Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blue zappy thingies

Okay first of all - the film 'Get Smart' a lot better than I thought it was going to be. Completely idiotic, but not as far as the Naked Gun films. Worth a watch anyway (plus its got Anne Hathaway in it so all is good :-). Plus a nice walk through Dortmund after the film had finished at a cool 27 degrees and 2230hrs! And yes that is me on the walk back outside a church?!?

Second of all - another bit of a rant, this time hygine in bakeries. Okay its hot and flies are about - but there are no blue lights to zap the flies in these places so I'm looking at stuff to buy and can't bring myself to because the stuff next to it has a blue bottle feasting away with the person serving me completely oblivious! - Blue zappy things please! (For that matter also noted there is no smoke alarm in my flat either, living on the edge here in Dortmund :-).

Okay, no more ranting, lets talk about foxy ladies at the office: Well okay, I actually mean a real fox, I actually think it is a baby fox... funny I haven't seen the Rabbit in a while....

Also, forgot about this pic (the cafe in the huge bookshop from an earlier post). Pretty cool and the English section was massive. I did very well though - the only purchase in here was the coffee and bagel!

For those of you who don't know, I have a slight issue with restraining myself from buying books - I have circa 30 unread sitting on bookshelves at home. Ask me, I probably have a book about it (This has happened to Liam T on more than one occasion).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Heat and thunder

I am hot today (note you cannot translate this literally in German, it means something quite different :-), much to the amusement of the German folk when I say 'Ich bin heiß', after the laughing, I'm like 'Well I am hot - its hot, the Sun is out and stuff?!?'

Walking past one place with a temp guage outside it is 31 degrees - that's hotter than I'm used to, but after a pleasant wonder around some shops and a bagel in a bookstore that would put any Waterstones to shame, I trundle back to my Apartment to sit back and great what I have now become used to - when there is heat, the rain is not far away. Markus, this week has explained to me why this happens so much Dortmund, but long story short I can sit out in my patio area, with enough cover to watch the storm and eat cake :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Splitting the bill

Okay, picture this:

You are going out for a meal with a group of friends (say around 10 of you), you have a great time, laughing and joking people are eating and drinking and being merry.

Now comes to the end of the evening and it is time to pay. What do you do? Depending on the complexity (and for most the alcohol consumption) you either:
a) Agree to split the bill equally
b) Appoint someone to workout who should pay what
or c) Work out exactly what you had and pay for it.

Now, most of the time I wouldn't give a second thought to being up or down - does it really matter? Well I'm always concious because I normally have something reasonably expensive on a menu (it is usually something like a decent steak etc. and to be honest, Coke pretty much costs the same as beer so drinks are not far apart either) So I always make the effort to ensure that I have paid my fairshare - so why is it I so often find that my meal and drinks come to £20, and I have put in £25, we are still £10 short on the bill? (the amount of times I put in 2 or 3 quid extra on top of an already generous tip because the bill has come up short is not worth counting).

Enter the Germans:

For a meal (or even just for bar drinks) the waiter/waitress will actually come to your table and ask if you want to split the bill. They will go to each person and work out exactly what they have purchased, the person, at this stage also gets to tip directly (and takes the credit for their generousity :0)

Now naturally I was a little confused the first time, but it really doesn't take more than a minute or two (it actually is faster than letting a bunch of drunk idiots try to work it out for themselves - Indian restaurants in the UK please take note).

A Tip about Tipping: A tip for those visiting Germany, the whole payment experience is done in one go - so if you are going to tip, tip while the person is counting up your bill i.e. they won't leave the receipt on the table so you have a convienient tip pot.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Half way

I can't believe it, I have just tipped past the half way point of my German adventure... :-(

But I still have another 4 and half weeks here :-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Happy Ding Dong

I kid you not, I have just been out to eat at a place called 'Happy Happy Ding Dong'. Not only that, but it's a rock venue (they played 'Enter Sandman', 'Smells like teen spirit', 'Running with the Devil' etc.).

To add to how amazing this place is, Tuesday is noodle night, so we get a bowl of noodles for 1 Euro!!! (that's 79p in real money!).

Monday, July 21, 2008


Okay, for those of you that don't know, the Loveparade is a techno type street festival thingy www.loveparade.de it is basically 1.6 million crazy people getting together for a street party... about half a mile from my Apartment.

So, a story in pictures:

Safety first.....

The start of the loveparade - we have a bit of a walk!

I'm not sure what to be worried about here - Bülent poking his tonge out at me or the little bloke looking over his left shoulder.

Due to rain, everyone was wrapped up nice and warm.

Nothing like a few April showers to bring friends together (Well done to Kay for remembering to bring a brolly)

I should really put the videos of Bülent and Kay dancing, but I do fear they might 'give me a lift somewhere' and drop me off in a place I have no idea where I am.

Maybe even 'In the #@#th.... ohhhhh'

This random was obsessed with getting me to take a photo of him...

Finally, I have noticed (and it has been pointed out) that there aren't too many photos of me on this blog, so....

Rabbit and Food (don't worry the rabbit wasn't the food)

Okay, several updates from Friday.

Finally got a reasonably picture of the frikin Rabbit:

Also I thought I would show you a picture of Friday's lunch at work. Now in the UK, its Fish & Chips every Friday, in Germany, its Schnitzel & Chips! I thought I would include a photo. So as an overview of our late lunch (11:30 hrs) I have, Soup, Schnitzel & Chips (with a mushroom sauce) a chocolate/carmel pudding and an Apple juice. All for for 3.18 Euros (£2.53 in real money) Bargin!

Thinking of food, Bülent cooked a great meal for Kay and me on Friday evening. Although I have a few videos from this evening, they are not quite for public consumption :-) You may think we are all a little strange (see the loveparade post that I am just about to do and you will start to get the picture).

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I am upset as it appears that I can't attach music files to my blog.

Kay - I will have to resort to video :-)

In other News, I genuinely had the best donut in the world today. A ring donut with a vanila filling all the way around - doesn't sound impressive? It was!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Ok, I think I mentioned this place in an earlier post - but now I have some pictures and of course more people :-)

As a re-cap this is a place with the same sort of quality as Pizza express, but it is really cheap (A 12" Pizza and 2 cokes came to 10 Euros - about £7.90 - not bad eh?). About the only difference is that you collect your own food i.e. no waiter service. To be honest though, I would take this place over Pizza express any day.
Introducing... Silke.

And Henry

Oh, if you are wondering why there are no pics of the food - I was too interested in eating it to think about taking a photo. I'm sure I will go there again!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Eating a kebab (It's proper German culture - promise)

Okay, so your thinking "What the hell is Matt doing going out for a Kebab in Germany??". Well, Turkish people and food are to the Germans, what Indian people and food are to the English. I.e. If you were to name the two most popular meals in the UK it would probably be 'bangers and mash' then 'A curry'. So, there are a lot of Turkish people and culture, and here they do it properly (Guy's at home - it makes nelams look very bad!).

Here is Bülent sporting a Turkish drink called Ayran. It's a strange drink, that if I'm honest, isn't to my taste - its basically yoghurt, water and salt. (http://www.turkishcookbook.com/2005/03/ayran.php)

Here are the kebabs - very nice, and also the resturant itself is nice (no standing outside the chippy for us!).

Also, this wasn't on purpose, but I think I've started to adopt the 'peep show' view of the world. Or more accurately the prodigy videos 'Smack my b***h up' version of the world (I've never seen the video all the way through until the other day - it is cool, albiet 10 years old).

And finally, another attempt at getting the rabbit. I got its back this time while it wasn't looking...

Sunday, July 13, 2008


This is a strange - but cool place to have a party.

Everything is cooler here - even the stamps >

Cool eh?

If you can imagine, its
partially outside/under this huge dome thing.

Introducing Jan - he could be a brit he drinks that well ;-)

If you thinking 'Where are they?' We are at the side of the dancefloor, in a bus?!?

Kay looking cheeky as usual

Friday, July 11, 2008

End of week 3

I can't believe it. I have got to the end of my third week already. It's been fun, but I'm worried that I'm going to blink and I will be on the plane home!

I need to get cracking this weekend and pour all the German language I can handle down my neck!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Starting to speak German (albeit very slowly)

Okay, I had a romantic notion that I would turn up in Germany and within a few weeks I would be speaking German to some degree (I'm not sure how this would magically happen, but I thought it would).

I know a lot of words (more than you would think!), but the verbs have been doing me over (mainly due to the fact that my schooling was that poor that we didn't learn any Grammer - so I'm not very familiar with all of the English grammatical terms). Anyway, with help from Herr Franke and co. I am starting to speak in sentences. I am rarely right first time at the moment, but a step in the right direction as the meaning is there. I probably sound like 'Door open would you like me to?'

I was reminded of a few quotes though today which made me smile. One of which being:

"Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One piece at a time."

I think that is how languages are - I'm going to have to finally admit to myself that 2 months isn't quite enought to become fully fluent.

Watch out in the coming week - I'm going to start putting stuff on here in German.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Okay, I'm ashamed. I have been to McDonalds while here in Germany.

But something interesting happened. I am a bit of a fan of there Milkshakes. I drank one (and nothing else to eat or drink) and noticed my heart rate went up for no reason (about 115 bpm).

I thought it might be something else, so I tried it again a few days later, and again it was about the same.

I then looked into the nutritional info for a large chocolate milkshake that is my usual sin:

Calories: 500 (Shite - that's nearly a meal!)
Fat: 13 grams of fat (9 of them saturated)

Milkshake Base
Milk, Sugar, Whey Powder, Glucose Syrup, Cream
(40% Butterfat), Stabiliser (E412 Guar Gum, E407
Carageenan- (Standardised with sugars), Dextrose,
E410 Locust Bean Gum.

Chocolate Flavour Milkshake Syrup
Glucose Syrup, Water, Glucose-Fructose Syrup,
Reduced Fat Cocoa Powder (6.6%), Acidulant
(E338 Phosphoric Acid), Colour (E150 Caramel),
Caramel Sugar Syrup, Salt, Flavour, Butter Fat,
Cocoa Mass, Acidulant (E330 Citric Acid),
Emulsifier (E322 Soya Lecithin), Preservative (E202
Potassium Sorbate).

Source: www.mcdonalds.co.uk

I must admin, I have no idea of whether or not I am 'food sensitive' to any of these E numbers (It could all be in my head!). But I think the calories are enough to put me off for a while.

Note to self: Watch 'Super size me' DVD again when you get back to the UK.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Oh thank you for Original Version showings of films...

Hancock was great!


So can you get these in the UK or what?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I forgot about Sunday...

I've done that much blogging about Friday and Saturday - that I forgot about today!

I made a little bit of a mistake, I was told that the shops were shut on a Saturday - I thought I could find something open. Well after a walk into Dortmund City I found restaurants etc. But could I find a news agents or any sort of shop that could sell me a pint of milk? Are there Sunday papers in Germany?

Well I'm not sure about the papers, but I couldn't find a shop open - black coffee for me today!

Other than that, it was a nice walk (24 degrees with the sun shining). At this rate my white/blue coloured british legs may turn off-white.

More Köln - Museum Ludwig

I thought this warranted a post all of its own. I'm not usually the Museum going type, but in my quick planning, I noticed that Ludwig had some Picaso and Dali - both of which I have always wanted to see. Anyway, I go around the museum (sorry no pics allowed) and I am met with some great Picaso stuff, and a great Dali painting called "la gare de perpignan" (which is probably now my favourite over the Hallucinogenic Toreador).

Anyway, a little wondering around and I was completely taken off guard by a painting by Heinrich Hoerle called "Denkmal der unbekannten Prothesen".

I bought a post card of it and took a pic (I was going to google it, but I want to use my own photos :0)
So why is this important to me? Well, one of my favourite books is "A brave new world" by Aldous Huxley, and this picture was used as the cover of the addition I had and I remember really liking it. Being 18 when I read it I didn't really think about where it came from or who did it (at 18, I probably thought it was cover artwork for the book!). As the copy of this has long since been lost I never really thought about it much again, until I saw it yesterday when a lot of memories came flooding back. I just thought it was really cool to see the real thing.

Only a minor foot note in the history of Matt Rowley, but it was a familar bit of home that I was not expecting to see.

Adventures in Köln

Or Cologne for all you English folk.

This was quite a day, I woke up reasonably late and had no clue of the how, what, why, when of going to Köln. So I made a detailed (see picture to the left, the plan is on the index card).

Mom, you would have been proud. This was the top of the Kölner Domes (Church spire). I reckon that it was about a thousand steps (maybe not but it was a lot!).

This is a pic from the outside, you can't quite get the size of this thing in a photo - but it is big!

Quite an interesting day - I walked through Köln, straight into 'Cologne Pride' - which is Gay Pride, lots of shops that I have no use for, but educational all the same :-)

This is the 'Old town', around the corner is the 'Cologne Pride' festival.

Okay, very cheesy, but I couldn't resist the Hard Rock cafe. I even bought a Cologne Hard Rock T-shirt - it is cool though.

The following are some pics for the guitar geeks back at home, so we have...Scorpions....

Steve Vai....

Warrant... (for you Dave)

A wall of clapton, monkees, The proclaimers (for you Tina) and some others.

Then I did a proper tourist type thing, I went on a boat ride down the Rhine. This was a two hour effort (the 1 hour had sold out by the time I got there) so I chilled out wondering up and down the Rhine)

Then I got home... I decided to buy my first Chinese, not bad actually some Curry, chicken and veg thing (Hühnerfleisch-Gerichte mit Curry und Gemüse (leicht scharf)) Or a number 42 to you and me. But look at the cool way it is packaged.

Pics from Bochum on 4th July

Here is Bochum in Pictures....

Earlier on in the evening - you can see its pretty busy. Markus is in the foreground.

Still busy later on in the evening.

One of the acts that was on - this guy sang in perfect English. I was very suprised when he started speaking in perfect German! I'm still not sure whether he was German or English.

Markus with our sparkly drinks (mine being a coke of course). I think Mark was having some sort of rum thingy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bochum Music Festival

Good night out tonight with a guy called Marcus from work.

This was quite strange, there is a town that has a 4 day music festival with stalls and bands playing everywhere - people all over the place, but its still relatively chilled and not really that messy. The most drunk people are the way the brits start out the night. I didn't see one person curling up in their own vomit. It was amazing!

Empty glass system thingy - to keep everything clear, you pay a deposit for your glass, which you get back when you take the glasses back.

I also picked up a copy of High Fidelity (in German - fun!).

Also saw some guy get fined on the train for having no ticket, thought it would be a great idea to walk back from the train station only to realise that I had never done it before and after walking around for 10 minutes I just got in a Taxi (although managed to ask the taxi driver how much it was and get home alright).

Photos to follow as I'm too tired now to put them on.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Assignment sent

After much faffing around I have finally sent my last DMS assignment (that has been a weight around my neck for a year now!).

I decided to celebrate by watching Transformers and unwinding for the evening, although I always forget how long it is! For all of those interested, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will be out in 2009 :-) Yes I am a geek.

So, Was hast du am wochenende vor? Let me know. As for me, I think I'm getting on a bahn and seeing where it takes me. I'm probably doing Köln - I was thinking of Saarbruken or possibly Wiesbaden was an option to meet Ruth (a friend from npower). Still some pretty long journey times and as I am starting to feel a little tired I don't want to over do it, so I think a quick trip to get out and see a little of Germany will be good.

And finally, I got rained on for the first time today :-(

Aber Ich habe milch, brotchen, Äpfel Kuchen und Coke zero. So all is well in the world.

Time for bed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Road Stop, Rabbits and Mario Cart

Out for a meal this evening with my German buddies. We went to this American style burger place (there were proper bikers there and everything).

You can get a 32oz burger at this place, and if you could eat it all, you would get it for free! I could of course have done this, but I didn't want to look greedy...

As for the rest of the day, I finally managed to get a picture of the elusive (and very young looking rabbit that lurks outside our office window;
I will try to get a better one (you can just see him peering past some leaves).

Finally, I was watching someone play Mario Cart. So I thought I would share;

Hope all is well at home - we have hit 30 degrees here. Walking outside like sitting infront of an oven.