Friday 15 September 2023

A quick visit back to Germany

I studied German at university, and as part of my degree I spent a year living as a student in Tübingen in southern Germany. I really enjoyed my year abroad, and although it was daunting at the time I am really grateful to have had the opportunity! I've been back to Germany a few times since, but not very recently, so I was really looking forward to a visit when our recent cruise stopped in Kiel on the north coast. 

Our plan for the day was a trip to nearby seaside town of Laboe to see the German U-995 submarine and memorial. The ship docked a little late that morning and we missed the ferry, so we decided to take a taxi to save some time. I let my husband deal with the taxi driver as I usually do, but when it became apparent that he couldn't speak English I stepped in with my long unused German, and to my surprise once the driver realised that I could speak German we managed to carry out quite a long conversation on the ride over! I was very impressed with how it all came back (and I think that the children were too!) We discussed big topics like immigration (he was Turkish) and racism, popular subjects like football and cycling, and he pointed out lots of the sights along the way. 

When we arrived at the submarine museum I spoke with the man in the ticket office about the ticket combinations available. Often in the past when I've spoken to someone in German they've answered me in English, but this man was very patient with me. Even though I am fairly confident that his English was far better than my German, he spoke with me in German and waited while I translated it all into English for the rest of the family!

German U-Boot submarine in Laboe near Kiel, Germany

The submarine was really interesting, and well worth a visit if you are in the area. We were the only visitors having got ahead of the crowds with the taxi - as we were leaving it was filling up with our fellow cruisers. I'm not sure if the lights had been accidentally turned off or if it's supposed to have a spooky atmosphere but in places it was pitch black and so we were grateful for the torches on our phones!

We took the ferry back to the town centre and had a wander around. Kiel isn't a regular on the cruise stop circuit and it's not really geared to the tourists. Most of the old city was destroyed in the war so it's not the prettiest, but there are a few historical buildings including the St Nikolai church and the lovely Hiroshima Park. It's a nice town though and there are lots of shops - we stopped at Primark for some Disney themed purchases and a supermarket for some German chocolate (Ritter Sport!) I also treated myself to a German magazine and was pleased to find that I can easily understand the articles. 

I was on the lookout for a magazine that I used to buy often when I lived there. It was called Mein Geheimnis (My Secret) and it was a women's romance story magazine written in really easy to understand language. The stories were very cliched and PG rated and I just loved it for its cheesiness. I couldn't find the exact title but I found just what I was after in a shop misleadingly called Woolworth - Meine Liebe Meine Berge (My Love, My Mountains). I spent ages choosing between doctor romance and mountain romance and in the end the mountains won. It's exactly what I was hoping for and I'm looking forward to immersing myself in some cheesy nature themed love stories!

German magazines

I loved having the opportunity to visit Germany again, even if just for the day, and I really impressed myself with how well the language came back to me. I'm planning to try and keep up with it a bit more (starting with some mountain romance) because learning a different language is definitely a really good way to keep the brain cells active!

1 comment:

  1. What a great experience you had in Germany when you were at university. How wonderful to visit again.


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