Adventures in Heidelberg:2. Frankfurt to Heidelberg

Hallo, und willkommen bei einem neuen Blogpost! Hello and welcome to a new blog post.

Following on from landing at the Frankfurt Hahn Airport…we had to go find our suitcase. I skipped quite a bit of looking at the conveyor belt in the video below, but it took around two minutes for us to find it.


Yeah, next time I’ll make my suitcase a bit more noticeable – maybe with bright tape strips, or a couple of stickers. Or maybe I’ll just not use a  black suitcase.


So we went through ‘Nothing To declare/zollfreie Waren’ (meaning you don’t need to pay tax on your luggage) then we looked for the bus to take us from Frankfurt Hahn Flughafen to Heidelberg.

And yeah, it also hit me we were in Germany when I managed to ask the super nice bus driver where the bus was going in German. Luckily for my mum (and me) he also spoke English as well. We also spoke to some of the other passengers also going to Heidelberg- some visiting friends and family there.

The bus journey took around another 2 hours- going through Mannheim, another city with a university. Listening to classical music, and a mixture of German and American pop-songs, we were soon there – although it rained lightly on the way- while back in Britian the weather was nice and sunny. Not for us – yet…

Finally we reached our destination- Heidelberg! I was so excited but we actually didn’t know at first which way to go at first. We made our way to a shopping centre, with an Italian pizza and pasta place- our first stop.

Thing is, I’m kind of fussy with food- and I don’t like eating things unless I know exactly what’s in it. However we were in a line before I knew it and while my mum wanted a pizza and a cappachito, I wasn’t sure and chose something I thought I would like while zooming into a picture of the pastas menu on my phone.

However- it wasn’t what I would it would be- there’s  melted cheese on the pasta and bits of broccoli, which dry baked cheese on top- the stringy bits also weren’t helping. Just want to offer a thankyou to the chef of that shop, as I explained that I wouldn’t be able to eat it and asked in German for some seasoned rice instead, checking that it had no meat in it. He allowed me to change the menu and the rice was delicious!

Note to future self: listen to the other person’s answers when I order something, and ask what’s in it.


After paying the chef and thinking about how not to repeat that mistake, we went out of the shopping centre. Then it was off to find the Holiday Inn – well, to try and find the Holiday Inn. We asked friendly pedestrians on the way, and found our hotel was roughly along the same road. On the way we passed the Heidelberg Print Media Academy, and an academy that proudly showed metrics of its solar panels.

We also passed a shop called Kaufland that my mum thought was a post office, but was actually a small supermarket as the name suggests – Kaufland means like ‘buying land’.

Then I saw my first tram in Heidelberg – I’ve been videos of them, and there were also trams in Austria, but not actually here. People cross the tram lines like they cross the road- yet from what I’ve seen so far, only sometimes there are traffic lights to cross the tram lines.

Also the traffic lights make a small beep, perhaps so people can locate where they are by sound. Unlike in London where there are black buttons to touch in order to activate the traffic light, and grey spinny-cones that spin underneath when the green light is on.

In Germany a triangular shape on a circle button is to be felt under the traffic light box marked with a hand and ‘Bitte Berühren’, please touch. The button is the same as the accessible crossing thing, which is pretty cool. All you do is press that button underneath. This button lightly vibrates instead of spins when the light turns green.

I’ heard that Germans were quite strict when it came to not crossing at the red man – apparently -beim Rot must du stehen, beim Grün kannst du gehen’. That wasn’t always the case with people I saw but hey, I’ll stay on the safe side.


We got to our hotel and had a look around. We’re on the third floor, from where we got quite a good view of the nearby tram station. I’m probably gonna use that when we go to the University of Heidelberg, although for now we couldn’t find out which trams went there…

Despite that, we had a little shop around, and went to two supermarkets –  Scheck-in Center and Aldi- where we brought natural mineral water (ohne Kohelnsäure- without carbon dioxide- for a non-fizzy drink)- while my mum opted for the Sprüdel, which is fizzy. There were some things I knew from home, such as Haribos, the originally German sweets, Madeleine ‘finger’ cakes, and Ritz biscuits – however others were a bit different from what I’m used to.

Looking at the receipt, we could give the bottes we brought back to the shop one they were finished- and get back 0.25 each bottle! That’s called Pfand, and giving back Pfandflashchen in quite common in Germany, and it may be introduced in the UK to increase recycling. Let’s see if we remember to bring the empty bottles back!


We also went to the Stadtbücherei – Heidelberg Library – where we and my mum grabbed some German children’s books and settled down to read- like we used to do when I was little- expect this time I was teaching my mum how to read (in German)! We read ‘Kleiner Bär, Kleiner Bär, wer siehst du da?’  and ‘Tiere ABC’ – both illustrated by Eric Clark, the same author and illustrator who wrote the Very Hungry Caterpillar – one of my most read books when I was around three – also with a German version called Kleine Raupe Nimmersat who made a surprise cameo in one of the books. We also read

Deciding to practice my German reading skills, we filmed both of these. You can find them down below with English subtitles on the video and in the description. I think I did pretty good!


(Oh yeah, while reading ‘Kleiner Bär’ a little German girl asked us if she could have my mum’s chair! 😊 I told her she couldn’t use our chairs, but she could get another from behind us. As she played with a magnetic alphabet board behind us, we continued reading.)


I still like reading kids books in German – I think its because I love stories, and with a young child’s book you can find out what kind of stories the next generation use to learn to read- and of course, anyone learning that language! Reading’s fun, and some of the good younger kid’s books have that perfect mixture of being short enough to understand in the other language, with potentially important words that you need to know in every day – while being narratively exciting enough to hold attention even when you know what’s going to happen at the end… or you think you do! As a future dual-language writer, I think I wanna start by translating some of my old kid’s stories into German.


Though older children’s books have that on a larger scale, with more challenging vocab and more interesting stories. We left the library and I managed to find a German version of a book in one of my favourite series – Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter! It’s called Morgenrote (Twilight, pretty sure I read the English version).  Add to my ever-growing German book collection… and going to read it at nightime!


Then we went back to the hotel and after Skyping my family back home, I think my mum fell asleep after our many adventures out while I typed this blog post and watched a German TV show, ‘Plotzlich arm, plotzlich reich’, a version of ’Rich house, poor house’. a show that we watch at home.


Next time… We’ll go to Heidelberg University!





Going to Germany!!

After years of studying the German language (and still not being entirely sure that I’d be understood by German people) I’m actually going to Germany for the first time! (I did go to Austria with my school but yeah, first time in Germany.) And specifically to the beautiful university town of Heidelberg, where I’m going to be studying next year.

These last few months have been taken up with preparation for my year abroad; for example, filling out an Erasmus form to apply for support I will need as a visually impaired student, filling in all the other forms (Germany loves its beaurocracy… as might any other country if you’re moving or studying abroad there) finding out the modules I’ll study within Germanistik im Kulturvergleich, wondering what things will actually be like when I get there…
That’s why I’m going for a quick test run before the actual study abroad date. The last time I travelled with my family was when I was younger, to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, so I really didn’t know what you needed to do to prepare for a flight.

Here’s that bit.
Things you need to do before travelling (that I didn’t know before): (list of 6 items)

  1.  Figure out what you’re going to do when you get there!
    This could be the most fun part, checking out different activities and opportunities to do things! I’ll definitely write more about what we do once we do it, but for now I’ll just say we’re going to the university, to different food shops around Heidelberg to sample the local cuisine, and to a performance in Heidelberg’s Literature Festival!
  2.  Find out (roughly!) where everything is.
    I used Google Maps to find some places – for instance the university, the international office, and the hotel.
    However I also used websites for local things – because not everything has been saved on Google Maps, particularly in Heidelberg. For example you can’t use Street Maps as consistently as you could in larger cities, for example Berlin, because not enough pictures have been taken and uploaded in other parts of Germany. However, there are enough in Heidelberg to navigate through different parts of the city that I can’t wait to visit for real!
  3.  Book the airport tickets.
    In case things don’t go to plan, I won’t say the names of my airports till after we go, but I will say we are getting onto a different airport than the one we’re getting off – both in England and in Germany. Unfortunately, we only discovered this AFTER we booked the bus that’ll take us to one of the airports… so my mum needed to re-book them.

Also we will have to wake up extremely early to be able to get there in time, which I realised by checking the time of departure, so always check the times of the flights there and back. It’ll be alright on the night… I hope.

  • Change your currency to the local currency. In my case that’ll be Euros.
  • I withdrew money from my bank, and I and my mum searched for a shop to convert it to Euros. Interestingly, different places or post offices may give you different rates, even though a Google search told me that the current rate was 1.13 Euros for every 1 pound. This may be because they can charge you more money – even within shops they may give you a lower rate of pound/Euro conversion if you pay less pounds, but a higher, better rate of pound/Euro conversion if you pay more pounds.

    Eventually that was sorted out though, and I got some Euros!

    I noticed the different pattern of bars on the side, with gaps in between each group of bars. This is so that blind and visually impaired people can tell apart different types of Euros by the feel of them. Also the 20 Euro note is blue, with the 100 Euros being orange and the 5 Euros being grey.

  • 5. Pack everything you’re going to bring with you.
  • I’ve been told that bringing too many suitcases may not be the best idea, as even if you’re travelling together they don’t come through the conveyor belt at the same time, so we’re going to try and fit all our luggage into one suitcase rather than wait at the airport. I’m also bringing my rucksack to pack things in if that isn’t enough space. Thinking of bringing some German books, my laptop, and a couple of other surprises that I hope I can share with you later!
    6. Practice the language of the country you’re going to (even if that’s just ‘Hello!’ and ‘where is the train station?’)
    Which I didn’t as much. Sorry. I thought I could German, meaning that I didn’t practice as much, preferring to play games (in German, though!) That said, once we get there, I will actually have to translate for my mum! Which is… cool, (yay, for once I can do something she needs), scary and potentially embarrassing, (If I get anything wrong we’re screwed),  humbling and interesting (so many kids have to teach their parents the language of the country they’re in… I’m just doing it on a non-permanent basis) but mostly awesome!

    That’s definitely not the end of the list by a long shot, and though I may sound prepared on here, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes that I’m just learning. So hopefully my first blog series will be detailing our adventures in Heidelberg!

    Bis dann, tchüss!!


    Video: Heidelberg in 3 Minuten by The Travellers (auf Deutsch)

    Video: Germany: One day in Heidelberg by T&A Travel Vlogs (in English)


    Das doofe Fischlied (or, finally understanding German cases and word gender!)

    I used to think that the hardest part of learning German is that there are three ways of saying ‘the’.

    • Masculine ‘der’, for example, der Mann -the man.
    • Feminine ‘die, for example, die Maus – the mouse
    • And neutral, ‘das’, for example, das Haus – the house.

    And… actually there are four ways of saying ‘the’ if you add in the plural form:

    • Plural – die Freunde – the friends

    And then there are accusative-case ways of saying all these four types of the word ‘the’, if you need to connect a verb or preposition that uses the accusative form. For example if you want to say, ‘I will advise the man’ because you have a lot of advice (der Rat) you want to give him, you’d say ‘Ich werde den Mann beraten).

    Note the word magic happening as ‘der Mann’ changes to ‘den Mann’, a previous ‘r’ making way for a new letter ‘n’.

    But how come?

    And then there’s dative-case ways of saying ‘the’. For example, ‘Ich hilfe dem Mann beim (bei dem) Einkaufen’. More grammar magic as not only the masculine ‘der’ changes to ‘dem’… but the neutral ‘das’ as well? Even more grammar magic as ‘Ich hilfe der Frau’ and ‘Ich hilfe den Kindern’ start happening.

    And genitive-case ways – even though genitive is relatively easy (and also, unfortunately, isn’t in this cool video I found.)

    But do I find this hard anymore? Well, yeah, especially when I don’t know which case to actually use – I found a cool video from this website, that makes all this a whole lot easier!

    (And also, shout out to my former German teacher, who used to sing the cases to us  before I found this other song – which by no means is better than your song, Mr. L. It’s… just different.)

    Lyrics of Mr’s L’s song:

    (Nominative) der die das die

    (Accusative) den die das die

    (Dativ) dem der dem den

    (Genetiv) des der des der


    But it’s great if there’s more than one way to remember something, so..

    Here’s Das doofe Fischleid, written by Brad Yoder!

    (And yes, that does mean ‘The Dumb Fish Song’ in English. It is kinda dumb, but kinda fun at the same time.)

    NOM: der gute Mann
    ein guter Mann
    der gute Mann
    ein guter Mann
    (For the masculine nominative, the adjective ending -r is used where you need to use ‘ein’ – I think because the ‘r’ from der jumps over to the adjective. Good thing, otherwise you wouldn’t know which case the word is, and confuse it with ‘das’)

    Zum Beispeil: ein guter Holzhacker – ein guter Programmer

    AKK:Schlag den guten Mann nicht!
    Schlag einen guten Mann nicht!
    Schlag den guten Mann nicht!
    (If used in accusative, the masculine word will then have -en’ at the end of its articles (der and ein) and at the end of the adjectives) –
    Ich rufe den guten Holzhacker – Ich berate einen guten Mann

    DAT: Gib dem guten Mann einen Fisch
    Gib einem guten Mann einen Fisch

    (I give TO a dative person, an accusative thing. (or, I give an accusative thing to a dative person, )
    I think that because zu would take the dative, (Gib zu dem guten Mann einen Fisch,) you would just skip the word ‚zu‘.
    Wir geben dem guten Mann den Fisch/die Katze/das Brot.
    All these gifts would be in the accusative, but you can only see it with masculine words.

    Onto neutral words now – das Haus!

    Nom: Das schone Haus
    Ein schones Haus
    Das schone Haus
    Ein schones Haus

    (So, as you can see, the ending for all neutral ‘das’ words is ‘es’.
    I think of it as the ‘das’ is trying to join onto the adjective when the ein is there, because otherwise you could get it confused with a masculine word. However, only the ‘s’ (or es’) joins at the end of an adjective.
    Das schnelle Auto -Ein schnelles Auto
    Das lange Wort – Ein langes Wort

    Schlag das schone Haus nicht!
    Schlag ein schones Haus nicht!
    Schlag das schone Haus nicht!
    (In the accusative, the neutral ‚das‘ endings don’t change, nor does the feminine die. Maybe because of them not changing, the adjective ‘schon’ stays the same as before as well.)

    DATIV: Gib dem schonen Haus einen Tisch
    Gib einem schonen Haus einen Tisch
    (As you can see, the masculine and the neutral articles ‚der and ‚das‘ BOTH change to ‚dem‘.)
    Also, any dative adjective will end in en.

    Feminine: Die kleine Maus
    Eine kleine Maus
    Die kleine Maus
    Eine kleine Maus

    (Nominative feminine just has ‘e’ at the end. )

    Schlag die kleine Maus nicht!
    Schlag eine kleine Maus nicht!
    Schlag die kleine Maus nicht!
    (The akkusative feminine doesn’t change, unlike the masculine)

    Die kleine Maus
    Eine kleine Maus
    Die kleine Maus
    Eine kleine Maus
    Schlag die kleine Maus nicht!

    Gib der kleinen Maus einen Fisch!
    Gib einer kleinen Maus einen Fisch!

    Die guten Freunde
    Meine guten Freunde
    (The adjective ending here is ‚en‘ – for both th direct and indirect articles.)

    Schlag die guten Freunde nicht!
    Schlag meine guten Freunde nicht!
    Schlag die guten Freunde nicht!
    (The accusative of the plural doesn’t change its article. So I can say – ‚Ich rufe meine Freunde‘.) The only thing it does change is the adjective, adding an ‚en‘ – Ich rufe meine lustigen Fruende.

    DATIV: Gib den guten Freunden einen Fisch
    Gib meinen guten Freunden einen Fisch

    (Dativ – It seems the dative is the only case that changes the plurals’ articles – to den and meinen.
    It also changes the ending of the adjective- so you add ‘en’
    The dative also changes the actual word’s end, for some words, for example den armen Kindern

    Brad Yoder wrote the song, and at the time of writing is still active, writing songs in English.  Not sure whether he’s a German teacher, or just likes German, but whichever way, his song should help lots of people learn!

    Viel Spass bei dem Lernen!

    Osterfilm – Die Hӓschenschule: Jagd nach dem Goldenen Ei

    Image result for Die Haschenschule- Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei

    Almost every child knows of the story Easter Bunny – a hare (not a rabbit) who goes around hiding colourful eggs, which the children then have to find on Easter morning. What many people may not know is:

    •  that the Easter Bunny was originally German!
    • There’s an old but classic 1924 German children’s book called ‘die Haschenschule’- about the school that trains young hares to become Osterhase – Ester hares
    • There’s a new film based off this book called ‘Die Haschenschule – Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei’ In February it was entered into the Berlinale –the German version of the Oscars, where films are entered to win prizes in each category-  and it showed in the German Kinos (cinemas) in March 2017.

    So, yes – the Easter Bunny did actually originate in Germany.-  In at least the 15th century, from which we have the first Latin records of the Easter Bunny, German Protestants created the idea of a hare, to symbolise fertility, carrying coloured eggs, and sometimes even sweets and toys!

    Image result for Osterei

    Ostereien in einem Krbchen/ Easter eggs in a small basket

    Why eggs, you might ask? Apparently, before fasting in Lent, people would preserve their eggs in order to be able to eat them afterwards, when the fast of Lent was over. The eggs would be decorated brightly as part of the celebrations. Although the German Protestants didn’t continue the fasting, they did continue with the tradition of eggs at Easter, including decorating them. In the 18th century, the story of the Osterhase- the Easter hare – was spread to the U.S – and the rest is history.

    Image result for Osterhase

    Eine Hase mit Ostereien/ A hare with Easter eggs

    Noticeably, the Easter Bunny is *supposed* to be a hare, and not a rabbit. (However, they look similar- what’s the difference?) 😊 The Easter Bunny legend continued as parents told their children, in Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, the UK…

    German Protestants created the idea of an Easter hare, to symbolise fertility, carrying coloured eggs, and sometimes even sweets and toys!

    What about Australia, you might ask. Good question!

    The Australians have an ‘Easter Bilby’ – Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby, was written in 1968,  created by a nine-year old girl.) The idea of the Easter Bilby is  used to raise awareness of the bilby and its protection – as the rabbit was brought to Australia from Europe, and competes for food with the bilby, an Australian native animal, causing the bibly to become endangered. To emphasise this point and help the bilby, some Australians wrote an added complication into the story – that the Easter Bilby had to fight off the evil rabbit army who tried to steal the eggs. So now you can find chocolate Easter Bilbies in Australia, instead of the Easter Bunny.)


    Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei Trailer video

    I mention that point because it’s in a way similar to this film. ‘Die Haschenschule’ is about young hare- die Haschen – learning how to become Easter hares in the titular Rabbit School (Hare School doesn’t have the same ring to it…sorry.), They also have to stop the foxes from stealing their eggs- particularly the magic golden Ei, also in the title.

    (Synopsis in German here: –

    The main character is a young hare called Max, who at first reads about the Haschenschule in a book – possibly the book in real life- meta! – and doesn’t believe the school really exists. Until he crash-lands into it one day on an out-of-control remote-control biplane.

    Besides, Max wants to be the cool kid in the city with the ‘Wahnsinnig-Gang’, and doesn’t like rules and the quiet country life, which he at first believes is all the Haschenschule has to offer. But then he meets a new friend, Emmi, and discovers that more important than being the coolest, is helping your friends.

    Das goldenen Ei (Clip about the golden egg, in German with English subtitles, on the Berlinale website.)

    Image result for Die Haschenschule- Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei

    And- oh yes- the magic golden egg in the Haschenschule? It gives the hares the power to disappear. They call this power, Der Verschwindibus – and have to stop the foxes from stealing the golden egg! But are the foxes really as wicked as they seem?

    Here’s a cool trailer I found:


    ‘Fangt ihn mir!’ – catch him for me! – The Mutter Fuchs yells this, to try and catch Max as he flies past.

    Ein Engel (0:35)- An angel – Max calls Emmi this, as he doesn’t know if he made it after the crash.

    Schlafsaal – dormitory – (0:44)

    Hinter Mond leben – to be behind the times (0:56)

    Der Verschwindibus- (made up word) – the magic power that comes from the golden egg, allowing the hares to disappear- verschwinden

    kreigen – to get, grab


    The main character Max is voiced by Noah Levi, who also sings the title song – he was a contestant in The Voice Kids Deutschland.


    The director is Ute Monchow-Pohl – She’s known for other German animation such as Laura’s Star (Lauras Stern), Lars der kleine Eisbӓr and Der Kleine Rabe Socke.

    (the song by Noah Levi, created for the film) – Heir will ich bleiben (Home Sweet Home)

    I can imagine Max, singing this to his new friends as he realises how much he needs them.

    Ich hin lang hinter her

    Auf der Suche für ne Platz für mich,

    Am anfang war das schwer

    veil ausprobeirt, nicht Sinn gekreigt

    Ihr hat mir gezeigt, was man erreichen kann, wenn man Fruende hat,

    Es ich Zeit euch mal zu sagen – es wie die Hammer sagt!

    Hier will ich bleib mit euch und Zeit vertreiben


    Hier will ich blieben

    Gutes Gefühl im Bauch,

    Ich gehore?  (herheir?)

    Fühlst du was auch?


    Hier will ich blieben

    Ich sag’st dir ganz genau

    Hab meinen Platz gefunden

    Denn hier bin ich zu Haus!

    (Home sweet home) – yup, in English


    (My home sweet home)

    (Home sweet home)


    (My home sweet home)

    Ich hab es jetzt kapiert?

    Mit euch macht alles viel mehr Spass

    Warum allein probieren

    Nur gemeinsam sind wir richtig stark!

    Egal ob  (Opfern? Ob fern??) , ihr sied da für mich, und ich für euch.

    Es ist Zeit ob mal zu sagen: Es ist wie die besten Zeit!

    (Ja, und ich wiess nicht was zu sagen…)

    Hier seid mein Zuhause (Yeah-yeah)

    Da wo ihr seid, gehӧr‘ ich denn

    Heir seid meine Fruende, (Yeah-yeah)

    Mach mit zu dem, da ich jetzt bin.



    Hier will ich blieben

    Gutes Gefühl im Bauch,

    Ich gehore?  (herheir?)

    Fühlst du was auch?

    Hier will ich blieben

    Ich sag’st dir ganz genau

    Hab meinen Platz gefunden

    Denn hier bin ich zu Haus!

    Noah Levi: Home sweet Home

    If you want to wish your German friends happy Easter, this is what to say….

    Image result for Easter Frohe Ostern

    Frohe Ostern, alles! 🙂

    Das christliche Passionspiel für Oster – The Christian passion play for Easter


    Image result for Passionsspiel

    The stage in Oberammergau where the passion plays in Germany are performed/ Die Buhne in Oberammergau, wo die Passionspeile in Deutschland wird aufgefuhrt.


    For Christians, the real meaning of Easter is nothing to do with chocolate eggs or Easter bunnies – it is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Christian tradition. That’s my religion, by the way. The story goes that Jesus, the son of God, died on the cross for the sins of humanity, and yet he rose again on what is now known as Easter Sunday.


    In some places, there are plays to recreate this religious story, particularly in Germany (in the Oberammergau, which is a Gemeide (municipality or – roughly- town)  in the Landkreis Garmisch-Partenkirschen, in the south of the Bundesland of Bavaria.


    The real meaning of Easter is nothing to do with chocolate eggs… – it is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ

    However, the apparently slightly older tradition of performing passion plays is also to be found in Austria, in the Gemeide of Erl, which is in the Bezirk of Kufstein, in the Bundesland Tirol.


    In 2015, German kids in the church performed the play.


    However, adults normally perform the passion plays – as this trailer shows in Oberammergau:



    Words from the children’s Passionspeil: (see if you can find them all)


    Jesu Christi – Jesus Christ

    Petrus – Peter (at 3:56, er verteidigt Jesu – aber er muss dreimal leugnen, dass er kennt ihn. – 5:34)

    Judas – der Junge, der Jesus verratet

    Pontius Pilate – Pontius Pilatus

    Barrabas – ein Verbrecher

    Simon – Ein Feld-Abreiter, der Jesu hilft, der Kreus zu tragen

    zwei Verbrechen an Kreuz neben Jesus – two criminals on the cross next to Jesus





    Die Orgel – the organ (not in the video, but it’s the instrument being played in the church)

    Die Kirche- the church

    Die Junge – the boys

    der Schweiss – sweat

    das Blut – blood

    der Begrussungskuss- greeting kiss (der die Jesu verratet 3:30)

    die Finsternis – the darkness

    die Macht- the power

    der Hof – the c1ourtyard

    die obersten Preiste – the high Preists

    Verbrechen – crime

    die Spotkrone – the ‚crown‘ (to mock and ridicule)

    der Spott – ridicule, satire?

    die Dorne – thorns

    Mitlied – sympathy

    der Hugel – the hill (16:23)

    der Leichnahm – the body

    Grab – grave (25:00)

    Sünden – sins (25:50 – Er hat uns von unseren Sünden befreit)



    neider/knien – to bow

    beten – to pray

    geschesen – to happen

    tropfen – to drip

    vereinbaren – to agree (3:35)

    festnehmen – to take prisoner

    verteidigen- to defend – (3:56)

    heilen – to heal

    kraen – to crow, …wie ein Hahn.

    leugnen- to deny

    bezeugen – to testify (8:12)

    frei/lassen – to let free

    kreuzigen – to crucify (9:12 – The people yelled to Pilate to crucify Jesus – ‚Kreuzige ihn!’)

    auf/peitschen  – to whip (10:40)

    verspotten – to mock, ridicule (10:09)

    jemanden anspuken – to spit at

    schulgen – to hit (or to hammer to – 16:31)

    hinausführten – to bring out (12:20)

    sterben – to die

    klagen – to mourn






    Idioms/ Sentences – Sӓtze/Idiomen

    Das Schwert zeugen – to draw the sword

    Herauf damit! – Stop that!

    Meine Kӧnnigstum ist nicht von dieser Welt – My kingdom is not of this world (8:07)

    die Wahrheit zu bezeugen – to testify to the truth (8:12)

    Gottes Sohn – God’s Son.

    Jemand schuldig zu sprechen – to name someone guilty

    zum Tode verurteilen – to jugde someone to death

    Sei gegrusst, Konig! – Be greeted, king

    Auf meinen Fled arbeiten – to work on my fields – 13:21

    der Kreus tragen – to carry the cross

    ‘Weint nicht uber mich  – weint uber euch, und eure Kinder’ – (14: – Don’t cry about me, but cry about yourselves and your children.)

    ‚Hilft Euch selber, und steig hinab vom Kreus!‘ – (mocking) – Help yourself, and get down from the cross!

    ‚Heute noch, werdest du mit mir in Paradies sein‘ – Today you will be with me in paradise – (18:06)

    ‚Ich habe Durst‘ – I am thirsty (19:02)

    Es war etwa zwolf Uhr mittags – It was 12 o clock midday.

    Nach diesen Wortern, hauchte er den Geist aus – After these words, he breathed his last.

    Jesus war tot – Jesus was dead.

    ‘Wir bitten fur alle Menschen, die anderen in Krankenhausen oder Altenheim helfen, dass sie wie Veronika Verduld und Verstandis zeigen.‘(27:36)

    von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit – for all eternity




    DorFuchs- deutscher Musiker-Mathematiker: (AKA- How to multiply two digit numbers in your head!)

    Image result for dorfuchs multiplizieren

    (Image from YouTube)


    …And other cool videos. So, I was watching the videos of the awesome Vi Hart, one of my favourite mathematical YouTubers, the other day because I was late for Pi Day. (The link leads to Vi’s featured video Twelve Tones, about the musical constraint of using all twelve notes in a song.) Vi’s Pi Day videos are particularly interesting because usually they aren’t about celebrating Pi but its twice-multiplied, yet often-forgotten cousin, tau – more on which you can find in her videos.

    Pi Day, for those of you who were unaware, is the 14th of March – because in the American calendar the number of the month (3, because March is the third month) is put in front of the day (the 14th) so 3(month)/14(day)/2017 – whereas in European calendars it is the other way around. (so Pi Day would be the 14th March, written as 14(day)/3(month/2017(year). And Vi Hart happens to be American, as well as the creator of Pi Day, Larry Shaw in San Francisco 1998. So they use the American calendar system. Which I guess is good for Pi, because there is no 14th month. It can have a whole day to itself.

    Anyway -then I wondered if there were more mathematical YouTubers – and I came across DorFuchs. Like Vi, he is a ‘mathemusician’, who combines maths and music to teach people mathematical concepts.  After watching a few of DorFuchs’ videos I decided,’Tja, dieser Kerl gefallt mir’, and I went to see some more of his stuff! 🙂

    One of DorFuch’s videos is a rap about multiplying two 2-digit numbers 11-19 in your head. At first I thought – ‘how?’ For example, how many people can answer this:

    13 x 19 =

    …in a few seconds  and completely ohne Tachenrechner – without a calculator?

    Now watch DorFuchs’ video

    Don’t worry, I’ll tell you what he just said.

    So in the first few seconds, DorFuchs outlines the problem: Multiplying numbers is extremely useful, and multiplying one digit numbers such as 6×7 is super-easy. But multiplying 13 x19 for instance is so hard. But, he says ‘Lernen den folgene Trick’ – learn the following Trick – and  then you’ll probably be able to do it without a calculator! ‘Und dann schafft du dass veillicht sogar ohne Tachenrechner.’ (0:26)


    Aber was ist das Trick?? DorFuchs singt es zu uns:


    ‘Nimm die erste Zahl, plus die letzte Ziffer von der zweiten.

    Hang einer Null dran, und jetzt bist du bereit, denn

    Wenn du das Produckt der letzten Ziffern addierst,

    Dann bist du fertig und du werdest schneller wenn du das nochmal probierst.’-0:34

    So I tried this out on a few numbers – of course I had to translate it first, just to check what DorFuchs was doing.

    So: Nimm die erste Zahl, plus der lezten Ziffer von the imperative form of verbs. der zweiten.’ – Hmm, seems he’s using the Befehlsform or imperative forms of verbs – to tell us to do something. As mentioned here, the imperative is formed by taking the ‘stem’ of the verb’.

    Nehemn – to take

    Take the first number, plus the last digit from the second,

    Hang a zero (0) next to it, and now you’re ready – then

    When you add the product of the last units,

    Then you’re finished – and you’ll be quicker when you try it again..


    and so on.


    Die Zahl – number     Der Ziffer-, digit

    eine Null – a zero

    das Produkt – product (the result of multiplying two numbers)

    multiplizieren – to multiply

    addieren -to add

    probieren – to try

    (notice ‘mal’ can mean both ‘again’, as in ‘Noch mal’ and ‘times’ as in 18 times 19 = 342)

    As DorFuchs shows us, this trick always works with any number from 11 to 19.

    13x 19, I hear you ask?


    13 + 9 = 22 Nimm die erste Zahl, plus die letzen Ziffer von der zwieten

    22 (*10)= 220  Hang eine null dran (bzw. mal zehn) und jetzt bist bu bereit, denn

    + (3×9=27) Wenn du das Produckt der letzen Ziffern addierst

    220+27 = 247

    Dan bist du fertig und du werdest schneller wenn du das immer mal trainierst.


    (And just in case you want to check the answer, grab your Taschenrechner and check it out.)

    Online Taschenrechner/Calculator


    And at 1:06 – DorFuchs explains WHY it works.

    ‘Doch Achtung! – redet das Trick wirklich nur von Zahlen von elf bis neunzehn an?’ -1:14

    an/reden – to speak of, to address.

    Does the trick really only address numbers from eleven to nineteen? How can you change the song – aka the formula – to make it work for numbers from 21-29, or 31-39 or 71-79?  (That was an open question – comment away, those of you who are mathematically inclined. Meine Antwort befindet sich auf Englisch unten in den Kommentaren.)


    ‘Denn diesener gerade 10 plus irgendwie Ziffer von eins bis neun -okay.‘ – 1:18

    Und wir rechnen ja jetzt – zehn plus a mal zehn plus b.‘ – 1:19

    (10+a) * (10+b)

    DorFuchs here makes the multiplication into a formula that can be true for all numbers from 11 to 19.

    Any of these numbers is 10 (zehn) plus ‘irgendwie Ziffer’ – some digit from one to nine.

    These unknown digits are called a und b (in English we pronounce it (Ay and Bee) – In German it’s pronounced (Ah und Beh) )

    As ‘mal’ means ‘to times’ or ‘to multiply’, we are multiplying (10+a) x (10+b), so

    (10 + (random number A)) mal (10+ (wahllosige Zahl B)).

    1:23Das macht, wenn ich schon mal von Multiplizieren nichts übersehe,

    (10*10 (+ (10*b) +(10*a) + (a*b)


    DorFuchs comes to this conclusion by expanding die Klammern – like this

    (10+a) *(10+b) = 10(10+b) + a(10+b)

    (10(10+b) = (10*10) + (10*b)   – zehn mal zehn plus zehn mal b


    a(10 *b) = 10*a + (a*b)  – zehn mal a plus a mal b  )


    (10+a) *(10+b) = 10(10+b) + a(10+b)


    (Da die Zehne den ersten drei so man aus Klammern geht,

    Konnen wir machen unseren Trick als Formula steht!)




    (10+a) *(10 +b) = 10x 10 + 10*a + 10*b + a*b


    (10+a+b)*10 + a*b


    Nimm die erste Zahl plus die letzte Ziffer von der zweiten

    Hang eine Null dran (mal 10) und jetzt bist du bereitet

    Wenn du das Produkt der letzten Ziffern addierst

    Dann bist du fertig und du werdest schneller wenn du das noch mal probierst!


    And… damit du kannst noch mal probieren…. DorFuchs made a whole video of other examples to try on his second channel, DuFrosch –

    Danke schӧn DorFuchs, and I’ll definitely check out some more of your mathematical raps sometime!




    Imperative forms: Because he’s telling us directly to do something, DorFuchs uses the imperative with verbs such as ‘Nimm’ and ‘Hang’ The imperative of ‘nehmen  is’nimm’ or ‘hangen’ to ‘Hang’.

    Mathematical vocab: addieren – to add or – ‘plus’ +: but pronounced ‘P l UU s’ rather than English ‘p l uh ss’

    multiplizieren – to multiply, or ‘mal’, to ‘times’, as in 6 times 7 = 42. Notice also ‘mal’ is used for times in other ways, such as ‘noch mal’ -I like to think of it as ‘still (another) time’

    Die Zahl-(plural Die Zahlen) – number(s)

    (And, just in case, eins(1), zwei(2), drei (3), vier(4), fuenf (5), sechs(6), sieben(7), acht(8), neun(9), zehn (10), elf, zwolf, dreizehn (13), vierzehn (14)… und so weiter…)

    Der Ziffer – digit


    (What does this have to do with PI Day? Check this out by DorFuchs- Pi ist irrational!

    (I still don’t know why.)






    When Interests Collide: Howards Ehrengedächtnis – Goethe

    Plaques created by local children (and a few adults) during an arts workshop inspired by the English Heritage Blue Plaque scheme that took place at the Tottenham Ploughman “CloudFest” 2014.

    Blue plaques in a fluffy cotton cloud – made by the children and adults around the old house of Luke Howard, the classifier of the clouds. From the Tottenham Clouds website.

    Luke Howard, classifier of the clouds. 28 November 1772 – 21 March 1864

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), the celebrated German author and poet, was interested in clouds himself and wanted to learn more about the young Luke Howard.

    Wie geht es, Leute?

    Not that long ago I was really interested in clouds, and they remain amongst my other interests to this day. Occasionally I’d browse The Cloud Appreciation Society , marvelling at the stunning pictures, the cloud inspired poetry, and the whole science behind those water-vapoury wanderers in the sky.

    Because yes, there is science. And- yay!- linguistics!

    There are different types of cloud, and each type is given a Latin name -There had been other cloud classification systems, yet this one in Latin, the (‘educated’) ‘global language’ of the 16th century, allowed other scientists and meteorologists from around the world to also identify the cloud type.

    There are many types of cloud, but the main types are:

    Stratus (Latin for layer) – the lowest cloud, forming like layers of fog in a way. (In German- Sichtwolken – ‘layer clouds)

    stratus clouds

    Cumulus (Latin for heap) – can be found at medium height, the typical ‘candyfloss’ or ‘sheeplike’ clouds – with many different subtypes. (German: Haufenwolken or Kumulus.)

    (Comes from the same Latin root as the English verb ‘accumulate’, to add on- like cumulus clouds growing bigger and more puffy)

    Image result for cumulus clouds

    Nimbus (Latin for ‘dark cloud’) – a prefix used for a rain cloud, typically the stratonimbus or the Cumulonimbus- the large rain cloud that may also bring thunderstorms.

    cumulus clouds

    (Cumulonimubs cloud – Photo by Kevin Knupp University of Illilois Cloud Catalog. Its the highest cloud and stretches its ‘plume’ above the other cumulus.)

    Cirrus (Latin for a curling ringlet of hair)- the highest clouds, looking like wisps of hair, made of ice streak that streak across the stratosphere. (German: die Federwolken – ‘feather clouds)

    cirrus clouds

    So what does this have to do with German? Well, a good while after that, I discovered that the person who invented this Latin naming system for the clouds was called Luke Howard. He was a chemist living in 16th century East London, living the later part of his life in Tottenham, North London. As well as being a chemist by trade, however, he was fascinated with the clouds.

    Luke Howard was one of the first people to name clouds, giving them the Latin names which are used right up till today. Previous cloud-scientists (nephologists) had tried using names in other languages (ie German also uses its cloud names along with the ‘scientific’ Latin ones.) Latin was already a dead language by then, but scientists used it because it was still taught and in theory all ‘educated’ people could read it. (Today I’d say that similar to… hm… programming.)

    The Latin names caught on and today Luke Howard might be known as the ‘Classifier of the Clouds.’ He was born in 28 November 1772 and died in 21 March 1864.

    So that was a pretty amazing find, but what does this have to do with German? Well, then I found out that Goethe, yes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the famous German author and poet who wrote Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers and Dr Faustus, also wrote a poem for Luke Howard.

    It’s called Howards Ehrengedachtnis, roughly translating as Howard’s honoured Memory. It was written in 1821 when Luke Howard was around 49

    An article in German about it (

    And I just had to bring all my interests full circle and translate Howards Ehrengedachtnis… So, I did.

    (Just to be clear, this is an unofficial translation by me. I may have made a few mistakes.)

    (Nur um wirklich klar zu sein, dies ist eine inoffizielle Ubersetzung, und ich haette ein Paar Fehler machen konnen.)

    Credit to, where I found the full poem.

    Howards Ehrengedächtnis – by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1821

    [551] Wenn Gottheit Camarupa, hoch und hehr,

    Durch Lüfte schwankend wandelt leicht und schwer,

    Des Schleiers Falten sammelt, sie zerstreut,

    Am Wechsel der Gestalten sich erfreut,

    Jetzt starr sich hält, dann schwindet wie ein Traum,

    Da staunen wir und traun dem Auge kaum;

    When the god Campura, up and down,

    Changes fluctuating through the air softly and violently

    Of the veil’s folds collects, disperses them

    In the changes of forms delights

    Now rigid it holds, then disappears like a dream

    Then we marvel and hardly believe our eyes.

    Nun regt sich kühn des eignen Bildens Kraft,

    Die Unbestimmtes zu Bestimmtem schafft;

    Da droht ein Leu, dort wogt ein Elefant,

    Kameles Hals, zum Drachen umgewandt,

    Ein Heer zieht an, doch triumphiert es nicht,

    Da es die Macht am steilen Felsen bricht;

    Der treuste Wolkenbote selbst zerstiebt,

    Eh er die Fern erreicht, wohin man liebt.

    Now it boldly moves the picture’s own power

    The uncertain established into certain

    There threatens a lion, there weighed an elephant.

    A camel’s neck transforms into a dragon,

    An army is drawn, but not triumphantly

    Because the power breaks between steep cliffs

    The most trusted cloud message is itself scattered.

    Until it reaches the faraway land, where we live.

    Er aber, Howard, gibt mit reinem Sinn

    Uns neuer Lehre herrlichsten Gewinn.

    Was sich nicht halten, nicht erreichen läßt,

    Er faßt es an, er hält zuerst es fest;

    Bestimmt das Unbestimmte, schränkt es ein,

    Benennt es treffend! – Sei die Ehre dein! –

    Wie Streife steigt, sich ballt, zerflattert, fällt,

    Erinnre dankbar deiner sich die Welt.

    He, however, Howard, gives us with clear sense

    New lessons of the most wonderful yield.

    What doesn’t keep itself , can’t be achieved.

    He tackles it, he first grasps the thought.

    Ascertains the uncertain, narrows it down,

    Names it aptly – Be the honour yours!

    Like the patrol climbs, balls up, flattens, fallt,

    I remember you thankfully the world


    Wenn von dem stillen Wasserspiegelplan

    Ein Nebel hebt den flachen Teppich an,

    Der Mond, dem Wallen des Erscheins vereint,

    Als ein Gespenst Gespenster bildend scheint,

    Dann sind wir alle, das gestehn wir nur,

    Erquickt’, erfreute Kinder, o Natur!

    Related image

    When from the still water mirror plan,

    A fog wisp lifts from the surface of the pond.

    The moon combines with the undulations of the appearance?

    Like a phantom seemingly ghostly forming.

    Then are we all, we all only admit,

    Refreshed, delighted children – O, Nature!

    Dann hebt sich’s wohl am Berge, sammelnd breit

    An Streife Streifen, so umdüstert’s weit

    Die Mittelhöhe, beidem gleich geneigt,

    Ob’s fallend wässert oder luftig steigt.

    Then lifts itself up to the mountains, accumulating wide,

    Stripes are on patrol, so it () far

    The middle heights, however that way inclined,

    Whether it falls as water or to the air will rise.


    Und wenn darauf zu höhrer Atmosphäre

    Der tüchtige Gehalt berufen wäre,

    Steht Wolke hoch, zum herrlichsten geballt,

    Verkündet, festgebildet, Machtgewalt

    Und, was ihr fürchtet und auch wohl erlebt,

    Wie’s oben drohet, so es unten bebt.

    Image result for cumulonimbus raining

    And when to  the higher atmosphere

    The capable content is called

    The clouds stand high, wonderfully balled,

    Announced, established, forceful might.

    And, what you fear and also experience,

    As it threatens over, so under it quakes.


    Doch immer höher steigt der edle Drang!

    Erlösung ist ein himmlisch leichter Zwang.

    Ein Aufgehäuftes, flockig löst sich’s auf,

    Wie Schäflein tripplend, leicht gekämmt zu Hauf.

    So fließt zuletzt, was unten leicht entstand,

    Dem Vater oben still in Schoß und Hand.

    Image result for cirrus clouds

    But ever higher climbs the noble urge.

    Redemption is a celestial lighter force.

    A lumpy accumulation, itself flakily resolves

    Like scurrying lambs, combed lightly to a heap.

    So it flows finally, what below easily occurs.

    To the Father still above in shot and hand.

    [552] Nimbus

    Nun laßt auch niederwärts, durch Erdgewalt

    Herabgezogen, was sich hoch geballt,

    In Donnerwettern wütend sich ergehn,

    Heerscharen gleich entrollen und verwehn! –

    Der Erde tätig-leidendes Geschick!

    Doch mit dem Bilde hebet euren Blick:

    Die Rede geht herab, denn sie beschreibt,

    Der Geist will aufwärts, wo er ewig bleibt.

    Image result

    Now let also downwards, through the earth’s force.

    Be pulled down, what was on high.

    In thunderstorms, angrily they fare,

    Legions unroll themselves and blow away!

    The Earth-active and Earth-suffering skill

    But with the pictures you all lift your gaze.

    There is talk of this, because it is described,

    The spirit wants to go upwards, where he forever stays.

    Image result for cirrus clouds diagram