Monday, June 20, 2011

Mainz - Hauke's birthday

Chocolate Speculoos cake that I made

Early Friday morning I headed back to Mainz in Germany for Hauke's 22nd birthday. The trip over was pretty uneventful, although I left the house at 8.30am and realized once I got to the train station that I hadn't written down the connections and knew nothing more than my first train to Brussels. I texted Hauke asking him to google it for me and apologizing for my stupidity, then thought I figured it out myself anyway and texted again to inform him of my awesomeness. Of course, once I arrived at Frankfurt I got lost in the train station and missed my connection there and he had to ring me and sort it out, although I swear I was actually in the right place in the beginning because I remembered from last time I was there, but then the signage was really bad and I convinced myself I was wrong. Anyone who has been in Frankfurt station will agree its a complete mess there. In the end it took me 6 1/2 hours to get there, but an hour of that was just catching the bus to Antwerp and I lost about another hour messing around and then waiting in Frankfurt, so it wasn't so bad.

I was shattered by the time we got home, its been a really long month and I hadn't had a night of uninterrupted sleep all week, so I took a nap while Hauke went to a lecture, and then we biked around doing some errands. It's funny how biking still has such novelty value for me, like for Hauke (and most Europeans) its just an everyday means of transport, but for me it's really entertaining. Also scary, I'm still not used to the no-helmet thing, it feels like being in a car with no seatbelt on, just not right, but at least they have cycle lanes everywhere here. Riding around in them made me realize how annoying I am, because I am always the dumb pedestrian that stands in the cycle lanes in Antwerp! I apologise Belgium, we don't have them in NZ and I don't realise, I swear I will try to do better in the future!

Going out on Friday, also a good 'before haircut' photo
Back in Rauris in January I had bragged about my ability to eat spicy food and Hauke had challenged me to eat some famously spicy currywurst (sliced sausage in curry sauce) in Mainz. Apparently they have five levels of spiciness and the fifth is so hot that you have to eat the fourth just to prove you're even capable of trying the fifth, and that people who eat the fifth puke from the spiciness of it. I'd never gotten around to trying it because I've always been so hungover busy whenever I visit, so this time we stopped and grabbed some of the second-spiciest. Hauke eagerly declared that I was going to suffer and started videoing me but turned it off halfway through, I was eating it without any trouble and I guess he didn't want proof that I beat him. Anyone who thinks that is spicy should come live with Koi for awhile! We didn't come back for the fifth level stuff, so that will have to be on the cards for the next visit! We also sat outside the huge cathedral in the centre for awhile drinking some beer and finished the night off out clubbing, back at Red Cat and another club I hadn't been to before where we entertained ourselves in typical juvenile fashion, sticking animal stickers on unsuspecting people and watching them dance around us. We met heaps of spanish speakers, it was good to get some practice, and also some German guys that taught me how to call Hauke some bad names.

We didn't go to sleep until 7am and I definitely regretted it waking up at 11am the next day and knowing that Saturday night would be even bigger. The night before we were talking about haircuts and decided it would be fun to go to the hairdresser and let Hauke pick a cut and colour for me and tell the girl in German so I'd have no idea what was happening and would just have to sit and wait, so we spent the afternoon at the hairdressers where the poor girl shook her head at the mess that my hair had become while I've been traveling around. Hauke and I must have a weird concept of what 'fun' is, we always end up doing such random stuff rather than just going out for coffee or to the movies or whatever normal people do! I left with dark hair that is the shortest it's been in at least ten years, a pretty big change but I love it.

the new hair!
We stopped in at the gallery/studio of Hauke's flatmates, they are really cool people and put up with me being a pain in the ass in their flat all the time, and I loved some of the stuff there. Biking home was interesting, I was riding Hauke's flatmate's bike that was way to big for me, so I couldn't touch the ground. At one point I actually fell sideways onto a parked car when I couldn't get going fast enough, it was pretty funny but then he led us the wrong way down a bike lane, and when some bikers came the other way and I couldn't stop I ended up in the path of an oncoming car and it didn't seem so funny anymore, I was not really impressed!

Some of Hauke's friends from Mainz
Saturday night we had drinks back at the house with a bunch of Hauke's friends from Gottingen who came down for the night and joined those from Mainz. Hauke's cocktails are now pretty awesome, and everyone had a really good time and was really friendly. The chocolate speculoos cake that the kids 'helped' me to make turned out well, recipe is here. I didn't have so many "Hi, I'm Claire" "yes, I met you last time you were in Mainz/Gottingen" moments this time, I'm finally starting to remember who everyone is! We went back to Red Cat for awhile, and then to another club that I had been to before. It was cool to meet a lot of Hauke's Mainz friends that I didn't know before, they speak pretty good english and the Gottingen boys got around the language barrier by teaching me stuff in German that I don't think the teacher will be explaining in my german language courses! We weren't out quite so late this night, I think we got to bed at around 5am, although we were up again at 9 when Hauke's phone started going crazy with people calling him to say happy birthday. Once everyone else was up and moving we headed to the Rhine and sat on the banks having a picnic brunch but the weather was pretty dodgy and we ended up in Vapiano for coffee after an hour or so.

Me and Hauke on Saturday night
Then everyone else headed home and we spent the rest of the day cleaning up, sleeping and lazing around the house. It's funny, I was really looking forward to four days of no housework, but I ended up spending a lot of the weekend doing laundry, unloading the dishwasher and taking out the trash! I was not in a really good way all day, the lack of sleep has really caught up to me, I don't think I've had eight hours of uninterrupted sleep since we got back from London and then this weekend was a little more than my body could handle. We slept through the alarm on Monday and I had to do a mad dash to get to to the station and just made it onto my first train. The trip up to Cologne was really nice, all the way up to Koblenz the tracks follow the Rhine and go past tiny old villages and castles perched up on the hills, it is one of the best train journey's I've taken. It was a funny feeling to arrive at Cologne and know my way around after being there in January, Europe is becoming home rather than the awe-inspiring adventure it once was. I had quite a while to wait there so I went and sat in the Cathedral. It's funny to think that my grandparents came all the way from New Zealand to see the Cathedral here, and now I go there just to kill time between trains!

Coffee on Sunday morning
So, an awesome weekend, although most of the awesomeness was those funny, random or meaningful moments that no one else will understand, or stuff that just shouldn't be recorded on the internet for eternity! Also an exhausting weekend, dealing with the kids tonight has been interesting, and I've only got a couple of days to recover and catch up on sleep before I go to another massive party with Lena in Liege this weekend! 

Photos are here, I'll try to get the currywurst video off Hauke too.

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