We have been back in a wet and windy England for two weeks now and getting a serious case of the holiday blues. Whenever we get back from a trip we always make sure to organise and print pictures to put in an album and this is only making me miss the adventures more. But I am pleased to say we have found the perfect cure; booking the next trip.
We are going to be doing a week road trip in Bavaria along the romantic road at the end of March next year. Booking the flights now as they are cheap and then we can start the real planning in the new year, once we have had all the Christmas excitement.
To get in the mood for Christmas and the holiday we decided to go to the Manchester Christmas market which we have been to before. We caught the train as the centre is so packed when the market is running that it isn’t worth the stress of trying to find parking and getting lost in the centre. The station is very central with only a short 5 minute walk and you are at the market.
As you may have noticed from my other posts, food is very important in my life and this trip is no exception. We started the morning off with a cheesy bratwurst and grilled onions which I can say is a nice change from my usual lunchtime ham sandwich. Whenever we buy food at a market we buy one and share it which means that we always get to try more things. Why just have a bratwurst when you can have bratwurst and a hog roast. A very easy choice in my opinion!
We didn’t really need to do any Christmas shopping so we just browsed in all the stalls and tried all the free samples that were on offer before stopping for a nice hot chocolate to keep warm. As nice as the mugs were I didn’t really want to pay £2 a piece so we quickly returned them to get the deposit back and spent it on a hot roast with stuffing and apple sauce a little further along. This just left enough room for some mini danish pancakes and nutella. YUM!!
Once we had exhausted what the market had to offer we had a little wander around the Arndale centre and had some lunch. As we have been trying to be healthy (and cheap) after the holiday this was the first time we had gone out for some dinner so we obviously went to my favourite place; Nandos. I decided to try the new sunset burger which I was really impressed with. Chicken thighs, melted cheese and an amazing sweet pepper sauce on a sweet roll.
Pro tip – If you like it a little spicy as well as sweet ask for Peri Flamer. This is a mixture of hot sauce and the peri tamer (BBQ) which my friend who works there told me about. Most people haven’t heard about it as it isn’t on the menu. It even says it is a secret on your receipt. It is a revelation! Try it out.
Once I finished a dozen glasses of Diet coke and filled my boots with Chicken we decided to head to the Manchester Art and Design Centre. It’s always nice to go to somewhere that supports local artists and crafty people and to see what they are working on They have a small space with a full set of tools and equipment so local people can go and do classes and also make their own products. It is nice to know there are places that are encouraging people to develop skills and offering the tools to do it.
On our walk back to the station we found a couple of really cool shops. The best was Magma which had a really nice range of books and artwork that is different to your standard Waterstones or high street book shop. I managed to pick up a nice German book called “German for artists” which is a beginners German grammar book that teachers you vocabulary and phrases that you will use in galleries in Germany. I don’t really enjoy galleries when travelling but can’t resist a book that has really nice typography and teaches some unique phrases that I won’t find in the standard online course. My girlfriend also picked up a book called “One Year Wiser” which contains 365 mantras for positivity and mindfulness with some lovely illustrations to match.
As my book choice implies, I am going to be learning German on the run up to the holiday which roughly gives me four months to get to a conversational level in travel situations. I haven’t used German properly since I stopped studying in school around 10 years ago but I think that once I get started I will start to pick it back up quite easily. Luckily the pronunciation isn’t too difficult and the sentence structure isn’t massively complicated from what I remember (at least in the present tense). This decision has been followed by the usual wave of app downloading on my phone to get started with a bang. I will most likely only use a small portion (Duolingo, Coffee Break German and FluentU) but it is always nice to have a big selection. I use my phone as the main resource due to the ease of having it with me all the time and being able to download podcasts means I can even squeeze some time in to my working day (when I have a lunch break anyway).
Ciao for now!