Auf Wiedersehen und Danke schön!

goodbye

Nuremberg in Numbers:

Twenty-four: the number of weeks I was living in Germany.

Three and a half: the number of months winter lasted.

Eight hundred and sixty-four: the number of hours I worked.

Five: the number of wonderfully dedicated people who came to visit me.

Nine: the number of days I have left.

 

It has been a long journey, but it’s finally coming to an end. I feel like I’ve been here so long at this stage, that I’m pretty much a part of the furniture. However, I feel like a piece of furniture which is living in the wrong house. I have been put there for a while until my old home is ready for me to move back into it again, and every day for the last one hundred and seventy two days I have been looking forward to returning to my proper abode. I’ve been waiting (not always patiently) to come home.

Now, I am on the final stretch. The road before me is smooth and I can just about see the finish line up ahead. It hasn’t always been this way though. There were times along the way when I thought I would never reach the end. I felt tired and alone and I just wanted to sit down in the middle of the path and cry. Cry so hard that my tears formed a river beneath me and carried me the rest of the distance I needed to travel.

But looking back now, I’m glad I walked this route. It wasn’t something I was looking forward to and it definitely isn’t six months I would like to repeat again, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment, knowing that I can do this (and have done it!) on my own.

Despite the fact that winter here lasted what seemed like an eternity and was the coldest in Germany since way back when, I don’t want to paint a picture completed covered with thick, dark clouds, because I feel that would be unfair. Unfair to a city which, I’ll openly admit, is beautiful. The buildings here have been rebuilt and there is a wonderful mix of the old and the new. Riverside cafés, pretzel stands and bakeries filled with assorted glazed pastries on every corner, market stalls specializing in every possible knick-knack, along with an abundance of fountains and statues all contribute to the character of the city.

Of course there will be people and things which I will miss: my work colleagues (i.e my work friends) and the crazy conversations we have together and the uncontrollable laughter which follows, the friends I have made in the apartment complex, the public transport system here (seriously, why can’t there be U-Bahns at home?), the regular restaurants which I frequent and their welcoming staff and last –but by no means least- pretzels! Trying to imagine a world without pretzels is just heartbreaking! Although for the past twenty years I have survived just fine knowing little of their existence, I now find myself wondering “without pretzels, what’s the point?” I figure I’ll just try and stuff as many of them as possible into my case (and face!) before coming home!

So, to sum up, Germany –and Nuremberg in particular- is a very picturesque place. There are some wonderful people here, some great sights and some DELICIOUS breads! This has definitely been an experience to remember, something which has helped me to grow and become independent, and a reminder of how much my home, family and friends mean to me.

Thanks for all the memories, I’ll never forget them.

I guess all that’s left to say now is:

Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland!

Good enough to eat!

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Ok, so it’s ca. lunchtime now and I’m a bit peckish (I’m being polite; I’m actually rather hungry… as in “the little apple on the back of my iPhone is starting to look good” hungry!). So my quandary is this: what to eat?

I could be a healthy eater and bring a lunch from home, but that is no good to me because:

A.)   I’m already at work and I see no pre-packed lunch in sight (well, not unless I eat my coworker’s lunch, but I doubt she’d appreciate that!)                                -and-

B.)    I tend to try and get a dinner at lunch time because my cooking facilities at “home”/room are fairly meager, and the thought of trying to cook something in the evenings is rather daunting

So… options in the proximity are limited, as where I work is just out of the city centre, i.e. all the restaurants/cafés/etc are juuussst outta reach. However, I have stumbled across a few gems:

1-      The bar around the corner: I know what you’re thinking- a bar? At 1pm? Seriously?! But I don’t go there for their drinks (unless I’m having a really rough day!); rather I go there for their tasty lunch menu. Although there’s not a vast choice of options, they have weekly specials, which I think is a great idea, as it keeps things fresh. Plus, the food there is really nice, so you don’t really mind!

2-      Then there’s the pizzeria across the road: again, another small joint with “the regulars” (me and a few old Italian men), but there’s such a nice feeling when you walk in there and are greeted by ‘ciaos’ and those ever-practical plastic table-coverings. The owner used to always give me my Coke on the house, and this could be why I feel in part responsible for them going out of business. Yes, much to my horror, last Friday I saw the awful sign in their window; “Zur Vermietung” (For Rent, for all the non-Germans out there). I really liked that place, as the chef (Little Old Italian Man #1) made the nicest pepperoni pizza in the world! (and his lasagna wasn’t bad either). So I guess I won’t be frequenting there anymore… Arrivederci Pizzeria!

3-      The Thai restaurant down the street: good food, good value. What can I say; I’m a sucker for a soy-covered bargain!

4-      The bagel place further down the street: only just discovered this place last week, but I’m so glad I did! I haven’t found that many (if any) places that sell bagels here and this made me sad, as my mum used to make really delicious bagels at home. But this little spot offers bagels, fruit salads, salads that don’t have fruits in them, coffee, tea (the German kind, unfortunately, but still!), cookies, doughnuts and brownies- what more could you want? (apart from regular Irish tea, naturally!)

And I think that’s it really… there was this other place that I tried once, and I regret going there no end! I got soup, or something claiming to be soup, with purple bits in it and it tasted like crap and then I was charged a tenner for it. For “soup”?! Crazy talk! Needless to say, they didn’t get a tip from me! (Tip: learn how to make proper soup… And then charge accordingly!)

Anyway, now I’m definitely hungry after all that talk of food! I still don’t know where I’m going to go for lunch/dinner, but I figure once I get outside into the open air, my bloodhound-like nose will guide me in the right direction!

Bon appétit!