It’s Pretty Lame When…

…my idea of a big adventure is going to Wuerzburg city center on a bus by myself to explore. Still, I felt pretty proud of myself yesterday when I managed to do this. The Mr. gave me the time to catch the bus down in Hoechburg town center, and I managed to get on AND ask the driver in German whether I needed to stamp my ticket next to him or do it in the back of the bus. Of course, I should admit at this point that the asking part was not so much in complete sentences and rather more like a few stuttered words, but hey – he understood and I stamped it in the right place so mission accomplished.

Are you riveted by my new life yet?

So next I manage to successfully exit the bus at the right stop and after a quick consultation of the city map, I head off in the right direction towards the shops.  Urgently.

See, back in August I developed a bladder infection which had very inconveniently moved on to my kidney causing me to get very ill and feel very yucky indeed. I took lots of antibiotics and supposedly was cured, but 7 1/2 months down the road I still have a very “weak” bladder which means I have to go. A lot. So these days my biggest challenge when travelling or exploring any city or area that’s unknown is figuring out where my next loo is. I keep searching my German guide and language books for the phrase, “I know I’m not a customer, but can I please use your toilet?” Apparently no one ever asks this because everybody else in the world has a normal bladder that can wait until a more convenient time.

Anywhoo, back to yesterday….I got off the bus and already had to go. My goal for the afternoon was to visit Wuerzburg’s biggest department store, Kaufhof, which I figured would most definitely have a loo.  On the way there I got lucky and came along the city’s biggest bookstore, sort of like the German equivalent of a Borders or Barnes & Nobles (which, by the way, joyfully has a small English book fiction section). I rode the escalator to the top where the loos are and waited for my turn as apparently the lack of available toilets in the city center drives other women to the bookstore as well.

My business finished I went to Kaufhof. (Again, straight to the loo at the top of the building as I already had to go again since I spent some time browsing the book store. Isn’t it fun being me?) The Mr. and I had a quick wander around this department store a few days ago and at first glance, I thought it most closely resembled a John Lewis. Sadly, this is not the case. While it does have a very nice delicatessen in the basement floor, the other floors offer a variety of goods that are fine but not quite on par with a John Lewis. I most likely will never shop for clothes there, for example, as Espirit was the only designer I could recognize and their selection was very small. Everything else looked sort of matronly. In the end, I’d call Kaufhof almost a cross between a Target, a Wal-Mart and a John Lewis. The delicatessen is quite good and it’s on the pricier side like a John Lewis, but the quality of everything else offered ranges between a Wal-Mart and a Target depending on what it is.

The good news, however, is that Wuerzburg seems to have no shortage of well-stocked bio stores. For those of you unfamiliar with a bio store, the name speaks for itself and my guess is that it might be like a mini Trader Joe’s although I’ve never been in a Trader Joe’s before. Basically, it’s a market with all eco-friendly and organic products ranging from vegetables to tofu to skin care products. And the city seems to have lots of them dotted around, which makes me happy. The Mr. met up with me at this point and we bought some alfalfa sprouts, veggie hot dogs, a healthier version of a nutella spread and  organic turkey slices. We then headed off to a cafe for an afternoon cake and tea. I had the Spanish chocolate cream cake with marzipan…yum…and The Mr. had a cheesecake. The afternoon cake tradition here is one that I have embraced very quickly, indeed.

After that, we headed off to find a bus back to Hoechburg, so I didn’t finish my outing on my own. But that’s okay; I figure there’s plenty of time for more solo adventure.

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About bittenbythebug

I love travel and have always been fascinated by other cultures. Back in 2004, I began my life as an expat in Edinburgh, Scotland. Fast forward 5 1/2 amazing years later to 2010 and the new chapter in my expat adventure: Würzburg, Germany.
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6 Responses to It’s Pretty Lame When…

  1. Lindsey says:

    I didn’t know the Germans had an afternoon cake tradition – yum! The bio store sounds very interesting. I’m proud that you’re out and using German on your own. You’ll improve exponentially now that you are living there. And thank goodness for English-language section in the bookstore. If you ever need a care package from the US let me know! Do you have a temporary mailing address?

  2. Lindsey says:

    Also, what made you go with WordPress over Blogger? Just out of curiosity.

  3. Oh, yes, Lindsey…the Germans take their afternoon cake tradition very seriously. But they’re coffee drinkers here. Somehow, I think if we could just combine the British selection of good quality tea with the German selection of scrummy cake, it would equal heaven.

    Thanks for the offer of the care package. Not quite sure about sending mail here to our holiday let as *hopefully* we won’t be here for much longer, but I might take you up on it someday!

    As for choosing WordPress, I did some online research and PC Review or something like that voted WP to be superior. Honestly, though, I’m not tech saavy enough to be able to take advantage of all these supposed-superior features so I don’t think it makes much difference if you just want a basic blog.

    And Tom says they stole their logo design from Volkswagon. Maybe that’s why I like it =)

  4. Fenella says:

    Well done on getting out and about! It already sounds like it can’t be too bad if there are book stores and tea/cake times. And a bus at all! Think of that! In the US, you’d be stuck with no transport to the shops at all!

    Send me your postal address and I can at least send you a postcard or two while you’re there. Doesn’t take that long to get there.

    F

  5. Susanne says:

    Hi Holly,
    Just read your Kaufhof adventure.. I would class Kaufhof only slightly below John Lewis.. but maybe that’s just my impression. If you like Esprit, there should be a big store somewhere in Würzburg. Also, check out Mexx, S. Oliver, More & More, Street One departments in Kaufhof. There’s also a store calle Wöhrl in Würzburg which might be able to offer a bit higher quality brands.
    Hope you’ll find something you like.
    Big hug!
    Susanne

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Susanne! There is a big Espirit in the city center which I am very much looking forward to checking out and I’ll have to look into Woehrl, too. Could be that I was just having an “off” shopping day while browsing Kaufhof’s clothing department, and would have better luck finding things I like on another day. Miss you & thanks for all the encouragement!!

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