It has now been a full calendar month that we have been in Bonn, Germany. Sure, we haven’t really spent much of our spare time here, most weekends we’ve been overseas, but I figured, because I wrote about our impressions of Bonn after one day here, why not compare it to how things appear after a month? Well, here goes…
One of the first things I mentioned about Bonn last time was the weather. It can get quite cold here, in fact, as I write this sentence it is currently 11:07am and 12°C and that is the predicted maximum, it will be 3°C over night. We are entering the last month of Spring and this seems pretty standard, however, there have been a couple of days where it has been in the high teens. Hell, Tuesday is supposed to be 23°C! Also, the weather is incredibly unpredictable day-to-day, it can be nice one day, cold with hail the next. Now, I can’t stand cold weather, I have no choice here, but what’s the biggest problem? You can not buy bedroom slippers anywhere in Bonn and our apartment has floorboards that get really cold, but socks don’t particularly help. Solution? When we went to Amsterdam there were these novelty fluffy bedroom clogs being sold everywhere as souvenirs for about €12. I bought a pair (left) and they do the trick, I guess, but I look kind of like an elf when I wear them.
Another problem caused by the weather occurs while sleeping. Our apartment, as well as everywhere else we seem to stay for that matter, has a double bed with two single-bed doonas. You’re nice and warm when you get into bed, no need for the heater, but I’m a restless sleeper and a single-bed doona barely covers me. When I wake up the doona is either horizontally across me or on the floor entirely.
As I mentioned, you can’t buy bedroom slippers here. Other things that we’ve tried to purchase with great difficulty:
Asian food – Anna has been getting cravings for Asian food, but it’s really hard to find the good stuff. I mentioned in my last post about the terrible, empty Thai restaurant run by Germans that we went to. There are plenty of Asian restaurants here, don’t get me wrong, but almost all of them look really bad. We did, however, go to a really good Vietnamese restaurant last night called May May and all the staff are Vietnamese. It was great. We also went into a Korean supermarket near our place run by an elderly Korean couple watching a k-pop talent show. At least we can get groceries.
- Tampons with applicators – I really don’t know what this means, but I was asked to try to buy them. Maybe it was a matrimonial test or just a practical joke or something, but they are hard to find…
- Shoes my size – I’m now in a country where I’m not as much of a giant and I have small feet for my size (US. 12), but I still struggle to get the ones I want in my size. There are shoes my size here, but they’re hideous.
Back to the subject of food, I mentioned when we first got here how good the local food was. That opinion hasn’t changed at all, in fact it has just been confirmed time and time again. Before we moved here we thought we’d end up getting fat, because we’d just be eating pork knuckles and potatoes, but that just isn’t the case. We’ve found places that do great breakfasts, and there is awesome pub food that isn’t very expensive. One problem with these, though, is that the portions are huge, but the people here aren’t overweight. They must eat at home a lot, too.
Being one of the “Real Househusbands of Singapore” is not all sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, you do have your domestic duties to uphold, as well, and cooking dinner is one of those. I’m not a bad cook, my first ever job was at KFC when I was 16 and I passed the “Fry-Q” test with flying colours. I also worked in a kitchen in North Melbourne with my best mate, Owen Howard, for a few years while I was at university and he taught me a thing or two. I have mentioned how good the supermarkets are in Germany and they are very cheap, too. But, furthermore, there seems to be a focus on organic food here and, unlike most places, it isn’t that much more expensive to shop in organic grocery stores. The gourmet supermarkets and delicatessens here are great and affordable, too. Two nights ago I bought half a kilogram of homemade mixed ravioli (truffle, spinach, beef and lemon), some cream and a jar of truffle butter for about €20. It’s cheap and easy to eat well here.
Another thing that’s cheap and easy? International travel from here! We’ve been here 30 days and so far we’ve been to France and the Netherlands, we’re traveling to Belgium tonight for the May Day weekend and in the next couple of weeks we will be returning to the Netherlands and visiting the Czech Republic, plus probably another trip or two after that. All you need is one of these and you can catch a bullet train almost anywhere cheaply. Admittedly, it doesn’t cover much of Eastern Europe, so we’re flying to Prague when we go there and taking a sleeper train home for something different.
Other observations about Bonn:
- Beer is a completely acceptable choice of beverage any time of day. It’s also one of the cheapest.
- Fashion hasn’t moved on a lot since the ’90s. I saw a guy walking around yesterday who looked like he was in Color Me Badd.
- Everyone has really cool dogs and they are extremely well-behaved. Also, you can bring them anywhere, even inside restaurants. Most of them are so well-trained they don’t need a leash.
- Kids still actually play outside here and they do interesting stuff. I saw a group of kids the other day who were no older than about eight years-old and they were riding unicycles.
- When adults go anywhere together, none of them are messing around with their phones, they actually pay attention to the person they are with.
- Public transport is almost entirely based on the honesty system
- Anna’s job is going GREAT, she’s getting a ton of praise!
Well, it’s now 2:00pm and the temperature has dropped to 8ºC and it’s raining, but tonight we’re off to Brussels, where it should be a bit warmer, back to Köln on Sunday night and then we’ll be in Tübingen from Monday until Wednesday for Anna’s work. Tübingen is where we almost ended up living for 12 months before the USA job came up, a traditional German town of about 80,000 people with an entire strip of shops that only sell lace, apparently.
Anyway, I’m going to kill the rest of the day until we leave watching the German version of Judge Judy. She has the same hairstyle, but the cases are all violent beatings! Brutal.