I’ve been an absent blogger but this time, with good reason, I’ve moved countries! Chris, Mr Pablo and I now reside in Leipzig, Germany. We’ve been here just over 2 weeks, and it’s certainly been a ride.
How’s it all going? I’ll divide into good and bad in dot point form to give you a wee snap shot. I’ve had a rotten lurgy so have been too unwell to explore much or cook much so my lens is somewhat limited to local haunts.
Bad (and some good)
- I left my mobile phone on the plane to Frankfurt. Despite contacting the appropriate authorities it was never handed in. And it’s not worth much either. Luckily Chris sent a phone to his Dad in the UK which he doesn’t use so he’s posting it to me. Hence the lack of photos
- We had major dramas with the Lufthansa and Mr Pablo. In short, he was left in Frankfurt whilst we flew to Leipzig. I caught a train back the next day (four hours each way) and spent 5 hours in animal cargo/customs/animal cargo/ et al. All of these places were a fair distance from the main airport and required driving to each. Yes, neither the airline or pet travel company detailed any of this. Stressful, very stressful. I was very lucky to befriend a kindly cab driver who spoke English and really helped me out. In his own time for free. As we’d caused a bit of a rucus at Lufthansa the day before when we realised Mr P wasn’t loaded onto the plane. I also had a lovely Lufthansa animal staffer called Armando helping me out. It’s when you depend on the kindness of strangers that you really value goodness in people.
I developed a rotten sore throat and ear infection and bad cough a couple of days after arriving. Probably the same lurgy that struck everyone back home. I needed to see a doctor and did a google for doctors who could speak some English.
Ah the joy of the German medical system. Appointments could only be made by an online form and the place was closed all weekend. Despite sending two requests for an appointment I received no reply. So went down to the clinic which looked like a weird hospital DDR style. The receptionist was dressed in white and didn’t speak English (fair enough). We were all offered tea and coffee in the waiting room. Called in to see a student doctor perhaps in her 50’s. Explained symptoms and asked how to say ear in Deutsch. She suggested holding my nose and exhaling repeatedly with my mouth closed. I explained I had tried this repeatedly and my ears have been ringing at a high volume for days and are extremely painful. Then her supervisor came in (wearing shorts and t shirt hehe) and changed the battery of the ear checker, digging it far enough into my ear that I screamed. He then showed the student comparable pictures of ear infections on google pics and pointed to mine. They decided that a nasal spray from the chemist would work and if it wasn’t better in 2 days go back for a prescription for ‘very serious treatment-‘ antibiotics. I’m cursing myself for not bring a pack with me from Australia. It’s times like this I miss Brunswick Betta Health, as crap as it was. That said, the appointment was free and the nasal spray was 2€. It contains water and essential oils. ( I returned for another visit and since my hearing is still impaired, I received a script for antibiotics and a referral for an ear specialist if the antibiotics don’t fix it).
The chemist was like going to a liquor shop with no booze on show. There were sweets and bandages but I couldn’t see any drugs. If you are planning a trip to Deutschland bring all the drugs. Upon advice of other expats I took 6 months worth of my prescription meds with me to Leipzig.
It’s been really hot. 36c today which is of course, not as hot as Melbourne but there’s no air con anywhere. Poor Mr P in his winter coat!
Things that are just a bit weird or different
- We only have one key for the apartment, for both of us. We are not allowed to copy the key. I am terrified of losing the key. When we next leave the country we will try get some copies made overseas.
- Supermarkets are interesting. Each supermarket has at least three full aisles of booze and a comparative amount of meat. I have never seen so much meat in my life in all it’s forms. I have bought some vegan bratwurst however.
- You get charged a tax on any bottles (glass or plastic) that you buy. These can returned to the store for a refund.
- Despite scouring supermarkets and health food shops, I am unable to find bicarbonate soda in quantities bigger than 50g, more than single sachets of yeast or baking powder, ice cube trays or shower puffers
<span style="color: #37404e; line-height: 20px;"><i>(these things)</i><a style="line-height: 20px; margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em; text-align: center;" href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/--7XxyMHTOeI/U8vVAtKbdfI/AAAAAAAAI8Q/8cQw_S_884g/s1600/Bath-Puffs-20901.jpg"><img src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/--7XxyMHTOeI/U8vVAtKbdfI/AAAAAAAAI8Q/8cQw_S_884g/s1600/Bath-Puffs-20901.jpg" alt="" width="320" height="239" border="0" /></a><span style="color: #37404e; line-height: 20px;"> <br /> <span style="color: #37404e; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 20px;">I am debating whether to wait until I go to the UK next or buy all of the above on ebay.
- Sausages are hugely popular. Even when a sausage stall is located next to indian and thai restaurants for the same price, people will opt for the sausages.
- Ice cream parlours are very popular, serving huge sundaes. I have enjoyed a few due to lurgy recovery. Great gelato!
- Downloading aka torrenting is heavily penalised. We have a proxy but I miss being able to d/l at whim.
<span style="color: #37404e;"><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 20px;">
The natural museum near our apartment . It currently has an exhibition about Australia, complete with posters of badly taxidermied kangaroos.
- Despite speaking very little German I can generally get by. Chris is fluent and I am keen to do a proper intensive course once the schools reopen in August. I have done German lessons in Australia, it’s just hard to remember! Unlike Berlin, most people don’t speak English unless they are younger.
- There’s a fruit and veg market twice a week in the town square with lovely fruit, veg, bread, flowers etc.
- Booze at the supermarket is ridiculously cheap. When you go out, beer is the cheapest followed by wine, mixed spirits (like a gin and tonic) are expensive by Australian standards but the wine is good.
- Buffet brunch is really popular here on the weekends. I love brunch!
- It’s great living in the city and being close to things. It’s a walk to shopping centres, the town square, cafes and restaurants etc
- Our cargo arrived without any damage.
- Yesterday I found the Leipzig version of Brunswick st/Smith st in Melbourne. A big second hand store like Savers where I bought a skirt, plenty of bars and interesting restaurants. It’s 8 tram stops from our house, nice and close.
- My ears are still blocked but my throat is better and hopefully I’ll be well enough next week to get stuck into working on my book.
We can attest the fire station is still in operation
Stay tuned for more pics once I have a phone again!