Snippets of life in a foreign land… student living revisited

If you have been following my blogs, you might have noticed that I have done some (subtle!) bragging about the location of my flat in Heidelberg.  There is a good reason for this: the location was its best feature.

An advert might read:

Check out the views from this lofty furnished apartment located in the heart of Altstadt!  Enjoy your cosy partly appointed all-in-one kitchen, living room and dining room.  The original floorboards complement the period bathroom and door fittings.  Includes mood lighting, and uniquely styled curtains, pillow and bed linen.  Twice weekly cleaning included in the rent.

Which of course means:

Straight sharp knives are overrated...

Straight sharp knives are overrated…

“Guess how many stairs you will need to climb up to your apartment??  There is no living room, and we’ve squeezed a table in to the kitchen.  We will provide you the equivalent of half a picnic set in cutlery and crockery, including a unique blunt and bent cutting knife.  Don’t expect a sink plug or tea towels, but keep the kitchen clean or we will fine you 50 euros!!  Expect shelves in kitchen to be liberally decorated with old cornflakes, raisins and onion skins- yours free!  Bathroom contains a free standing sink and no benchspace.  Note that every single floorboard in your bedroom squeaks like teenagers making love, and watch out for splinters! Need a sound effect for a horror movie?  Why, just open and close your door!  Lighting to study by? Not a problem the lamp provided almost reaches your desk, which will only suit someone with a very long torso due to the unusually low chair.  Your mattress is made of genuine foam.  Genuine!  Pillowcase and doona cover 70s vintage.  Pillow and doona misshapen and lumpy, some would even say, scungy.  Please note:  cleaners come twice weekly and for 5 minutes, will pretend to clean your kitchen and bathroom.

Lumpy pillow love

Lumpy pillow love

At first, the apartment was something of a rude shock- not that I lived in a palace before but there was a sink plug, (tremendously helpful for washing the dishes, I’ve always said).

There were two other established occupants,  Sanna (from Isreal) and Ricardo (from Spain, although for nearly 3 weeks I thought his name was Stefan).  They are both nice, but because there is no common living area, and no heating except in the bedrooms, we barely see each other and haven’t even become friends on facebook (even the notion!)

Hear them boards squeak!

Hear them boards squeak!

In the mornings, we do a three way bathroom dance to enable showers, hair, makeup  and teeth to get done, (there are no mirrors in any of the bedrooms).  Ok, to be fair, Ricardo only needs to brush his teeth- as he very sensibly showers at night and to the best of my knowledge is not prone to dressing in drag.

Ricardo is friendly, but quite intense, and as he speaks very little English, we always speak in German.  He is more advanced than me, so I feel a bit stupid but appreciate him putting up with my garbled attempts and frequent use of the phrase: “Was ist die Deutsch worte für …….?”  He is about my age, and as an added bonus, looks particularly good in boxer shorts.  Ricardo is so horrified by the kitchen, that he has his own kettle and keeps various foodstuffs in his own room.  In addition to attending school 30 hours per week, he is also working (ironically, he is also a lawyer) so its not exactly party central.

Sanna, on the other hand, is 18, keeps to herself, and is occasionally what-I-call ‘sullen’.  I’m sure she will be pleased when I leave and there won’t be bathroom competition time in the mornings.

View from the kitchen

View from the kitchen

The ‘cleaners’ are something of a problem though.  They come in usually as I am about to leave for school, and don’t clean so much as move things around.  Everything on the sink, including the dishcloth, brush etc. is moved to the window sill, and any dry dishes are thrown in to the cupboard, without any thought about putting like things together (even the cutlery, what little we have, goes in to the cupboard).  Once all this is done, he takes a photo of the ‘clean’ sink, and off they go.

Yesterday, the male cleaner just walked in to the bathroom, despite the door being closed and the light being on.  Luckily, I was just brushing my teeth, but instead of saying (and I put this in to Aussie lingo) “Oh, shit, sorry” as he beat a hasty retreat, he just stood there, and mumbled words about the door not being locked, til finally, I said “Just get out!!!”

My courtyard

My courtyard

Still- it is cheap, and is located in the Altstadt (old city) which is of course very very beautiful.  Many apartments and courtyards are hidden behind unassuming looking doors (mine included).

Every morning I head through the courtyard and approach that door with a sense of anticipation- I heave it open, almost holding my breath and…. it is like stepping through the wardrobe and in to another land.  Specifically- on to the Markt Platz, one of the oldest squares in Heidelberg.  To the left is the Rathaus (Town Hall) and almost directly in front is an enormous church.  Look upand- there is the castle.  It truly is magical.

Stepping out of the courtyard on to Markt Platz...

Stepping out of the courtyard on to Markt Platz…

You know, I came to love that apartment, and remember it it even more fondly after I moved in to my first WG* in Berlin, wherein I encountered an OCD rule mad granny….but that is a whole and other story!

Cheers, Sparkles

*Abbreviation for Wohngemeinschaft  meaning ‘shared living’

About The Tina Sparkles Experience

Apparently, there are people who go traveling and just see things and nothing weird happens. I'm not one of those people....come on holiday with me and find out why!

2 Responses to “Snippets of life in a foreign land… student living revisited”

  1. What a grand adventure you are having!

  2. Hi Tina Sparkles,

    So funny ! How are you ? Healthy and happy I hope. Love to read your life adventures. Must be bloody cold over there. Hows ya love life??

    I’m pretty good atm, on holis from it all, which is so cool!

    Take care, Trudyxx

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