds offer. It was fully our intention to take advantage of this, but between oversleeping and getting lost in Shoreditch that didn’t quite happen. When we got there, most of the clothes in the offer had gone. But everything else was twenty percent off, so we got stuck in. Finds included a 1920s opera coat, a Victorian blouse complete with inbuilt structuring, and WW2 women’s military jackets. The latter posed an issue in that they were glorious and when one of them fit, I had to buy it. Beans on toast for the foreseeable future it is. But in all seriousness, Paper Dress had an amazing range of vintage, and it’s a really good job most of what I liked didn’t fit me or I really would be living off beans on toast for the rest of the semester.

Post vintaging, we headed to our favourite place in Shoreditch – The Hawkhurst Vault. It’s a tearoom that is rapidly joining Harrod’s food court as one of my favourite places ever, not just in Shoreditch. The range of teas is amazing, the brownies are incredible and the guys who run it are the loveliest. If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely check it out. Because any place that has a seemingly never ending supply of interesting teaspoons is a place worth visiting.

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Such pretty china.

When we’d stopped taking up space at Hawkhurst, we headed into central London once more to meet up with friends, and live it up at a Wetherspoons. Gotta love Spoons. They have such good chips. It was really great ending to my time in London, seeing as Sunday saw me headed back to Nottingham, just in time for lectures to start again. Joy of joys.

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Great European Adventure: Part Eins – Berlin

Fair warning: this blog post has many pictures and few words. Though a picture is worth a thousand words, so…

 If you can cast your minds back to four months ago, I was leaving Ilmenau. And can you remember why? Don’t stress if you can’t. Seems harsh to spring a quiz on you when I went AWOL. And some of you are new. So to recap, I was leaving Ilmenau because my contract with the school (I was doing a teaching assistantship on my year abroad – check out these posts for details) was up and I was doing some travelling before headed back to Blighty.

So Berlin. I left Ilmenau super excited because in Berlin Maddie awaited me. You remember Maddie, right? She came over to see me way back in the autumn and we hit up Prague  and I haven’t shut up about Prague since. Also, you know. Berlin’s one of my favourite places.

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Maddie’s the fabulous blonde. 

With Berlin and one of my best friends awaiting, is it any wonder I was excited? So excited in fact that when I got to Berlin and had to use the S-bahn, it took me two stops before I realised I’d managed to use the ticket machine in German without any issues. Result. Year abroad really works, guys.

In Alexander Platz I met Maddie and she guided me to the hostel we were staying in, whose name totally escapes me at the moment. (Maddie has informed it was called One80). It was a decent hostel, the guys on reception were super lovely and it wasn’t a *ridiculous* distance from an s-bahn stop. What more could you want?

20140602_165104The global clock in Alexanderplatz. You can play guess where the tourist is from by which section they take a photo of.

The first afternoon I made Maddie do a huge walking tour of the places I’ve been in Berlin, for which I’m not sure she’s forgiven me. We went down Unter den Linden, to the Reichstag, past the Holocaust memorial, through Potsdamer Platz, past part of the Berlin wall, via a Fotomat to Checkpoint Charlie. Seriously, I made her walk so far. I am a terrible person. I mean, we were both shattered anyway from travelling and then I made us exercise. A truly terrible person.

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And we walked past Trabi World.

The second day we headed over to Kreuzberg for brunch. Now Kreuzberg was described to me at various points and by various sources as ‘the place to be’, ‘the root of all hipsters’ and ‘up and coming but not quite there yet’. It was only about 10am when we got there but it was dead. Last time I was in a place so empty I was in the business district of London on Palm Sunday.

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All found in Kreuzberg.

After walking down several heavily graffitied streets, we ended up at Nest, a place that The Guardian recommended for brunch in Kreuzberg. Yes, we’re super cool.

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Brunch of champions.

Brunch at Nest was delicious. Seriously, it was so good. You should go. Afterwards, in somewhat of a food coma, we wandered through Kreuzberg, taking photos of the graffiti and wondering how anyone can afford to buy things in the hipster shops.  We then crossed the river and walked up the East Side Gallery. The East Side Gallery is a 1.3km long section of the Berlin Wall that acts an art gallery. Many of the paintings are reproductions of graffiti that was on the Berlin Wall while it still divided the city. It’s really interesting, though I need to say, it is long. It was way longer than we expected.


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Yay Graffitii

After finding a S-bahn stop because we were exhausted from walking the length of the East Side Gallery, we ended up at a huge arts and crafts shop, whose name I have completely forgotten. We spent a good couple of hours walking round it, looking at all the expensive paper and fabric that we wanted but could neither afford nor fit in our suitcases.  And then at some point we must have headed out for dinner, and I can say with 90% certainty that we had beer, because we had beer with almost every meal.

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My favourite piece of graffitti we saw. Represents reunification of Berlin.

The next day we went to Kreuzberg for brunch again, because we are the coolest people you’ll ever read about in a blog. This time it was at a place called Salon Schmück and although good, it wasn’t as good as Nest.

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I like eggy bread. I like bacon. I kinda like maple syrup. All three together is a bit much though.

Afterwards we headed up to the Natural History Museum because I’d been wanting to see dinosaur bones since January. Like I said, I’m a cool kid. The Berlin Natural History Museum is currently undergoing massive renovations. However, they still have dinosaurs, they still have moon rock and the biggest wet collection of specimens in the world. That mean stuff kept in jars of ammonia, not in, like, a swimming pool or anything. Just so you know.

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DINOSAURS!

In the dinosaur exhibit they had binoculars that, when you focused on the dinosaur skeletons, filled in the organs, the skin and then what their habitat would have looked like. And then the dinosaurs moved. And it was one of the best things ever.  Then we wandered into an audio visual description of how the universe came into being and how it’ll probably end. And that sounds lame, but you got to lie back on a round sofa and watch it above you and that was awesome.

When you carried on round, there was a massive exhibition on birds, including what a T-rex would look like with feathers. Which is still one of my favourite things. And then in the shop I bought a stuffed toy bison. Because as I have previously mentioned bison are my new favourite animals. And Heinrich is the cuddliest stuffed toy bison to ever exist.

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It looks like a colourful chicken. Jurassic Park would be very different. 

We headed out for tea at some point, again with the beer, and then I, tipsily, decided we needed a selfie with the Brandenburg Gate. This lead to me getting very confused about the Berlin public transport system and selfies of this calibre:

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That’s the symbol of victory sticking out the op of my head. 

Which was a pretty great end to part one of my Great European Adventure. Because the day after I got up at an early time to brave the S-bahn alone, heading to the main station to get on a train to Warsaw alone.

I do love Berlin.  And getting to go with Maddie was awesome, even if she wasn’t so keen on the city. But I have to say the best part was Heinrich. Because cuddly bison are the best.

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Heinrich giving his best duck face.

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School kids and other animals.

The weather was beautiful on Monday. So I went on a wander round the outskirts of town, which resulted in me wandering along a road in the woods, getting odd looks from passing Germans because I wasn’t dressed for hiking.

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In my defence, I didn’t intend to end up walking as far as I did.

When I finally wound up back in town, I had found a bookshop I’d never noticed before and had ice cream, because yes, it was that warm. I then spent the evening watching the entirety of Sherlock series 3, because the lovely Manda lent me the DVDs. So I now understand everyone’s references. Two months later.

Tuesday I was back at work. My timetable has changed, which means instead of starting at 12 on Tuesdays, I now start at 10. It’s a hard life. My first lesson was spent talking about animals. Many of the kids didn’t believe me when I said Panda was panda in English, and then I confused myself between ostrich and Österreich (Austria). I also had to explain that a polar bear was called a polar bear and not an ice bear.

In my second class, we headed to the library to watch a video, but the DVD player was mysteriously missing. This led to one of the girls squaring up to me and yelling at me when I said we had to go back to class. I honestly think the kids think they’re scary. I’m sure I would have been much more scared if I could have understood any of what she was saying… Ah well.

In my third and final class of the day, I did nothing. They were learning about directions, and I sat and observed. But after school, I headed to Subway. If you remember in this blog post, my last visit to Subway didn’t go so well. But this time I was prepared for them to think I was weird and I like to think it went pretty well despite a conversation that went:

Me: I only want cucumber

Subway person: So no tomatoes?

Me: No, I only want cucumber

SP: Should I put the lettuce on first?

Me: No, I only want cucumber

SP: You don’t want any other salad?

Me: No, I just want cucumber

SP: …

Me: …

SP: Sorry, that’s really unusual.

As I said, my timetable’s changed, so first on Wednesday I had English with 1/2a, where I did conversation practice about clothes with the kids. Most notable event was me saying ‘jumper’ and one of the boys thought I said ‘Schlampe’ (whore) which are slightly different words…

Then I had a lesson with 4d/e where I watched them do a play about Snow White for the fifty millionth time. They’re quite good at it now, though they do care more about the acting than saying the English properly.

I then thought I was meant to be with 1/2a during third period and duly went. We did English and the kids fought over who got to sit next to me. Then it turned out that they normally have music in third period and English in fourth, so from next week I’ll have fourth period with them and third period free. Ah confusion, my old friend.

Finally I was with 1/2c where they were drawing pictures of Fasching costumes. As far as I can make out, Fasching is essentially German Halloween, but every adult I ask about it appears to hate Fasching, so my understanding of it is a little patchy.

At tutoring, the kids were super excited that I brought Guess Who with me again. They were less excited about learning about nationalities, and I can’t say I blame them. In English sometimes the same word is used for languages and nationalities but sometimes not. In German there are almost always separate words, and the kids found it very confusing trying to get to grips with the English.

Thursday I still only have two lessons, but they’re now with the infamous 3/4c. That would be the class of terrors I used to be with on Wednesdays, if you’ve forgotten. I was supervising them in the computer room, doing exercises on the Subjekt and Prädikat, which would have been far easier if I knew what the Prädikat was. I also almost got into an argument with the teacher about a maths question. That was odd.

Friday first period I did conversation practice with five kids, four of which are the worst behaved in the school. That was…interesting. They decided they were going to swear and my immediate response was to correct their pronunciation. Don’t worry, I didn’t. Just fixed them with a death glare and moved on.

In the fourth period, I was teaching a class about the different types of houses e.g. detached, bungalow, terraced etc. I also showed them pictures of my living room in England and was asked where the Schrankwand (cupboard wall) was. Apparently, it’s fairly standard to have a huge cupboard in one’s living room with books and ornaments and stuff on it. The most difficult room for them to get their tongues round was ‘dining room’, as it’s typical to eat in the kitchen in Germany, and ‘wardrobe’ was the most difficult piece of furniture for them to remember what it meant.

All hell broke loose in my last class of the day. Well, I say all hell. It wasn’t the worst class I’ve ever been in, but any class where I’m left alone to supervise the kids who then decide they’re not going to do their work isn’t great…

Saturday, I went on a jaunt to the Thuringer Zoopark. I got very over excited because there were a ton of baby animals. I got an owl’s attention by saying Hedwig, quoted the Lion King at hyenas, and ate ice cream while watching the lions being fed, so it was feeding time for all the cats. (Cats? Kats? Yes, terrible pun. Sorry.) I also got many disapproving/disbelieving looks, because I braved the sunshine with bare legs. There was me, in a dress and a leather jacket and there was everyone else, in massive coats and knitwear. Is obviously my northern blood. Although Germans are Vikings so why they thought it was cold I will never know.

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Bison are my new favourite animals.

On Sunday I helped tidy up after a brunch at the BC Café and spent a lot of it wishing I spoke Spanish. The three guys I was working with all spoke Spanish. I had no idea what was being said. At all.

A highlight of my Sunday was skyping my grandparents, though they were most disappointed that I hadn’t blogged. So here is my blog of the week. Thank my grandparents. Otherwise I might have forgotten… (Joking, I would never. Mainly because how else would my friends know all about my life while I’m so far away?)

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Queen Kat of English.

Welcome back to the usual weekly updates of my life. Let’s begin, as always, at the beginning. Monday was spent wandering round Ilmenau fairly aimlessly, because I had no lessons to plan. The highlight of which was someone talking to me in the café and me having no idea what was being said to me. So I apologised and told him I was English, or apologised for being English, I’m not quite sure which. He asked me if I came from near London, and to my eternal shame I said yes. Don’t revoke my Midlander citizenship. I’m sorry.

Tuesday I was back at school, and two interesting things happened. The first was an English teacher telling me that ‘jumper’ must be a regional word because the textbooks all say ‘pullover’ or sometimes ‘sweater’. Naturally, I took to Facebook to document this and it appears my fellow FSAs have had the same problems. And my American and Canadian friends assure me that no-one across the pond says ‘pullover’ either. Ah well, sometimes it’s nice to sound like you’re in a Famous Five novel. The second thing that happened was I somehow ended up talking about the Royal family. And the kids wanted to know if I was a princess. It was eventually decided that I was the English Queen of the Karl-Zink Schule, and that if I ever marry Prince Harry (George, of course, being too young) I have to invite the kids from school. Though they do seem to be under the impression that it’s more a case of when I marry Harry rather than if. (Though I’d get to play this song constantly. I always did love Calamity Jane.) But if I did marry Harry, my sister in law would be Catherine. Which would make four Catherine/Kathryn/Katherines in my family, and I’m not sure I can cope with that.

Wednesday I emailed in ill. I went to bed at half ten. You know what time I actually fell asleep? Half four. I have to get up at 6.20. Trying to get up after 2 hours of sleep resulted in me nearly throwing up, so I made the executive decision that I wasn’t going to be any good to them. So some time later, after actually getting some sleep, I went on a wander because it was beautiful day.

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I’m going to miss the woods when I’m back in England.

Then that evening I went to tutoring. It was Victoria’s birthday, so we did about dates and how to say Happy Birthday. I gave her a birthday card in which I spelt her name wrong, but she gave me a christmas card with my name spelt wrong so I think we’re even. Her and Luka told me how to say Happy Birthday in Serbian and Bulgarian, but I can’t remember it, because they refused to say it more than once. They told me not to be too upset that my pronunciation was horrendous, because they’re difficult languages. At which point I told them I’ve studied Japanese, Russian and Arabic. Cue wide eyes and demands to know how to say ‘hello’ in the different languages. We also had cake because it Victoria’s birthday and we played Uno. Sadly I had to leave halfway through a game otherwise I would have had to walk home. And seeing as it takes about an hour to walk whilst the bus takes 20 minutes, that wasn’t something I wanted to do.

Thursday I really wasn’t needed at the school. I watched the kids do a maths test and then helped them with normal maths work and then the teacher said I could go. So that was a grand total of 25 minutes work on Thursday.  However, I had a doctor’s appointment at 1pm, so despite being finished by quarter to nine, I stayed in school till 12. When I finally got home, because I still had no laptop cable, I ended up reading more of Game of Thrones. Or A Song of Ice and Fire, I suppose I should call it. I read two and half of the books in four days. Have you seen those books? They’re huge. That’s what happens when you don’t have a functioning laptop. You get all productive.

Friday I talked about London and breakfast in England. This included me trying to explain to eight year olds why I’m not a huge fan of David Cameron and yes, there are different types of eggs. That was really it on Friday. I came home and crashed out for the rest of the evening. I know, I lead such an exciting life.

Oh wait, no, one more thing I did on Friday. I bought a ticket to see Eddie Izzard in Berlin next Sunday. I’m a huge Eddie Izzard fan and I saw his current tour last year in Birmingham. So Kat, I hear you cry, why are you going again? Because, dear reader, he’s doing it in German. Oftentimes he tours in France in French, but never have I heard of him doing other languages. So to Berlin I am going. (If you’ve never heard his comedy, I would like to recommend The Death Star Canteen, his thoughts on empires, dictators and cake or death; and Robin Hood. Though I probably should point out there is liberal swearing in most of it.)

So Saturday I was on a cleaning up shift at the BC Café, which involved much washing up and talking about TV shows with Kim. It also involved a guy who looks like Daniel Brühl’s younger brother and Kim insisting that I speak fluent German. And free food. Can’t forget the free food. And then Saturday evening I went to hang out with Ausama, who lives on my corridor and plied me with cake and tea. Was a very pleasant way to spend an evening, and I got a crash course on variations within Islam, the geography of Syria and Syrian etiquette.

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The phonetic spelling of what this is called is Kneffi (according to me).

Sunday I was at the BC café again, helping to pack away after the Spanish brunch. Every month the café puts on a themed brunch and you should care because Therese, my flatmate, helps organise them. Again, this involved much washing up. Pretty sure my hands are just going to remain prunes forever at this rate. And I thought Queens had people to do their washing up for them. Hmm… Might have to work on marrying Harry quickly.