Thursday, August 28, 2008


Hay-on-wye is an amazing place, they have loads of cafes, welsh sign posts, a great shop which sells fudge and stuff. Very pretty area.

Oh and it has some books there too.

Of course I went with my favorite ladies. Abi and Christy (Christy is on the right in this picture). Note Abi is not in this picture :-)

Thanks for a lovely day guys xx


For my German friends... this is how breakfast is supposed to look:

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I thought I would write a quick post to thanks and to let everyone know I am home, and the journey was okay with flights on time etc.

Thanks to everyone in Germany for making me feel welcome and looking after me for the last 9 weeks, I have had a great time in and out of the work place.

I'm now home safe and sound with a full fridge (courtesy of my Mom) and a load of stuff in my flat fixed (courtesy of my Dad) and a pile of opened post (courtesy of Abi).

My initial plan for this week is to:
a) Go and see "The Dark Knight" at the cinema
b) Unpack.

A Busy, fun filled week :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

End of days (working days at RWE Energy that is)

The last day.... Mahlzeit :-)

A few faces missing here, due to Holidays, Babys and Blood poisoning :-(

So.... have a good holiday, good luck with the Baby and get well soon!

Christiane & Wolfram

Hard at work in the office...

This actually was very hard work as I am a left hander and I am trying to putt right handed here...

I thought I should mention the first English person I met in Dortmund... Mr Taylor!

So you understand, I bought a lot of chocolate this week for everyone. I walk out the office and come back a little later and in true German spirt, the messy pile of sweets that was covering the desk was turned into this...

Just incase you are wondering... this is what schnitzel looks like.

And last, but not least, this is (for want of a better word) my handler - Karl-Heinz.

Last Night Out... at the beach

Last night I went out with Kay and Jan to a cool Bar (in the North oooooh!). It has a great look with a beach and you can even get deck chairs if it takes your fancy.

A view from the beach...

This has been Kay's default postion recently... a woman is involved of course :-)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Westfallen Park

Next door to work (and therefore 5 mins from me) is a huge and amazing park. It has loads of cafes, a cabel car (Me in one on the left) and loads of other stuff.

I must admit, this was a Sunday afternoon afair and I intentionally wanted to unwind, so I took Michel Thomas (German Language tutor) on my ipod shuffle, a copy of "Harry Potter: Und der Stein der Weisen" and some sun cream and sat out for an hour. Once the Sun was finally covered over I went for a wonder....

Another one from the cabel car....

Not exactly pretty, but a big ass tower, which you can go up...

This is the view from the top of this tower, it is pretty high and really does give you the best view of Dortmund. If you look in the picture (probably best if you enlarge to see it properly by clicking on it) you can see the RWE building (to the left of my Sun glasses). This is right by the park, also, I have drawn an orange circle around where I live!!!!

Last few days now - it's frightening how quickly this has gone by, I can't believe that 4 days from now I will be home.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Odd things to see

Okay, went to see You Don't mess with the Zohan - very odd, but very good! (This hinges on whether or not you like Adam Sandler).

But the really odd thing to see, was a Red Squirrel. I've never seen one before, and there one bumbles past my apartment window. Cool eh?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hindu Squats

A completely unintentional milestone was hit earlier this evening. I was back from a bite out when I thought "I really should do some exercise, even if it's just the skipping". So I go out and decide to up my pace a little and do 3 sets X 5 mins skipping, all good. I walk back in and I'm thinking that normally I would do some Hindu Squats. Now I have been doing 3 sets of 40 with a few to working up to a single set of 100 over time... and then something strange happened. I got to 40 and felt myself slowing down, but getting into a pace. I decided to keep going and, although it was quite difficult I got to 100 and, rather strangely, felt I could have done more.

Yay me!

Note: this isn't me, I just found a You tube clip of what a Hindu Squat looks like for those of you who don't know:

Some observations

A quick post after the mamouth session from yesterday. Very important things now... I would like to draw attention to the fact that ALDI has a different logo in Germany.

They also have pizza with peaches on (It was actually very nice). Note this is at a restaurant and not Aldi!

And despite what people might think about the stereotype of German accuracy and efficency. Look at this picture 105M to the Ubahn (walk, not by car). I mean, I bet it really is 104.5.....

Or 104,5 (very confusing, in numbers the points are commas and the commas are points so one thousand pounds and three pence would be 1.000,03)

Monday, August 11, 2008


Now, Berlin was quite an experience. To start with, I wasn't in my normal place of work - I was on the Trading floor in Essen on Friday 08/08/08. I met up with Bülent who I was going with, we then went on to Bochum and stopped off in a Cafe there, before getting on the train to Berlin.

This particular train was not exactly amazing, and to make things worse there was no food on it! We were ready to pass out by the time we hit Berlin.

Now first of all, my first experience of Berlin was the train station. Now many of you must be thinking, who cares about a train Station? Well you haven't been here - this place is massive and quite unbelieveable (see the cool pics).

From the train we were picked up by one of Bülent's good friends and straight to it.

We hit some cool bars and as a pleasant suprise this is a massive mix of culture, this photo was taken in a bar that was full of arty types (some trying to hard, but most were just cool).

As well as many bars on this evening, I also got to try my first falafel (traditional German food :-)

Due to a very long day I opted for an early night (in at 2am - Bulent carried on and turned up at 7am). I got going on Saturday and left Bulent to sleep off the excess of the night before.

On my travels, I really was taken off guard by the mix of architecture in Berlin, all of which seemed to mix with no effort.

Going from the tradtional.... don't I look hansome eh? (I really did feel like a tourist!)

And, the sheer vast array of history...

To the parliment building (Complete with cake :-). This building has a clear dome (I am later told by Bülent that this is to give a symbol of transparency).

And I decided to go for the Brandenburg Gate from a slightly different angle...

Just to give a bit of a view the other sort of architecture, here is ome of the newer stuff.... Including PWC and some luxury flats (and seesaw).

Now this is a strange area, with the sony centre and a huge Cinima (that we saw Kung fu panda at on Sunday - very good film, worth a watch).

This is probably more interesting for the ladies than anyone else... but the biggest shop in Europe. I kid you not, this place is massive (had to stop myself before going into a Douglas Adams description of infinity).... but look...

... the view from the glass elevator doors at the top!

Along with all that culture, I also thought this was quite amusing. Now this picture does depict the McDonalds that we all know and loath... but I just liked that fact that it has a brothel situated directly above this (note I do not know this from personal experience)

Saturday evening drinks with Bulent and Dogu (pronounced Doe).

I must admit, I petalled after a long day and went home by 12:30 (Bülent pulled another 7am - I don't know how he does it).

The place with the red neon in the background we actually has brunch at the next day - Vegitarian and everything!

I would also like to thank Dogu for driving us about this weekend, cheers!

... and almost forgotten about, apparently there used to be this wall thing going through Berlin... you really wouldn't know now.

Also, before we left for home (after Kung fu Panda), we went to one of the coolest bars I have ever been to. It is very, very high, you would have no chance of finding it unless you knew where it was (I really did wonder where Iwas being taken). But it is cool and has views accross the whole of Berlin - amazing!

Before travelling back to Berlin we had some time to kill so after a Burger King at the train station (classy eh?) we have a wonder around. I find myself in a store selling magazines and see a Q magazine in German with Metallica on the front cover. I automatically start swearing as it's in frikin German. Until Bülent pointed out it was an English edition (cheers Bulent). Due to the slight Embarrasment I failed to realise the cost of this mag - nearly 13 euros, thats over double cover price!!

Anyway, thanks to Bülent for providing accomadation and a personal sight seeing tour, and thanks once again to Dogu for the pick ups and drop offs, as well as just being very funny!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ich werde nicht vergessen!

AvcI - Ich werde nicht vergessen!


I actually got lost in a building today. It was actually quite funny as I eventually re-entered the office where I had tried to leave from (through a different door I might add) and had to ask if they could show me the way out! This was at Essen on the trading floor, but in my defence, the place is huge and has about 10 elevators (not including the private ones you need a swipe card for!).

Smooth exit issues aside, I was actually quite impressed with my German skills today, I actually sat an spoke to a guy for about a minute in German, and not only did he understand me, but thanked me for speaking in German as he struggled with English! genius! As long as I have complete control over whats being said I'm fine (!?)

But all went well - the tube system here is great - trains are on-time. Quite a change from the UK. Hopefully I will come back from this weekend with the same report as I'm off to Berlin (yay!).

...Finally, I'm a little sad, as I write this I only have 15 full days left in Germany, and just as I can say more than 'Es tut mir leid, meine Deutsch ist schlect!' (not 100% sure if I can spell it though).

Monday, August 4, 2008


After what was quite a quick train ride (and no clue that I was going over the border from Germany to the Netherlands other than a text message telling me what the rates were via my mobile) I arrive in Amsterdam.

I decide to walk to my hotel as directions say its about 30 mins by foot - as it takes me right through the town I thought I would go for a wonder. After 1hr 30 mins (and a few circles) I arrive at my hotel.

Please note here, I had no map and it really would have taken about 30 minutes, I just had no clue where I was g oi ng! But from observations, I like the countdown before crossing the road (this way I don't get impatient and cross anyway) and I must admit I didn't really see many bikes...

I had a little trouble booking a place to stay - I ended up with a deal at a great 5 star hotel with a deal through This should have been an alarm bell - why was this particular weekend so busy...

So, I manage to walk into another gay pride event (I'm going to Berlin next weekend I wonder if I can make a hatrick). All good fun and light hearted (although I had a taxi ride with 3 guys, one guy trying to convince me to be gay and the other guy convincing him that they need hetros in the world to produce more gay people and the other laughing at them both).

Gay pride aside, this weekend was great as I met up with some folks from home - introducing John and Vicky, John - been mates with since Scouts (yes I was in scouts) and Vicky is his beautiful wife that I have known since 2002 (ish - I can't quite remember). Anyway I often visit them in Mac and take advantage of their hospitality - so I thought I would do the same in Amsterdam.

We had a great time - we went to the Vinny museum (very good - but left the cool post card in John's bag), spend some time in cafes and went out for a bite to eat and a little wonder around the town. It was funny there were a few little streets with these windows and red lights and stuff. I wonder what that was all about?

On the Sunday - John and Vicky were getting off, so I took advantage of the late check in time at the hotel and watched the cooking program on BBC2 and then about 5 episodes of 'The Hills' (Don't ask). It got to about 2:30 and I pulled myself together and went for another wonder - Hard Rock Cafe (again - I can't help it, they have guitars on the walls!), some food and a general wonder.

A smooth train ride home and all is well. I certainly had a good weekend and will have to go again. Next time I will have to ask what the funny smell was in the cafes and what those red lights were for...