Marawarpina, Bochum, Germany


Posted Dec 30, 2011, 11:25 am
Hello world,

today I’ve been choosen to bet he new ToyVoyager of my mentor. Actually I don’t know what to expect and due to the facht that I’m new, I’m a little bit afraid. I already met some Voyager my mentor hosted and I really loved listening to them. But was it so right that she chosed me? Maybe it’d be better if the racoon, surricate or the snowman travel the world. But now: Here I am and I bet I will get used to it quite soon. Furthermore I stay a bit longer with my mentor before travelling (the world).

But who am I? I will tell you now!
I’m a black rat with black/wite eyes, grey/black ears and a grey tail. I’m female and my mentor calls me Marawarpina. It’s a native Australian (Aboriginal) name and it’s translated as “stretch out the hand.” Somehow I really like the name, especially it’s not a common one. Acutally I’m three years old, what is quite old for a rat. Most rats are dead when they are to be turning three, but I’m totally kicking. Furthermore I’ve the height of 10 cm and a weight of ... I don’t know, I will tell you later. Acutally I am living in Ratingen, Germany, a city between Düsseldorf and Essen (maybe you’ve heard of one of them).

As I already said: I want to spend time with my mentor, before I start to explore the world. Furthermore we already have some plans:
- December: celebrating Christmas
- December: celebrating my mentors birthday
- December: spending New Years Eve together
- January: watching ‘Swan Lake’
- May: watching the opening show of the ‘New Kids’ at Starlight Express Bochum
- July: going to the ‘Save the koala day’ at the Zoo Duisburg
- June – August: going to some gay prides (as long as the weather is okay)
As you see I already have a little plan.

In the time between January and May and from August 2010 on I’m looking for someone who is willing to host me.

Of course I also dream about things, which ought to be fulfill while travelling. My dreams are:
- being in five cities of famous, worldwide composer (such as Mozart, Beethoven, Sondheim, Lloyd Webber, ...)
- learn to play at least five instruments expect the cello and the flute as I am already playing them
- learning to say “Hi, how are you? I am fine” in at least ten languages (next to German, English, French and Dutch as my mentor already taught me)
- joining a symphony orchestra
- going to gay pride in at least three different countries.
As you see I’ve a lot of dreams and maybe you can help me when I am not with my mentor.

I guess I told you enough about me and if not, just message me or RedSwan and we will answer your questions (as good as we can).

Until next time,

Posted Dec 30, 2011, 5:14 pm
Hello world,

Today is the big day. Today is Christmas over here in germany and I’ve the feeling that most Germans are freaking out and I don’t know why. As my mentor didn’t told me anything about Christmas, I didn’t know what to expect.

In the morning I thought it would be a quite routined day, as my mentor got up, showered and started to learn for university (again). I think it was for ‘English Linguistics and Language’ or stuff like that. I’m not really sure about it and to be honest: I don’t really care at the moment. I started to feel bored and wondered why Christmas is so special.

It all changed in the afternoon. My mentor and her family are used to be Catholic and so we went to church (a Catholic one in Ratingen) in the afternoon. But it was only 4.15 pm as we were there and the Mass was not to be beginning before 5 pm. So I really wondered why we were so early around until we went into the church. I never saw so many people at one place. It was hard to find a seat but we were so lucky, we got one of the last one in the first row. My mentor gave her bag to her mother and we went to the nativity set, where I took some pictures. Afterwards we went back to my mentors seat and after a while the mass started. It was amazing and now I know why Christmas is celebrated. Actually I really liked the end of the mass, as everybody sung ‘Holdy night’ and the lights were turned off. After the mass I got the opportunity to sit on the altar as my mentors granfather worked for that church ages ago.

After the mass we wished everybody we saw a merry christmas and we went to my mentors grandfather and grandmother. There I saw that they decorated the living room a little bit. Not that much as they are too old to do so (it’s their opinion). But I really had to taked pictures in the decoration and I really loved it. Afterwards we had a typical German Christmas dinner: potato salad and sausages (and lots of cucumbers). It was so yummy as her granny made the potato salad. Then the family cleaned the dishes. As it was done, they turned off the light and all we had was candle light. They began to sing a christmas song. Something like ‘Ihr Kinderlein kommet.’ In the meantime there were a couple of presents on the table and I didn’t knew for whom they would be. But my mentor told me immediately that there are some for each of the member of the family. It would be a tradition, so we sat on the seats (everybody has his/her own, special seat every year). They started to unwrapped the presents, talked and laughed. I really liked the atmosphere :)

Not too late we went to my hosts mother and siblings. Here we wanted to celebrate Christmas as well. But this time it was different. We got there and my mentor and her siblings had to go into the roome of her sister. Even the cat ahd to go there too. Here we all had a talk and played some cards. It was fun. Then her mother cam and said, that we are allowed to go into the living room. There laid another presents and I knew now why. So again, everybody went to his / her seat and unwrapped all the presents. As my mentor got some ‘Sex-on-the-beach’ cocktail mix, they all had some of it. Not that much, as they didn’t wanted to be drunk. Again we all had a great talk and laughed a lot. Even here we were allowed to play in the decoration. It was different to the first one as it was a winterland here. I loved it and now I can’t wait to see the real snow and playing in it.

Even if it looked like a common, boring day at the beginning, it was busy but fun in the end. My highlight was as everybody started to sing ‘Holy Night’ in the church.

That’s it for today and thank you for reading,

Posted Dec 30, 2011, 5:57 pm
Hello world,

here I am again.

Today was the first official Christmas day over here in Germany. My mentor told me that they are having two holidays for Christmas here and that these are amongst the boring ones. So I thought it would be that boring like yesterday morning. We even couldn’t go out for taking pictures as it was raining all day.

But around 11.30 am my mentors family came to her for having breakfast. So we were a bit busy in the beginning as we had to prepare it. After 15 minutes we were done and had the breakfast. Again we talked a lot. As we finished the breakfast, we cleaned the dishes (again) and then we watched a Disney movie. I’ve to say, that my mentor is such a Disney freak. But acutally I really liked the moviw. Afterwards we went to my mentors grandmother and –father again, where we also met her uncle and cousins. We had cake, talked again a lot and just spend time together. In the evening we went home, where my mentor learnt for university again.

Bye bye,

Posted Dec 30, 2011, 6:43 pm
Hello world,

it’s Marawarpina again. This time I want to tell you about my trip to the stage door of Starlight Express.

I’m not sure if you know what Starlight Express is. If not, I will tell you now: Starlight Express (short StEx) is a musical by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber in which a boy dreams of the world championship of the trains. There’s a young steam train, called Rusty, whose girlfriend Pearl, the observationcar is. But there’s also a Dieselengine, whose girlfriend Dinah the dinning car is. The Diesel engine is called Greaseball. He is said to be the favourite as he is the “fastest thing you’ve ever seen.” Suddenly there’s a new engine – Electra, an electrician engine and right before the first race Pearl decides to leave Rusty for Electra. So Rusty doesn’t want to race anymore. The first race starts (together with Greaseball, Electra and two international engines) and Greaseball and Electra win. Greaseball uncouples Dinah. In the meantime Poppa, an old steam train, finds Rusty and sees that he is not that confident anymore and that he does not want to race without Pearl. So Poppa takes his place and wins the second race. But due to the fact that he is old, he doesn’t have the power to take part in the final race: So he begs Rusty to take his place and after a small argue he does. So he asks for the Starlight Express, a God-like train. Back to Dinah: After Greaseball uncoupled her, she talks to her friends (Ashley the smoking car and Buffy the buffetcar) and in the end she decides herself to race with Electra because Pearl is racing with Greaseball now. The third race takes place and Rusty is cheated. So he lost his tracks and the race has to be repeated. The audiences sees and know that it wasn’t his fault, because Greaseball and Caboose did it. That’s what even Pearl gets to know but she can’t leave Greaseball as she also took place in this race and is guilty as well. During the fourth race, Pearl gets injured and Greaseball uncouples her. But before this race takes place Rusty finally meets the Starlight Express and now he has the power to win the race. The race takes place and surprise: Rusty really wins! Pearl just recognizes that she has been in love with Rusty all the time and returns to him.

That’s it and to be honest: I really shorted the story as I think, you have to watch it all by your own. I also didn’t mentioned all characters that occur in the musical.

Anyway. We went to the Starlight theatre, where we had to pass the “Revierpowerstadion” where the VFL Bochum (a soccer team) has its games in it. But my mentor told me that this team isn’t that good anymore as it was ages ago. Acutally they are in the third league, which isn’t that good, as you might guess. Nevertheless I took a picture in front of the stadion.

Then finally we arrived at the theatre. Maybe I should tell you something about the theatre first? Well, I do: The theatre was built for around 24,000,000 Deutsche Mark (= 12,000,000 Euro) in the time from December 1986 to January 1988. The entire stage equipment was installed in just four months. For that the first Guinnes Book records were for the fastest construction of a theatre (13 months) and for the first theatre built for a show. In May 2002 the stage was remodeled. The technical highlight is the 9-ton bridge, which hovers above the stage. So here I was. Standing in front of the theatre, unable to go inside to have a look onto the stage (but in May, I will and I will show you the stage then). But I didn't know that there's also a steam train standing with a carriage (having all the characters painted on it) in front of the theatre. That really fits to that musical. So I took pictures with it as well.

So we went to the stage door, where we wanted to wait for some actors. The actors are coming from all around the world. We have some from New Zealand, USA, UK, Austria (and also had some from Australia, Japan, Philippines, ....). Okay acutally there are two or three German as well. But that is not that common to that theatre and I always wondered if they understand what they are singing as Starlight Express is in German. But I guess I will never know. Unfortunately we weren’t lucky today and we didn’t see anyone. So I just took a pictures with a painting on the wall, which shows Pearl, the observation car. (Bühneneingang = Stage Door)

That’s it for today and with my trip to Bochum. I have to repeat it, as I really want to see some actors.

Bye, bye

Posted Jan 2, 2012, 3:20 pm
Hello world,

today I planned to show you the main city of Ratingen - the place I used to live (so that you get to know the place). As I already said: I planned. Right after taking two pictures, it started to rain. I hate winter and I hate it, when plans don't work out as it was planned.

Nevertheless I want to show and explain you the two pictures I took. It's not that much but I promise, I'll take some pictures there soon.

Ratingen is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, about 12 km northeast of Düsseldorf. It's history begins in the Middle Ages and so it was settled the change of the century. But it was not until the 13th century as it received city rights. Ratingen was one of the four places of Berg which experienced an economic boom in the end of the Middle Ages, but slowed down during the Thirty Years' War. At the beginning of the Industrial Age, the first manufacturing plants opened in 1783. In Cromford the first mechanical spinnery of Europe opened, which is now part of  the "Rhine Industy Museum." In the Napoleonic times, it became part of the city of Berg and in 1815, into the Kingdom of Prussia. Nevertheless it got independed again in 1929. After relatively small war damage, Ratingen in the 1960s and the 1970s experienced years the growth and development and in the meantime several important international enterprises, such as as Vodafone and Esprit maintain their main centers in Ratingen.

Furthermore there's the church "Sanct Peter and Paul", which was build as a Romanic church in the middle of the 12th century and the first part of the 13th century. In the end of the 13th century it was finished with some elements of the gothic art. At the end of the 19th century the church was changed as architect Henry Wiethase told them to do. During World War II the church was partially destroyed but the damage has been eliminated after the war. In the 1970s, the facade was restored and the interior space renovated and redesigned according to the liturgical requirements of Vatican II. 1996 to 1998 was followed by further renovations after the east towers threatened to collapse.

That's it. I can't tell you more... Well, I could, but then without any pictures. But as I already said: I'm going to change it as soon as possible.

So: stay tuned,


Posted Jan 2, 2012, 3:58 pm
Hello world,

today was a quite busy day. I guess, you wonder why as it is just "New Years Eve". But it wasn't only New Years Eve, it was also my mentors birthday.

But first I want to tell you something about German "New Years Eve." New Years Eve is called Silvester in German, because December 31st is the feast day of St. Sylvester. Since 1972 several German television stations broadcast "Dinner for One", which is a short comeday play in English in which a comedy sketch shows "the same procedure as every year". So it can really be seen every year (and normally you have to watch it once as you're talking about it in English in lower classes). Another important fact about the German New Years Eve is, that the German are spending lots of money on firecrackers and fireworks. After midnight (where they toast with a glass of German sparkling wine) it can be seen all over the country. So there isn't just one city doing the fireworks.

Back to my day. At first we really had to get up quite early, as my mentors family were about to come over for breakfast. We hadn't done anything the day before so we had to prepare it then. And so we did:

Then her family came and she got tons of presents. But first we had our breakfast and afterwards she had to unwrap the presents. As you might see, there's lots of stuff about Australia: books, games, ... Might be, because I think she's a huge fan of this country.

We cleaned the dishes and played games (and watched the DVD) as it was about to turn 3 pm. So we went to my hosts grandmother /-father. There we had some cake. A tradition is, that there's always a red wine cake, as my mentor really loves it (and she is the only one who loves this kind of cake). Furthermore we had some Russian cake. Acutally I'm not sure how it is called in English.

Like on christmas, we talked and laughed and just had an amazing afternoon. But even the afternoon had an end and so we went to my mentors family for having some Fondue, doing some Sing Star and even doing the fireworks.

The Fondue was quite yummy. Especially I liked the chicken. I also had some alcoholic drink, although my mentor didn't really allowed and liked it. But I drank.

At the end I hope you all had a good, last day in the year 2011. See you in 2012.


Posted Jan 2, 2012, 4:13 pm
Hello world!

I just came around for wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This time it won't be a long entry, as I just wanted to show you some pictures with me and some fireworks and firecrackers. It was right at midnight, so there isn't much light.

I hope that all your dreams and wishes come true this year.

Bye for now.

Posted Jan 8, 2012, 4:43 pm
Hello world,

I've to apologize my mentor just made one single update this week. But due to all the rain and two storms we had here in Germany (and it was really stormy and if we hadn’t to go out we were said to stay in the house) we weren't able to do anything.

Nevertheless, we've been at Starlight Express stage door again and this time we met two actors from New Zealand and England. Finally. But I’ve also to add, that we didn’t spend so much time there.

The actors we met are called Jos Hoetjes and Edd Hall. Both are Swings here. This means, they cover lots of parts here, if someone is injured or sick or on holiday. Most male Swings cover around 10 - 15 parts.
Jos is by the way from Christ Church, New Zealand. He already played Ruhrgold, the German Intercontinental Express (ICE) in the Tour-production of Starlight Express in New Zealand. One year later he moved to German, for being Ruhrgold for a year. Since June 2011 he's a swing.
Edd is from Essex, England. He also toured through Canada, Mexico, India and the Netherlands with another musical. After doing some musicals he decided to go to Starlight Express. Since 2009 he's over here as a Swing.

That’s it for today dear world,

PS: If I get lucky I’m able to tell you something about my mentors university tomorrow
PPS: Sorry for this short entry today.

Posted Jan 15, 2012, 6:06 pm
Hello world,

this week has been so busy and due to the fact that I'm the first of us four voyager, who are staying at home, I've been choosen to go with my mentor to university this week. I don't want to post every single day as it doesn't really differ. So that's why I post the whole week in one single post.

My mentor is one of the 19600 students of the Heinrich Heine university in Düsseldorf, where she studies English Language and Literature as a major and German Language and Literature as a minor. Acutally she's a so called "freshman", what means, that she's in her first semester.
Back to university: This university is named after the German poet and political thinker Heinrich Heine, who was born in Düsseldorf in 1797- 1965 it became a full-fledged university and currently comprises faculties of law, medicine, philosophy (my mentor is there), mathematics, natural sciences and economics. It has some partner universities in France, Italy, China, Spain, UK, USA, Czech Republic, Japan and Israel. This means, that even lots of students from around the world are able to study for a semester or longer at this university.

Due to the fact, that my mentor is studying English Language and Literature she is also able to stay a semester in an English speaking country, but she doesn't want to, as she would have to repeat this semester in Germany.

Anyway, now my week:

Monday, January 9th 2012
Today my mentor just had one subject in university. It was called "Introduction to English Language and Linguistics Part I: Structure". Acutally I wasn't sure what it is about, so my mentor read the description of this subject to me. I don't want you to miss it, so she copied it for me (source: HIS-LSF, Heinrich Heine University):
Human language is the system we use to communicate with each other, and linguistics is the scientific inquiry into that capacity. This first part of the introduction to English language and linguistics covers an overview of the discipline as such as well as those branches of the scientific study of English that deal with its structure and form (as opposed to meaning and use): phonetics and phonology, morphology and syntax. The aim is to understand and to know how to describe properly the basic facts about English pronunciation, its lexicon and grammar.
So we went there. I didn't knew it was a lecture but she told me as we got to our seats. Such a big room and right before the lecture was about to take part, you couldn't find any seat. Thank God, we were early enough.

After that lecture we went home. I thought that we could chill, but my mentor just had a look at me and said no. She would have to study for the exam at the end of January / beginning of February. This week, she stdy for "American Literature". She doesn't really like this subject as it is full of dates and she really hates to learn it. But I helped her to summarize the most important facts:
Today it was just the 17th century and the beginning of Enlightenment.

Tuesday, January 10th 2012
Today my mentor had another lecture at university. Again just one, but this one was called “Vocabulary and Translation”. I imagined what it would like but I guess, you also do, but nevertheless she copied the description of it in here again (source: HIS-LSF, Heinrich Heine University):
This course prepares students for the vocabulary and translation sections of the BA Sprachpraxis Modul I AP. Using English newspaper articles or BBC podcasts on language, institutions, events and topical issues etc., it aims to expand students active and passive vocabulary, with a special focus on false friends, near synonyms, confusibles and collocations, and at the same time consolidate their command of English grammar.
Even this lecture was quite full. Maybe you can see it in this picture?

After that lecture my mentor went home again. As I already knew we couldn’t chill again and so we studied for the American Literature exam again. See, it gets more and more and I totally understand why she hates to learn it by now.

Wednesday, January 11th 2012
Today my mentor had one lecture and a seminar. The seminar was the first one this day and was called: “Introduction to Medieval English Studies - Part I: Elementary” You wonder what it is about? Of course we have a description of it again (source: HIS-LSF, Heinrich Heine University):
This course is the first part of the Introduction to Medieval English Studies. Its basic objective is to give a broad survey over the history of the English language and literature in the Middle Ages. You will learn about the traditional periods and the relationships of the English language and medieval English literature related to the respective historical events and developments.

After having attended the course you will be able to:
- explain the periodization, relationships, and contact situations of the history of the English language with regard of their results for Modern English
- discuss the problems of variation and standard in relation to Modern English
- know facts, figures, and developments of medieval English history and culture
- explain the most important genres of medieval English literature and the corresponding texts and authors
- communicate in a correct and adequate way about the topics of the course
- have a certain competence of using research facilities and methods of presentation

Sounds quite interesting, doesn’t it? It wasn’t that boring like the subjects we had before. Okay it was full of information, but it didn’t feel like sitting there for 90 mins.

After Medieval English Studies we had a break where my mentor and I went into the library for studying for American Literature again. Okay, a break of two hours it quite long and I guess I’d done the same.

And now we had the lecture in “Translation for Beginners.” Guess what it is about? Translating and translating texts from German into English. Most of the texts suck as my mentor told me before. She wouldn’t even use those sentences in German and now she has to translate it.

Then we went home, had some food and started to study again. Somehow it gets boring and I really can’t wait for the weekend. Two more days!

Thursday, January 12th 2012
No university today. Normally my mentor has to go to university for Germany Linguistics. But due to the end-of-semester tests she hadn’t to go to university. Thank God, but we studied a lot at home as she has to pass the text in two weeks.

Friday, January 13th 2012
Today we had "American Literature and Methods of analyzing texts". Right now she's sitting in American Literature and as you might suggest it's about the periods of American Literature as well as the history in its time. It all starts with the Colonial Period (17th century) and ends with the postmodernism (now).

I don’t even have pictures of Wednesday anymore as the camera is broken. She tries to fix it and as soon as it might work again, she uploads the pictures.

That’s it of the week at university.

Posted Jan 16, 2012, 6:07 pm
Hello world,

Let’s start with a riddle today, yeah? Do you know what is seen on this pictures and what it could mean?

Yeah right, you saw me with my mentors pointe shoes. But that doesn’t mean that we went to ballett classes today. No, today we went to Neuss for watching the most famous ballet, the “Swan Lake.

I will tell you about Swan Lake:
Swan Lake is a ballet by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and was composed in 1875-1876. It was fashioned from Russian folk tales. The plot in short: Prince Siegfried celebrates his 21st birthday and gets a crossbow. With this crossbow he goes into the forest and sees a sea where the swans can be seen. One of these swans is Odette, who is a princess and turns into a woman every night (a spell of Rothbart). Once Siegfried knows her story, he takes great pity on her and falls in love. As he begins to swear his love to her, an act that will render the sorcerer's spell powerless, von Rothbart himself appears. The Prince returns to the castle to attend the ball. Even Rothbart arrives with his daughter, Odile, who is identical to Odette. She just wear black feathers instead of white ones. The prince mistakes her for Odette, dances with her, and proclaims to the court that he intends to make her his wife. Only a moment too late, Siegfried sees the real Odette and realizes his mistake. Siegfried returns to the lake and finds Odette. He makes a passionate apology and she forgives him. Rothbart appears and both start to fight. Rothbart dies and the spell is broken. Siegfried and Odette marry in the end.

We went to Neuss by train and it took around 45 minutes. Here is me at the last station where we had to change from train into the bus, for getting to the “Stadthalle”.

We arrived, looked for our seat. Furthermore we were one of the lucky ones, who were allowed to watch the warm up of the dancers and it was... Well even that was totally amazing.Then the show began. Unfortunately it wasn’t allowed to take pictures during the show. Sad, as I really would have loved. So there’s just me with some pictures, which you could see in the foyer.

It was an amazing show and I’d say, you have to watch it. Ballet is simply the best!

Read you next time,

Posted Jan 16, 2012, 6:09 pm
Hello world,

today I want to show you the villiage I live. Actually it’s called Ratingen-Homberg and today we visited the south part of it as it is a bigger part of it. Some facts about the South side: 4000 of the 5000 inhabitants live there. Althought Homberg’s first documents can be dated back to the year 1067 the South part was just extended in the 1970’s. So quite late. 5000 inhabitants aren’t that much as you might think and so it’s surrounded by fields, we had to go through.

We started our trip at the mainstreet. From this street you have an amazing view to the North side of Ratingen – Homberg to Düsseldorf. Really amazing how far you are able to look. Honestly, the picture is quite small, so you aren’t able to see anything of Düsseldorf.

We started to go through the fields in the Southern part and found this little farm, which can also be seen from the street as it is right at the beginning. The farmers have a great field with strawberries, another one with corn, ... And they also have cows, which are behind the farm.

Furthermore we found different signs for cafes. They are far away and unfortunately we didn't go there. People from around Ratingen love to go there by car as they love our nature, the typical “farmer food” and just being on a farm.

This small avenue leads right back into the Southern part. It’s the simplest way of going back into the villiage, if you really want to. And we didn’t.

In the back, there are the houses of Ratingen-Homberg-South. Hard to see, I agree, but they are there! They have the look of a frame house even if they aren’t really one.

My mentor used to sledge down these hills around this time. Unfortunately there hasn’t been any snow for sledging this winter. I guess it’d have been fun if we went sledging yesterday.

As my mentor acutally hosts three other ToyVoyager as well you can see us hanging around in some cut downs of the trees of the forest next to the fields.

An old house at a lake, which is going to be demolished this year. Sad because I think it would be so romantically living there. Still all Homberger hope that it’s just going to be rebuilt and refurbished until the end of this year.

That’s us (the four ToyVoyager) resting on a tree trunk right after a walk of two hours. It wasn’t that hard though, but we needed the rest. It was right next to the old house I showed you above.

After the rest of 15 minutes we went through the last field and came to this small lake. Children are used to come here for feeding the ducks and the geese. There are also some turtoise in there as well as fishes.

This is the way from the field to the lake. We also went it back, for coming into a forest.

This is the forest, I already mentioned before. The children of the three different kindergarten in Homberg are used to come here for playing as soon as the weather is okay, like it was today.

We finished at the firehouse, which is the last building at the south side, before going back to the north. We are going to discover the north side as well.

I acutally showed you some important features of the Southern part of Ratingen-Homberg. Okay, there are more and I’m sure we’re going to discover it as well. But this report was a walk of three hours and as I mentioned some posts earlier, my mentor has to learn. So she hasn’t the time for a longer walk until February. Sad, but you’ll get to know more.

So, dear world, that’s it for today. I hope you liked it.
Until next time,

Posted Feb 20, 2012, 3:13 pm
Hello world,

today is a special day in Ratingen or in the Rhein Area in common. No store is opened, although it's Monday. You wonder why? It's easy to explain. Today is Rosenmontag, how the German call this day. It's a Christian (mostly Catholic) day. So we went out for celebrating. Our guest, Candyfloss and Leif E came with us, Leif E wore a costume.

But for describing you Carneval here in the Rhein Area I copied a bit from Wikipedia:
"Although the festival and party season in Germany starts on 11 November at 11:11 am, the actual Carnival week begins on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. German Carnival parades are held on the weekend before and especially on Rose Monday, and occasionally on Shrove Tuesday as well in the suburbs of larger cities. The Carnival session begins each year on 11 November at 11:11 am and finishes on Ash Wednesday with the main festivities occurring around Rosenmontag; this time is also called the "Fifth Season.
In German-speaking countries, two distinct varieties of Carnivals are held. The Rheinish Carnival is held in the west of Germany, mainly in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland Palatinate, and is famous for celebrations such as parades and costume balls. Cologne Carnival is the largest and most famous. On Carnival Thursday (called "Old Women Day" or "The Women's Day"), in commemoration of an 1824 revolt by washer-women, women storm city halls, cut men's ties, and are allowed to kiss any man who passes their way."

So we celebrated the Rheinish Carnival. First of all, you've to know, that you get lots of candies at those parades as long as you scream the right word: "Helau" is used in Düsseldorf and Ratingen, where I live and "Alaaf" in Cologne. But if you scream "Alaaf" in Düsseldorf and "Helau" in Cologne you'll be in trouble. We screamed thousands times Helau, I guess, so we got tons of candies. Most important to know of this parade. They make jokes of the German politics. Okay, not really in Ratingen, but in those big ones like Düsseldorf and Cologne.

Okay, I want to show you some pictures now:
Acutally it's 9 a.m. and we're standing in the city, freezing while having 1°C. The parade begins at 10.11 a.m. and will be here around half an hour later.
The first group. They all wear a "Pippi Longstocking" costume. Some of them are riding on a horse.
A huge van. I guess it was from blue-white Ratingen, a Carnival club.
Another van, having the from of a typical Carnival hat.
The smurfs. Okay, just people who dressed like the smurfs.
The smurfs van. I really liked it. Looks amazing, hunh?
This van is looking like a steam train. It was the most expensive of this parade and was belonged to the Carnival prince and princess from Ratingen.
The second van of the Carnival prince / princess.
This van is from the Catholic church. They were in jail. Okay, not really but I liked the idea.
The dancers of the Carnival Club Green-White Ratingen.
The van of this Carnival Club.
The second van of Carnival Clubb Green-White Ratingen.
Here you see a van, showing two of the four catholic churches in Ratingen.
A van having the logo of Ratingen. A red lion with a blue crown (and normally a blue wooden wheel)
Another van having our logo.

That's it for Rosenmontag. I hope you liked the pictures.

Read you next time, dear world,

Posted Feb 20, 2012, 4:10 pm
Hello world,

today we were in Heiligenhaus, a city next to Ratingen. It's smaller than Ratingen and more and more people are leaving this city. There's not much to see our to explain. Sad isn't it? I really could imagine that Heiligenhaus will belong to Velbert or Ratingen in the future.

Anyway my mentor wanted to show us the trail / bicycle path from Heiligenhaus to Essen. It opened in 2009. On the way to this trail we found this coloured shoes. My mentor explained that they are a symbol for the trail and at the opening there were coloured bicycles. They just changed to shoes for showing, that the people also can walk on it.

Later on, as we walked a bit, we found this painting on a house. It shows the city of Heiligenhaus and its sights. As you see, there isn't much. Just the two churches, the trail and a sculpture where my host don't even know where it is.

They we finally got to the bridge. It's the very first wagon bridge in Germany and opened on June, 26th 2009 here in Heiligenhaus. It's above a railway. Okay it's not used anymore but they are thinking about to change it. I guess it's all Heiligenhaus is proud of. I like it and the idea behind. Nothing special compared to other cities, I know.

Okay, lately my mentor told me, that John Steinbeck, one of the world famoust authors, were born over here. That makes the city special ;)

I agree, it wasn't really much, I could tell you about Heiligenhaus.
Read you next time.

Posted Feb 20, 2012, 4:37 pm
Hello world,

today we were at the Rhine in Düsseldorf.

Something about Düsseldorf: It's the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia and the centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolian region. So it's a city by the Rhine (exactley at the Lower Rhine, where the delta of the River Düssel flows into the Rhine). Furthermore Düsseldorf has a large Japanese community.

Now something about the Rhine: The Rhine is a river that flows from Grisons in the eastern Swiss Alps to the North Sea coast in the Netherlands and is one of the longest and most important rivers in Europe, at about 1,233 km (766 mi). The Rhine has seven Sections:
-> Alpine Rhine (Tamins-Reichenau to Lake Constance)
-> Lake Constance
-> High Rhine (Lake Constance to Basel)
-> Upper Rhine (Basel to Bingen am Rhein)
-> Middle Rhine (Bingen am Rhein to Bonn)
-> Lower Rhine (Bonn to the North Sea)
-> Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta.

So, as we were in Düsseldorf, we also were at the Lower Rhine.
These two signs are at the end of the "Altstadt" in Düsseldorf and explain where and how the river Düssel flows into the Rhine. The second one shows the sights at the Rhine in Düsseldorf.
This is the Rhine. Acutally it looks blue in this photo but to be honest: It's brown. :(
Here you see a watch I liked. It's 11 a.m. and -11°C. I guess we won't be here for too long, as I'm already freezing (after 5 minutes). Acutally I already want to go home :)
If you go along the Rhine you automatically find this ship. It's there for taking picture for the tourists and there are lots of.
Rheinturm (TV tower) the city's landmark (240.50 m/789 ft), the lights on which comprise the world's largest digital clock.
The other side of the Rhine. Over there you find a fair in summer
The Schiffahrt Museum (Shipping museum). Although I think it doesn't like look a museum.

Then it turns out to be too cold for staying here for longer, although we wanted to show you some more interesting buildings at the harbour of Düsseldorf. Okay, next time when it's warmer.

Bye world,

Posted Mar 18, 2012, 12:06 pm
Hey there!!

Here I am, spending the first day at my new host here in Bochum. Actually she lives in two cities, Bochum and Dortmund, but we're gonna spend the weekend in Bochum.
Bochum belongs to the Ruhr Area and is the 16th biggest city in Germany. It's best known for the musical Starlight Express, the german mining museum and the planetarium.

I met some other TV's, a donkey called HolgiHH and a lion called Brownbeard and we talked a bit about toyvoyaging and stuff like that. I really like them, they're both very nice :) They told me about their travels and their hosts. HolgiHH is an old hand, he traveled around the world and visited many places. Brownbeard is kind of a newbie, just like me. :)

As you know, I'm gonna travel to Scotland with my host and the other TV's. I'm sooo excited!! We're gonna spend the nights in Edinburgh from monday until friday but we wanna take a day trip to Glasgow on wednesday or thursday. Besides, we wanna take a trip by bus to the Highlands etc. but that's not fixed yet.

Well, the luggage is already packed and I'm ready to start the travel to Scotland, but unfortunately I have to wait until monday..

Well, I won't be able to update the travelog during the stay in Scotland so you have to be patient but I think I could manage to make some updates on sunday next week or perhaps on monday.

I shall say "hello" from my new friends :)
I hope you have a nice week.
Read you next time!!
Marawarpina x

Posted Mar 24, 2012, 9:27 am
Hello world,

today was my first day in Edinburgh!!
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and it is a wonderful city!! Full of history and great architecture, even though everything looks quite gloomy because of the stone buildings  :) The services here are much better than in Germany, the people are very polite and try to help wherever they can.

Well, I'll start at the beginning.. I had to get up very early because the departure from Cologne-Bonn Airport was at 11:00am. The flight was without any turbulences and I enjoyed the time above the clouds :)

After our arrival in the centre of Edinburgh we got totally lost. We couldn't find our hotel and came to a dead end. Somehow it was horrible and hilarious at the same time :D At some point we finally managed to find our hotel and took a little time out from the stressfull morning...
Afterwards we took a walk through the city for the first time, to be exact through "Old Town".
Edinburgh is divided into "Old Town" and "New Town". The Old Town is the oldest part of the city, where e.g. the Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile are located. Everything looks very rough and there are loads of buildings which are very very old.

During the walk through Old Town we passed the Royal Mile. This Mile is a street that stretches from the Holyrood Palace (the official residence of the british monarch - The Queen - in Scotland) to the Edinburgh Castle. This castle is located on the Castle Rock - the remain of a volcanic pipe - and it's very high.
This is the castle:

The weather here ist just beautiful!! It's relatively warm and the sun is shining  B)

Unfortunately I didn't take many pictures of our tour through Old Town today, but I will take more pictures in the following days!!

Read you next time!
Marawarpina :)

Posted Mar 24, 2012, 10:07 am
Latha math!
Ciamar a tha thu? Tha gu math, tapadh leat!

This is what I learned today. You might wonder what it means. Well, this is scottish gaelic and means something like "Hello, how are you? I am fine, thank you!" :) In Scotland, the people speak both english and scottish gaelic, but most of them speak english all day.

My day started at "Calton Hill". It's a very high hill in New Town from where you have a view over the whole city. It was a bit cloudy and utterly windy up there!!
There are several iconic monuments and buildings like the City Observatory, the National Monument and many more.
This is the view over New Town:

This is almost on the top of the hill, on the left you can see the Observatory:

This is the National Monument, it is a memorial to the scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars.
Front and back:

This is the view over "Old Town". On the left you can see the Dugald Stewart Monument, a memorial to a scottish philosopher called Dugald Stewart. It's a superb view, isn't it? :)

After spending some time on the hill, the other TV's and me continued to explore Old Town. It's very exhausting to walk through the town because there are loads of ups and downs. Most of the streets ascend steeply!!
Here are some streets:

This is the amazing Holyrood Palace, the residence of the Queen. I told you about it yesterday. It is at the beginning of the Royal Mile and you can walk to the castle straight on from there - uphill of course.

So here I am in front of the Edinburgh Playhouse, which is near the hotel. It is a former cinema but now it hosts concerts and touring musicals. The musical which is shown this week is called "Spamalot". You know it, Mum ;) Unfortunately I didn't meet Adam there :D  :p

I did a "Double Dead Tour" tonight!! It was a tour through the vaults of Old Town (many people lived from 1788 until about 1822 in the underground without any light or water) and the Greyfriars Kirkyard. It is a very old graveyard which is known to be haunted by a Poltergeist called "Mackenzie Poltergeist". It was spooky and the guide told us many things about paranormal activities in the vaults and about the Poltergeist. We actually got into the Covenanter's Prison and the "Black Mausoleum" where most of the attacks of the Poltergeist take place.
Both the vaults and the mausoleum aren't publicly accessible, not everyone can visit these places so it's quite cool

I visited many awesome places today but I couldn't take pictures at every place, it would have been too much... sorry!  :thinking:
Tomorrow will be a tough day, we'll take a tour through Scotland by bus which takes 12 hours!!  :o We will drive through the Highlands and we will stop at Loch Ness. I'm so excited!!

Beannachd leat! ("Bye-bye!")

Posted Mar 26, 2012, 8:27 pm
Hey there :)

Well, I already told you about the plan to take a trip by bus through Scotland, so the day started really early and the trip actually took 12 hours!! We drove through the Highlands and stopped at Loch Ness :)

This is in Kilmahog:
Here you can see a Highland cattle in the small town "Kilmahog". It's located somewhere between Edinburgh and Glencoe.
In the background you can see our bus, it's the white one.

Some mountains near the town:

Spean Bridge:
This town takes its name from the Highbridge over the river "Spean". It lays in the Great Glen and it's a quite nice town with nice people and a beautiful landscape!!

Loch Ness:
Yay, Loch Ness is a great place, even though I didnt see Nessie, the monster!! "Loch" is the scottish word for "sea". I didn't know that before.
Well, I spent nearly 2 hours at this huge sea. You can't imagine how big it is... The Loch Ness has the biggest volume of water in the whole country!! On the deepest point, the sea has a depth of about 230m  :stare: Besides it has a length of 37km, so it's quite long.
On the riverside is the "Urquhart Castle" but there's just a ruin left. It was built in 1230, so it's one of the oldest ruins in Scotland.
I really love this place and I wish I could have spent more time there... :)
Here are some pictures of the Loch and the castle:

As you can see on the pictures, the weather was beautiful!! Sunshine and blue sky, quite unusual for Scotland...  B)
But every nice journey comes to an end, so it was time for the return to Edinburgh..

This was in Perthshire, a small town between Inverness and Perth. We stopped there for a last time to get some food..

Yeah, that's it about my travel through the country. It was very exhausting but it was worth every minute!!

Bye-bye!! :)

Posted Mar 30, 2012, 9:29 am
Hey there,

today was already the last full day here in Edinburgh  :(
We walked over the "Greyfriars Kirkyard" again, but this time in daylight and not by night :D I already told you about the kirkyard, do you remember?
Well, I guess you know Harry Potter, am I right? Joanne K. Rowling (author) created some characters of the book in Edinburgh and got inspired by some names of the kirkyard!! She loved that kirkyard and an old man who works there told us that she returns to the kirkyard every month.
Perhaps you know the character Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort), he is named after Thomas Riddell who died in 1806.
Another character - Minerva McGonagall - found its surname in William McGonagall who was a poet and died in 1902.
This is me in front of his headstone:

This is the headstone of Thomas Riddell (without me.. I hope you don't mind but I really wanna to show it to you):

The kirkyard directly adjoins to a school, the George Heriot's School. It was the model for Hogwarts!! Amazing, isn't it? Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take pictures of it because of the kids etc. The teachers came to us and told us to stop taking pictures..  :mad:
The graves of McGonagall and Riddell are near the school.
Later, we passed "The elephant house". It's the Café where Rowling wrote her books. It's known as the "birthplace of Harry Potter" :)

Well, we spent the rest of the day with some shopping. Afterwards we needed a little rest in the hotel to get some food. We had Chicken Caesar Wraps and some milk :)

Afterwards we had a night out in a live music bar called "Whistle Binkies". It was very nice!! :)

Tomorrow will be our last morning in Scotland and we will arrive in Germany about 2pm. I think I won't take any pictures so this will be my last update of my trip to Scotland.

I hope you had a wonderful week!!

Posted Mar 30, 2012, 9:46 am
Hey folks

Today was a wonderful day!! Bright sunshine the whole day  B)
Kate, a friend, me and the other TV's spent the day in Oberhausen at the promenade. We had a lovely time!!

Oberhausen belongs to the Ruhr Area and is known for the big shopping centre "CentrO", the gasometer with its exhibitions and last but not least the "König-Pilsener Arena", a venue for concerts and other shows.
Oh, and of course the "Metronom Theatre"!! It's a theatre which hosts many musicals. "Dirty Dancing" is shown at the moment, in the past there were musicals like "Wicked", "Dance of the Vampires", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Tabaluga".

Well, Kate told us that this was our last full day with HolgiHH because he will go to Heidelberg tomorrow. I don't know him so well because we just spent a bit more than a week together but it's still kinda sad to say goodbye to him.

Read you next time!!

Posted Apr 3, 2012, 3:50 pm
Hey guys,

sorry for the brief updates the last days. I'm doing well and I just relaxed at home for a few days before the start of my hosts new semester at university tomorrow.
So, today I helped Kate doing the dishes. It wasn't that much but it's still a boring thing..
These are things we had to wash up:

Washing up a plate:

And finally: drying the plate.. :)

Well, that's all for today. I hope that I'll be able to tell you more exciting stuff in the next few days :)
Marawarpina xx

Posted Apr 6, 2012, 4:04 pm
Hey folks,

today is Good Friday, the sun is shining and birds are singing. Beautiful day  B)
The Easter holidays started today and I already decorated some stuff for Eastern.

I think it's time to show you the neighbourhood here in Bochum :) But first I'll tell you something about the district.
Well, I live here in a district called "Grumme". Back in the 12th century, it was called Grumhem, later on it was called Grommen and now it's called Grumme. The waters here in the district were named "Grume", that's why the area was called Grumhem, it means something like "Home of the Grume".
There's a park which goes through the whole district - disconnected by some streets - called "Grummer Teiche" (Grummer ponds) with the waters. There's a summer party once a year :)
This is the view from the balcony, you can see a small part of the park with one of the ponds:

Near our house is a tavern / restaurant, called "Gasthaus Goeke". The tavern itself is more than 100 years old but the cottage is much older, first records were made in 1547!! Unbelievable, isn't it?

Here's also an catholic church, it was built from 1890 - 1891. I can't tell you how the parish was named back then, but later on it was called "St. Liborius". In 2002, the parish was combined with another parish called "Heilig Kreuz". Now it's a big parish which is named "Seliger Nikolaus Groß".
The building on the left is the primary school ( I know, you can hardly see it). My host went to this school when she was young

This is the main street which goes through the district.

Just a house:

Yeah, that's it about my current residence. Well, at least about the one here in Bochum, I have another one in Dortmund..  :D

Read you next time :)

Posted Apr 7, 2012, 5:05 pm
Hello there,

how are you today? I hope you're well!!
Tomorrow is Easter Day, so Kate and me decided to paint some eggs :)
It was good fun!! The results are great, we have some eggs with faces, some with flowers or animals, one with a stave and a melody and so on :) But see it for yourself!

This is me, trying to finish a face :)

Almost all painted eggs:

We even have an egg with "Happy Easter" in many different languages, especially for the international ToyVoyagers out there!!

But these eggs are my favourites, haha :D

Well, that's it for today. The weather isn't really great (it even snowed a little bit this morning!!) so I didn't leave the house.

Bye-bye :)

Posted Apr 9, 2012, 9:46 pm
Happy Easter!!!

Hey guys,

I'm wishing you Happy Easter! :)
I woke up and was full with anticipation, I really couldn't wait for Easter egg hunt! So, early in the morning - about 8am - I started to search the eggs in the whole flat. It wasn't so easy to find them all, but somehow I managed to find them :)
I found one in a coffee cup:

And another one in a bowl with knick-knacks:

In this drawer was no egg :(

Look!! I found a present under the armchair!! :)

No egg in sight..

Oh, look! I found an Easter basket with some delicious candies in a wardrobe!! I wanted to eat them all just at this moment, haha :D

Well, after searching some more eggs and presents I had a look at the result of the Easter egg hunt. I have to say, I'm very pleased with my work.  B)

The family of my host came in the afternoon for some coffee and cake. Yeah, that was my Easter Day :) I really hope that you had a great day, too!


Posted Apr 15, 2012, 9:14 pm
Hey there :)

Today was a day with typical April weather. The day started with bright sunshine but it began to rain in the afternoon. :(
I spent some time in the city today and whilst walking through the streets I passed the town hall of Bochum. It was built from 1926 until 1931. There's a bell on the forecourt of the town hall, back in 1867 it was used to sound the bell for the opening of the Paris International Exposition. It was the biggest bell there.

Afterwards I spent some time at the Starlight Express, on my way home I passed the new amusement arcade which is built next to the parking block of the Starlight Halle.
The building is a former IMAX 3D Cinema, but it closed in 2003. After the closing, the building stood empty until 2011. It's fully renovated now :)

This is the A40, a motorway which leads through the whole Ruhr Area. It's also called "Ruhrschnellweg". Some people call it "the longest parking place of the Ruhr Area" because there are awfully long traffic jams during the rush hours. :D
In 2010, the complete motorway was closed for a day and there was a huge party on the whole motorway, from Dortmund all the way down to Duisburg. This is at least a way of 60 kilometers!! A highlight was the "longest table of the world", built with 20000 beer tables which were strung together, it was also 60 kilometers long, just as the length of the motorway.
The festival was called "Still-Leben-Ruhrschnellweg" and newspapers and TV Channels all over the world reported about it.

Yeah, that's it for now :)
Read you next time!!

Marawarpina x

Posted Apr 17, 2012, 11:48 am
Hi guys,

Me and some others went to the cinema this eve to watch the movie "Russendisko", a german movie with Matthias Schweighöfer and Friedrich Mücke.
The cinema is named "UCI Kinowelt" and is located in the "Ruhr Park Shopping Center". The movie started very late, about 10.45pm, so we took a little walk through the shopping center before we headed to the cinema hall.
On the following pictures you can see a part of the Ruhr Park. I think it looks stunning with the lights and the trees!! :)

This is the sign of the entrance of the "via bartolo", a food concourse:

This is the entrance of the cinema:

We were the only ones in the whole cinema hall who watched this film :D

After watching the movie we went back to the foyer of the cinema and it was spooky!! There was not a single person, not even staff or employees!!!

Well, read you next time, guys!!
Marawarpina x

Posted Apr 21, 2012, 8:40 pm
Hey there,

a new TV arrived in Dortmund today. His name is Bussi :) Brownbeard and me welcomed him and we are happy that he's such a nice guy.

He had a quite long travel and needed some fun after beeing wrapped in the envelope for such a long time, so we decided to go to the pool and to the sauna. Both belongs to the host's house here in Dortmund :)
We played some water polo, it was such fun!!

After having some fun in the water I headed to the sauna to relax a little bit.
This is the entrance of the sauna.. can you find me? :D

Well, this was my day. It was an awesome day, but it I'm really tired now. I hope that Bussi had a great first day here.

Lots of love,

Posted Apr 23, 2012, 8:14 pm
Hello mum, hello world!! :)

The sun shone on my skin when I woke up today, it was beautiful!! I wasn't sure if the rest of the day would be filled with sunshine as well because the last days were very rainy, but it turned out to be a sunny day in the end  B) Well, there were some clouds from time to time, but it wasn't that bad.
The other TV's and me decided to enjoy the day in Bochum, in a park called "Harpener Teiche" (Harpener ponds). It's a huge area with many ponds. My host told me that the mine drainage water of a nearby mine flows into the these ponds.
The Ruhr Area is popular for its former mining and the mines which are out of service fill up with mine drainage water. This water has to be pumped out because otherwise it would mix up with the groundwater and would make it useless. It's complicated to explain, anyway this process has to be conducted to all eternity.

Anyway, here are some impressions of my day in the park:

Looking out at the pond with my friend Bussi

This is a quite romantic place. You can see a creek and a paddock in the background.

This is one of the inflows of the mine drainage water. I think it looks very nice!!

Well, that was my day. I really needed some sun after these rainy days which lag behind.
I hope you had a great beginning of the week!! :)


Posted Apr 26, 2012, 1:16 pm
Hello everybody!!!

I visited the university of my host today, it's called "TU Dortmund". The TU exists since 1968 and has 2 campuses. The northern campus is bigger than the southern campus, but the southern one is more familiar.
At the northern campus are the natural sciences, the humane discipline and everything related to music. At the southern campus is the whole constructing stuff, like architecture, spatial planning and civil engineering.
I just visited the southern campus today, because my hosts studies spatial planning there.

Do want to know how it looks like? Well, on the right you can see building of my hosts faculty. The one in the middle is for the faculty of the civil engineering and the building on the left (kinda hard to see) is for the people who study architecture.

Here you can see some tracks of the H-Bahn (Hochbahn or Hängebahn). The H-Bahn is an overhead track which connects the campuses. Hopefully I will be able to show you a carriage of it when I'm there again.

Well, on the way back home I passed a lovely field :)

That's it for today. Hope you have a nice day!!
Marawarpina x

Posted Apr 29, 2012, 1:02 pm
Hey guys, hey mum!!

I've been in the city center of Bochum today. There was a festival called "Maiabend Fest" (May evening festival). It is an old traditional festival which is several hundreds of years old. The background of this festival is that back then - a few hundred years ago - young people cut down a tree in a district in Bochum called "Harpen" and carried it to the city center. Since this time, this procedure is beeing held every year.
There is a parade every year where the Maischützen (there's no english word for it) walk from Harpen to the city center, drinking lots of alcohol and making music.
In the city center itself is a big festival with many beer stalls, food stands, a medieval market and a stage with live music. It's quite nice :)

Here you can see some guys who are a part of the parade:

Alright, what do we need on a festival? Right, some police which keeps and eye on everything. Here you can see me and the others on a police car :) The "STOP" is mirror-inverted due to the fact that the car drivers can read it when they look in their rearview mirror when the police is behind them. The policeman turned it on especially for us TV's!! Nice guy. :)

I don't have more pictures of this festival, I'm very sorry!! But maybe you've been there as well, Mum?!

Well, today was also the day of the leaving of Tucker and Lexie. Tucker will go to Remscheid and Lexie will go to Australia. They are both very excited to start their first adventures.

Okay, that's it for today. Hope you have a nice weekend!!
Read you next time,

Posted May 3, 2012, 8:08 pm
Hey Mum!!

How's life? Hope you're well!! I already miss you and I can't wait to see you again next week.

Today I helped my host to learn for her exam which will be on monday. It's about landscape gardening & urban planning in the different epochs (antiquity, renaissance, baroque etc.) and traffic planning. To be honest, I think it's quite boring!! But well, I helped her anyways. We created a timeline with the most important facts about landscape gardening. It took us quite a while!!

And this is the result, a long timeline just about gardening:

Oh, a new TV arrived this evening! His name is Billy and he is from South Africa. He showed me and the other TV's some pictures of his journeys and told us some stories, it was very interesting :)

Well, Kate told me that we won't spend so much time outdoors until tuesday because she has to learn for her exam, but from tuesday on I'll see more of Bochum and Dortmund :)

Read you next time,

Posted May 5, 2012, 12:27 am
Hi Mummy!! :)

Today I spent my evening in Bochum. I went bowling at the "Bowlingtreff" in the city centre, it was much fun! It's disco-bowling every friday night, that means that it's darker than usual, there's a lightshow and loud music. One of the highlights of an friday night at the Bowlingtreff is that you can win something if there's a bright orange bowling pin in the front row and you bowl a strike then. Before you bowl, you have to take a card out of 5 cards, on each one is a prize written. It doesn't happen that often but my host was one of the lucky ones who actually won something, even though it was just a cocktail  B)

It was pretty hard to take pictures there because of the darkness and as you know - I am black!! It's hard to find me in these pictures but believe me: I was there  :D

Okay, this one is an absolutely disaster, I have to explain it: I am behind Brownbeards arm, at least you can see my pendant :D I'm so sorry..

Look how big the bowling balls are!

Yeah, that's it about my evening in Bochum. I really hope you have a nice weekend!
Read you next time!
Marawarpina :)

Posted May 11, 2012, 5:46 am
Hey Mum!!

I went for a stroll today :)
The park where I was is called "Grummer Teiche". "Grumme" is the district where I live here in Bochum, I already told you about it, do you remember?
It's a lovely park, here are some impressions:

As I walked through the park I passed some geese. To be exact: 2 Egyptian Geese with their chicks and two Canada Geese. The chicks were so cute!!

It was very warm, so I stopped at a drinking fountain:

Afterwards I went home and spent some time on the balcony. From the balcony I had a view on a part of the park, but it's hard to see because of all the trees.

Well... It's friday in a few days and that means that it's time to leave!! I can't wait to see you again, Mum! I missed you so much!! I can't wait to enfold you in my arms and spend some days with you and Kate in London, it's gonna be amazing :)
On sunday it's definitely time to say goodbye to the other TV's and Kate... I had a great time with her in Edinburgh, Bochum and Dortmund but it's time to move on.

Lots of Love,

Posted May 21, 2012, 6:14 pm
Hey world

guess where I am! Yeah right, back with my mentor and together with my last host on the plane and on our way to London.

And here’s another picture of me and the other ToyVoyagers. I really can’t remember all their names, except of Leif E and Troot. Leif E and I already lived together with my mentor so great to see him again. Troot is another ToyVoyager who arrived at my mentors home.

That’s it for today,

Posted May 21, 2012, 6:15 pm
Hey ho,

today we went a bit sightseeing in London. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see a lot, but it’s more than nothing.

Dear reader of this blog, I’m not sure, but did you read “Harry Potter”? If so, you know where I am, or? If not: I’m at King’s Cross, entering the Platform 9 ¾ for getting the train to Hogwarts. Unfortunately it’s not the 1st of September, so there wasn’t any train ;)

Afterwards we took the underground to go back into the city. We left it at the Tower Bridge. Some information about the Tower Bridge from Wikipedia:
Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name. It has become an iconic symbol of London.

Then we went to the Tower of London. It  is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. (Wikipedia)

Afterwards and our last station was the Buckingham Palace. Ever heard of it? If not, here’s the last information from Wikipedia: Buckingham Palace is the official London residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focus for the British people at times of national rejoicing and crisis.

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to go with our host to the Starlight Express UK Tour, but my lovely mentor promised that we will visit the one in Bochum again – as she’s hanging around there once a week. Furthermore we had to catch the flight back to Germany very early on Sunday. So.. That’s all from London.


Posted Jul 8, 2012, 7:11 pm
Hey mum!
Today was the day. My host and her boyfriend went on their first vacation together. So a week in De Koog, which is located on Texel, an island belonging to The Neatherland, was ahead. And luckily I was allowed to join them :) I also met another TV again. It's Batgirl. I already met her at the Goodbye reunion at Starlight.
We went to Texel by car, which took around 3 1/2 hours. The journey itself wasn't too exciting. Lots of fields, lots of cars and even more fields in the end. We were sleeping a lot actually. We arrived at the booked bungalow around 4 pm. It was very sweet. Not too big, but me and Mara had our own bedroom, because it was supposed to be for 3 persons, but as it was just the two of them. They unpacked and then we went on to the beach for the first time.
It was very windy, but the sun was shining.
This is me and Batgirl at the beach. You see this very blue sky? It looked awesome, but it wasn't that warm because of the wind.
The sea! Awesome, right? We wanted to go for a swim, but weren't allowed to. But I guess it would've been really really cold and I didn't wanna catch a cold right in the beginning of the vacation so it was fine.
You see how the sand flies over the beach? Now you can tell how windy it was! It looked very cool, but it really hurt, when we were walking along the beach for around an hour. Afterwards we went back to the bungalow and just relaxed. Sitting in the car for a few hours can be exhausting ;)

Love you, mum!

Posted Jul 8, 2012, 7:22 pm
Hello mum!
It it Sunday, so there wasn't that much to do in the "city" of De Koog (which is really really small) so we took a walk through the forest close to the beach.
There was a sign saying that this circular route had a total length of 15 km. I don't know if we really walked 15 km, but it took a while, until we were finished. Thank God we didn't get lost. Everything looked the same *haha*
You see? There were just trees everywhere around us and we rarely met other people. It was really quite, when we were walking through that forest. I mean, it was relaxing, but sometimes some noises can be good... I was frightened, because there was nothing else around and we didn't see anybody else and you start to wonder if there's something wrong...
But then we found that city sign of De Koog and so even Batgirl and I knew where we are so it wasn't too bad.

It started raining just about an hour after we got home so we just stayed at home and watched Comedy Central. In English with Dutch subtitles. Pretty cool!

Posted Jul 8, 2012, 7:35 pm
Hey mum!
It's Tuesday already! Yesterday it was raining all the time, so it was a really relaxed day. Plus it was my host's boyfriends birthday so they just went out to dinner in the evening - through the rain.
But today the weather was much better - the sun was shining again so we went on a trip we usually wanted to go on yesterday already.
There's the lighthouse close to De Cocksdorp in the very North of Texel. My host spent several holidays on Texel with her family in the past and they always went to the lighthouse at least once so it was clear we had to go there, too :)
We went there by bike - of course me and Batgirl couldn't get our own bikes so I can't show you much of the bike tour to the lighthouse - just pictures of us at the beach there.

Just sand everywhere! What a beach! Amazing. We just sat there for a while, enjoying the sun (it was really hot. I have no idea where that rain came from yesterday!), before we got back. Well, we didn't get back the same way we got to the lighthouse.
On the way back we even got to see a few sheeps. OMG, they were cute!
All in all the journey was around 35 km long. What a distance! I was really sporty that day, wasn't I? ;)

Posted Jul 8, 2012, 7:51 pm
Hey mum! Here I am again!
Today it was time for another trip. As none of us was able to sit on a bicycle saddle again, we walked. This time we went to Den Burg. It is the next city close to De Koog and definiately bigger than De Koog. It's located in the middle of the island and it's the main town of Texel.
Den Burg is around 6 kilometers away from De Koog. It took us around an hour to get there. It was pretty boring for Batgirl and me, as we were in the bag most of the time, and it was soooo hot! After an hour we finally arrived:
We walked around the city and sat down in a little cafe to get some rest and some food. :)

We went back home after a while and just relaxed in the garden of our bungalow. :) Isn't that what holidays are for? :)

Posted Jul 8, 2012, 8:06 pm
Our vacation is slowly coming to an end. It's Thursday already... But as long as the sun is shining, we put our books aside from time to time and just go out an walk around.
This time we took a trip through the dunes.
We passed a statue of an old man. I actually forgot what the signature was saying, I'm so sorry.
We ended up at the beach again.
This was the first time I saw a jellyfish. Well, one at the beach so it wasn't really alive anymore I guess. But it still looked... strange... to me. So flabby. Urgh... Didn't want to tough it or get any closer to it...
But this could stop us from collecting shells as a souvenir.
And look what we found.
What a tiny crab! Well, it was dead as well, because it was lying in the sun for too long and the seagulls probably had some "fun" with it but it still looked to real and alive. I expected it to move again any second... We saw around 15 of those tiny crabs...
Our shell collection by the end of the day. Don't they look great?

Posted Jul 8, 2012, 8:41 pm
So, this is it.
It's time to go home now! Yesterday was all about packing and cleaning the bungalow, because we had to leave until 10 am this morning. Well, and it was raining again yesterday... We went to the beach again yesterday evening, but didn't take any pictures. Sorry for that.
So, today we left our "vacation home" at 9:20 am and went to 't Horntje, where the ferry leaves to Den Helden.
We were all pretty tired because it was so early, so me and Batgirl slept during the car journey back.
Here's a picture of the ferry in 't Horntje. It's huge, isn't it? I have no idea how many cars or people can be transported with it, but I bet it's houndreds!

Posted Aug 1, 2012, 4:41 pm
Hey world,

today my mentor went to Cologne (Köln in German) for visiting a friend, who studies there. Both haven’t seen each other for a while although Cologne isn’t that far away. Around an hour by train, so it’s really okay. Nevertheless we were allowed to go with her and so, we finally were in Cologne.

First I wanna tell you something about Cologne. It’s the fourth largest city in Germany and the biggest one in North Rhine – Westphalia (NRW). It’s supposed to be the capital of the Federal State NRW, but it’s not – it’s Düsseldorf. Cologne is located on both side of the Rhine. The most famous building over here is the Cathedral (Kölner Dom), directly on the mainstation of Cologne. Behind the mainstation, there’s another “Dom” called the Musicaldome, where my host used to be quite often as “We Will Rock You” were in it. Anyway. The university her friend studies is one of Europes largest and oldest one.

Finally here are some pictures:

It’s me at the Cathedral. Isn’t it large?

Me at a bridge of the the Rhine in Cologne.

It was a quite adventures day.

Posted Aug 1, 2012, 4:46 pm
Hey world,

today we went to the Starlight Express in Bochum. It was a very special day in Bochum. It’s called “Goodbye” or “Castchange”. That means, that this day is the last one of some of the actors as they’re leaving StEx for going back to her home (most of them are English, American or whatsoever, but you hardly find a German actor in it) or because they already have another musical they are staying in. Unfortunately we didn’t watch the show, but we do on Wednesday, as it is the opening show of the so-called “New Kids” (actors, who rehearsaled for the last three month for staying in there. In this time they learnt how to skate, how to do the make up, how to sing the songs (in German) and the choreography). I really can’t wait to see the show.

Today I met some other ToyVoyager as well – the ones I already travelled with to London – and we had a little party with a really big pizza and stuff like that.

Unfortunately we didn’t take so many pictures, but as I already said, it isn’t the last time, that we’re around the Starlight Halle. Here are now some pictures:

That’s us in front of a banner. Here you see the character Pearl, the observationcar (pink) and Buffy, the buffet car (yellow / orange)

That’s just me and Volta, the freezertruck.

That’s just me and Papa, the old steamtrain.

That’s just me and Dustin, the big hopper.

And here you see me in front of the whole banner.

That’s just me and Dinah, the dinningcar.

That’s just me and Caboose, the brake truck

That’s it for today, dearest world.

Posted Aug 1, 2012, 4:53 pm
Hello world,

today we went to the Starlight Express in Bochum again. Again it was a special day as it was the “Open Day”. Finally I was allowed to go backstage and take photos over there. So I can show you more now.

First of all we watched the skate and technical show. So I sat down there where my host usually sits and watched everything. As the lightshow was so quick I just took a couple of photos without myself, so that you are able to see the stage in different lights and all the different stages etc.

Me in the audience

The stage in different lights:
The first two shows the mainstage, where most of the musical takes place. In the third picture you’re able to see the different levels, which aren’t connected to each other yet. The fourth picture is the laser which is also the “Starlight Express.” In the last picture you see the mainbridge from which Electra, the Electrician Train, comes from and starts performing. Furthermore it’s the start and the goal from all the races and helps to change the set all the time and it connects the different levels of the stage.

We went backstage and found the costumes, helmets and wigs. They are totally colourful and every actor has his/her own costume. Amazing, hunh?

It was such an amazing day and now I know why my mentor spent so many time over there.

Posted Aug 12, 2012, 8:41 pm
Hey Mummy!
Now finally... I'm going to update my travellog and share my Vienna-Trip Pictures with you... sorry, that it took me so long... shame on me and Tiffy! Urgh... hope you enjoy =)

This is me enjoying the flight to Vienna over the clouds and dreaming about all the places I want to visit in the future! =)

And as we arrived in Vienna.. we started a walk around the city and did some sightseeing on our first day.
This is me in front of the famous church "Stephansdom"
Such a lovely building, isn't it?

Right next to the "Stephansdom" there are the "Fiaker", that's how they call the carriages with the horses... they're also very famous for Vienna and many people assosiate them with this city.
As a tourist you can take a ride with them.. but 20 mins Fiaker trip through the town is really expensive.

Atfer our visit we visited the operahouse of Vienna "Staatsoper"
And I'm sure that everyone know this operhouse because the famous "Wiener Opernball" is settled there!

After our first walk through the town, we decided to enjoy this lovely wheater on a boattrip on the Danube.

It was really great to enjoy the sun on the water... and I think I got a light tan... hahahaha

After this boattrip... which took over 2hrs.. we decided to climb the top of the Danube tower, to enjoy the beautiful view over the whole city.
Thank god, this thing had an elevator and no stairs!

It's amazing, isn't it?

So that was my first day in Vienna so far... hope you enjoyed the pictures and I'm going to update the other ones soon!
Love you Mummy! =)

Mara =)

Posted Aug 18, 2012, 8:26 pm
Hey Mum!

So today I continue with my Vienna updates... finally! :D hahahaha

so on our second day in vienna we went to visit the residences of the Empress Elisabeth Sisi and the Emperor Franz-Jospeh.
The 'Hofburg' was the regular residence of them.
Now you can visit the 'Hofburg' and in there is the Sisi Museum, and the emperor appartments... but unfortunatley you aren't allowed to take photos there.
So I just have some of the outside.

And when you follow straight the street from the 'Hofburg' on through a small park, you're coming to a Sisi Memorial...

And after our visit at the Hofburg in the morning, we went on to visit the summer residence of Sisi and Franz-Joseph.
'Schloss Schönbrunn'. You can also visit a museum there... but same here.. you aren't allowed to take photos there...
so again... just photos from the outside.

The stairs on the outside... are so big! I hope you can see me and the others TVs! :D

And after a long exhausting day at all the residences of the Empress and the Emperor.. we were hungry, for sure.
and so we decided to have a famous 'Wiener Schnitzel'. This was a massive dish! Damn... with loads of meat :D damn it!
But it was really delicous.
(Just in case you can't identify me... I'm sitting right next to the bottle of coke xD)

maybe this one's better :D

And on a small walk trough the town in the evening, after our massive dinner, we saw the Ronacher theatre, where are some Musicals played. At the moment Sister Act is running there...

So that was my second day in Vienna! :)

- to be continued - :D

Love you Mum! =)

Posted Aug 18, 2012, 8:45 pm
Hey Mum!

So next Vienna Update! :D

On our third day in this lovely city, we visited the 'Prater'.
It's a funfair, which is open over the whole year.
And it's really great... you have lots of things you can do there...
ghost trains, rollercoasters, funhouses, mirror labyrinths, roundabouts, Madame Tussauds, and the most famous thing for the Vienna Prater... the old big wheel!

This is the Prater entrance.

In front of the Prater big wheel...

And of course, we took a ride with the big wheel! =)

This was the way from the big wheel over a part of the Prater area.

And can you imagine... that we also met Robbie Williams, George Clooney and Audrey Hepburn?! They also visited the Prater to have some Vienna fun! Of course our travelling TV group took a photo with them.
George and Audrey also invited us to have some coffee with them!
That was so nice!

And after some coffee, we just hung around with Robbie....

Okay... I must confess, we didn't met the real ones... I was just making some fun... and I'm sure, that you can already guess where we were... we were at Madame Tussauds! :D

and after a fun day at the Prater, we spent the evening in front of the Vienna town hall.
In there summer there is a huge screen right in front of it... and it's called 'Filmfestival'. And they show there every evening other concerts, operas, ballets and all that stuff.
As we visited the festival, they've shown the opea Carmen.
But unfortunatley it was without subtitles.. so we didn't understand a word... -.-

So that was the third day in Vienna!
Hope you enjoyed the pics so far!

Love you, Mum!

-to be continued-

Posted Aug 18, 2012, 9:14 pm
Hey Mum!

So this was the last day of my Vienna trip and we went to 'Schönbrunn' again, and visited the zoo there.

Uhrm... yeah I know... this is a very crappy pic xD but there was a rat in the background! I swear! But somehow you can't see the rat on the picture...
maybe you recognize it? :D

and I also saw a cute, sleeping Pandabear... :D

Aaaaaaand... tadadaaaddaaaaaaaa!
A Koala!!! He was also sleeping... but so damn cute!
I wanted to bring this one with me, as a souvenir... but the zoo staff, starred at me, as I wanted to break into his compound to steal it... so I wasn't able to bring it with me for you, Mum. I'm, so sorry.
But I have this picture! So I hope that's also okay, for you! =)

Well.. yeah and after our zoo visit our Vienna trip was nearly over... and we got ready to head back to the airport to fly home.
That was my trip to Vienna... and thanks for sending me with Tiffy!
I loved it in this city! And I hope you loved the pictures... =)

Love you, Mum!
Mara =)

Posted Aug 18, 2012, 9:35 pm
Hey Mum!

Today, as you well know, was a real summer day in Germany!
And we (Frosty and I) spent the day with Tiffy in the garden.

We sat in the sun, we swum, and had a barbecue! So it was all totally perfect!

Frosty and I chilled on the water on a air mattress and enjoyed the sun. and I'm pretty sure, that I got a tan today!

afterwards I enjoyed a small trip on the water in a buoy xD

During the day... it became so hot, that I wasn't able to stand the heat... so I decided to jump into the water, to cool down! :D and this really helped and I dived a bit :D

after my diving and swimming I took a rest on Tiffys towel to get dry :D

the sun was so shinning that we had to put on some sunglasses  :p

And you all know.. that you get hungry after swimming and sleeping... so it was barbecue time!
We had some baked potates and grilled steaks and all that stuff!
Totally great! =)

Hope you were also able to enjoy this lovely day! =)

Love you Mum!
Mara =)