“You’re from New Zealand and you moved here?”
My awful German inevitably leads to this question on an almost daily basis. It’s asked in way that suggests Germans feel obliged to inform me that, actually, I was much better off staying home. I don’t fully understand this reaction. Sure, New Zealand is beautiful and we can even go shopping on Sundays if we want. But Germany isn’t all sauerkraut, terrible weather and funny leather pants; the country is filled with history, culture, and some incredible scenery of its own.
LIFE IN GERMANY
Recently I celebrated one year of living in Germany. Aside from a daily frustration with the Germans’ lack of queueing etiquette, and the inability to pay by card at will (they are very suspicious of technology), I love it here. So much so that I’ve even taken a liking to sparkling water – the default version of water here. All I need is a decent beach and I’ll happily stay forever.
I think there’s an old fashioned stereotype that paints the Germans as serious, even a little cold. Sure, they do love structure and rules here, and sometimes their brutal honesty catches me off guard. But Germans are some of the most friendly and accommodating people out there. During my time backpacking around Australia, it was often the Germans who I found the most fun and the easiest to get along with. Everyone I meet seems to have a genuine curiosity about where I’m from and how I like it here, and they are all incredibly patient towards foreigners who at least have a go at learning their language.
How did I end up in Heidelberg?
Long story short:
In 2016 I cycled across Europe (from France to Romania) to raise funds and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis. Along the way I met a German girl who studies here in Heidelberg. Soon after returning to Australia I quit my job and decided to return to Europe and have a go at living the German dream.
Heidelberg is an incredibly beautiful city of around 150,000 people. It’s home to Germany’s oldest university (1386) and about 40,000 students. The old town is one of the major tourist attractions in Germany – and I live right in the middle of it. Coming from a country where 100 year old buildings are rare and marvelled at it’s sometimes hard to comprehend the fact that the castle out my window is from the year 1214. Needless to say I’ve spent a lot of time out and about photographing the city and it’s surroundings.
The German Seasons
Even though Heidelberg is in the warmest region of Germany, one of the major differences I’ve noticed here is the dramatic change between seasons. Ok, so I lived in Broome for the previous few years where it’s either hot and dry, or hotter and wet. But even compared to New Zealand the four seasons here are incredibly distinct. Summer days are long and hot, with sunrise just after 5 and sunset at around 9.30. Winter days, although mild by European standards, are short and, well, fresh! I had to buy my first ever genuine winter jacket, and for a few weeks there I basically tried not to leave the house if I could get away with it. The weather in Autumn and Spring is mild but unpredictable, an added bonus being I can usually move along the main street without being steamrolled by a Chinese tour group. Also, Because Heidelberg is surrounded by forest, these seasons are full of amazing colour.
Here’s a few more of my favourite shots from the past year:
PHOTOGRAPHER | TRAVELLER | CYSTIC FIBROSIS ADVOCATE
New Zealand born and currently living in Germany, I developed my photographic style on the beaches of Western Australia. I have a passion for people, travel and the natural world, and I’m constantly seeking the perfect light. Take a look at the About page to find out my story.