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!