We spent Easter in Germany, where trees in front gardens are decorated with painted eggs. According to our hostess, my sis-in-law, Christianity came late to the north, hence they still celebrate pagan rites in remote areas, such as bonfires at Easter to chase away the bad spirits lingering after winter. On a drive through the countryside at dusk (we were in a tractor trailer, which added to the fun) we spotted tons of big fires burning, and breathed in the smell that to us Englanders means November and Guy Fawkes.
We stayed in Bremen, a small city of 450,000 inhabitants, and I did my usual self-poll ‘Could I live here happily?’
I came to the conclusion that yes, I could. Here’s why:
1. The baked goods. There seemed to be an excellent baker on every corner, selling all kinds of bread, including my favourite (walnut) and huge yeasty buns spiked with sultanas. If that’s not reason enough to relocate I give you…
2. Everybody cycles. There are cycle paths, and old-school bikes with baskets on the front. The public transport system is fantastic and cheap, also, in case you get tired of pedalling.
3. German people seem to take great pride in their gardens, front and back. Where I live front gardens are being ripped up and replaced with concrete at an alarming rate.
4. The coffee seemed to be uniformly excellent.
5. We didn’t see one pair of Ugg boots.
6. The weather was good while we were there, but we noticed that some restaurants with outside tables had thoughtfully laid blankets over the backs of the chairs for patrons who feel the chill. You’ve got to love that.
I’m sure I could think of lots more, but let’s face it, heaps of bread, good coffee, cycling everywhere, eating wrapped in a blanket…. you’re booking a ticket right now, aren’t you?
I finished my pink socks:
and bought tons of lovely sock yarn in Karstadt, the Bremen department store. Sock knitting is a normal hobby in Germany (reason 8 to move there?).
A final picture. We got lost in the student district, where the grafitti was fantastic, and the garage doors even looked wonderful. Here’s one a la Henri Rousseau: