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  • Writer's pictureAnja

1x Germany and return

In mid-January, Denny and I flew to Germany to have my cruciate ligament repaired. I didn't fancy it in China, I'd rather have it done by professionals...

We flew to Frankfurt via Shanghai. Although we flew at a time when Corona had already been "lifted", the departure hall in Shanghai was absolutely deserted. Not even the drinks machine was open. Only the lounge for business guests was open. Denny got us some sandwiches there. We thought we could eat something at McDonald's or something while changing planes....

Almost meticulously planned, we landed in Frankfurt early in the morning and had just two hours until our first appointment at the hospital.

After we had the first appointments behind us, we treated ourselves to a visit to a bakery. A real bakery with sandwiches and such. What a treat. That's something we miss quite a bit here in China.

In the evening, I had my last meal at the Italian restaurant before my surgery the next day.

And two days later I was out again.

Denny then drove us to Potsdam, where we had a few days' holiday. Spend time with our families and I went to physio diligently.

This was what I had wanted for our stay, and the timing was perfect: Despite my crutches, I wanted to go to the boat show in Düsseldorf. Denny could look at boats and I listened to lectures. I didn't have much time for walking yet.

We tried to schedule work and private appointments as well as we could, so we were actually constantly on the road for the 4.5 weeks. Potsdam, Braunschweig, Ingolstadt. And in between, as much physiotherapy as possible for me. At the end of our time in Germany, I was able to take my first small steps without crutches.

Our summary of Germany: Super nice but totally exhausting. When we were asked if we wouldn't like to come for Christmas, we answered no. (Not that we don't love you guys!). (Not that we don't love you, but somehow we are there, but then not really).

Anyway, we arrived back in China safely and are very happy that spring is finally here. Our lakes here took quite a long time to thaw out, so it had to be 15° for more than a week. Did I mention that the lakes here freeze over so thickly that trucks can drive on them?

In March, there was the first big party here in Changchun again. The Christmas party the year before had to be cancelled because the covid regulations were still very strict. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to dance yet, but the "Hello Spring Party" was still very nice.

Since the regulations have been lifted, there have been quite a few events here. You almost have the feeling that everyone was just waiting for it. One event follows the next, the planes are full again, the restaurants are busy again and you don't have to scan or show any QR codes or other apps. Even on the plane, 90% of the people are sitting without masks again.

Denny had a business trip to Foshan at the end of March. It was the first time I accompanied him. Unlike in Germany, a hotel room here is booked per room and not per person. So it doesn't matter how many people sleep in the room. But you have to register at the hotel, the staff is obliged to report the guests to the local police station. Like in Germany, this registration certificate, which often has to be filled out. After Denny's duty in Foshan was done, we used the weekend to see a bit of Guangzhou.

When I came out of the airport building in Guangzhou, I had the feeling I was standing in the biosphere. (Potsdamers know what I mean) The smell, even right at the airport, was so jungle-like and green.

The whole city takes advantage of every little corner to green it. Plants and green everywhere. It's beautiful. And of course Guangzhou is much more international than Changchun. Many people speak English, there are many more international people and I rode the underground for the first time. It wasn't that difficult once you understood how it works. For the equivalent of 1€, I travelled through the whole city. That's about 1x through Berlin.

Unfortunately, the weather was pretty rainy, so you can't see the top of the IFC Tower. But all the plants have to be watered ;)

Now in April we visited Beijing. We went by train. 1200km in 4,5 hours. And the trains in China are always on time. Maybe that's also because the tracks are laid continuously on a bridge. So the train runs on top. So no tree or anything else can fall on the tracks and disturb the traffic. So we shot to Beijing at 300km/h. Friday there, Sunday back.

What did we see? We went to a park behind the Forbidden City. From this park you can look down into the city. However, we weren't floored by the sight, but rather by the crowds of people rolling up the hill....

We didn't go on the wall. We'll save that for a second visit. I'm also not very persistent on foot yet.

Beijing is a bicycle city. The bike/moped lanes are closed off from the rest of the street with a small fence, so it's relatively safe to cycle. Apparently, there seem to be a lot more traffic cameras working in Beijing, and drivers are nowhere near as aggressive as in Changchun. For example, there is less honking. On Sunday we went e-boating in another park. It's like bumper cars, but on water. Many people go with the whole family and then let the kids steer. And of course they find everything else more interesting than looking straight ahead.... But our boat didn't sink, we were able to moor up again in one piece.

What excited us the most was the art district. There are many galleries, cafés and architecture to admire. It's an old factory area where some parts are super modern, others have been modernised or left in their old state. It's a great mix of styles, there are little alleys with art and jewellery shops but also the typical tourist stuff.

I'm always in favour of wooden toys. But here I would make an exception:

What are we planning next?

At the beginning of May we will fly to Bali. Here we'll look at the island for a week and then check in on a sailing boat for another two weeks.

I'm sure it will be great, we're getting excited.

Best regards

Anja & Denny

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