Meeting the Mairhofer’s

Sunday 17th:

So Sunday was originally planned as a pretty relaxing day, just to laze around at home and generally do nothing… It didn’t end up being lazy, but was still a relaxing and fun day. I was able to sleep in a little, as Dad’s friend Gerd wasn’t meeting me until 11am. He collected me from my host family’s house, and I think that gave Margit a little peace of mind. We drove back to Gerd’s town, Weil der Stadt, with varied conversation in my broken German and his far superior English. I suppose Gerd did have the advantage of having learned English for much longer than I have German, but I still feel bad for not using more.

Even though I know a variety of German, I still don’t feel brave enough to use it more regularly, something Margit is helping me with. I think her catchphrase for our conversations is, “by the time you go home, you will only speak German!” It doesn’t help that I speak so much English with the other students here, as it is our common language. I feel like I need to speak more German, I just need more courage!

But back to Weil der Stadt; a beautiful old town, with a church, town hall and houses from as early as 1606! The old town centre has a wall around it, although all the stairways were closed so we couldn’t go up top. It was amazing with all the snow, and in the town square the statue of famous German astronomer Johannes Kepler was all dressed up for the Swabian-Alemanic festival Fastnacht. There was an amazing old fountain as well, frozen over except for the running water in the pipes, with many statues depicting the characters from the festival. Just before we left, we visited a traditional cake shop, with a sweet old couple running it. All the cakes were as beautiful as the town, and choosing what I wanted to eat was the hardest decision of my life! I eventually settled on some Sachertorte, which was so very rich.

We then rested at Gerd’s house for a short while to eat our cake and drink some coffee. It is a lovely house, half way up a hill with wonderful views of the snow falling on the town. Gerd then showed me some photos of his latest adventures in Italy, and it was lovely to see someone else’s perspective as a visitor to Venice. When the snowfall paused, we seized the opportunity and went for a walk to work off the cake!

We wandered through the snow, with some parts as deep as my knees – not quite as deep as Mummelsee, but just as beautiful. I saw wild pig tracks for the first time, and the views around us were amazing. When we had completed the circuit, Gerd drove me home to my host family. It was a wonderful morning, and I couldn’t thank him enough for showing me his little part of Germany. As much as I love being in Stuttgart, it was nice to get back out into the countryside for a while.

After a short rest and an attempt at some homework, Margit and Klaus’ three sons arrived to go show the eldest, Florian and his wife Nina the photos. The middle son Jonas, his wife Deysi and the youngest David had travelled to Honduras in December and January for Jonas and Deysi’s second wedding ceremony. Unfortunately, Florian and Nina had work and study commitments, and couldn’t travel with them. It was a fun evening, and was probably the most eclectic mix of German and English I have ever heard, because we all spoke in both, even Nina whose English isn’t the best, and Ainslie who is a beginner at German. It was great to finally be able to put faces to the names I had been told about by Margit. We were having so much fun, and it wasn’t until they were all leaving that I realised it was already after 11pm! I went straight to bed after, courtesy of classes in the morning!

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