Cat-Sitting in Bavaria, Germany
We had earlier passed by Germany several times but never stopped. Somehow the country hadn't attracted us so much because we thought it would be pretty much like Finland. But we had heard many good things about the southern part of the country, Bavaria, and when we were offered a cat-sit there, we thought why not.
The cat, a 16-year-old grand old lady called Germaine, was a personality. Whenever she was not sleeping, she wanted a lot of attention and petting. If she didn't get enough, she revenged by shitting behind the couch or under the kitchen table. For some reason, she had never learned to cover her droppings. Instead, after peeing or pooping, she ran around like crazy letting us know that it was time to flush her toilet. We soon found a mutual understanding of our duties, and got along just fine.
The place where we were staying was at the foot of the Alps, just a few kilometres from the Austrian border. The village was small and beautiful, with picturesque houses and a lot of cows wearing cowbells. The Alps were awesome to look at and hike, but they made the local climate chilly and rainy. 95 % of the time it was grey, damp, and cold. We even made a fire a couple of times to keep us warm, in the middle of July! According to weather statistics, this was not an exceptional year. To give an idea of the amount of precipitation, it rained 50% less than in Costa Rica during the rainy season, but the showers were lighter and lasted much longer so that in the end it felt rainier than it actually was, but the perception is reality.
Groceries in Germany are very affordable, and there is a good variety of products. All the services usually work as expected, which is one of the upsides of being in North Europe. On the other hand, Germans tend to be very uptight, at least in the Catholic south. They love to remind each other, friends and strangers, about all kinds of rules and regulations. We were not an exception to the rule. Here are the most important words we learned pretty quickly: "Verboten" (forbidden), "Ausländer" (foreigner), "Nicht" (don't). Germans seemed to be happy with Santeri's reply: "Entschuldigung, ich bin dummkopf ausländer" (I'm not from Germany). In case you want to look and act like a local, pretend that you have eaten some shit for breakfast. That will guarantee the right facial posture and attitude. The German word best describing this sentiment is "angst".
Travelling in Germany by train is affordable using the so called "quer-durchs-land ticket" with which you can travel for one day beginning from 9 am with 44€ (+8€ for any additional passengers in your group) in all local trains in Germany. You can easily cross the country during that time, choosing any route you want. There are also regional tickets working in the same way. If you take a budget flight, avoid Dortmund airport. It is jam-packed and the guards are grumpy. We were not even allowed to sleep there because it looked like were "camping". Gute reise!