“…It’s a quiet village” are the unforgettable first few lines of Beauty and the Beast and a song that I can’t stop singing as I walk through the pastel German houses of Schwäbisch Gmünd.
This initial month has been a start contrast to the bustle of Sydney life. Firstly, when I arrived, I was surprised at how small the town’s main train station was. There were maybe 3 people on the platform waiting when I got off, one of which was my room mate and another was an erasmus buddy from my university (they call any international students erasmus students). Secondly the streets were cobblestone and paved really beautifully. Thirdly I noticed the quiet stillness. Apart from the occasional car and bike bell there was only the wind.
I’m beginning to really enjoy how quaint, quiet and idyllic life is in Gmünd. I wake up in the morning and drink my cup of coffee and actually have time to enjoy it! ON A WEEK DAY! If I’m feeling like a bit of sun I’ll walk down to the river and lie on a sun chair and nap for a while. I’ll cut freshly baked bread from the bakery across the road and share it with my room mates and catch the morning light breaking over the rooftops through my window.
After noticing the initial difference in the pace of life I also noticed that Germans LOVE their bread and bier. I can’t escape it. However if you’re worried about lacking vegetables while in Gmünd, don’t sweat it because every Wednesday and Saturday there is a huge market under the Cathedral where there are stalls lined with fruit, vegetables, cheese, cured meats and potted plants. Produce is a little more expensive but it is well worth the extra 20-30 euro cent for freshness and supporting local farmers. And in saying that food is already cheap in Gmünd compared to Sydney. Alcohol is even cheaper but I’ll talk about that another time. Even though I spoke minimal German and could only point and smile, the stall keepers were incredibly accommodating and nice.
Overall my first month has been less of what I expected in the weeks leading up to my departure. It has turned out to be what I didn’t know I wanted and more. As cliché as it is, I think this will come to be my ‘home away from home’. When I was in Cologne for the weekend I even felt homesick for Gmünd.
Studying at the Hoschule fur Gestaltung Schwabisch Gmund
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