Starting this trip I decided I was going to do a few things differently compared to last year. I had a few resolutions that broke fairly early in the piece that I've tried to keep to this year. One of them was to go for a run in every city I've visited, I changed that to 'If the climate and time allow' and it's worked fairly well - I've had jaunts through Casablanca, Granada and Bruges to name a few and I've seen some things the usual tourist doesn't - some good and some bad.
The other was to try and be a bit respectful and learn some of the local language of each country I've visited. Arabic in Egypt was tough - too much guttural stuff going on there. I expected at least I'd have a head up in Morocco as it's basically the same language and they go and speak French on me. The same story in Spain, I pick up bits and pieces and then we head into Catalonia where everyone speaks Catalan and it's an 'insult' to speak Spanish to the locals. Finally I hit Switzerland thinking I'll be able to get by with my limited German. Unfortunately all the basics are quite different there so I'm back to square one (and there's some French thrown in that language as well, depending on what part of the country you're in). Finally I get to the small countries, Belgium and Luxembourg - let's not even get into the languages there - student learn 4 languages at school in Belgium; Flemish, French, English and German. I don't even know what was going on in Luxembourg, I just stuck my Ipod in and gave up.
It's not that I didn't try, it's just that I've ended up with so many 'hellos' and 'thankyous' I was starting to mix up my 'mercis' with my 'holas' and looking like a right spanner. Cue the Switzerland come down and I'm reading an issue of 'Packed', a backpacker magazine and it has an article on things to do when you're starting go get over the whole breakfast/old town/supermarket/lunch/cathedral/dinner/bar/bed routine that Europe backpacking can become. One of the suggestions was to take a language course and I think this isn't a bad idea. I need to do something to fill the week between my arrival in Berlin and my Oktoberfest booking so I check out the website and attempt to sign myself up for a week long intensive German course.
As I was booking only a week before, I was pretty sure there wouldn't be any spaces left, but no, I get an email on Wednesday saying I've been accepted and to be at the school on Monday to be tested to determine what class I go in. Somehow, there's a hostel right around the corner with beds for a week, which is where I sit right now, typing this up when I should be trying to sleep as I have to be up at 7 tomorrow! Boy I hope no ones mean to me and I make lots of new friends.
I might write again midweek to see how it's going, but it'll probably have to be in Deutsch! Tschuss.