In January I went to Germany, Dresden to be more specific. I had been to Germany once, in Bavaria… some might say that doesn’t count :/a, when I was 12 as a class trip when I was still living in France. This time around it was very different. For one, I actually had to speak German, old ladies in bakeries don’t speak English and since my trip ended up being a cake tour of Dresden I had to make an effort in order to procure said cake.
Now, this is a language I studied for nine years but I had absolutely no affinity for it, so of course most of what is left of my German is buried deep deep down somewhere in my mind. I always said that I would have rather done Spanish or Italian, I guess because I think those are easier for French speakers to learn and also they are made up of noises my tongue has less trouble with. Overall, I got on pretty well, I definitely did not get my genders right every time, I decided to use “das” when I had a doubt… which was in fact most of the time. I hadn’t realised how much German I had to be forgotten in the first place, it was quite frustrating, I could feel comprehension on the edge of my mind, only to have it evaporate once the sentence was completed. For example, there is more than one word for bag in German when using the sentence “Would you like a bag?”, there was a new one every time I was confident with what the last one was.
I did feel like a child most of the time because I had less understanding of the language than most five year old children. It reminded me very much of the passage from David Sedaris’ “Me talk pretty one day” where he mentioned being bitter about the fact that, when he lived in France, adults took such care in being understandable to children but would not do him the same courtesy.
I was quite proud that I was successfully able to ask for food and pay for it wherever I went though. Marc on the other hand was basically mute apart from the occasional salesperson who spoke English (he did get me the currywurst in the picture below).
The drink you can see above is Club-Mate… it’s a very weird drink that seems to be like a drug to a lot of people. It has a crazy caffeine content and tastes… like elderflower mixed with spices and sweat… as unappealing as that sounds it does make you want to drink a bit more each time. I don’t understand it, but I kept drinking it… Dave had prepared for our arrival and had bought a crate of it.
I enjoyed eating weird things, most of them Adam’s strange vegan diet (I learned I cannot live without cheese, not that this was a surprise). The picture above is some pesto cheese! Yep, did not know that was a thing, but it is, a delicious delicious thing!
Dresden was a strange city, the old town “Altstadt” having been bombed was actually a lot newer than most of the “new” part of town called “Neustadt”. Altstadt looked old, but when you looked closer you could see that is was a sort of nouveau old. The Frauenkirche for example had been bombed but was reconstructed using a mixture of the original stones and new ones. Very strange but I like old things so I appreciated it. Marc and I did a lot of walking, seriously, a lot. That’s pretty much all we did (and eat of course). My favourite was going around the Aldstadt at night, around the Zwinger and the nymph baths, it was magical. What we noticed is that Dresden has a thing for naked women with fish… no idea why…
So before leaving I asked people on facebook what I should eat when I got there, the majority said “a kebab” I was surprised but after having one… or two actually… I understand, they are a delicious heavy brick of food. I’m not sure it would be my preferred hangover cure though but I do feel deprived now that I can’t have one :p When I saw the price of alcohol I nearly cried, a bottle that I would buy here for a tenner was only three euro! So sad! Well I was happy at the time, but I wish wine was always that cheap.