As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m a weather girl. When the sun sneaks its way on to my cheek of a morning through the small opening of my bedroom shutters I can’t help but get out of bed and get outside. The dark days of winter, those days where the drizzle just didn’t stop, only made me feel like battling with the kitchen knife and a 2 kilogram pumpkin to indulge in a creamy soup.
As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been blessed with some unbelievably beautiful weather as of late. Germany’s not known for its sunshine – in fact when summer brings a solid two weeks of heat and sun, the crowds are more than pleased.
Over the last few weeks, Munich, as well as other German cities, have seen cloudless skies on a radiant, summer-blue backdrop. This blue sky has been more vibrant than the usual pastel that I’d been used to – and somewhat closer to the ‘Sydney Blue’ that Alex uses to describe Sydney’s unforgettable sky.
Naturally, this has got me reminiscing – and while its only been 80 days (who’s counting!?) since I’ve left the motherland- there are are a few things that I (constantly) miss.
1. Hanging out at the beach all day
There is no better way to spend a hot summer day than lying, all sticky of course, on your favourite stretch of sand with a bag stuffed full of the ‘essentials’, rotating with the sun and hopping back and forth in to the water to cool off. Having always lived within a good half-hour drive from the coast (with good traffic), the best part of the day would be invested enjoying the beach – meaning multiple applications of sunscreen, a Pine-Lime splice and a pile of sand left in the car. While the eastern beaches were closer – with Coogee, Bronte and Tamarama often visited – it was the northern beaches that added a ‘holiday’ feeling to the day out – from Curl Curl to Freshwater and way up to Whale – this was the ultimate.
2. The Seafood
With the country ”girt by Sea” it is no wonder that the availability of fresh seafood is second to none. A trip to Sydney’s infamous Fish Markets was never complete without a mix of shell fish, some South Australian oysters and an unncessarily large portion of sashimi. While we still manage to enjoy some locally caught fish and I never pass up a Steckerl Fisch, its sadly not the same.
3. Playing Triple J while stuck in traffic on Parramatta road
An instant mood booster, a showcase of ‘home grown’ artists and just enough dubstep to keep it interesting – the crawl to/from Uni along Parramatta road would not have been the same without it.
Thankfully for digital radio I get ready for work with The Doctor (yes the time difference can be frustrating) but I am sadly yet to find a radio station anywhere close to the J.
4. The velvety flat white
Hard to master but with the commitment of Sydney’s (and Australia’s) barista community this is the coffee one needs in their life. Often made with a double shot of coffee it is topped with the perfect amount of silky milk – resulting in a velvety extension of the coffee’s crema. While I’ve seen some slight progress here and there, something (desparately) needs to be done about Germany’s overall lacklustre attempt at the world’s liquid gold.
5. The friday night feeling in the city after work
Along with the lightened mood and the 4pm beer trolley, the general buzz of a Friday is undeniable. Finishing the working week by stepping out in to Sydney’s CBD and this buzz would be amplified. Bars would start filling with suits and stilettos from early on, work colleagues would mingle with friends, and despite being absolutely knackered from the week it is always possible to muster up some energy to let it all out.
Fridays here are different. The buzz is definitely there but once Friday afternoon rolls around, everyone is quick to make haste with their personal agenda – the long-distance commuters travel home, others travel interstate to visit family, others meet friends in the Biergarten, and generally very few people reign in the Feierabend with colleages.
6. Good chinese dumplings
I will not deny the fact that if 40 (good) dumplings are placed in front of me, I would easily polish each and every one of them (my inner Schweinhund reveals itself). With the abundance of top quality authentic chinese food in Sydney*, these slippery little cases filled with either pork, lamb, crab, spinach, or even broth were often my go-to meal of choice. Dumplings in Munich are almost non-existent and often pose as interesting interpretations of Shumai or cabbage-filled spring rolls. It is a little unfortunate that I’m not closer to Berlin – where Yumcha Heroes produce some unbelievably good dumplings.
I am often asked by locals what I find different about living in Munich / Germany that living in Sydney – and to be honest, its not an easy question. In short – Sydney is just incomparable. At the same time, life in Munich is also hard to beat. It is beautiful – rich in culture, its an inviting city, gemütlich, green, close to the Alps, traditional, elegant and looks good in a pair of leather shorts.
Living away from home the feeling of homesickness will never fade, nor will the goal to own my own luxe beach villa, perched somewhere along Sydney’s coast, dressed in white both inside and out. For now however I am happy to have a small list of things I miss when Munich’s sky shines like Sydney’s blue.
*An abundance of not-so-good quality Chinese restaurants also exist. And while they’ve been publicly shamed, I’ve still tried their dumplings.