France Ski Trip Part 2: Cara, Heather and the Goblet of Gluhwein

France Ski Trip Part 2: Cara, Heather and the Goblet of Gluhwein

Back to part 2 of mine and Cara’s skiing adventures. I’m currently writing this on the train on the way home from the airport… at stupid time in the morning. I think by the time I get home today I’ll have been on the train longer than I was on the plane from Geneva to Munich.

Wednesday

Like most ski holidays, the host of the chalet, Ben, had the day off on Wednesday so we had to sort out our own food. He left us croissants and pain au chocolats to cook for breakfast and showed us where everything was but after just over 3 days of being catered for it was like we’d never had to make our own breakfast before. Luckily we booked a restaurant for the evening and we had all already decided to try out the French speciality of Raclette.

We had a chill morning skiing then we headed back to the chalet at lunch as Cara’s sister Hebe was going to join us from Edinburgh for the last half of the week. Both Cara and Hebe hadn’t been skiing in 3 years but they were on another level to me. Partly because I feel like I’m gonna die 50% of the time and partly because I weigh about the same as a 12 year old so I have no hope at getting up any speed.

We came in from skiing a bit early in order to nap and mentally prepare ourselves for the cheese feast that night. The restaurant we chose was just across the road from the chalet so we could literally roll home through the snow and the end of the night. The walk over was only a hop over the road but walking through the thick snowfall was so magical so we made the most of it.

Once we were all seated and drinks (wine and ridiculously coloured cocktails) ordered we tried to look like we were thinking about what to order but really we all knew the only thing to go for was the Raclette. Raclette is basically just heating up cheese until its melting off the piece and then sliding it in the most food porny way onto a plate of potatoes, meats and pickles. Its honestly the nicest thing I’ve eaten in a while and I curse my childs stomach for not letting me eat more. Our table had a half wheel of Raclette cheese on a Raclette instrument (don’t think that’s the right word) for each half of the table and it’s safe to say we made the most of that wheel! I’ll admit that I was quite cocky at the start of the meal, claiming that I could eat loads but after 2 plates I was done and I let Cara, Teife and Mark (guy from the other group) absolutely destroy the cheese game.

Once we were stuffed full to the brim of cheese and happy that we had got our monies worth, we shuffled home through the snow which was still falling in massive thick snowflakes.

Thursday

The group awoke to a ‘cheese hangover’ as Cara had warned us and the thought of any food, let alone a full English was unbearable. We got out onto the slopes a tad later than usual that day but we did all have a good few pounds of extra cheese weight. Weirdly at lunch I managed to share a ham and cheese crepe with Teife quite happily, washed down with a Gluhwein of course.

We found some really good pistes to try and I think Thursday was probably my favourite day of the week because my boots had finally been broken in and didn’t stop the circulation to my feet anymore so I could fully enjoy the skiing and the views.

Friday

Friday was everyone’s last day skiing and I could only ski until midday so we started by skiing and catching lifts up to the highest point on the map for one last Gluhwein. In our gondola, Cara and I spoke to a really sweet French family. Well really Cara spoke to them and I stared until she translated the gobbledygook/French for me. To prove to the French people I wasn’t a complete idiot I told them the little French I know; Bonjour, je m’appelle… and of course the classic Voulez-vous coucher avec moi. The 13 year old boy had a right laugh at that and loved but I don’t think his parents were too pleased I’d just solicited their teenage son in a gondola.

I came down off the mountain quite reluctantly but quite fast as Cara and I wanted to see if we could get our top speed and average speed up on our YUGE app. I managed a cool 60.8km/h with an average speed of 20.5km/h which I blame on being stopped with a Gluhwein in my hand for half the holiday.

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Cara with aforementioned goblet of Gluhwein


I had already packed everything up so it was just a case of drying off my ski boots and catching my transfer down the mountain. The transfer was about 3 hours and quite bearable since I had a load of stuff downloaded on Netflix (best invention of my life) and I basically just zombied out. The problems started when I was dropped off at Geneva airport and started to look for my hotel which was advertised as being right next to the airport… it was not. After lugging my massive case all round Geneva airport with no hotel help desk in sight I went back outside only to spot my hotel. It was opposite the airport, with a motorway and dual carriageway in between. Apparently a free shuttle bus was meant to run from the airport but that was nowhere in sight and my call to the hotel failed as the receptionist didn’t speak any English or just didn’t understand my stressed out northern accent. I took this time to have a slight breakdown about being on my own in a completely foreign country, not being able to speak the language just thinking I’m not adult enough for this!!! Luckily google saved me and I managed to scramble onto a bus and follow some people with suitcases until I finally made it into my hotel.

I enjoyed the shower big enough for like 5 people and my first night in a double bed since Christmas and settled in for my 10 minutes of sleep.

Saturday

Not sure if I can count Friday and Saturday as 2 days because I only slept about 4 hours between them but anyway I was up ridiculously early to catch my flight back to Munich from Geneva. The airport wasn’t too stressful and they had about 500 people working on security so I whizzed through. The flight home was only 50 minutes and I was enjoying the views of snow covered mountains until I accidentally fell asleep. True to my pattern of the trip of being a mess, I woke myself with a snort/snore which startled the poor guy next to me.

Once I was back on home soil and on the s bahn I felt all the stress of the journey melt away. I’m glad I can now return to Munich and really feel like I’m going ‘home’. I’ve really grown here and been through a few changes in my life so I can feel that Munich is always going to be an important place for me. Hopefully I can stay and continue to grow and have all sorts of adventures here in the future.

I started this post on the train home and now I’m finishing it back home a few days later, in my true blogging form. All in all skiing was just amazing and just what I needed. To spend a week with Cara, who is the one person who really knows what its like to be in my situation was so lovely and now I can’t wait to be back at Easter and see all my fav people and most importantly drop it aaalll night in fax.

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France Ski Trip: Calves, calves and carving

So this week is the biggest party weekend in Germany, Carneval! But of course I’ve left the country for a ski getaway with Cara and her fam. Perfect opportunity to blog tho and the insta opportunities are insaaane.

Saturday

Saturday began way too early at 5am as my flight was at 8:30 and I had my bag to check in. Luckily the flight was the shortest I’ve ever been on, just 50 minutes. I met Cara’s parents in Geneva airport and then we set off on our transfer up into the mountains. Cara arrived at the chalet half an hour before us in her blablacar and claimed us a good room.

The chalet has 4 rooms with room for 10 people so me and Cara have a room, Cara’s parents have another and then the other 2 rooms are taken by 5 randoms who we’ve now got to know and are really nice. The chalet is looked after by this guy called Ben whos basically like me; doesn’t really care about the job but just wants to get paid to be here. He makes us cooked breakfast every morning, makes a cake for afternoon tea which is just left out for us to graze on after skiing and then makes us a 3 course meal in the evening.

We went out to pick up our ski hire which was a farce as usual and then had a quick beer in a local bar to watch the rugby. The bar had a live musician on every night and that afternoon there was an amazing brass band playing outside in the snow who looked a bit cold but were defo having a good time. Soon it was time to head back to the chalet for dinner and to meet the other people staying with us. We all did the weird adult handshake thing when we first met which I don’t think is supposed to be weird but it just feels so grown up to me and I have hand shake anxiety that my handshake is too lame and I’ll be judged for not breaking their hand. Anyway…. We had a lovely meal and got to know each other. It turned out they were all from Cambridge Uni so Cara exploded but she got a good inside opinion of what its really like to go there and live there. We soon discovered that the chalet was advertised as ‘unlimited wine’ so decided to take full advantage and accidentally got quite drunk.

We stumbled into our room at about 1am and then remembered that Cara had to write her daily diary. Lets just say that its quite unintelligible to read and understand now, lots of hashtags and she even kindly linked the actual website address of my blog into her hand written diary which only she reads.

Sunday

After the previous nights festivities we dragged ourselves up at 7:50 for breakfast at 8 and we managed it surprisingly well despite our slightly hungover state. We had a full cooked breakfast which me and Cara treated like an other-worldly being #europeanproblems.

Me, Cara and Cara’s parents headed out to explore the pistes and lowkey learn to ski again. We had lunch at the very very top of a mountain and enjoyed the view. After another few hours of skiing we headed back to the chalet and just at the very last run we had the first fall of the holiday, Cara’s mum. Of course then I immediately also fell over watching her fall so at least I also got my first fall out of the way.

Back at the chalet we finally felt the best feeling in the world; taking ski boots off. Tea was chicken in tarragon sauce, veg and homemade wedges then spiced peach crumble which tasted like England with the crumble but Christmas with all the spices. After the previous night we headed to bed straight after tea which gave me and Cara to write actually readable summaries of the day.

 

Monday

Monday was the last day before the snow was due to start on Tuesday so me and Cara took the opportunity to get out on our own and go all the way to another valley nearby. I always prefer skiing when you’re travelling somewhere and on an adventure so Monday was really fun. We finished our journey with a gondola ride across a valley with a glass bottom with a view of a 350m drop. We had a quick rest from our tiring gondola trip with a 5 Euro hot chocolate. I considered having a gluhwein but then realised it was 10:30 in the morning and even I have a limit. We had a study of the map and saw a purple piste called le piste mauve which turned out to be a piste sponsoured by Milka which promised a Milka cow to take selfies with and FREE CHOCOLATE!!! With this in mind we skied as fast as we ever have before towards the promised land.

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Me and Cara with our new friend

Despite our reservations the Milka piste lived up to all of our expectations (apart from my hope that the snow on the piste would be painted actual Milka purple). There was a cardboard cutout of a purple cow and even a guy in a cow suit who was super keen to take selfies with us. A woman dressed in full Milka merch took our pic and gave us a mini Milka egg  and we skied away with our holiday and lives complete.

 

We had a light lunch at the top of the mountain then headed back down to la plagne and skied right to our chalet door.

 

Tuesday

We awoke on Tuesday to snow still falling and a good covering of snow on the pistes. Unfortunately visibility was quite bad but the snow was so good to ski on so we headed up the mountain to see if we could get above the snow. Of course up the mountain the snow was even worse and it was virtually impossible to see any definition on the snow so you basically had to just turn wherever and hope for the best. I think once it stops snowing and we’re just left with nice perfect powder.

We came in from skiing a bit earlier than usual because  we literally couldn’t see what we were doing and we really felt like having a chill afternoon. I started off the chill afternoon catching up on social media in bed but ended up having an accidental 2 hour nap. We had dinner which was a cheesy, potato, bacon bits filled thing which has a name but its French and I’m not about that. Now I’m writing this up while we’re all playing rubbish trivia games and drinking wine in the living room, perfect evening.

Mothers Visit: Part 2

Mothers Visit: Part 2

Welcome back to Mothers Visit: part 2, second edition. So I typed this whole blog up on Friday but just as I had completed my 1200 word masterpiece, my laptop decided to crash and delete the whole thing. In short, I rage quit from the blog for a few days but after a weekend of reflection and cursing my laptop I’m ready to start again. I’m actually typing this on the train right now, looking like a maniac again typing like my life depends on it. I’m also saving this document every 2 seconds just in case so hopefully today is the day I finally post this.

 

Saturday

After our early start the previous morning, we decided to have a lie in followed by a leisurely breakfast before heading out to see Nymphenburg palace. The palace was used as the summer residence for the former rulers of Bavaria and its situated quite close to the city centre. For some reason I thought it would be an hour or so out of the city, like most of the other castles and palaces round here, but no its literally a tram ride away. I had already seen some instagrams of people skating on the frozen lake and canals at the front of the palace but when we went the ice was looking a tad dodgy. We walked up to the palace along the canal which was infested by blood thirsty looking swans and geese. It is very impressive from the end of the canal and defo reminds me of somewhere some snooty woman from 4 weddings would get married at.

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Totally candid walk up to Nymphenburg Palace

We paid our 9 Euros and started the tour of the castle. Inside its filled with the usual European castle stuff like fancy frescos, strange fabric wallpaper and uncomfortable looking furniture. We had a nice wander round the palace gardens to get our steps in and watched some mental people skate on the lake then headed back into the city to grab some lunch. I took mum to one of my favourite lunch places near Marienplatz which serves pizza by the slice and has the beest pizza/cocktail deal.

 

 

 

On the way home we made the ill-advised decision to pop into dm (a super cheap makeup/toiletry store which is my fav place in the whole city). The plan was to just get me some face wipes and leave but in the end we left with a bag full of makeup, toiletries, and a mirror randomly; all for just 20 Euros. Bargain!

step count: 18806

 

Sunday

Sunday began with another leisurely morning in which we planned the day ahead. One of my favourite sights in the city is the surfers who surf on a natural wave in the Eisbach at the edge of the English Garden. With it being -1 degrees out, Mum didn’t believe that they could still be surfing so we set off to find out.

Of course I was right and there were loads of people looking cold in wet suits waiting to surf. If anything there was the same amount of surfers there as there was when it was 28 degrees in summer. After about 15 minutes of watching and taking some quick snaps we moved on to get inside somewhere and get warm. Just a tram ride away is the Deutsches Museum so we headed there.

The Deutsches Museum is basically like the Manchester museum of science and industry but with a million other exhibits on a million different topics. When we got in we were just in time to see a presentation on electrical power where they have all electrical stuff that looks like stuff in a power plant and they jump electricity from one metal thing to another to create lightening. Obviously from that pathetic explanation I don’t really know much about this but we thought it would be cool to watch. They told us it was going to be quite loud so me and mum were prepared and didn’t really react to the sound because it was just like loud electrical buzzing. Weirdly all the Germans watching with us were really affected by it and all were covering their ears and wincing. Not even just kids, grown adults were covering their ears like that one lame kid that’s scared of fireworks. So weird. The rest of the museum was really interesting but slightly too much. After we had trudged round 3 floors we were mentally and physically drained so we headed back to Marienplatz to get some lunch. I will say though if any of my physics peps come and visit, I’ll definitely take them back there because their nerdy selves would love it!

So we were looking for somewhere to have lunch in Marienplatz (my second home) and I finally had the opportunity to take Mum to Hans im Gluck, a burger restaurant which is my first choice for any lunch date or meetup. Their burgers are to die for and they even have really nice veggie and vegan burgers which is a miracle in Germany! Mum enjoyed her visit but she was highly offended when the waiter came to serve us and asked if we were American, lol.
step count: 12512

 

Monday

Monday was Mums last day and she was due to leave for the airport just after midday so we decided to just have a chill brunch and a stroll round the Olympiaeinkaufszentrum before she had to go. We stored her suitcase (with some struggle) in a locker in Hauptbahnhof and set off on my old usual u bahn to the shopping centre. We had a bit of a wander round and even managed to go into dm without buying anything which has never happened in the history of dm visits. We stopped at Richarts for some brunch. I had a Flammkuchen which is like a super crispy thin pizza but with cream cheese, chives and bacon bits on top and mum ordered tomato soup, not something I’ve ever thought to order in Germany. When it came it looked like a red cappuccino but one all the froth was mixed in it was actually quite nice. We passed the time chatting and people watching; our 2 favourite pastimes. Soon it was time to head back to Hauptbahnhof and for us to say goodbye. Our goodbyes aren’t too sad anymore because we’re both back and forth between England and Germany anyway so its never long until we see each other again.

 

Phew so blog finished! This is definitely the longest its taken me to write a blog but think it was worth it. Just as a round up; today I picked up my ski stuff before I set off to meet Cara and her parents in France for our ski trip! It’s gonna be such a good week, partly because of the daily free afternoon tea in our chalet but partly because it’ll be so good to spend some time with Cara as shes the only person I know from home who’s doing this living abroad thing so she understands all the positives but also all the negatives. We can cry about missing Walkers crisps and Cadburys together! Look forward to a blog about our European adventures in a few weeks!!

Mothers Visit

Mothers Visit

Once again I had a visit from my semi-retired Mother and once again I blasted through a load of tourist activities which are on my doorstep 24/7 but only seem to get done if I have people here to show them to. Obviously we had a fab time and I’m sure it will all make a very amusing blog for my friends slumming it at uni, to my mums work friends at DSU who are probably wondering where she disappears to every other weekend!

Strange side note: Recently I’ve randomly become obsessed with a pedometer app called Pacer which tracks how many steps you take during a day. I’ve got mum onto it so the weekend was partly taken up with this obsession. Therefore, there will be a step count at the end of each day for the blogs for this weekend because we bloody smashed it ngl.

Thursday

Thursday started off just as usual, I got up mid-morning and whizzed round my room to tidy up a bit before Mother arrived that evening. Mimi had hockey in the afternoon which is my intense studying hour with occasional breaks to watch German kids run about with hockey sticks flying all over the place. After this Oma took us to the train station to pick Mum up. She made her way all the way from the airport to my station all on her own with only a tiny s bahn map I was given last August on my language course; I was v impressed. Oma tried a bit of English but she struggled a bit so I took over translating between them. This was the first time Mum had heard me speaking properly to a real German and apparently I sounded quite convincing. Unfortunately, Mimi chose this time to start correcting my German and show me up… thanks gal!

Oma dropped us back home and I immediately began the house tour. Mum unloaded her case and presented me with my England care package; a pack of 240 teabags, custard creams, a chocolate orange, a multi pack of walkers crisps and a pack of creme eggs. Later on my host parents took us out for a meal at a traditional Bavarian beer hall where we had schnitzels bigger than our faces and a cheeky Radler.

Step count: 8686

Friday

We were up super early on Friday for our 9am tour to Neuschwanstein castle. We grabbed some pastries Opa had bought and set off for the bahnhof. Of course the one day we had to be somewhere on time, the first ever German train delay happened. We made it to the tour group 10 minutes late and I was stressing that they would have left without us. But no. The train to Neuschwanstein was leaving in an hour and we didn’t even need to be there yet. The tour guide suggested we get a coffee and something for the train journey so obviously everyone piled into Starbucks but me being a savvy/scrimping teenager had already sussed out the cheapest coffee place where they even leave out the syrup pump things so you can get a coffee for 1.50 Euros then go cray with the pumps and make your own vanilla/hazelnut/caramel, teeth rotting (but very affordable) drink. We then picked up some extra mini maps for mother (not like she’s got a map and 2 map apps on her phone) and then got on our train.

The 2-hour train journey took us through the Bavarian foothills and stopped just at the base of the mountains. Throughout the journey the tour guide told us the story of King Ludwig 2nd who built Neuschwanstein castle. I’ve already been before with my summer language course and I wrote a blog about it then if you want to have a lil throwback read. Even so it’s still a very interesting story and it was so lovely to see the caste and its surroundings in the snow.

We started off in a café at the bottom of the road up to the castle so obvs I had to grab a cheeky gluhwein to prepare from the 2km hike up. Once we had reached the castle at the top of the hill (accidental Ed Sheeran reference?!) we had selfie opportunities galore! The views from the top of the mountain are incredible so obviously we needed to have our faces in the middle of it to commemorate the trip. Selfie session finished, we headed back down to the small village at the bottom of the hill and found the lake that I had sunbathed next to in the summer was now completely frozen. A dilemma began immediately with me wanting to walk on the ice but mother insisting I’d fall in. In total I think she said ‘don’t do it’ 3 times before she said ‘nahh go on it’ll be funny’. What a good influence… but it did make a good photo opp.

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Walking on Alpsee

Soon it was time to head back on the train home but for some reason it felt like it took about 500 hours and the train was like -5 degrees for no reason so by the time we made it home we were hungry, exhausted and cold. Perfect time for a takeaway! We settled in my cosy au pair room for the evening and I wrote up my notes for this blog. We also had the opportunity to sort out Mum’s New Zealand blog which she’ll hopefully start writing soon… Me being the blogging expert, I was commissioned to sort out the layout of her blog and basically show her how to use it. However, me being blog obsessed, I quickly got distracted and jealous at how amazing I had made her blog look. So I abandoned my project and began pimping up my own blog page. I’d highly recommend checking it out on a laptop or computer instead of on your phone because I’m honestly so proud of it. I’ve now got a swanky new design, a menu bar with links to categories of different types of blogs I’ve written and even social media links. I probably shouldn’t be so excited about something so trivial but I just find it SO COOL.

step count: 14474

I’m gonna finish up this blog here, partly because it’s over a thousand words and partly because I’ve been writing this throughout Mimi’s hockey lesson and she’s nearly done. This was just 2 days of mums 5 day visit so the rest of the weekend and Monday will be posted in a few days. As I’ve been writing this I’ve been getting major side-eye from the mums sat around me… maybe because I’m furiously typing away and occasionally stopping to take a snapchat. Anyway thanks for reading and I’ll be back with another instalment of Heather’s crazy German adventure soon!

Munich to Fax to Munich again!

So I haven’t blogged in over a month… I’m no Goop but I guess I don’t have various minions to write my life up like Gwen does. This month has been jam packed with reunions, parties, shots, more shots…too many shots! Anyway I’ll try not to go too crazy and get all this in one blog!

The end of December meant the end of my time with my first host family which was bittersweet because I had such a good time with them but I really knew it was time for me to move on. I’ll definitely be visiting them again soon as I’ve forgotten to bring a stash of teabags and I can feel the withdrawal symptoms kicking in already.

I left for the airport with my bag literally stuffed to the point of bursting open with Christmas presents, its a wonder I made it through security with that; partly because of the military grade glow stick Erwin gave me for Teds present! I arrived back in Manchester to a massive hug from Vicky and an empty house; perfect.

Eventually I managed to convince Ted to leave his own personal heaven in the Barraclough/Wells household and join me back home in order to put up the Christmas decs. By this time the rest of the Baguley clan was still in NZ so it was left to me and Ted to Christmassify the house. Thankfully Apollo had also returned to help us with the festivities (big thanks to John, Collin and Rufus for looking after him!).

The rest of the fam was due back from NZ on the Friday night but they seemed to set off 2 whole days before so I had a weird few days of whatsapping Mum while she was in the sky, being waited on hand and foot, given unlimited food and complaining about it all the way! After 127 hours in the air the Baguley family were finally all in the same country and back together. Of course I received the usual bone-crushing hug from every member of the NZ crew and they all claimed cockily that they didn’t have jetlag… we’ll see.

Saturday meant Christmas Eve with our next door neighbours, probably my favourite part of Christmas. Its a cosy, chilled night in front of the fire eating, chatting, playing games, and more eating. We have a whole spread of food like homemade bread rolls, a whole ham (yaaaas) and just omg I could write a whole blog just on the food there tbh. At midnight we had to head home in time for Santa and because the ‘non jetlagged’ travellers were tired.

Christmas morning began promptly at 9am… for me. The rest of the fam finally managed to get up at 10 and Ted had to practically be dragged out of bed. I remember the days I’d be the one dragged out at 8am with Ted and Trin squealing at the living room door but I think I prefer this chilled Christmas. Trin took chilled Christmas a step further when she fell asleep while unwrapping a present (still not jetlagged of course). We spent Christmas day at John and Colins and enjoyed a fabulous Christmas dinner before heading to the Barraclough/Wells house so Ted could get some time in with his bae ;).

Soon it was time for mother to return to work after her 27267 day break. Unfortunately this was when her jet lag finally started to kick in so the lovey people at DSU would have to survive a few more days without their cackling, annual leave queen.

As for me I made my return to fax Thursday which many people tried to tel me ‘wasn’t a thing’ but for sure it was. I even enjoyed a short stint in Acca where I saw literally everyone from Crossleys which is always my fav part of going out in fax. Its a bit like having a big house party reunion but out in town. Of course I had to end the night with Ely which usually is a nice chilled end to the night apart from this time he decided to drop me on our way home as he carried me along his road. I wouldn’t mind but only a few weeks ago Erwin dropped me also carrying me home from the club so I’m starting to wonder if the men in my life have it out for me!

A few days later it was time to return back down the treacherous path to Ely’s house for nye! Probably one of the craziest new years I’ve had but definitely one of the best. Ely’s family got us playing some random, sometimes frustrating games which were just an excuse to get as many shots down us as possible. The night ended with Hamish passed out on a sofa and Ely dying in a bathroom, both obviously not affected by the special cookies they had earlier in the night. I gave in to my loved up drunken self and awkwardly facetimed Erwin speaking what I thought was fluent German which really turned out to be gibberish.

After nye I was ready for a few days of chilling out, being woken every morning by a cup of tea brought to my room at 11 with the suggestion that I should probably get up soon by Dad. However the idea of one last night out roused me from my bed and got me in the mood to drink too many shots and dance like a mad person. I have to admit Friday in fax was better than the last Thursday partly because the new upstairs of liquid was open and that 70s dancefloor gave me liiiife. I knew I was drunker than usual because we ended up in Dixy chicken at the end of the night and I threw down my apple pay for a load of peri chips for me Ely, Ham and whoever else was lucky enoough to catch my new generous drunken state. Safe to say I woke up not feeling too clever the next morning…

Sunday meant saying goodbye to the fam once again but also saying hello to my new host family! I’ve been with them 4 days now and I’ve settled in really well. I can already tell being with a German family is gonna be the best thing for me as I’m always around German and have plenty of people to practise with. My new language course couldn’t be better as well and I already feel like I’m improving and feeling more natural with my conversations. Overall I’m in such a good place and the only thing I need now is to see Erwin again as I haven’t seen him in 4 weeks!

 

Gluhwein and chill…

I’ve got a nice brew next to me, I’m wrapped up in my blanket and got my Christmas playlist on and I’m ready to make a confession. My name is Heather Baguley and I’m addicted to Christmas markets…

As you’re probably very much aware we are fast approaching Christmas and of course that means shopping and eating a ridiculous amount of indulgent food. Here in Munich the streets are buzzing and the Kaufhofs are all chocka with Germans strutting about looking way too organised and chill, ever the efficient people. To add to the festive feeling the temperature here has dropped dramatically so whenever you go outside it feels as if you’ve stepped out onto a vast mountain top about to ski the day away. It does add a bit of magic to each morning when you look out of the window and see all of the trees turned into snow white skeletons and the roofs of the houses covered with a soft blanket of frost. Of course a frost such as this would cause utter chaos in England but here in Germany they know not to lose their minds at a bit of cold weather.

For the first year ever I’m actually organised with my Christmas shopping, partly because of my slight addiction to the markets but also due to the fact that I have plenty of my own money to spend which I have been saving up from my au pair wages. I had requests from Mother for a real German nutcracker and a request from Ted to bring back as much intel from the German army as possible. Lets just say the only intel I have so far is that they mix their prinks bloody strong! But that’s another story for another blog 😉

Anyway the Christkindl markets opened in Munich the weekend I was in Southampton and I had a night out with Erwin and the soldiers last weekend so this week was the first chance I had to have my first visit. My plan was to have a look around in daylight and find the best stalls and clock what I wanted to buy, then come back in the evening when all the lights are on and have a cheeky Gluhwein with Sarah.

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Munich Christmas tree next to my fav u bahn

Now this sounds super weird and cheesy but I’ve had some of my best moments in Munich on the escalators in Marienplatz. I remember the first time me and mum came to Munich last November, when we came up those escalators and saw Marienplatz for the first time we were both amazed by the majesty and beauty of the Rathaus and Marienplatz as a whole. That was the moment I fell in love with Munich and knew I had to be here. Over a year later I had the same feeling coming up and seeing the market all set up and buzzing with the massive Christmas tree looming over it all next to the Rathaus. The sounds, smells and colours hit me all at once and I fell in love again.

As you walk through the market you’re hit by the sickly scent of Gluhwein on one side, then a whack of Bratwurst and Senf on the other side. The stalls are crammed with stuff ranging from tree ornaments to candles to Brotzeit boards and every other Christmas/German/crafty thing you can think of. Unlike British markets, the German markets sprawl all over the city and come in every possible variety. There’s the classic market in the centre, a craft market, food market, vegan/vegetarian market and even a gay market called the ‘Pink Markt’. There are clumps of markets all through the city and all round the edges and in between the clumps there are Gluhwein stands and food stands to sustain you for the next bout of shopping.

Much like Oktoberfest the markets attract thousands of tourists but it still feels authentic and traditional. Most of the locals visit the markets and do their shopping there and most of the store owners speak German to you outright and once they know you can speak German they appreciate it and stick with it. My favourite stall is run by an old married couple who sell wooden Brotzeit boards and other wooden knick knacks. They hand carve all of the boards and make each one new when you buy it. I bought a board for my dad and another thing which is a surprise and certain avid readers of this blog cant know about… mother. I should explain Brotzeit is like a German snack time where they have a board of cured meats, cheeses and bread. Having lived here for 3 months I’m a big fan of the ol’ Brotzeit.

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Gluhwein boot mugs (I went for the amaretto Gluhwein obvs)

Another fav pastime is Gluhwein! There must be hundreds if not thousands of Gluhwein stalls in the city and each one has a different type of mug on offer. My favourite are the boot mugs which are a bit more expensive at 3.50 Euros instead of the usual 3 Euros. Like in England you pay an extra deposit on the mugs which you can get back if you give the mug in. Here we have this deposit or ‘Pfand’ for all plastic bottles you buy in shops so you can recycle an empty plastic bottle and get around 15 cents back to use in the store. My plan is to collect as many mugs as possible by going to the markets with Erwin so I get double the mugs and don’t get absolutely slaughtered on Gluhwein in the middle of the day. One thing I don’t think I’ve seen in England before but they love here is Gluhwein with an extra shot of Schnapps in it, usually amaretto or rum. As you would think its a delicious but dangerous mix.

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Lebkuchen and Stollen stall

Even though I’ve just about finished my Christmas shopping I’ll still be returning to the markets as much as possible, mainly to stock up on my collection of Gluhwein mugs… Anyone who loves the Christmas markets in England I would highly recommend coming to Munich or another German city (Munich is best) and check one out. I volunteer as a tour guide for the low low price of a Gluhwein.

Finally I must do some shoutouts as I was told off from the other side of the world by my mother for not mentioning her last time. Shoutout to my wonderful mum for booking my flight home for Christmas and more importantly always being there to chat about Munich and boys and life in general. Even with us being 11,000 miles apart (woah thats far) we still manage to get a good few whatsapp convos in as I’m getting up and shes going to bed and vice versa. Also shoutout to Trin and Dad who are there in NZ with her having the time of their lives. Mini shoutout to Ted who’s also having the time of his life living in a house full of girls!

Southampton Sesh: Part 2

Saturday

After our total KO me and Ely ended up sleeping in until about 1:30 and honestly I would have slept for longer if Ethan hadn’t woken us up. I swear every time I sleep in the same room as Ely I sleep for way longer than normal its so weird. At this point I think Ely just has a carbon monoxide canister hidden somewhere in his room and now I guess he brought it down to uni!

After our ridiculously long lie in we needed to have brunch and get out of the house before starting prinking again. Being the girl he is, Ely too about 2 hours to get ready and by that time me and Ethan were starving and ready to murder Ely. One good thing to come out of this was that Ely shaved off his poor excuse for a beard (sorry dude but just no). We eventually made it out and to the handmade burger co which we lowkey chose because Ely’s friend works there and can get us a discount. Correction: can get Ethan a whole meal for free! Even so the burgers were amazing and there’s a pic on my insta if ya want to give it a cheeky like (idgaf self promoting).

Once we got home it was back to prinking and onto another round of ring of fire. Sufficiently buzzed and minimal getting ready effort made, we set off for Oceana. I have to say I think I still prefer Switch but Oceana’s disco room was LIFE. I don’t know why people are being such grinches about the new liquid because that disco dance floor was cool af in Oceanas and that ones not brand new like the liquid one. Anyway we stayed in the disco room for basically all of the night and danced through some absolute bangers and cringed through some Christmas songs. By about 2am my whole body was aching and I was ready to be done but I was slightly revived by some classic sandwich dancing with the boys much to the horror of Elys friend (burger gal). In the end we left just as the dance floor was getting to the end of the slippy stage and into the sticky stage which I was thankful for. We ubered home like royalty riding off my au pair money lol. To top a fab night off me and Ely even got a cheeky girly chat in before bed!

Sunday

We woke up on Sunday morning at a vaguely normal time which was a minor miracle for us and I started an intense game of packing tetris trying to fi 24 packets of crisps and 4 boxes of mince pies into my case while Ely moaned about his bruised butt. In the end I had to sacrifice the Worcester sauce crisps and hoped for the best with the rest. We ended up ordering Dominos for brunch and quite embarrassingly got it delivered even though the shop is literally 1 minute down the road. But thats just the lazy student/au pair lifestyle I love.

Eventually we dragged ourselves to the airport and said our goodbyes, even though we’ll see each other in just 3 weeks. I managed the grand heist of smuggling my haul through security easily and even got through the scanner without being groped by a security guard which is a first for me. Once I was in the departure lounge I realised that Southampton airport is RIDICULOUSLY SMALL (ironic capitals get me). The smallest W H Smiths ever, no wifi and not even a Mc Ds!! I wasn’t particularly looking forward to another turbulent flight with my hangover and the dominos/killer cocktail mixture that was sloshing about in my stomach.

All in all it was a fab weekend and I definitely think I’ll be visiting Southampton again, mainly to try the ‘worst club in Britain’ Jesters. I can’t believe we’ll all be back together in Fax in just 3 weeks, crazy that I’ve been here for 3 months now. I’m slightly torn for Christmas because I can’t wait to see my friends and family and be back in England for a while but then I don’t want to leave my host family here and I know I’m gonna miss Erwin like crazy. After Christmas I’m starting my new job with a German family still here in Munich so that’s gonna be a scary but fun adventure. Anyway I’m finishing up now because I need to serve up tea for me and the kids. Lol its weird saying adult things like that now…