Monday, 16 April 2012

The Horse and Rider Statue

Every city has its own unique statues, fountains and monuments, some of which are very famous. When you hear Eiffel Tower; you think Paris, when you hear Big Ben; you think London, and when hear Statue of Liberty; you think New York. But when you hear about a statue of a man riding a horse, are you able identify the city? You could actually name a number of cities and you would be right. It seems that every single city I have visited has one of these statues. It’s common, and after you've seen 10 of them, they no longer seem special. It's just another man on a horse.

It made me wonder what the significance of a horse and rider were. Why are there so many of these statues? Apparently riding a horse depicts the heroic character of the rider. It usually meant he was a warrior or hunter.
Source: Freud Museum London

And in case anyone was wondering, the number of feet the horse has off the ground does not indicate the rider's fate. It is a myth and done for aesthetic appeal.
Sources: Snopes and The Equinest

The following pictures are of nine common Horse and Rider Statues and one Horse and Rider Statue that ACTUALLY depicts hunting.


Prague, Czech Republic

Source: Vitold Muratov, Wikimedia
Source: Our 7 Worlds
Source: Hochmittelalter
Paris, France
Source: Daderot, Wikipedia

Finally, the one statue that brought on a bit of excitement.

The other Horse and Rider in Berlin

Friday, 13 April 2012

What I’ve learned and observed as an Au Pair

1.       That while I like children, I will not even consider having my own for a minimum of 5 years. I am quite enjoying my youth thank-you.
2.       The best or most effective ways to deal with temper tantrums are subjective. Each parent has their own idea of “what’s best”. How a situation is managed should depend on the severity of the child’s actions. One method does not fit all.
3.       That ‘being at home with children’ is a job in itself. Well obviously as I am employed in such a position. It’s not all clean floors and endless relaxation time. In fact, there is rarely any relaxation time.
4.       When children are involved, you are never finished cleaning up. And just when you think you’ve got everything done and back in order; someone is hungry, dumping a big box of Lego onto the floor, or emptying all the CD cases of their CDs.
5.       There is rarely a break. Even when you think you’re going to sit down and enjoy your lunch, someone doesn’t like what they have and wants something else or has already finished and wants more. Nap time is used for clean-up. It isn’t until both kids are in school, that you get a minute. 
6.       Children under the age of two should be in a high chair or booster seat they cannot get out of when drawing and colouring utensils are involved. Otherwise you end of with marker on: the wall, the chair, the dresser, other toys, and even...your pants. Does that song about black socks apply to jeans? Black jeans they never get dirty...?
7.       The ‘all by myself’ thing starts early. I sit with the toddler as she eats her yogurt. I watch her load up her spoon and bring it to her mouth. I continue to watch as she turns the spoon upside down, prior to it entering her mouth and watch as half the yogurt spills onto her bib and the other half eventually make it into her mouth. I watch as she scoops up the yogurt from her bib and places it into her mouth as well. We’re having Chicken Noodle soup for lunch. It is much runnier than the yogurt and runs right off the bib. I then watch her pick up the bowl and tilt it so she can drink the broth. Her pants are always soaked after soup. But she doesn’t want help. Good for her. I think she’s even starting to get it bit better.
8.       Dumping yogurt out onto the table and then moving it all around with your hands is a fun game.
9.       5 year olds have a great imagination. Tight rope walkers named Zucchini and people who dance with snakes are not imaginary games I would have thought of playing.
10.   Lock the bathroom door when anyone else is present in the house. Otherwise, children will let themselves in and expose your rear for anyone in the hallway to see.
11.   Children always get stuff on your clothes. Food, tears, snot, juice, marker, sand, etc.
12.   Their noses always run. Don’t go anywhere without Kleenex.
13.   I hate the parents that send their kids to school with the flu or any other stomach viruses. Naturally, the children touch everything and all the other children bring it home and pass it on to you. I’ve had at least two stomach bugs this winter. The last time I had a stomach bug, was when I was the child and in elementary school.
14.   People who park their car on the sidewalk or block more than half of it are the worst. Yes, I will wait as you move for me as I am not about to dodge into traffic with a stroller full of someone else’s kids. Also, your bike belongs somewhere other than the sidewalk. Oh yes, just let me pull the stroller over so you can wheel on by. And finally, hey street planners, if you want everyone to be so damn environmentally friendly and ride their bikes, put in some more damn bike lanes!
And finally, while I am already ranting about the sidewalk blockers and other sniffling children, I would like to add a note to the coffee shop/children’s indoor play place. Your store is geared to parents with children under the age of 5. Yet, your food is not overly kid friendly and you have placed toys that are for sale within the reach of a toddler under 2. In fact, you have put it at their eye level and then pointed out to me that the children are not allowed to touch anything that is for sale, just the toys in the buckets. Yeahhhh, the children don’t see the difference. And if you own or are working for such a business, you should know better.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

What to do on a Sunday in Germany

While I value my time off, I don’t enjoy spending the whole day sitting inside. But Sunday’s in Germany are considered to be a day of rest for the majority of the town. That means the malls/ outdoor shops are closed, the grocery stores are closed, and even some of the local restaurants are closed. 

As I mentioned in my last post, the past 2 weeks have been gorgeous!! The sun has been shining and I have been gearing up for summer and working on my tan. MY TAN. It’s only just turned April and I’ve already got some distinct tan lines.  But anyways, I’ve been spending my afternoons sitting outside on our balcony or going out for lunch with Matt and sitting outside at one of the patios. But this week, the weekend turned cold and rainy. I had already forgotten what kinds of things I could be doing that didn’t involve sitting outside in shorts and a tank top. Result: I ended up wasting a Saturday and the only productive thing I did was go grocery shopping and make homemade soup. I was tired by 7 o’clock. I decided I wasn’t going to waste my Sunday and would perhaps go out and take in a museum. Matt was already going to play American football with his co-workers so why should I be at home? The answer is I shouldn’t. So here is a short list of the various tasks you should save for and partake in on a Sunday

-Sit out on your balcony or join the locals sunbathing and napping in the park.
I’ve spent the previous two weekends slathering on sunscreen and sitting outside on our balcony; soaking up the rays, reading a book and enjoying a beer.

-Go to a park.
I have also been going to the park with Matt, people watching and noting all of the activities we can do in the weekends to come (including badminton, mini-putting, grilling, picnicing or paddle boating by the lake).

-Go to the Zoo.
And find out if they offer anything special at particular times…a dolphin show perhaps? The Nürnberg Zoo offers this.

-Take a guided bus or walking tour.
Matt and I took a guided tour of our own town around Christmas for something to do during the holidays. It’s interesting to discover new spots and learn a bit of the history  the stories behind the buildings. We have also taken a few guided tours during our weekend travels.
We liked this Nurnberg Tour and this Prague Tour

Photo Source: Wikipedia

-Hit a museum
Sunday’s are the perfect day to hit a museum as they are one of the few attractions that remain open. It*s important to note however, whether the museum offers descriptions in both German AND English when touring Germany and if an English description is note provided, find out of audio guides are available.
This past Sunday, I spent the morning at the Nürnberg Museum of Kommunikation and the Deutschebahn Railway Museum

-In December, go to the Christmas Market.
-Go to one in every town you visit and go often during the month of December. Nürnberg may have one of the most famous Christmas Markets and one of the largest, but other cities have different things to offer. While you’re at it, get a mug of Glühwein. I went to the Nürnberg market at least 3 different times as well as the Bamberg market. I collected a few of the different glühwein mugs. 

Photo Source: Hohohotels
-Take a day trip to a nearby town and spend the day walking around and enjoying the new scenery. Stop somewhere for lunch.
In Bavaria, it’s very easy and cheap to hop on the train to one of the surrounding cities. Most places keep their tourist offices open on Sunday’s so you can pick up a map and guide yourself through the main attractions or inquire about their daily tours. Either look-up a restaurant before you go (I like or wander through the streets. I like finding restaurants in Germany because the majority of them have their menu in the window or available for you to read before you decide to go in.
If you are looking for cities to hit up for a day trip, we like Nürnberg (where we reside), Bamberg (where Matt did his university exchange two years ago), and Regensburg. 

-Research your next trip.
Not sure where to go? Why don't you start by researching everything to see and do in a number of cities that sound appealing to you. It's time consuming so it's best to do it bit by bit over time. I have a bookmark called Europe Travels and within that folder are 13 cities and their attractions I find fascinating. That's only the beginning. Then when it comes time to make the decision, you can narrow down the location based on what there is. Will you need a week or can it be done in a weekend? Does it still seem like somewhere you want to go?

-Go see a movie.
A movie? Yes a movie. Your city may have a small selection of films available in English. To find out if your city does and what the postings are, check the Lifestyle section of The Local, weekly!

-See all of the major sites.
Have you been remembering to actually take pictures in the city you reside in? Or have you been passing by the monuments each day as if they are old news. You'll wish you had those photos when you get home. And yes, I've been taking pictures of Nürnberg:

Fountain of Love

Schöner Brunnen Fountain

Lorenz Kirche

Clock Tower