Sunday, September 03, 2006


No, really. It's written on a shopfront at the end of my street. It's a very long word and symptomatic of all that is silly about Germany.

Welcome back to my blog! It's been defunct now for about 11 months, but since I'm in Germany for my Year Abroad now I thought I should use it to keep everyone informed as to what I'm doing, so now it is refunct.

I'm living in a lovely flat in Aachen-Brand, which is 33 square metres with a kitchenette (hobs but no oven... pasta for a year, it looks like), a bathroom (my own bathroom. I've never had one of those before!) and prints of works by Kandinsky on the walls. It is furnished, at least in theory, although two problems have arisen:

1. Nothing approximating to a desk. Coffee table just doesn't cut the mustard. So I went to the other side of Aachen, a trip involving two buses and a 15 minute walk, to get one. I then had to get it back to the flat, which proved to be an absolute swine, as it is big and heavy. I even got on the wrong bus out of the city centre, meaning that it took me about three and a half hours to get the accursed thing from the shop to the flat.

2. I was told to bring my own bedclothes. This I duly did, only to find that the bed was one of those silly (but nice) oversized German beds, and the ones I'd brought wouldn't fit. Luckily the previous owner had left some behind. They're a bit pink, but I'm secure in my manliness (and am not about to spend €100 on a new set).

In case you don't know, I'm working in the Language Services department of the pharmaceutical company Grünenthal. I've been to work once, to look around the place, and will be starting properly tomorrow (Monday). It's fairly exactly how I imagined a big company to be, but the people in my department seem very nice.

I was planning to walk to the Dreiländereck (the place where Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands meet) today, but when I got up it was raining cats and dogs, so I didn't. Apparently the weather is very changeable here, and it rains a lot. Just like in Cambridge and Derbyshire, then. Instead I mooched around for a while and then came and posted this blog entry. I'm in an Internet cafe at the moment, but I should have my own Internet connection at home fairly soon, and entries will become more regular after that, if anything interesting happens to me.

Deutschland - Vorteile und Nachteile

Ritter Sport. Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut. The public transport kicks ass and is cheap. Food is good and cheap.

You can't get mansize tissues for love nor money. All you can get are those little tissues in packets. There aren't very many post boxes around. Water comes in two levels of fizzyness: fizzy, and fizzier. Almost all the taps are those damn mixer taps. The keyboards have z and y the other way round.

More Nachteile than Vorteile so far, but hopefully that will change.

Ritter Sport Ratings

Lemon: 3/10
What a weird concept. Does exactly what it says on the tin, but tastes rather incongruous. I think it would have been better with dark chocolate rather than white chocolate; keep the whole thing bitter instead of trying to offset it.

Rhubarb and yoghurt: 9/10
It's difficult to imagine a better flavour. Whoever came up with this concept was a genius. It was around when I was in Munich, and most of the more unusual flavours I tasted then have since disappeared. This one hasn't, which is a testament to its quality. The two go together beautifully, and the white chocolate is spot on. And no, this has nothing to do with my particular fondness for yoghurt. I think. Regardless, "Will you be the yoghurt to my rhubarb?" is a chat-up line that just has to be tried.

Dark chocolate with Creme a la chocolate mousse: 5/10
I'm in two minds about this one. Quality chocolate, obviously, but the creaminess of the chocolate mousse cream feels a bit out of place with the bitterness of the very dark, dry chocolate. Another combination that doesn't quite press my buttons, although it's not at all bad.

Stay tuned for more, including blood orange flavour!


Little Fi said...

Would just like to express my appreciation for the Rittersport ratings. Firstly, the internet community has long been lacking such a service and I'm glad that one so eminently qualified is filling the niche. Secondly and currently far more importantly (and apparently far too adverbially) mention of Rittersport is enough to quell any and every fear I may have of Austria. Where the chocolate is that good, it can't be that bad. Many thanks, hope you're keeping well!

Fi (no longer on the continent)

P.S. I just had to create a flipping blog to post that. I hope you appreciate the faff. Grr.

Alastair G Mailer said...

This confirms my theory that Kandinsky paintings will spontaneously appear in any private flat that a student attempts to live in.