I hardly have any time to write because I’m so busy with university right now. But here’s a quick post on two short trips I made recently.

View of Nuremberg from the castle.

The Schöner Brunnen on Nuremberg’s main market.

A week ago, I visited a Japanese friend of mine who lives in Nuremberg. I used the German site Mitfahrgelegenheit.de for the first time to get there. It’s basically a site for people to organize shared rides from and to different places. I couldn’t find a ride leaving from Cologne to Nuremberg early enough (after all, it’s a four hour ride there), so I decided to start my journey from the nearby city of Bonn. The driver turned out to be a middle-aged man traveling together with his wife and there was also one other passenger apart from me. The drive was alright, but admittedly a little awkward, as nobody talked over the whole three and a half hours it took us to get to Nuremberg (except for the couple arguing how to get to the main station when we approached Nuremberg).

Old-style houses up in Nuremberg’s castle.

Flower in the castle’s gardens.

Nuremberg was great. It really is what I suppose foreigners imagine when they think of a German city. It’s full of medieval-looking houses and the castle, which is located on a hill right in the middle of the city, is also very impressive. Additionally, I was lucky enough to be in town during what is called the “Altstadtfest” which consists of food stands and all other kinds of vendors filling the streets and market places of the city. Though everything from souvenirs and flowers to tableware or curtains is sold, the most important stands are probably those selling the famous Nürnberger Bratwurst (a typical sausage from Nuremberg), huge pretzels and beer. We also heard some (more or less good) typical German music and saw a lot of people walking around in dirndl and lederhosen. It was, so to say, a genuinely “German” atmosphere – as far as any foreign tourist would imagine that to be.

Squirrel in the castle’s gardens.

The tiny rest of the great sushi we made.

We mostly spent the weekend strolling around the city and enjoying that atmosphere. But as I stayed at my friend’s and her boyfriend’s house, we also had the time to make some awesome sushi one evening. And I had the chance to look at some videos of the band my friend’s boyfriend’s is playing at. It’s called Kellerkommando and I really hope I will have the chance to see them live some time. Also, I might try to get to Nuremberg again in December to visit the world-famous Christmas market there.

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Great and very quiet atmosphere in the city center of Mainz.

This weekend, I decided very spontaneously to do another short trip to visit my brother, who just moved to Mainz. Again, I shared a ride to get there, but it was much better than getting to Nuremberg, as it actually doesn’t take more than one and a half to two hours to get there from Cologne. I only spent a day in Mainz, but I thought it was a really nice place. It’s on the Rhine river just like Cologne is, so I really enjoyed being able to take a walk to and at the river. The atmosphere was radically different from the one in Nuremberg as it was much more quiet and down-to-earth in Mainz, but I really enjoyed it. In the evening we discovered a great restaurant serving genuine Thai food (at least according to my brother who just spent some time in Thailand), where I had a really great green Thai curry.

View over Mainz from a road on a hill.

Part of the Nagelsäule in Mainz.

Although I really liked the city, I think I’d like to go to Mainz again some time during the week. It being sunday, we could hardly find any shops or restaurants that weren’t closed and the city was, in parts, even too quiet for my taste. But I am sure I will go there again as this is where my brother will most probably spend the next couple of years and because it’s quite close to Cologne, too. Also, the guy who was driving me to Mainz told me that there is even a regular connection by boat running between Cologne and Mainz on the Rhine river. It takes several hours, but still sounded really interesting. I might try it out in the future.

The Rhine river in Mainz.

Cute street art in Mainz.

To sum it all up: I still love living in this still relatively new place Cologne, where I’m suddenly so much closer to so many nice places. I will try and keep doing short trips on the weekends in the future!