Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year

Let's hope 2008 is a good year for everyone.

I saw the new year in with my friends Pete and Nicole, their two children Vincent and Lewis, plus Pete's parents, at their house in Blansingen. They also kindly let me stay the night. Owing to the icy weather this morning, Nicole advised me not to walk down the steep hill to the station in Kleinkems and instead dropped me off by car at Efringen-Kirchen Bf. I stayed on the train until Basle because I needed to buy some food at the station.

If you include my year abroad in the Südpfalz in 1996/97, I've lived in this country for nearly nine years, yet there are certain local peculiarities I'm still learning about. For example, I went to Basle yesterday to renew my public transport ticket for 2008 and had to queue for over an hour to do so. No problem, I thought, the shops in Weil will probably still be open until at least 5 p.m. Wrong. They closed at 2 p.m. By the time I had returned home and eaten lunch, it was already too late. It's funny because I did notice at the time how busy with shoppers the Hauptstraße was yesterday morning and then how quiet it suddenly became from early afternoon onwards.... Yours truly left the flat at around 4 p.m. with the aim of getting some provisions in, blithely unaware that the supermarket was already closed. On New Year's Eve I've always either been in the UK or visiting friends in Heidelberg, so I had never really clocked that the shops closed so early on Silvester in Germany. I should really have known, given that it was New Year's Eve. It would have saved me an unscheduled trip to Switzerland this morning.

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