Berlin has been good to us, and we’ve had a wonderful few months here. Unfortunately, time is starting to run out, and in about ten days we’ll be on the road again. The last couple of weeks haven’t been jam-packed, but we’ve definitely been enjoying ourselves!
One of my goals for our time in Berlin was to learn German, but I hadn’t been getting on very well with motivating myself to study… so I decided to join a German school for a couple of weeks. Die Deutschule was well priced, had good reviews, and offered a free trial lesson, so I headed over there on Monday morning psyched up and ready to go. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any free spaces in the morning classes at my level, so I didn’t end up signing up, but I certainly enjoyed the two free classes I sat in on — one a level too high, the other a little too low.
Instead, I decided to spend the mornings at the library with a variety of books and magazines, which, while not being the most interactive way to study, has at least given me a grounding in grammar. I feel like I have a much better grasp of German now, though there’s still a lot further to go.
It was a fortnight of language learning, actually, as I had two Spanish classes with Learned By Me, which I really enjoyed. It’s a pity they don’t have a German section yet!
Craig spent the week working, then headed down to Nuremberg to give a presentation about working with bloggers. The day started off badly, with his flight being delayed by several hours, but the presentation went well when he finally arrived. He spent the evening wandering through the market that was set up in the old town, and the next day he met up with a fellow blogger, Laurel, who lives in Munich. They visited the castle and Albrecht Durer’s house before holing up in a great cafe for a long chat.
Craig’s flight back on Saturday morning was without complications, and he and I spent the afternoon enjoying the warm weather in the Tiergarten. On Sunday we watched the America’s Cup final, a sailing race that’s currently being held in San Francisco. New Zealand regards itself as the rightful owner of the cup, and we’ve been trying to get it back since we lost it in 2003. This year, the first team to win nine races will win the cup, and as only two races are held per day (and only every two days), it could be quite a long regatta! We’d missed the first two races, but on Sunday we saw Team New Zealand win one race and Oracle Team USA win the other.
I managed to keep going with my German study in the morning, though I chose to do it at home rather than at the library on a couple of the days because the weather was so terrible! It definitely feels like winter has arrived. We also finally got around to buying tickets for the last leg of our journey home (Melbourne-Christchurch), and on Wednesday we took a trip to the doctor because I was worried about something. It turned out to be a false alarm, though, which was a great relief… I’d obviously been stressed about it because I’d been losing all the games of Thurn and Taxis Craig and I had played. On our return home, we played again and I thrashed him. Stress over.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we watched more of the America’s Cup, and were pleased to see New Zealand win the first three races. Only three more to go and we’ll have the cup back! On Friday we went to a film festival that our friend Claudia had helped organise. It was awesome, so many great films! I particularly enjoyed a French stop-motion animation called La Coquille (The Shell) and a couple that dealt with social media and how we interact with it. But actually, they were all good, even the ones in German that we didn’t quite understand because they didn’t have subtitles in English. The festival ran a little over time and we didn’t get home until about 1.30am — a late night for us!
On Saturday we slept late then headed down to our local Markthalle to finally try the beers at the microbrewery there. Luckily they had a tasting “karousel” so we could try all four of the beers on offer, and we were both super impressed with the IPA and the pilsner.
We spent the evening watching the sailing, which was more than a little stressful (New Zealand almost capsized) and on Sunday I took off for a week in Austria.
I can’t believe we only have two more weeks before we leave!