Travelling, Germany

Kent to Cologne and back via Nippes (No, not nipples!)

This weekend I went home to surprise my family and stay with them for a couple of days. We moved from Bramsche to Erfstadt (Cologne) on Friday which meant my team (James and Kathi) were able to meet with plenty of other White Horse Theatre actors and go to the Carnival to celebrate the start of spring. The introvert in me couldn’t really think of anything worse, especially in a place I wasn’t familiar with at all and after a week of hard graft I wasn’t up for going out drinking for 3 days straight. So I flew with Ryanair from Bremen to London Stansted, hired a car from Europcar and drove to Kent.

Sean had an important meeting he had to attend on Monday so we got the same flight into the UK which was nice to have a companion. We performed at a school in Oldenburg and was dropped off at the train station at around 1pm. We had so much time to kill so we decided to look around Oldenburg for a little bit and then onto Bremen. It was so nice to be back in Oldenburg, as Kathi, Sean and me were here just before Christmas to see the markets etc. It looks completely different now.

 

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We went back to a pasta place that we loved before Christmas. This is wholewheat pasta with spinach, feta and tomato – had a bit of a kick too!

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I look so unattractive..but here is me with a horse statue.

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OLDENBURG: The church below is an Evangelical church.

The church dates from the 13th century and was renovated in the 19th century. It was originally built as a Romanesque hall between 1155 ad 1234. Subsequently it was altered several times. The outside hides a rotunda-style basilica, based on the Pantheon in Rome.

To the north is the old Rathaus (city hall). To the southeast is Schloss Oldenburg.’ – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Lamberti_Church – 9/02/2016

 

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So after this little site seeing trip, we went to the airport and made our way to England. I must say it was the first time I had flown with Ryanair and I have nothing but good things to say about them. The stewards and stewardesses were smart, all had similar hair styles, make up that looked fresh and neat, and they all wore nice blue suits. Trousers or skirts for the women. They played music when you got onto the plane, which I found quite relaxing and I had more leg room then I ever do on an EasyJet flight! The one thing that helps, is that they have done away with the netting on the back of the chairs which creates more space for your legs. Also the instructions on what to do in an emergency is made simple and stuck to the back of the chair in front of you. So even without really looking for it you can see it, which is better I think. Who actually sits on a flight and gets the laminated piece of card out on what to do in an emergency?! I certainly don’t.

I found the security tannoy a little fast, especially in the Irish accent. It could be a little hard for non english speakers to understand. It was very much, get on the flight, sit down and lets get you off. But I didn’t mind that. I paid €17 for my flight out and €47 on the way back. I don’t expect anything major, I just wanted a smile and a safe flight and that’s exactly what I got. A pretty smooth ride on the way over there that I fell asleep! and we arrived 15 minutes early!

I picked up my Renault Captur from Europcar. It was a little bigger than I was expecting but after travelling to Essex, I was really loving it. I have never driven anything so new and it’s so nice to drive down the road and people not expect to see a tractor haha.

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http://www.ccrfb.awdealers.co.uk/used/renault/captur/15-dci-90-dynamique-medianav-energy-5dr/weston-super-mare/somerset/16595502  – 09/02/2016

So the M11 from Stansted Airport to Essex was shut so I had to take the diversion route all the way through Bishop’s Stortford and onto Brentwood, it took me ages but finally arrived at Stellas at 00:10am. We stayed up nattering until 2am! and I finally got to lay my head on a proper pillow – HEAVEN.

After 5 hours I woke up, feeling hungover from lack of sleep and got ready to surprise my mum! I drove past the house, saw her car there, went to the shop bought some flowers and then knocked on the door. At first there was no answer but then the door opened! SURPRISE!

That day I surprised my sister and my nan. Had a lovely lunch out (despite poor service) with Mum, Toyah, Evie and Nathan and then went on to see my Nan. After seeing Nan went home to crash out. But not before we cooked marsh mellows on the fire:

 

 

Sunday I saw my Dad for Sunday roast (YUMMY) and then I saw Karl which was so so lovely. I wasn’t expecting to see him this trip as he has been away in Scotland and hadn’t expected to get back in time but it all seemed to work out and I spent Sunday evening with him <3.

Monday I spent with Toyah and my niece and then I headed off to the airport. Somewhat early actually due to high winds! The QE2 bridge was shut so there was congestion getting into the tunnel. I somehow managed to arrive before drop off time to give the car back! Huzzuh! (Well done Google Maps).

All was great getting onto the plane. Unfortunately, I found out in the queue for boarding that Sean may miss the flight :(. After trying to tell him the quickest way to get to the gate we found out that he was booked onto a German Wings flight and not Ryanair..DOH! Somehow through a lot of sprinting he made his flight and we reconnected at the train station at Cologne Airport.

There was SO much turbulence on take off and on landing. I have never been through anything like it before. I forced myself to look out at the window as I found there was less movement looking at the wing then there was looking down the front of the plane. I think we were all elated once we had landed as there was an applause at touchdown haha! The plane was actually being rocked from side to side by the wind…EEEK!

So got onto the train, only to find that the initial way of getting home had changed last minute. Me and Sean with no internet or much credit on our phone had to figure out how to get a taxi from our local train station. With help from Jim and Kathi we got a taxi booked..a little flustered by the sudden change in plan we unfortunately got onto the wrong train…:/ this cost us most of our evening! 4 stations NORTH in the wrong direction we got off, turned around and went the other way back to Cologne station but not without sprinting between platforms due to last minute changes! CRAZY.

Finally got to Cologne and James told us that we could get the U Bahn (underground) to a closer stop to Erfstadt and get a taxi from there, which we did. Found a taxi in the ghost town of Hurth and was home by 2am! Absolutely shattered!

What an adventure!!! Thank goodness I have had a day off today as I wouldn’t have been able to function having the travelling nightmare both me and Sean had yesterday.

I have been given my own flat for the next two weeks, fully equipt, which is very lovely! It’s a beautiful little studio flat, with a big shower bathroom. I am very lucky but so grateful. It means I have been able to relax, catch up with friends and have some privacy. As much as I love my team members, I do love my own space.

I will show you pictures of the flat in due course but for now I am going to go and watch some more films and sitcoms.

I have good wifi here from now until the 19th February so I can reply to anyone and keep in touch as much as possible during that time. I hope you are all well and the next time I’m home will be EASTER! Can’t wait.

Lots of love xxx

 

 

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