Archive for the ‘S-Bahn lols’ Category

Riding trams in Kraków

August 5, 2010

By now, I’ve worked out which number trams go to and from Bronowice Małe, which is where I live. I’ve also figured out – today, in fact – that the 13 is best for me and stops right outside school.

Secondary options include the 8 and then the 4, in order of pragmatics.

But that’s not what I’m writing about.

What I’m writing about is what I see on the tram as I ride into and out of town. My eyes flick every which way when I’m on the tram and I spend between half a second and up to 2-3 seconds looking at something before my eyes flick away.

That, compared with the speed of the tram, makes for very interesting observations of the Cracovians. Like today, my eyes flicked onto a girl standing just in front of a lamppost and very near the road. She was holding an old grey mobile and, just as my eyes clapped onto her, she threw up her hands (only from the wrists, mind) in exasperation and furrowed her brow (I just wrote “burrowed her frow” and couldn’t work out what was wrong with it). That made me smile.

A little later, I clapped eyes onto a woman who was crossing the road. Behind her (the tram stopped here, so I had time to watch her walk away too) chased a girl in a green uniform. She reached the woman and gave her a piece of paper she was holding. The woman had lots of shopping in her hands, so she just took it in her hands with her. I assume what she said was “dziękuję” (thank you) and she carried on walking. The girl in green then turned back and jogged back into the shop where she assumedly works.

I see a lot of things like that – small interactions either with one’s own consciousness or the surroundings or with someone else in that fraction of a second that I’m sitting on the tram and looking at these people. I can’t remember them all now, but that’s not the point.

If I were any better and recording moments like this in film (or even in photograph), I’d make a short little tram-ride-length feature about it.

FYI, my tram-ride-length is currently 40-50 minutes. And that’s annoying.

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Remember Hemlock

September 19, 2009

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So here’s a picture of me.

This week (when last did I write? – My word, it’s been more than a week), I’ve mainly been struggling. Monday evening (6pm) saw me start a big knitting project (the Hemlock, which is also pictured above, but not the one I started on Monday) and fall foul to man-flu allofasudden. I made a mistake in Hemlock, The First, so started it again that evening and got quite far into it.

Then, waking Tuesday with a huge headache and lacking the ability to breath, I stayed home from the language course and slept/knitted in almost equal measures. Realised I’d made a mistake in Hemlock, The Second, so pulled it out and started it again. Knitted obsessively Tuesday, made another mistake and started Hemlock, The Third.

Wednesday wasn’t much better. In fact, Wednesday was far worse. I woke up with similar illnesses as I’d had Tuesday and took the day off. To knit. Then, chatting to Polly on Skype (and knitting at the same time – of course), I realised that I’d made a mistake every 4th round, for the past 35 rounds (ish) on Hemlock. And I was about 12″ in, centre to edge (radius). It was really sad. I posted desperately on Ravelry (akin to Facebook for knitters) for advice and for someone to tell me that it wasn’t all that bad and that all I needed to do was put a few extra stitches in here or there or something similar. But no. I was told that I’d ruined it and that I needed to pull out all of the Feather & Fan pattern I’d done so far. So I started ripping.

I got to the point when I had to start picking up the stitches again and realised that it was harder work than it was worth, just to save the middle section (which is quite a lot different, really). So I pulled out even more.

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That’s what it looked like, once I’d pulled all the wool out (which is half fun, half devastating). When I was doing it, I was reminded of my dad (who, since I’ve been knitting, has started opening up about his mum more), telling me about a recurring memory of his of his mother. She used to knit – I never met her. But he said he’d always remember the image of his mother, from what I gather, an otherwise quite together, mature, fully-grown and bold woman, crying as she pulled out ball after ball of wool from what she’d been making, spaghettis of wool around her ankles. Ok, you caught me – I’m adding quite a heavy dose of artistic licence to my dad’s tale, but the point stands. And getting anywhere near that emotional with him is half feat, half shock.

Anyway, so that’s the knitting story. Pictured above is Hemlock, The Fourth, worn on my head, because every time I show it to people, they say, “oo a hat!” That makes me grr. Cause it’s way more complicated than a hat. Recognise my amazing ability, you stupid whench! No matter, no matter.

Apologies to those of you who aren’t knitters. I’ve tried to make it as jargonless as possible so that it’s understood – in fact, I very well done without a technical description of what went wrong.. I might go back and put it in for the more clued-up.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster week otherwise, actually. Last weekend, two Germans at a garden party I dropped into (at Europa Haus V) thought I was German (it’s a good story: they were talking about Obdachlosen (the homeless) with a girl Emily who has polished German and he was explaining Penner, which is a derog word for Obdachlosen.. It’s closer to ‘hobo’ or ‘street bum’. Anyway! I asked what was the word again, cause I hadn’t heard it, having previously been moving slowly away from the English-speaking group into the German speaking group; that was my in-road. Martin, as he later turned out to be, repeated it and sort of said, “isn’t it?” as in, “y’know…” To which I replied, “I’ve no idea.. I’m English.” He looked really shocked and said he thought I was German. Which gave me a huge inside beam. Then he started trying his English out on me. Which grew old. He was sitting next to a girl who also thought I was German, but can’t remember why/how now. Funny, whenever something like this happens, the Germans always ask you whether I’ve got German parents. Then when I say they’re both Brits, they get even more shocked. It’s lovely. I love being able to come across as a German, even if it is for the first few sentences).

I’ve also managed in the last week to befriend a coupla peoplez a bit more closely. Namely, Adelaide, an Australian girl from Melbourne and Sam, a studying-in-Massachusetts-but-originally-from-Kansas German, History and Maths student. Adelaide and I have sort of jumped straight into each other’s pockets and become each other’s confidants. Which is fun. But the main point I write about this little trio is the fact that we’re all from mother tongue countries, yet our senses of humour, our cultural awarenesses (I know, slightly biased example here, because I’m pathetically poorly informed) and our use of English are all wildly, wildly different. I’ve found that Australian English and British English are a lot closer than American is to British and our senses of humour are closer too. I’ve always sort of throned the British sense of humour as incomprehensible by anyone but the Brits, based almost entirely on the fact that the American sense of humour is so different. I haven’t been so closely exposed to an Australian as this before, so that assumption was a bit one-sided.

It’s interesting what you find interesting. Especially when something so odd as that comes up. It’s like duzen and siezen, the German verbs for ‘calling someone Du‘ or ‘calling someone Sie,’ respectively. We don’t have a formal/polite you in English (anymore) so the whole idea is fascinating to me. In some situations, I’m desperately safe that I should be Sie-ing (so desperate that when I accidentally Du, it causes an issue, when I have to break out the “I’m not a German!! It’s hard for me!” excuse), like when some woman with a strong Mannheim/Heidelberg accent (really interesting sounding, quite difficult to understand) called on the home phone the other day to talk to us about fixing the intercom system. I accidentally called her Du, but couldn’t correct it fast enough (I was waltzing around my guests Adelaide and Sam at the time), so had to put up with having called her Du. She just paused, the line silent for a few seconds, and moved on. I made sure I pointedly Sie-ed her later in the conversation, just to make up for that. But, for example, when I got home the day before yesterday, I found Aminata (who’s a new housemate of mine (!! – more to follow) and her mum, constructing a green IKEA bookcase. The Germans have this immaculate talent of avoiding using Du or Sie for as long as they possibly can, by making questions nice and neutral. It’s fantastically clever. I never really realised how quickly I start using “you” in any kind of situation in English (having said that, it’s often used in a way that butters them up even further (for example, “Could you possibly please…”). Anyway – it got to a point where I couldn’t rephrase my questions in an impersonal way anymore and I had to choose, du… or Sie. I went with Du and no-one flinched, but I immediately asked Aminata and indeed her mother (whose name I forget.. eep) whether I should or not and use the whole “I’m still learning” thing. She said something along the lines of, “we lived in America for 6 years, don’t worry about it. We’re used to it.” Which confused me a bit. Made me think I’d been rude or something.. Or maybe had she been used to being du-ed or whatever. (Been clarified here; I misunderstood what she meant – she was just saying that she understood there was no difference in address in English). Anyway. I asked Aminata once her mum had left and she said that she would’ve Du-ed in that situation, so I did manage to judge it correctly.

Another annoying thing (which I’ve picked up mainly from the other ERASMUS kids) is that there’s no universal stage where you can switch between the host language’s formal and relaxed forms of address. In Spain, apparently, they almost always use the informal one. Only problem is, the other Europeans already have a point of comparison. It’s totally, totally new for us English speakers.

Aminata: she’s a Japanology/Anglistics student, who’s just come back from a year in Tokyo. She’s hoping to specialise in Film and Theatre of Japan this year. Anyway, she’s really fun! She’s only been here about 3 or 4 days in total and we’ve already been to the supermarket/(equivalent of) Boots together twice and went out to eat last night in an Italian down on the Hauptstraße. We chat with each other quite a lot (in German, although she does have almost perfect English (from what I gather), so I can easy ask her for a vocab nugget, if I need it). I taught her the basics of how to knit yesterday too, because she’s been very forth-coming with it. She saw me knitting and asked whether I could teach her (not, of course, without me having first blabbed about it at length) then she said she’d been into Wolle Rödel (a chain wool store, findable also on the Hauptstr.) and had a look around (of her very own volition!) and THEN! When I saw her later that day, she’d bought some wool! Eager beaver. Keen bean.

What else is going down… Oh. Marwood and I heard a group of four teenagers (nearer 10 than 20, I think.. or somewhere in the middle) on the tram talking openly about politics, which I personally found quite refreshing to begin with (I heard one of the say, “ugh, he’s the one that’s for tuition fees” and then (the same one) later mention “schwarz-gelb” which is, as far as I understand, a coalition between two parties… But on the boards with “SCHWARZ-GELB // NEIN DANKE” on, there’s a picture of a toxic waste barrel… So I was under the impression it had something to do with the green party and/or involvement with nuclear energy). I phased out after I heard them say that, only to phase back in, moments later, when they were talking about the morality of homosexual couples adopting. Many moot points were made, for example, that if it were allowed the human race would die out (reminder: they were teenagers and exaggerations and gays are sources of laughter), but the fact that there were a bunch of seemingly Kevin-like (reference to Harry Enfield – get in) creatures, discussing openly such contentious issues in a public space. Sure, I’m British and the slightest taboo makes my face itch and, sure, the surrounding Germans were all exchanging glances, but.. well.. It was refreshing to hear.

I was half tempted to stand up and contribute to it, as a homosexual myself (oh, that’s another thing; they were very diligent in avoiding using schwul (gay) and referred instead to the concept of the Homosexueller. Who knows).

That may, or may not, be the bulk of this entry. But I’ll do a usual round-up type list now we’re at the end: got a 2nd EC-Karte (cash card) through for Postbank the other day and only one PIN, so went it to ask what was what and came out with one card and no PIN (the guy who served me is the guy I’ve spoken to on a couple of occasions now; I even told his colleague that I’d prefer to talk to him rather than her.. Felt a bit mean about that), discovered where you can enjoy a yummy yummy apple pie, have been accent-swooned over almost every day by a Canadian girl, recovered (recovering..) from what was a pretty aggressive and sudden cold; worried that all the courses I want to do might be full up (but not acted against this in any way), realised that I have 2 entire weeks free between the end of my language course and the beginning of the semester, failed repeatedly to remember to ring Deutsche Bahn to get Nicola’s cowl and my needles back from them, having left them on the train on the way back from France, discovered that I may well get to go to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall celebrations in Berlin itself (!!!), realised my camera is crap, realised I’m 21 in three weeks and feel very old, been told I’m mature for my age, got gradually more and more excited about today’s knitting adventures (going to meet the two founders of the Facebook-for-knitters website), missed Sophie, the physicist knitter from England, walked a great distance at past-midnight on a Friday, shrugged off an option to go to a gay dance evening in a club near the train station, finally got my campus card for here and a university email address… run out of things to say on this list.

Remember lots of shitty admin?

September 11, 2009

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Wow. It’s been flipping ages since I wrote anything here. Flippin. Ages

And this isn’t going to be a long one either. As I noted a few posts ago, I’m going to have to start concentrating on meditations between cultural differences instead of outing my entire life to the world (and, inevitably, offending people in the process).

The list at the end of this post, which I take great pleasure in writing (and, honestly, can see becoming the fullest content of some posts in the future), is likely to be of some length, but it’ll catch you up.

One thing I would rather write about in full sentences, however, is the nature of language ability and its identity among these Europeans. Coming from a country whose native tongue, is, by chance, the lingua franca, I’ve never really realised how important it is for other kids (from smaller countries, like Hungary or Scandanavian countries) to be able to speak good English. And I never realised a) how well everyone can speak English (when we’re going through the language course at a nice slow pace, and someone doesn’t understand some word, but the teacher wants to move on, he’ll mention its translation in English (bad accent)), and b) how easily everyone is able to switch from language to language and how it’s just not a problem or even an issue for them. Switching in and out of the native tongue or a near-native similar (oftimes English) is just not a problem. I’m getting a bit closer to it with German, to be honest: switching in and out of it is becoming more of a hobby than a necessity. But you see groups of teens just sitting there, speaking in different languages every few sentences. It’s like it’s not even a problem and the comprehension and the meaning is what’s important. Which goes against most of the intellectual fibres I have (considering bant…).

My German is, however, coming on leaps and bounds. I’m learning all the time and I’m so much happier to float my way through sentences now than I ever was in England (speaking German obv). I can float into a bank and have banter with the guy in there who recognises me from all the times I’ve had to complain about my card not arriving, I can cheer angry women in bakeries up, just by asking them how they are in a convincing accent. The bank guy, actually, gave me a real high the other day: I was moaning about my card (not important to know the details) and I said that I’d have to come in and complain a bit more if it didn’t work out this time and, when leaving, I said, “Hoffentlich sehen wir unsnicht wieder” (hopefully we won’t see each other again – bit of a pun on “Auf Wiedersehen” (literally, “On next-seeing”)) and he started to humour-me laugh, then broke out into an actual lol. Which was amazing. I walked away from that counter with a huge smile on my face.

Here comes the ‘other stuff I’ve done recently’ list: met loads and loads and loads and loads of new people (my Germany handy now has a passable number of contacts – which is joyous), realised how easily I click with people (some of the time), went to Pol’s 21st Bday Bop and enjoyed being around roasting hog (and seeing some old friends and stuff too!), got Shostakovich 5 stuck in my head pretty permanently, stuck quite rigidly to the “Pretzel a day” promise, flirted with pretty much everyone, met a really cool girl called Adelaide from Australia (who has amazing hair/dress sense) (with whom I had a late night (semi tipsy) walk home and heart2heart – one of those ‘how wonderful life is’ moments, really enjoyed it), realised I probably don’t want to enter into a relationship with a German because I’d want to understand all the tiny nuances of their sayings and I’d probably be walk-over-able if that were in German (despite it being UH-mazing for my Germanz), made my room an entire mess, started knitting again in a big way, got used to getting up at some horrid-early time for this stupid language course (which starts at 8.30am (finishes at 1)), discovered a fantastic bakery on the Universitätsplatz, brought my horn from home, almost run out of money on several occassions, bought a Semesterticket for the tram/trains for the local area (€127 – but totals worth it), said goodbye to dear Strickfreudin, Veronika (all the best, love!), started wearing my lenses again, got a haircut, realised how much I love my kara (thanks Fay and Safiya), finally enabled myself to listen to music on my massive (and <3) headphones again thanks to the acquisiton of a extension plug thingy), got a bit more positive about my housemate situation (Ami is moving in – girlfriend of Torben, so I’m hoping things are going to pick up and be a bit more chattsy), urmm… missed a trip to Ikea (grr), broke the blind in my room, started knitting a sock even though I vowed I never would, wanted to buy new shoes, started rambling.

That’ll do.

Remember Rote Karte für Schwarzfahrer?

August 16, 2009

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Remember Rote Karte für Schwarzfahrer?
One of the most amazing things happened to me today. Definitely a confidence boost. I was on such a high afterwards.
I was due to go and look at Laura’s house today (this is going to get confusing cause there were two Lauras… Laura Marwood, my friend from England, and Laura Paul, the girl who’s Zwischenmiete-ing her room). So LPaul texted me asking whether we could rearrange for me to go see her flat. So I did. Got on the S-bahn and texted her just beforehand to ask which type of ticket I should get. I knew “City-Ticket” would get me some of the way, but wasn’t sure whether Rheinstrasse was out of the “City” zone. Anyway, I bought the City-Ticket for €1 (the other ticket would’ve been €2.10). LPaul texted me shortly after I’d got on and told me that the City-Ticket is not enough, but don’t worry – they never check it.
Went to Laura’s and checked it out, met LPaul (potentially Marwood’s) housemate, Danijel, a Croatian descent, German-speaking homosexual who’s in a relationship with an Arab (v jealous of that relationship). LPaul and Danijel (this is confusing, right?) were loads of fun and I’m quite the jeloza of Marwood’s potential house-sitch.
Anyway, cleared up some questions I had about Germany with them, including what S-Bahn ticket gets me where in HeideB. Apparently City Ticket only counts for as far as Südstadt – Rheinstrasse is a few stops beyond the Südstadt-Bhf.
So I went back to the Rheinstrasse place and sat down.. Couple of people got on the tram waiting for me and then another woman sat next to me. Probably late 20s, maybe early 30s. We got chatting about something I care not to explain. In German. Only nice short sentences, but was fun anyway. Tram arrives, Einstieg.
Anyway, the S-Bahn trundled past Südstadt and I noticed a sign which said, “Rote Karte für Schwarzfahrer” (loosely, red card for fare-dodgers – penalty €40). Spoke to Laura on the phone – so the woman who was waiting with me on the station heard me speaking fluent English.
Then, I noticed that there were guys on the train checking tickets and I thought, “shit. I hope they didn’t see that I was already on before Südstadt..” I also knew that I hadn’t popped my ticket into the stamping machine, which is what you’re supposed to do when you get on board (entwertet). Anyway, they got to me (in the mean time, I had thought about jumping ship), and he said to me (from this point on, I need to make clear what’s in German and what’s in English. German is marked (G) and English (E)), “(G) Why didn’t you stamp your ticket when you got on board?”, me: “(E) I’m sorry, I don’t speak German, what?” He turned to the woman and said, “(G) Do you speak English? Do you know him?” she, “(G) Yeah, I speak German.. We spoke at the stop.” He, “(G) Tell him he has to stamp the ticket in the machines on board when he gets on, otherwise he has to pay €40”. He continued, “(G) and tell him he owes you a big ice-cream, cause without you he’d have to pay €40.” He then turned away to talk to someone else, taking my ticket with him. She turned to me and started explaining this to me. I whispered at her, “(G) I understood” and gave her a big smile. She looked really confused, but smiled back at me. So I was safe.
We got off the train – she before me – and I walked up to her and I said, “(G) Looks like I owe you a big ice-cream?” And she said, “(G) I really thought you were German! Then I heard you speaking on the phone in English – like a native speaker – and I got really confused… I thought to myself, ‘How can he speak such good German?’!” Me, “(G) No, I am English. I just speak some German.” Then we started to walk away and she stopped me again and asked, “(G) Are you really English?”.
Best feeling ever.
Seriously.
Today also: did lots of knitting with Veronika and had more bant with her. We spoke about homosexuality and cultural transfers, her boyfriend in England and her fears about getting tied down, ate in Pizza Hut (I was a massive fatty).
PS: remember “orite nommo.”

One of the most amazing things happened to me today. Definitely a confidence boost. I was on such a high afterwards.

I was due to go and look at Laura’s house today (this is going to get confusing cause there were two Lauras… Laura Marwood, my friend from England, and Laura Paul, the girl who’s Zwischenmiete-ing her room). So LPaul texted me asking whether we could rearrange for me to go see her flat. So I did. Got on the S-bahn and texted her just beforehand to ask which type of ticket I should get. I knew “City-Ticket” would get me some of the way, but wasn’t sure whether Rheinstrasse was out of the “City” zone. Anyway, I bought the City-Ticket for €1 (the other ticket would’ve been €2.10). LPaul texted me shortly after I’d got on and told me that the City-Ticket is not enough, but don’t worry – they never check it.

Went to Laura’s and checked it out, met LPaul (potentially Marwood’s) housemate, Danijel, a Croatian descent, German-speaking homosexual who’s in a relationship with an Arab (v jealous of that relationship). LPaul and Danijel (this is confusing, right?) were loads of fun and I’m quite the jeloza of Marwood’s potential house-sitch.

Anyway, cleared up some questions I had about Germany with them, including what S-Bahn ticket gets me where in HeideB. Apparently City Ticket only counts for as far as Südstadt – Rheinstrasse is a few stops beyond the Südstadt-Bhf.

So I went back to the Rheinstrasse place and sat down.. Couple of people got on the tram waiting for me and then another woman sat next to me. Probably late 20s, maybe early 30s. We got chatting about something I care not to explain. In German. Only nice short sentences, but was fun anyway. Tram arrives, Einstieg.

Anyway, the S-Bahn trundled past Südstadt and I noticed a sign which said, “Rote Karte für Schwarzfahrer” (loosely, red card for fare-dodgers – penalty €40). Spoke to Laura on the phone – so the woman who was waiting with me on the station heard me speaking fluent English.

Then, I noticed that there were guys on the train checking tickets and I thought, “shit. I hope they didn’t see that I was already on before Südstadt..” I also knew that I hadn’t popped my ticket into the stamping machine, which is what you’re supposed to do when you get on board (entwertet). Anyway, they got to me (in the mean time, I had thought about jumping ship), and he said to me (from this point on, I need to make clear what’s in German and what’s in English. German is marked (G) and English (E)), “(G) Why didn’t you stamp your ticket when you got on board?”, me: “(E) I’m sorry, I don’t speak German, what?” He turned to the woman and said, “(G) Do you speak English? Do you know him?” she, “(G) Yeah, I speak English.. We spoke at the stop.” He, “(G) Tell him he has to stamp the ticket in the machines on board when he gets on, otherwise he has to pay €40”. He continued, “(G) and tell him he owes you a big ice-cream, cause without you he’d have to pay €40.” He then turned away to talk to someone else, taking my ticket with him. She turned to me and started explaining this to me. I whispered at her, “(G) I understood” and gave her a big smile. She looked really confused, but smiled back at me. So I was safe.

We got off the train – she before me – and I walked up to her and I said, “(G) Looks like I owe you a big ice-cream?” And she said, “(G) I really thought you were German! Then I heard you speaking on the phone in English – like a native speaker – and I got really confused… I thought to myself, ‘How can he speak such good German?’!” Me, “(G) No, I am English. I just speak some German.” Then we started to walk away and she stopped me again and asked, “(G) Are you really English?”.

Best feeling ever.

Seriously.

Today also: did lots of knitting with Veronika and had more bant with her. We spoke about homosexuality and cultural transfers, her boyfriend in England and her fears about getting tied down, ate in Pizza Hut (I was a massive fatty).

PS: remember “orite nommo.”

Remember ENERJOY?

August 14, 2009

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Remember ENERJOY?
I’m going to have to go on a grand tour of Heidelberg to document all of the pictures that are supposed to go with these entries. But then I don’t want to look like a massive tourist. I saw a t-shirt today on which was printed (in English), “I’m not a tourist // I live here”. I so wanted to get it, but thought it might be a bit too standard. I’m gonna go get it tomorrow.
So I spent the whole day with the Rajpars. We went up the Hauptstrasse to the v end and then jumped on the fernicula to the castle. There are three stops (first one’s castle, another view point then a change and a really high viewpoint) and we started at the top and worked down. By the time we got to the castle itself, we were all pretty jiggered and the sun was beaming quite heavily by this point. We slowed and wandered and it was lovely. Heidelberg’s a really beautiful city and I am mega lucky.
On the way back, we dropped Jaffer to do some girly shopping. There are some really cutting-edge clothes shops on the high street and we went in some. Seems chunky and interestingly shaped knitwear is coming back in this fall, so I’m gunna make something dashing for someone fabby. Fay tried on this big cowl thing, which was huge chunky and had a v deep hood. It was blue and I loved it all over.
We went into the wool shop on the high street. They sell a lot of the same kinda stuff there, but I might have a bit of a better nosey when I get a bit more confident. Although, I’m not sure how that’s ever going to happen, considering I’m only good at being an out male knitter once I’ve got to know the staff and getting to know staff in a foreign language, when they’re already apprehensive of you as a male in a wool shop is going to be difficult. She pointedly asked me whether she could help me as I was inspecting her fine cotton yarns. Bitch.
Then we went for more shopping and a big cup of (thank-god, decent) tea in a lovely place just across the road from me. The waitress was beautiful and Safiya made me tell her that she thought she was beautiful. Which I did. But she spoke to us in English after I’d (later) asked her whether asking for milk (instead of Kaffeesahne) with tea was weird here. So I replied to her in German again. I hate it when people do that.
Then came an adventure on the S-bahn and taxi systems of Heidelberg. We decided we go back to the Rajs’ hotel for a hors d’oeuvres (all letters pronounced hard and obviously). I made them a deal, saying I’d only do this if we went back there on the tram (s-bahn). So off we trundled to Bismarkplatz and bought ourselves (later realised, the wrong) tickets. I asked a woman sitting nearby – who turned out to be v smiley – which train we’d need for the Mariott hotel. She said, the 5 or the 2. So we jumped on. Safiya and Fay were convinced we were going in the wrong direction after we hit a few stops, so we jumped off outside the Hauptbahnhof. I was using all the very best of my mappish (and that means limited in this context) knowledge of Heidelberg to work out which direction we needed to be in (west, was the answer). We’d come west already on the train, but the Raj-women were so sure we were wrong, that I had to believe them. So we jumped into a taxi outside the Hbf.
Taxi driver started cheering to the others, “Mariott, Mariott!” and told me it was only a 5-10m walk from where we’d picked up (yes, Raj-women, I was right..). He’d had a bet with the other drivers that we were going to Frankfurt or something. I didn’t really get it. But anyway. He was from Iraq and spoke Kurdish and a few words of Arabic, along with very poorly grammarised German, which made me feel loads better. He didn’t speak any English at us, so I was v interpretery. It was yum. We arrived, we ate horse-durvs, saw Arabs, broke a mug, watched some German MTV and cartoons and then I left.
To be stood on the Betriebshof S-bahn station for 30 minutes, while I waited for the number 22 to take me back to B’markpltz. A bus (not sure whether buses and s-bahns are entirely interchangable, but they seem to be), numbered 35, stopped and then left and I realised moments later that I could’ve got on that one, with my €1 City-Ticket (pronounced in the accent the Germans have when they say English words (Cash Group. lol.)). So that was my first adventure on the s-bahn. I saw an advert “ENERJOY” on the way back on the side of a buidling. This is the title word.
So that was the first time I rode the s-bahn all by myself. Enbiggening, as Lisa S and Jane Ganners would say.
Other stuff that happened: ate first pretzel (nomnom), failed at returning a bottle via pfand, failed at looking at a house on Turnerstrasse for Marwood, failed at remaining anonymous on StudiVZ (akin to Facebook, but for Germans).
That’s all.

I’m going to have to go on a grand tour of Heidelberg to document all of the pictures that are supposed to go with these entries. But then I don’t want to look like a massive tourist. I saw a t-shirt today on which was printed (in English), “I’m not a tourist // I live here”. I so wanted to get it, but thought it might be a bit too standard. I’m gonna go get it tomorrow.

So I spent the whole day with the Rajpars. We went up the Hauptstrasse to the v end and then jumped on the fernicula to the castle. There are three stops (first one’s castle, another view point then a change and a really high viewpoint) and we started at the top and worked down. By the time we got to the castle itself, we were all pretty jiggered and the sun was beaming quite heavily by this point. We slowed and wandered and it was lovely. Heidelberg’s a really beautiful city and I am mega lucky.

On the way back, we dropped Jaffer to do some girly shopping. There are some really cutting-edge clothes shops on the high street and we went in some. Seems chunky and interestingly shaped knitwear is coming back in this fall, so I’m gunna make something dashing for someone fabby. Fay tried on this big cowl thing, which was huge chunky and had a v deep hood. It was blue and I loved it all over.

We went into the wool shop on the high street. They sell a lot of the same kinda stuff there, but I might have a bit of a better nosey when I get a bit more confident. Although, I’m not sure how that’s ever going to happen, considering I’m only good at being an out male knitter once I’ve got to know the staff and getting to know staff in a foreign language, when they’re already apprehensive of you as a male in a wool shop is going to be difficult. She pointedly asked me whether she could help me as I was inspecting her fine cotton yarns. Bitch.

Then we went for more shopping and a big cup of (thank-god, decent) tea in a lovely place just across the road from me. The waitress was beautiful and Safiya made me tell her that she thought she was beautiful. Which I did. But she spoke to us in English after I’d (later) asked her whether asking for milk (instead of Kaffeesahne) with tea was weird here. So I replied to her in German again. I hate it when people do that.

Then came an adventure on the S-bahn and taxi systems of Heidelberg. We decided we go back to the Rajs’ hotel for a hors d’oeuvres (all letters pronounced hard and obviously). I made them a deal, saying I’d only do this if we went back there on the tram (s-bahn). So off we trundled to Bismarkplatz and bought ourselves (later realised, the wrong) tickets. I asked a woman sitting nearby – who turned out to be v smiley – which train we’d need for the Mariott hotel. She said, the 5 or the 2. So we jumped on. Safiya and Fay were convinced we were going in the wrong direction after we hit a few stops, so we jumped off outside the Hauptbahnhof. I was using all the very best of my mappish (and that means limited in this context) knowledge of Heidelberg to work out which direction we needed to be in (west, was the answer). We’d come west already on the train, but the Raj-women were so sure we were wrong, that I had to believe them. So we jumped into a taxi outside the Hbf.

Taxi driver started cheering to the others, “Mariott, Mariott!” and told me it was only a 5-10m walk from where we’d picked up (yes, Raj-women, I was right..). He’d had a bet with the other drivers that we were going to Frankfurt or something. I didn’t really get it. But anyway. He was from Iraq and spoke Kurdish and a few words of Arabic, along with very poorly grammarised German, which made me feel loads better. He didn’t speak any English at us, so I was v interpretery. It was yum. We arrived, we ate horse-durvs, saw Arabs, broke a mug, watched some German MTV and cartoons and then I left.

To be stood on the Betriebshof S-bahn station for 30 minutes, while I waited for the number 22 to take me back to B’markpltz. A bus (not sure whether buses and s-bahns are entirely interchangable, but they seem to be), numbered 35, stopped and then left and I realised moments later that I could’ve got on that one, with my €1 City-Ticket (pronounced in the accent the Germans have when they say English words (Cash Group. lol.)). So that was my first adventure on the s-bahn. I saw an advert “ENERJOY” on the way back on the side of a buidling. This is the title word.

So that was the first time I rode the s-bahn all by myself. Enbiggening, as Lisa S and Jane Ganners would say.

Other stuff that happened: ate first pretzel (nomnom), failed at returning a bottle via pfand, failed at looking at a house on Turnerstrasse for Marwood, failed at remaining anonymous on StudiVZ (akin to Facebook, but for Germans).

That’s all.