I didn’t really appreciate Germany until I left it. And right now, when the sky is so grey in Copenhagen, I’m really missing it again – which is the perfect opportunity for me reminisce about some of the smaller highlights of my summer in Germany.
One thing I was very excited about was the food. While I was in Denmark, I even had an ongoing list of all the things I wanted to eat when I was home (mostly unhealthy). As someone who doesn’t eat a lot of meat and potatoes, I don’t generally enjoy stereotypical German cuisine, but I was certainly pining for a good pretzel.
And, while I do prefer Carlsberg and Tuborg to most beers available in the south of Germany, there’s just something incomparably fresh and crisp about drinking beer from a bottle rather than a can.
I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t awesome to crack open a beer every night while watching the Euro 2016.
Continuing the food trend, back in April I had already asked my mom to reserve us a table at my favourite restaurant for my birthday. We went for the six-course surprise menu before heading home to watch Germany knock Italy out of the Euro.
Before I knew it, my first month in Germany was over and it was time for my mom’s 50th birthday party, the main reason why I was visiting home in the first place. We spent almost four whole days cooking and about eight eating leftovers. At least now I have a ton of recipes that I know are good enough to make again.
My mom wanted to serve both German and Canadian cuisine at the party, having lived in both countries for over 20 years each.
The German-Canadian combination was most evident at dessert, when there were five or so cakes for all the Germans to choose from, but also brownies, Nanaimo bars, and cheesecake-stuffed strawberries for them to try.
Once the excitement of the party died down, I only had a few weeks left to cross off everything on my to-eat list. The next weekend, I convinced my now 50-year-old mother to bike with me to Strasbourg, France, for an ice cream from a great shop near la Place de la Cathédrale.
I cycled to Strasbourg once before in 2014 and remembered it being quite easy. There’s a canal almost parallel to the Rhine in France that also has a fantastic cycling path running along it.
My mom and I sent off in 25°C heat, a comfortable temperature, for a journey that ended up being 32 km one way. We had to stop a few times, most notably to watch at the Rhine crossing where ships need to enter a lock to continue down the river.
Eventually we made it to Strasbourg, fought our way through the hoardes of tourists, I practiced my French a little more, and we ended up with delicious flower-shaped ice cream cones to enjoy with a view.
Of course, between the occasional weekend excursions, my summer was just comfortable and relaxing. There was lots of basking in the sun…
…the occasional trip to a Künstlermarkt (art fair) with incredible views…
…but mostly I just hung out with my cat – and took plenty of pictures of her.
I mean, really, what else are you supposed to do when you visit home?