Regensburg: dults and other diversions

This weekend we hopped on a train up to Regensburg to party with the Regensbloggers. Their housewarming party conveniently coincided with the Regensburger Dult, an adorable little city fair complete with beer tents, disturbing rides, carnies, and strange shopping opportunities. I was surprised to see that it was bigger than the Auer Dult, and almost as big as Munich’s Frühlingsfest. The youth of Regensburg were out en masse, many of them wearing the most colorful tract I’ve ever seen.

A highlight of the weekend was finally getting to meet That Queer Expatriate live and in person. We had a fabulous time chasing a belederhosened emo boy around the dult together (see his blog for pics) and shopping for gingerbread hearts.

Naturally we were overcome with a feeling of deep patriotism upon seeing this ride:

Back at the party, we learned how to make awesome capa capra copu caipirinhas while marveling over the fact that in Germany, bags of ice come with instructions.

Expats and bloggers invade Regensburg

Saturday we headed to Regensburg to spend the day at the expat meet-up organized by Christina. Regensburg is a cheap (on a Bayernpass) and easy 1.5-hour train ride from Munich, so it makes for a good day trip.

After wandering around on our own for a while, we joined the group for a guided tour of the city in the afternoon. It’s been a while since I’ve taken a guided tour of any city, and it was quite fun, even though the overarching theme (Regensburg might not look like much today, but in the past we were super important! really! Oh, and we’re very, very Italian, too!) was a little depressing.

Then it was off to a lovely biergarten for drinks in the shade before our herd of expats headed to dinner at a local Italian restaurant. It was fabulous to meet Cliff and Sarah of Regensblog, Tammy and Matthias of Coffee from a Cardboard Cup, and Tim and Heather from the Sprocket Spot, and several other non-blogging expats, too (it only seems like all of us blog…).

Us big city folk (ie., the four in attendance from Munich) left dinner on the early side hoping to catch a certain train, failed, and ended up watching most of the second half of the Russia-Netherlands game in a sports bar near the station. We were the only ones there over the age of 18, but at least we recognized the 80s music that was playing too loud for our delicate old ears.

Want to whine with the best of them?

This year’s Whiny Expat Bloggers Meet-Up is being planned as I type… hop on over to J’s blog to vote for a location. For a reason I can’t seem to grasp, Wiesbaden is currently in the lead, despite the fact that it has no one to show us around and is apparently overrun with American military types. Nice.

So go vote! I chose Bremen, mainly because 1) I’ve never been there, 2) it sounds more interesting than Wiesbaden, and 3) it appears to be one of few non-Wiesbaden cities that still has a chance of winning.

No matter what city wins, I’m looking forward to attending for the first time. What could be better than whining with fellow expat bloggers?

Europe String and Veggie Chic looking for bloggers

So I’ve decided to give up my professional blogs Europe String and Veggie Chic at the end of May. I’ve enjoyed writing for them, but I feel it’s time for me to move on.

Thought I’d mention it here in case any readers are interested in taking over… b5media is looking for replacement bloggers for both blogs. Europe String is about traveling Europe on a budget, and Veggie Chic is ‘all things vegetarian’. Contact me or leave a comment and I can put you in touch with the right folks.

Save the date: expat fun in Regensburg this summer

I’ve been trying to come up with a good title for Christina, organizer of many a get-together for the Bavarian expat blogger crowd. Social coordinator? Den mother? Cruise director?

Anyway, she’s at it again, this time with a whole weekend full of Regensburg-style fun. There’ll be food, a city tour, baseball(!?!), and if you’re lucky, some beer, too. So if you’ll be in this area, mark your calendars for June 21-22 and join in on all the expat revelry.

Expat blogger poised to take German TV by storm

This Friday evening, March 14th, Ian in Hamburg will dazzle the German TV audience with his American (well, Canadian posing as American) pizza-baking skills on the Pro7 show Galileo. Groovy, huh?

I read Ian’s account of the taping (parts 1, 2 and 3) with delight, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the finished show compares with his behind-the-scenes stories.

I’m usually not such a fan of the show Galileo, which claims to be a science show while performing such groundbreaking experiments as ‘Who’s really superior, men or women? We put this age-old mystery to the test in our ultimate smackdown to prove once and for all which sex is the best by… timing a man and a woman washing dishes. You won’t believe the stunning results!’ I wish I were making this up. Oh, and at least once a week the show features gratuitous footage of a meat-processing plant.

But all that aside, I’m really looking forward to finding out who wins the ultimate international pizza-baking contest. Then we can finally all stop arguing about it.

Do I look like a weatherman?

I have been getting more and more emails these days from readers of this blog. For the most part, I welcome these messages (which is why I choose to have my email address posted at all). I have met some interesting people and even made a good friend or two because someone reading this blog decided to contact me.

Usually I get contacted by other expats, or people who are thinking of moving to Zurich and want to know more about my experiences here. Most have turned out to be perfectly nice people, although a couple have turned out to be a little rude, treating me like I’m some sort of government employee obligated to sit here and answer their questions.

Side note: if a stranger goes out of her way to answer some questions for you via email, you owe that stranger at least a simple thank you in a return message. I don’t care if your original message said “thanks in advance”- that doesn’t count. Acknowledge that you received the email, and thank the person for her time. You don’t have to get all gushy or weird about it, but there’s no reason to be rude to someone who just did something nice for you.

Yesterday I received an email from a reader that completely cracked me up. This reader was wondering if I could tell him what the weather is like here. OK, not here, but in Davos. And not now, but during the World Economic Forum. Here’s the thing: if you are contacting me via email, I am going to assume you know how to use the internet, and therefore you are fair game for ridicule if you contact me to ask me to look up something on the internet for you. Google is your friend. I may or may not be.

By the way, in Zurich it is currently overcast and unseasonably warm, with winds coming from every conceivable direction (including, but not limited to, the north, the south, the east, the west, straight up, and straight down). Dangerous storm warnings have been issued for the vast majority of Switzerland for later this afternoon, so get your ass inside. I’m pretty sure a small tree just flew by my window. Or was it a cow? (Did I sound like an authentic weatherman just then? Huh? Huh? My point exactly.)

Roving band of expat bloggers takes over Basel

The first big Swiss expat blogger meet-up took place in Basel today. About 25 bloggers and significant others were there to mix, mingle, and learn each other’s real names.
After several hours of eating, drinking, and musical chairs, we were led on a little walking tour of downtown Basel by The Big Finn, who made up some city history to share with the group.

So much fun was had by all that we decided we must do another such meet-up. It was decided the next one will be in Zurich, possibly the weekend of March 24th to correspond with this.

It was great to meet you all! The experience was kind of like going to Disney World for the first time and seeing all your favorite characters come to life. Except at this thing, they were all wearing pants.

Your chance to meet real live Swiss bloggers is less than a week away!

That’s right, folks, S.Ex.B.U.F.F.A.L.O. (or whatever we’re calling it these days) is just around the corner – on Sunday, January 14th to be precise. Starting at noon, we’ll be gathering at Zum Braunen Mutz in Basel for drinking, eating, and general blogger camaraderie (or whatever else it is that bloggers do when they get together).

It’s your big chance to meet all your favorite Swiss bloggers! So far we have twenty-something people coming, from all over the country. Meet the Expatters and their lovely little spawn. Find out what Ali really thinks of all those German in-laws. Ask Sara what it’s like to be both a girly girl and a physicist. Learn the secrets of finding your very own sugar mama from The Big Finn… and so much more!

All bloggers (in Switzerland or not, expats or not) and their friends and family are welcome to join us. If you’re planning on coming but haven’t told anyone about it yet, please send me an email or leave a comment. This will help us make sure we have enough room reserved in the restaurant. Also, if you are a Swiss blogger, feel free to spread the word by posting on your own blog. Bis bald!

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