Feeling at Home
To say the last month has been a little crazy is an understatement. I went on a work trip, came home sick, and slept for a solid week (I think. It’s all a little hazy.) But we got to see friends from the United States in Germany TWICE in the past month! Our day-to-day routines here are falling into place pretty similarly to what they were before our move, but we’re loving the opportunities to explore Europe that we get on the weekends.
Business Trip to PDX
I did not expect to be going back to the US so soon…AGAIN, but I had a few meetings in Portland at the beginning of the month. It was a super quick trip, just enough time to cram in an insane amount of meetings and then head back home. (Home = Germany. Weird.) I was lucky enough to stay with my old roommates, rather than in a hotel, which was nice and homey. I was so busy, I wouldn’t have had a chance to see them if it weren’t for the 20 minutes between getting home and going to bed each day.
Before we moved, Taylor was the one that always had to travel for work. I’d stay home in Portland while he went on week long business trips to Germany. Now we live in Germany and I’m going on week long trips to Portland. This all felt very backwards and twisted. Not to mention, visiting Portland and coming home to Germany had my mind all sorts of confused. Even though we’re living in Germany, my day-to-day life is still very connected to the Portland area. The majority of my colleagues are there, I continue to volunteer for a Scholarship Foundation there, and my family and friends are all in that area. So it was a great opportunity to cram in as many meetings, trainings, and lunch/dinner dates as possible. Some very valuable catch-up time.
While I was gone, Taylor was able to get a little extra work done. He had a colleague in town from the US, so I think it was good time for them to connect and discuss all things business.
Christina, a friend of Taylor’s family, was going to be in Cologne (about 3 hours away) for a tradeshow. So we decided to rent a car and meet her there for the weekend. Cologne, the 4th largest city in Germany, is home to a HUGE convention center where international tradeshows are held regularly, a big university, and a breathtaking Roman Catholic cathedral called Kölner Dom (aka The Dom).
While we were in Cologne, we walked over the Hohenzollern Bridge (aka the Love Locks Bridge), we toured a Lindt chocolate factory, and drank Kölsch beer (which is different than what we have in Bavaria). But my favorite part of Cologne was the Dom. We went into the cathedral, which is free if you don’t do a tour, and saw people walking up above the chapel. Of course, we had to figure out how to get up there! It took us a while to find the entrance and we had no idea what we were in for. It cost €3 (which is not much more than $3 these days) to walk up about a million stairs. We climbed up to the top of one of the towers and were able to go outside and look through the architecture onto the city. It offered an amazing 360° view of the city. Plus, every evening the cathedral lights come on outside, lighting up the details of the gothic architecture. As the sun was setting and the lights started to come on, it brought a whole new perspective to the intricate details of the building.
We were lucky to have Christina there because she’d been to Cologne before and knew all the places we had to check out. Taylor and I, on the other hand, are horrible at looking up locations before we visit them, so we go into it a little blind. Plus, it’s always great to see people from home. (HINT: Come visit us!)
This was the first time we’ve rented a car in Germany and, let me tell you, the Autobahn (aka the highways) are a little scary! There is no speed limit in some areas, but that’s not the scary part. The scary part is when there are 2 ½ lanes. This means there are 3 lanes of traffic, but their so narrow that only 2 cars can fit side-by-side. So imagine, you’re going about 100mph and your car literally does not fit within the width of the lane. Yikes! On the way home, we took the scenic route, which was beautiful. The Romantische Strasse (aka The Romantic Road) is famous for having winding roads through scenic Southern Germany and Bavarian villages. We were only able to take it for a short distance, but have decided we’ll have to do the full length another weekend.
Nuremberg/Munich & Canoeing
Last weekend we were invited to go on a canoe trip in Northern Germany with some of Taylor’s colleagues, but I also had a friend and her sister coming to visit for a few days. So Taylor decided to go on the canoe trip while I had some girl time with Alyssa and Adri.
I think Taylor’s love/hate feelings for German grew even stronger, as he was with Germans all weekend without me. (We’ve been a pretty good English-speaking outlet for each other in group situations.) He had a lot of fun, though. They camped for 3 days and canoed for 2 days, plus he got to see a little of Berlin on his way to the camp ground.
In the meantime, Alyssa and Adri wanted to see Munich. So we took a train down two hours south and spent the day exploring the city and drinking beers that were larger than our heads. We went to the famous Hofbrauhaus and explored the city park. We weren’t there for very long (less than 24 hours) before we headed back to Nuremberg, where I got to show them the view from the Kaiserburg Castle at sunset. I even got to take them back to Fürth and show them where we’ve been living. It was a lot of fun to get the opportunity to show someone around our new home. Alyssa has been a really great friend to me for a long time and it was really special to have my two worlds collide, so to speak. Plus, helping her and her sister navigate the German language really put into perspective how much I have learned since being here. I’m nowhere near fluent, but I’ve come a long way!
Remember how we were supposed to move into our apartment on August 1st, but couldn’t? Then we were supposed to move in on August 15th, but couldn’t. Then we were supposed to move in on September 1st. Remember that? Well, we still haven’t moved in. We were waiting on a signature, then there was supposed to be a 2 week processing period. That two week processing period turned into 3 weeks and then we finally got word that our landlord was going down to sign the papers and make her first payment. She’ll be meeting with the attorney on September 8th, then her payment is supposed to take a week processing period and we’re supposed to have keys on September 16th. Keep your fingers crossed for us, because we cannot wait to move into our own home!
In 2016, our founder, Bailey Smith, finagled her way into moving abroad with her husband. In their off time, they were able to travel all around Europe. Many of Bailey's travel experiences during those two years have shaped Indie Travel Design into what it is today. Follow along with their story of negotiating jobs, applying for visas, and living in Germany.