Don’t stop, believing!!
Hallooo meine Liebsten! (Wow your German is getting good!!) I’m back, well actually I’m still here (lol 9 months is actually going to be a long time) BUT exciting news because this week (well this week ish… I’m still a wee bit slow with these blog posts soz) I actually LEFT BOPPARD.
That’s right people, I headed to the BIG CITY… well actually I headed to Bad Dürkheim, the lovely town where Charlie, another fabby teaching assistant, is living this year, which is actually only marginalllyyyy bigger than Boppard… BUT what can I say, I’m just a small-town girl who did actually end up getting the midnight train (lol get the funny title now ha ha)… but more about that little MARE later.
Before moving to Rheinland-Pfalz (the area of Germany I am currently living in – gold star if you already knew !!!), my dad – the biggest wine lover and enthusiast I know – (yes Caro sadly including you, shout out to you x) told me repeatedly that this area of Germany was well-known, even RENOWNED, for its wine. “Yeah, yeah Dad” I thought, “This isn’t the south of France, Germans can’t make wine, the beer and Würste are good but are about it”.
BOY WAS I WRONG.
I may have previously forgotten to mention that Frau Nicky used to own a ‘Weingut’, downstairs the cellar and backrooms full of the family wine… pretty sure she’s having a cheeky sip whenever she says she is doing the laundry…
I’m still not sure exactly what a ‘Weingut’ is – Linguee (my real year abroad fairy godmother, where would I be without you <3) said its either a wine SHOP or an actual full on VINEYARD, I’m secretly hoping it’s the second one because that would just make her mad life even CRAZIER (more about that in a later blog post).
While travelling around here I have also been seeing lots, and lots, and LOTS of vines and vineyards… I started to get suspicious, maybeee there IS wine around here somewhere…
LET ME TELL YOU, THERE IS WINE. LOTS OF WINE.
My first full weekend here in Deutschland featured a lot of wine (I am now certain this year won’t be so bad after all), firstly at Frau Nicky’s granddaughters’ 18th, and secondly at the BIGGEST WINE FESTIVAL IN ALL OF EUROPE!!! I know, what a time to be alive, told you it was Bopping in Boppard.
So, on the Friday night Frau Nicky’s granddaughter had her 18th birthday party in Frau Nicky’s barn and very kindly invited me, she goes to the same school I teach at, so all the people there were my students, the idea being I could get to know them a bit better.
To begin with it was a weee bit strange BUT, as the wine and beer started to flow, as well as lots of ‘schnapps’, my German suddenly became much better… wish I’d had a bottle of wine before all my speaking exams (makes mental note for 4th year).
I’d never come across these “schnapps” before (only nice ones I had with my parents while I was skiing lol #exetahh), but being the ledge I clearly am, and wanting to seem like the cool, down with the trumpets teacher, I took one for the team and joined in (please hold the applause, thank you).
The party was lots of fun and meant I got to know more of my students who are all 18/19 because in Germany, is relatively common to ‘sitzenbleiben’ (retake the year), so there is hardly any age difference, which made doing shots together much more normal… or strange seeing as I’m meant to be their teacher. I’ll let you decide, please let me know what you think thanks x.
Lol, I’ve even been invited to their end of year prom #winning, forget feeling old as a 3rdyear at uni – I’M YOUNG AND COOL.
The next day I got up EARLY to catch one of my 5 trains to Bad Dürkheim for the ‘Weinfest’ (wine festival in case you were confused !) like the non-stop drinking star I clearly am. At this time of the year in the ‘wine region of Germany’ (forever grateful that’s even a thing) there are multiple Weinfests which take place throughout September, so naturally I had to try and attend as many as possible, starting with Bad Dürkheim.
I had high hopes for this particular Weinfest because, as Frau Nicky eagerly told me, it is the biggest WINE and WURST festival in THE WHOLE OF EUROPE. More like BadASS Dürkheim, am I right !!!
Sadly, being the savage she sometimes is, when I told Frau Nicky where I was going she also said I was ‘verrückt’ (‘crazy’, but I think it sounds better in German. Especially if you shout it like she did). Bad Dürkheim is quiteee far away from Boppard and, there were Weinfests in closer towns, BUT they weren’t the BIGGEST IN EUROPE (lol have I said that enough times now, I think so).
The journey did indeed take AGES, so as much as it pains me to admit, Frau Nicky was right. I met Rachael at the train station (who had already done 2 legs, one on the bike and one on a bus to get to Boppard, which as I’m sure you will agree, is a heroic level of commitment to the Weinfest cause), and together with Maria (another fellow teaching assistant, shout out to you, see I told you I have friends!!) we managed the 6-leg train journey to Bad Dürkheim. Despite a slight issue with us having the wrong ticket for one train, and a train conductor taking a lot of complicated, scary German AT us, the train journey THERE was very successful. Always play the foreigner card kids.
We had a GREAT day in the sun, drinking lots and lots of wine. The wine was in spritzers, BUT before you think we (and Germans) are lightweights (which I too thought when I saw that the Germans were drinking spritzers, BUT as I am beginning to understand, they are NOT… and obviously neither am I lol), the wine was served in 0.5L glasses which were ¾ full of wine.
So don’t you worry, the wine was FLOWING NICELY, and, as we found out, it is actually necessary to drink wine with water if you want to last all day. I knew this year would teach me important life lessons !!
Sadly, as the sun set, and we were suitably ‘betrunken’ (bet you can guess that one), we decided it was time to head home. Maria and I had planned to get the same trains to Mainz, then we would part our separate ways and I would head back to Boppard. Ha ha lol, try doing that in German, after 2 bottles of wine each.
The first tragedy hit when we missed our first train. Nice one gals. It literally left as I went to open the door, embarrassing… but even more embarrassing were the laughs from the railway workers as they watched this all unfold. “Ha ha look at those drunk Brits trying to get on a train”, turns out Germans do have a sense of humour.
After going back to Charlie’s flat for an hour, and some of us falling asleep (*cough* Maria *cough*), we successfully caught the later train, thank you Deutsche Bahn app, where would we be without you.
We successfully did 3 changes, gradually getting less drunk and more hungover with each one, until we decided to take a different ‘faster’ train to Mainz.
This was not a faster train. It did indeed go to Mainz, but I missed my connection, which was the last train to Boppard that day and I had to be back to teach at 7:45 the next morning. Lesson learned: ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE DEUTSCHE BAHN APP.
Maria (bless ya) let me stay at her apartment in Mainz until the next train to Boppard which was at 00:15am, we watched German love island (which for the record is hilarious and way more riskay than the UK version, but sadly is doing fuck all for my language skills because none of them speak properly lool).
By the time I got on my midnight train, it may as well have been going anywhere if I’m honest, I was delusional by then, BUT luckily I arrived, hungover but alive, in Boppard at 1:30am, half expecting to see Frau Nicky waiting for me, but luckily she was in bed so I didn’t have to explain myself (which in the state I was in, in German, would have been a struggle). I did however hear her creep in at 6am to make sure I got back safely. LOVE her.
School the next day was rough but hey, we’re here to experience the culture too right?!
The rest of the week included more teaching (surprised me too), and Boppard’s ZWIEBELMARKT, which I just have to tell you a bit about because I mean, it’s an onion market, who DOESN’T want to read about that (don’t answer that).
3 friends (that’s right people, 3!!!) came down to Boppard especially for the Zwiebelmarkt (onion market, please keep up). Sadly however, considering its name and the hype it got (a DOUBLE page spread in the local newspaper!) there were very few onions to be found at the onion market : (.
The most exciting part was definitely the mustard stand. Another thing Germans apparently take very seriously (apart from recycling and punctuality) is MUSTARD. We must have spent 15 minutes trying all of this guy’s mustard samples, inspired by the old man who was in front of us just eating the bread with none of the mustard because he was hungry. Legend.
Highlight was definitely the chocolate mustard. If you like mustard with your Nutella I would highly recommend…
After consuming a potentially dangerous amount of mustard and buying Frau Nicky the potato peeler she requested (which was surprisingly hard to find), we ditched the Zwiebelmarkt, bought some €1.99 BIO wine (organic, I know how sophisticated) we headed to the beach (of the river Rhine) and spoke about deep shit like living in Germany but more importantly why there were no actual onions at the onion market…
Hope you enjoyed this one! Sorry it’s quite long so if you are still reading, you deserve a really big serving of chocolate mustard!
Song of the week: “Don’t stop believin'”
Quote of the week: “I was born in England, but I was made in Boppard”
German word of the week: “VERRÜCKT” (and obviously you have to shout it)
I have school holidays coming up soon (for all the hard work I have clearly been doing) so stay tuned for another exciting post (featuring more Weinfest antics and a trip with my class to an indoor trampoline park… a highlight of the year so far) before I go!!