Friday, 28 February 2014

RECIPE: Salted caramel apple crêpes (for the Waitrose World Cuisine Challenge!)

I love Waitrose. Whenever I’m home, I ask Mama when she’s next going shopping so I can tag along for the pure enjoyment that is a trip to Waitrose.

So, when an email inviting me to take part in the Waitrose ‘World Cuisine’ Recipe Challenge for Pancake Day popped into my inbox, I was unsurprisingly very excited. 

I also love Pancake Day, mainly just because I like eating pancakes (who doesn't?) – they’re just so versatile, aren’t they? Thick, fluffy ones with berries, banana and syrup for breakfast, savoury thin buckwheat ones topped with caramelised onions, ham and melty cheese for lunch, and sweet crêpes (whether with simple, classic lemon juice and sugar or smothered in nutella, marshmallows, banana and more) for dinner. Oh yes, that would be a good day. Bring on Tuesday, eh?

Those wise people at Waitrose have realised quite how much you can do with a pancake, hence their Recipe Challenge. Tragically, it would appear Pancake Day isn’t really a ‘thing’ abroad – I tried to explain it to my German housemates and they thought it sounded like the most random and weird but awesome thing. Which it is, to be fair.

So, Waitrose have asked various people to get creative with the traditional pancake, assigning each person a designated place from the top countries people search for when looking for world cuisine type pancakes, and then asking us to create a pancake recipe inspired by that country. Sounds like awesome fun, right?

After telling Waitrose I was most definitely in, I was assigned my country – oooh, the nervous tension! And I got... FRANCE! Lovely, foodie, Frenchy France.

With a generous £50 to spend on ingredients (it was like Christmas had come early – thanks Waitrose!), the creative juices in my brain were flowing as I started brainstorming and concocting ideas for my French-inspired pancakes.

Obviously, the pancake is in itself French. Crêpe-style ones, anyway, so that was obviously going to be the basis for my creation. There are so many delicious French dishes that I almost didn't know where to start, however, after re-reading my blogs about our family trip to Brittany last summer, inspiration hit me.

Inspired by the amazing caramel au beurre salé (a regional speciality) I sampled in Brittany last year, with a nod towards the gorgeous flavour of a classic appley tarte tatin, I've concocted what I think is something of a winner: Classic crêpes with apple and salted caramel sauce.

Ooooh they were delicious! I only got home from six months in Germany late this afternoon, but had sent Mama to Waitrose for me with an ingredient list. She and I have had a fab chilled evening - me whipping up crêpes, us both devouring them, and catching up in between expressions of 'mmmm', 'oof' and 'YUM!'

The basic pancakes are so simple to make, and the salted caramel apples are so much easier than most people would think. Because you make the sauce with the apples, not only are you saving on washing up, but the salty-and-sweetness is also complemented by the tang of the apple juice which oozes out of the fruit as they cook.

The saltiness of the sauce is quite subtle, and it just stops it being too sickly. The apples are also just the perfect texture: soft rather than crunchy, but definitely not mushy. Golden Deliciouses are the best for this if you ask me, both flavour and texture-wise. 

Look! 'Pomme du Limousin'! They're French!
As the caramelly apples are so full of flavour, they are a match made in heaven with a simple pancake. Mama and I may have even eaten the last few spoonfuls of the sauce by itself at the end. SO. GOOD!

So, Pancake Day came early for us and jolly delicious it was too. I'm so glad actual Pancake Day is a mere few days away! More pancakes, come at me.

This makes six smallish pancakes (it served mum and I perfectly for pudding as we're greedy!), but you could easily multiply the quantities to feed more. Thanks to Waitrose for inviting me to the challenge and for allowing me to treat myself to Waitrose ingredients (although the egg was from our own chickens, hence our extremely bright yellow batter). Check out this page for more Waitrose Pancake Day inspiration!

Sorry the lighting in my pictures isn't the greatest.. Night-time and all. But trust me (and mum), you wanna try these babies. If you're feeling extra indulgent you could serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. How délicieux does that sound!?

Ingredients : For the pancakes :

50g plain flour
Pinch salt
1 egg
140ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable, plus extra for frying

For the caramel apple topping :

25g salted butter
Pinch salt
90g light brown muscovado sugar
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small chunks (I cut mine into sixteenths)
150ml double cream


1. First make the pancake batter: Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg with 50ml of the milk and the oil. Beat well, gradually incorporating the flour with the wet ingredients until you have a thick, smooth paste, then add in the rest of the milk, whisking as you do so.

2. Leave to rest for 30 minutes or more to allow the starch in the flour to swell while you make the topping: Melt the butter, salt and sugar together in a saucepan set over a low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. 

Stir in the chopped apples until they're coated and cook until the apples are softening and their juices have started to flow (around 5-10 minutes). 

Add the cream and simmer gently for a 5-10 minutes more until the sauce has thickened and darkened in colour - take off the heat to cool slightly, whereby the sauce will continue to thicken.

3. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add a splash of oil and then wipe it around the pan with kitchen roll. Tip a small ladle-full of batter (or pour from a jug) into the pan and quickly tilt the pan to swirl the pancake mix round until you have a thin even layer. If you pour too much into the pan, you can quickly pour it back into your mixing bowl or jug. When the edges of the pancake start to turn golden and the surface looks dry (should be around 30 seconds), use a big spatula/fish slice to turn the pancake over... Or be brave and give it a flip!

4. Cook for about 30 seconds on the second side then serve when each side is golden. (Don’t worry, everyone knows the first one never turns out well, but once covered in your delicious salted caramel apples it’ll be divine nonetheless.)

5. To serve, either fold each pancake up and spoon the apple mix over the top, or spoon the apple mix on to one quarter of an open pancake and fold the pancake over it. Devour, and feel oh-so-sophistiqué and French as you do. Bon appétit!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Finishing my time as an English Language Assistant in Germany

I’ve just finished my last day as an English assistant here in Germany, and it’s safe to say I’m feeling slightly emotional and overwhelmed. I really wasn’t expecting all this, but all the staff and pupils have been so amazing this past week. To be honest they've all been lovely over the whole year though. 

There has been so much hugging, card-writing, goodbye-saying, present-giving and chocolate exchanging (although mainly receiving on my part) over the last few days… I mean, just LOOK at all this:
So generous, oder?!
And that’s after I’d already eaten some of it too! How fab is the T-shirt? The class that gave me that all signed their names on the back which I love. And all the rest of the special Bayreuth/German things mean an awful lot to me.

Not only have I been given so many lovely, thoughtful gifts, but today one of my schools even held a little leaving party for me in the staffroom. The headmaster made a really nice speech after having chatted to me over coffee and Apfelschorle about my thoughts and experience for nearly an hour, then I was presented with a certificate, cards, a book, and a framed photo of the school (which even includes my house on the corner because I live so close!) If that wasn’t enough, we then had cupcakes, carrot cake and juice and it was all so sweet.

Guess what? It turns out I really like being a teacher. Although to be fair, working as a language assistant isn't like being a proper teacher at all anyway...

It's been a pretty cushy six months really! For starters, on a British Council teaching assistantship you do very few lessons, and although you do have to do lesson prep outside of school, you're still left with pleeeenty of free time to travel, explore, soak up the culture of your new home-country and not do your year abroad essay. Ahem.

The decision to work as an English assistant for the first part of my year abroad was one of the best choices I've ever made and I massively urge any other languages students with their year abroad still ahead of them to do it too.

In Germany, the standard of English in schools is seriously high. Sure, I've been working in two Gymnasien (aka the top tier of German schools) but even so. As a result, I'm fairly sure I've learnt more about the history of the UK and most other English-speaking countries than I ever did at school. Do you know anything about the Partition of India? I didn't, but I do now. Most of the pupils know more than me, but hey, I figure my role was more to teach them about how to use the language and modern life in the UK.

My fab Year 12s from School Number 2. (I promised I'd wear my onesie then accidentally packed it so showed them embarrassing pictures instead. I'm so profesh.)
I hope the pupils found the things I taught them interesting and entertaining - how else would they learn such useful vocab as 'food baby' and 'vajazzle' (don't ask how that came up)? - but mostly, I'd really love it if I've managed to inspire or motivate even one pupil in one way or another. Judging by how sweet they've all been this past week and the lovely cards I've received, I'm hopeful I've been successful.

I hope I've encouraged them to think about new things and consider others differently. I hope I've given the shy ones some more confidence. And of course (only naturally, I think), I kinda hope they liked me. Most of them, at least. Because I really do like a good 97% of them. (You other 3%? Yeah, stop talking and listen for once, would you?)

The kids really have been great, and it's been a privilege to get to know so many of them over the past six months. I say 'kids', but I've taught pupils from the age of 9 to 19, so a lot of them aren't really kids at all.

The lovely Year 11s.
The little ones are adorable and will make you feel like a celebrity, but with the oldest kids - the year 12s - I've just felt like we could be mates. Firstly, I'm obviously much closer in age to them than to the teachers, and secondly the standard of their English is just astounding. Some of my year 12s definitely speak English better than I speak German, which is marginally depressing as well as being jolly impressive.

When you teach a class for even just a couple of lessons a week for six months, you can really get to know the pupils. In fact, I even ended up chatting and dancing in a club with one of my year 12s last weekend - it wasn't planned or anything, but it was really fun.

I was genuinely really sad to say goodbye to them all this week, but I wasn't expecting them to be so sweet... Completely of their own accord, my year 12s at School Number 1 bought me an extremely generous and thoughtful thank you/leaving present, and I was really really touched. They didn't need to do that at all, and it was just so nice. I had no idea that as the week went on I'd be showered with so much more! And then at School Number 2, my Year 11s and 12s have totally blown me away with their generosity.

Good luck to me from my Year 11s!
I hope it's a sign that they genuinely did enjoy having me as a 'teacher', if you can call me that. Really I just drew on the board in colourful chalks, showed YouTube clips and read stories to them, but someone's gotta do it, eh?  Today, the Year 11s told me they’ve all been reading my blog and have googled me (should I be scared?), and so hopefully they will keep in touch.

Obviously when you're an actual teacher you can't be friends with your pupils, but it's all a bit fuzzy as a language assistant. I certainly felt close to my lovely French assistants at school, and we still keep in touch on Facebook now.

In fact, now that I've finished teaching, I figured it's ok to be Facebook friends with my pupils if they want to add me. So I am. In fact, I know some teachers are friends with all the pupils anyway, so I guess there's no rule against it. If any of my pupils are reading this (and I imagine they are): a) HIYA GUYS, b) good work, practicing your English, c) sorry if you can't understand my overly-chatty writing style... I have a tendency to make words up, but I'm sure you knew that by now.

I have also given in to some of my pupils’ wishes to add me on Snapchat. I would wonder what I’ve got myself in for, but realistically, I think it’s the other way round!

Cool funky wall in School Number 1
As a language assistant it can be quite tricky to know where to position yourself between 'friend' and 'teacher' to the pupils. Some of my fellow assistants think you shouldn't try and be their friend, but I think if you can be their friend and still teach them stuff, then why not? I mean, it's not worth deliberately trying to be cool and stressing about whether the pupils like you or not, but I find the older the pupils get, the more like friends you can be. With every year younger going down from the Year 12s, I'm more like a teacher. I just don't really know how they all see me...

For starters, I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of pupils in my schools (considering I teach very few really) either don't know who I am or think I'm a fellow pupil. Pretty certain most of the teachers also think I'm a pupil when walking down the corridors. The ones I do know though, are so amazing and have been so kind.

What's really nice though, is that when I see pupils outside of school - and in a town like Bayreuth this happens A LOT - in 9/10 cases they'll say hi to me. I don't think British pupils would do the same, do you? Heck, sometimes they even shout across the street to me, which is fun.

School Number 1

Having two other English language assistants (you know, the ultimate babes, Emily and Emma) in Bayreuth with me has been a dream. We spend most of our time together regaling each other with hilarious tales from school and comparing our experiences, but it's also been awesome as we all want to do the same sort of thing, ie travel and make the most of our year abroad. Of course, it's lovely and important to have German friends too, but they're understandably just on a slightly different page. My wonderful housemates, Steffi and Karo, say I've seen more of Germany in my six months here than they have their whole lives!

The tragic thing is that Emily and Emma are staying in Bayreuth until the summer. WITHOUT ME! A serious case of fomo is going to occur on my part. Similarly, our wider Nuremberg crew is breaking up: Joe, Ross-Anne and I are off to French-speaking pastures, leaving behind Aimee, Ollie, Jake and my first proper year abroad friend, the delightful, super babelicious and fellow YOIBO gal, Charlotte. 

These guys are now all such good friends, and it's all because we met on the training course back in September. Or in the case of Charlotte and I, on the steps of Cologne Cathedral over a shared panic-attack. Ahhh memories.

School Number 2
Having this group of friends has been such an awesome part of being a language assistant though, and somewhat tragically, I'm fairly certain you don't get the training course if you go to another country to be an English assistant. Trust the German authorities to put on a three-day residential course, tell us everything we need to know, shower us with documents, divide us up into groups depending on our regions (hey, friends nearby) and then give us all the contact details of our fellow assistants. Little did they know we'd all already found each other on Facebook but still.

I know I’ll see all my fellow British friends again though, but as for my pupils and the teachers… Who can be sure? The kids genuinely seemed sad to say bye to me and the feeling was definitely mutual.

I like to think I've been a good ambassador for the UK. I know one of my lovely pupils, Anna, is now a bit Cambridge Satchel fan, and just today Marius and Elly were telling me how they're now super into Alt-J and London Grammar. 

So I suppose all I can say is a massive thank you to ALL the staff and pupils who've been so kind, generous, friendly and welcoming, thank you for all my lovely presents, thank you to my friends who've made it such an awesome experience overall. (This is getting a bit cringey, isn't it? I think it's because I've eaten so much sugar today...) I've loved life for the past six months, and feel so so lucky. OK, mushy-time over. BEFORE I CRY! Jokes. (Am I joking?)


PS Wow, this was a bit of an essay. Can I just pop it into Google Translate and submit it as my Year Abroad Essay? No? God, I'm a bad role model. Do your homework, kids.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Leaving Germany, speaking German, and what I've loved most.

At Oktoberfest
Oh, Germany. How simply WONDERFUL you have been for the past six months. I almost can’t believe it’s time to leave. *sob*

From what I see, Germany as a whole is totally underrated amongst the general British public and popular opinion. But people really don’t know what they’re missing. How often do you hear of Brits going on holiday to Germany? Genau.*

If someone tells you they’re off on a mini-break to France, Italy or Spain, the general reply would be “Ooh, you lucky thing! I’m so jealous. Have a great time!” Whereas if someone was to be a bit edgy, buck the trend and decide to go to... Oh, I don't know... GERMANY (god forbid!), I can’t help but imagine the more likely reaction would be, “Oh. Cool. Um, why?” Or am I just being cynical?

Beautiful Heidelberg
Here’s the thing though: Germany is top-notch. Like, seriously cracking. There’s so much under-appreciated beauty to be discovered – whether epic countryside or gorgeous architecture. Have a peruse of all my picture-heavy posts under the travel tab if ya don't believe me. Not to mention the fact that this is a country steeped in fascinating history with what I consider a really interesting culture.

I’m not going to write another post about why living abroad for a year is the best thing ever because I already did that here, didn’t I? Buuuut I may have a little waffle/rant/cry about everything in Germany I’m going to miss. Aren't I good to you lot? I definitely don't treat my blog readers like personal agony aunts/pyschiatrists. Ahem.

The main aim of the year abroad is to improve your languages, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s really only one of many many benefits. So have I improved my German over the past six months? In short: yes.

Having started German from scratch at uni two years ago, I was seeeeriously lacking in confidence when it came to the language before my year abroad. Hence, I was blimmin’ terrified about the big ole move to D-land. (See ‘pre year abroad jitters’ for proof.) And I think the main improvement has been in my confidence. In that I now have some.

My spoken German has definitely got a lot better too. I can get by in everyday life, hold a conversation with most people about most things, and understand the majority of what I hear. (Crazy regional German accents aside.) That said, I know I make a loooot of errors, largely with grammar. 

German sentence structure is actual jokes, and if I took the time to think about where every word should go before I said every sentence, I'd never say anything. But for just living in Germany, it doesn't matter if I haven't sent the verb to the end after using 'weil' or if I jumble up the time-manner-place rule which sometimes-applies-but-sometimes-doesn't because EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT I MEAN!

The same goes for the word 'the.' Quick explanation for non-German speakers: Nouns can have one of three genders in German (right, because that makes so much sense), and then when you add four cases on top of that, you've got about a million kajillion different options for the word 'the'. It's the stupidest thing because it's basically irrelevant - everyone knows what you mean, regardless of which word you choose. With that in mind, I just say any old one of them (or at least a one-syllable word beginning with the letter 'D') and roll with it.

And d'you know what? Germans tell me my mistakes and my accent are cute. Endearing, even. And who wouldn't want that? (Yeah I know. The people who want to be fluent. Sssshhh...)

Schloss Neuschwanstein was a highlight for me
They say you're fluent when you dream in the language. I definitely haven't dreamt in German. Disappointing. Especially considering some of my pupils told me they have dreamt in English. But I swear I don't dream in a language anyway. Or that's what I'm telling myself.

However, I definitely think in Denglisch. And by Denglisch I mean some sort of weird Deutsch-English hybrid. It's actually marginally annoying that all my English friends don't speak German and I have to make a conscious effort not to pop in the odd Deutschism here and there. Gaaaaaad, stupid friends. (Jokes, love you guys.)

Realistically though, I need another six months here. I can't help but feel miffed that the single-honours students are going to have spent twice as long in their respective countries as we double-honours students, and they will thus be doubly good when we get back to uni yet we'll all be assessed on the same level. But what can ya do, eh? I'd still rather be almost fluent in French and German than only fluent in one.

And although my spoken German has come on leaps and bounds, writing on the other hand, is noch** horrendous. My first year abroad essay has to be 3,500 words auf deutsch and it is proving to be a struggle. Who wants to be stressing about academic dissertations and whatnot while on their year abroad? No-one, that's who. But hey. Students gotta study, oder***? (Sorry, I really need to stop whacking in these German particles.)

Despite having had my essays looming over me, y'all know that hasn't stopped my YOIBOing (YOIBO = You're Only In Bavaria Once, but you already knew that, right?) my way around Germany and making the most of my six months here. Prior to the year abroad, I'd been to Germany once, and that was only for a few days in Berlin last year. OK twice actually, but I was too young to remember the first time so let's just ignore it.

My point is that even as a German student, I knew very little about Germany, German culture and general German-ness six months ago. And guess what? This may be news to you: I LOVE GERMANY, GERMAN CULTURE AND GENERAL GERMAN-NESS!

Here are a few of the things, both little and big, which I've particularly loved and will miss:

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber. Beyond beaut, oder?
1. The architecture, particularly in Bavaria. (#Bayern4eva.)

2. The way they paint things like the names of the shops actually on the buildings in this super cute ye olde style font.

3. The bakeries. (Bavarian pretzels have just been given protected status by the EU! Just sayin'.)

4. The people. Everyone has been so amazingly friendly, welcoming and generous.

I even like Sauerkraut now. Seriously!
5. The food in general (y'all knew I was going to say that though, didn't you?) 

6. The weird but wonderful traditions: A highlight was experiencing the Sommerhausen Schutzenfest

7. The Bayern Ticket (and thus how much I've been able to travel). Bavaria/Bayern is where I live. It's the biggest state in Germany and, as far as I can see, the best. By a mile. I've done pretty damn well in ticking off my 'to-visit' list while here, largely because 95% of those places were in fact within Bavaria. And with the Bayern Ticket it's just ridiculously cheap on the trains. 

8. My pupils and teachers, but worry not, there'll soon be a whole other post about language assistanting and finishing at my schools. *sob*

9. The language. Just hearing it around me. I love it. (Even though it's so difficult.) And also the way Germans speak English. It's cute.

Pretty Sommerhausen even in the rain
10. The way there's so much regional variation - whether in traditions, delicacies, dialect, architecture, everywhere you go in Germany is really unique. I find this fascinating and it also makes for fabulous travelling.

Obviously there are tons of other things I love and am going to miss (friends, naturally, but I know we'll see each other again), but the chances are I'll only realise them when I've left. C'est la vie, eh? Ooh! There I go getting ready for Year Abroad Part Two already without even trying.

Yup, a week today (OH MA GAAAAD!) I'm going to be moving to Brussels for a very exciting six-month internship! It's all so strange at the moment and my emotions are all jumbled and confused: I'm so sad to be leaving Germany and my life here, but I'm looking forward to a few days at home and can barely comprehend that I'm going to be on to the second half of my year abroad in a mere week! This is nuts. The best year of my life is flying by and I can't say I'm overly thrilled about it.

Like, seriously? Do I have to leave Germany? Bayreuth is making it even harder to leave by whacking out the glorious spring sunshine for my last few days, almost teasing me about what I'm going to miss. 

But then I think about what I'm going on to do in Brussels and I'M SO EXCITED! Pleasingly, I'm also feeling so much more comfortable about the whole moving-to-a-new-country thing having done the first part of my year abroad. Look at me, growing up and everything! 

I know what needs to happen. I need two years abroad. Mmm, kay? Can we sort that please? Jolly good. 

Oh, it's been such an awesome six months. I've been lucky enough to meet so many fab people, visit such wonderful places and have such incredible experiences. Best year of your life ever? So far, I'd definitely say yes. (PLEASE DON'T END, YEAR ABROAD!)


Sunday, 23 February 2014

My guide to Bayreuth.

It’s coming to the end of my six months living and working in the Upper Franconian town of Bayreuth, and my, how the time has flown by. 

Lovely Bayreuth
I remember getting the email back at uni last year, attached to which were various confusing German documents, somewhere in which, my placement was going to be revealed. I scrolled frantically through the pages, skim-reading and failing to understand all the bureaucratic German until I finally discovered where I’d be spending the first half of my year abroad: Bayreuth.

Hmm. Bayreuth? I’ve never heard of that. How do you even pronounce it? Most people presumed I was going to Beirut. In Lebanon. But no. (That most definitely wouldn’t have been much help to my German.)

OK, so I wasn’t going to Munich (schade, thought I), but I was thrilled to be in Bavaria, and after hours of googling and discovering more about Bayreuth and my schools, I decided I liked the sound of Bayreuth after all and felt much more positive about being placed there.

Bayreuth isn’t exactly a well-known town or a tourist trap, unless, that is, you happen to be a fan of Wagner. No, not the X Factor runner up, but rather the classical composer. Richard Wagner is Bayreuth’s main guy. The claim-to-fame. The money-maker. Everything is named after him. Wagner lived here, every summer the world-famous festival of his operas is put on, and a pilgrimage to Bayreuth is a bit of a must for Wagner-fans.

Alas, I’m not going to be here to experience Bayreuth in the summer – a real shame as I’ve heard it’s MARVELOUS – but I’ve still absolutely loved living here over the winter. I’ve been told we’ve had a ludicrously mild winter here in Germany’s second-coldest town (yeah, wasn’t too thrilled when I read that in my pre-year-abroad research), and temperatures would usually drop down to at least -20C, feet of snow would settle, and that’s the way it would stay FOR MONTHS. Now I love the snow, but it’s been jolly cold enough thanks.

Bayreuth was gorgeous in the end-of-summer sunshine when I arrived, beautiful in autumn and stunning in the snow. I also loved the fact that I was here for the Winterdorf and Christmas market, so although I’ll miss all the summer festivals (I’m told there are lots and they’re great), I’ve still enjoyed Bayreuth in winter.

Although Bayreuth isn’t a big town, it’s got five Gymnasien (grammar school equivalents) and a university so does have quite a youthful vibe. But as it is small, I tend to see someone I know every time I go out. Whether a teacher, pupil or friend, it’s a given, but I quite like it really. Makes me feel like I know the place.

Tuesday markets
Only a couple of nights ago Emily, Emma and I went on a girly night out and found ourselves in one of Bayreuth’s (surprisingly many) clubs alongside a ludicrous number of my school pupils. It was both hilarious and awkward. But mainly hilarious. And enjoyable.

So, having lived here for the past six months, I feel just about qualified to write a little guide to the town: my favourite places to eat, drink and visit (but mainly eat.) It’s a lovely town, and although Bayreuth isn’t huge, it’s been just perfect for me for six months.


Without a doubt, the best place in Bayreuth. End of. This traditional Franconian restaurant is wonderful on so many levels: the food is delicious, typical Bavarian fayre, it’s reasonably-priced, they’re open all day (you could stay from breakfast to cocktails if you wanted to!), has a fab location in the heart of the town, and has the most wonderful gemütlichkeit: Dirndl-clad waitresses, friendly staff, a buzzy atmosphere and a cosy interior. 

Oskar is a huge restaurant, but it’s ALWAYS full, regardless of when you go, and I’ve realised that booking in advance is a must. Whether alone with my mum or in a large group of students, I’ve never not loved Oskar. Every time someone comes to visit me in Bayreuth, I insist we got to Oskar. And they've all loved it too. It’s just the best.

On my first night in Bayreuth, nervous and excited as I was, my amazing new friend, Emma, took me to Oskar and it couldn’t have been a more perfect welcome meal. The whole menu is written in Franconian dialect (don’t worry, they have an English version too) so is hard to understand even for my German flatmates, but d’you know what’s always a safe bet? Schnitzel. Oh, how I love Schnitzel! There’s a big menu at Oskar, but I’ve had the Schnitzel three out of the four times I’ve been there for dinner. It never lets me down! I'm gonna miss that Schnitzel.

Cosy and cute
I also love that Oskar do a great seasonal menu – for example, when Mama came to visit in October, she had their delicious Kurbiswurst (pumpkin sausages.) Sounds weird, but was totes delish.

Oskar also do delicious cocktails, and on a Monday it’s cocktail happy hour all night! 

Kraftraum is another simply wonderful place. I love that the café stays open from breakfast to the wee hours, and way back at the beginning of my time in Bayreuth, we even had lunch outside. It’s all vegetarian, but you almost don’t realise as the dishes are that good. 

hazelnut hot choc mmm
Think fresh, home-made pasta, gorgeous roast veggies and divine cakes. They also do delicious hot chocolates, smoothies and cocktails, all enjoyed in a cute interior and a lovely atmosphere. Kraftraum is another spot that’s always full!

With my mum and flatmates in Gotts
If pasta’s your thing, you’ve gotta go to Gotts. And go when you’re hungry, too! Their massive portions of home-made pasta are the ultimate comfort dishes. I’ve been twice and have had two different but utterly gorgeous dishes each time: first, a baked cannelloni thingy, stuffed with veggies and covered in cheesey tomatoey sauce; and the second time, the most wonderful creamy linguine with walnuts and courgettes (I think!) Total yum.

Heimathafen is just on the right there
Literally ‘home port’, Heimathafen is another lovely café by day that stays open into the night. I love that. I’ve never actually eaten there, but I’ve seen a lot of yummy-looking cakes and bagels going out. And guess what? They do an actual proper GOOD cup of tea! Like, proper British-style tea (a rarity here in D-land.) 
I love the quaint, slightly rustic interior, full of mis-matched furniture and even floor cushions if that’s more your style. 

It may not be in the slightest bit traditionally German, but I LOVE Roxy! I was taken to the American diner for cocktails by the lovely Tanja and her fellow Bayreuth uni friends on my first weekend here. And they were goooood.

Since then, I’ve been back to Roxy for brunch. And it was also gooooood. Weekend brunch buffets seem to be a thing that all German restaurants do. Personally, I think they’re generally quite expensive despite being awesome, but every now and again it’s so nice to treat yourself to a huge brunch. And the spread at Roxy was AMAZING!

If I remember correctly, there were potato wedges, vegetables, sausages, various spreads and jams, fruit salad, yoghurt, rice pudding, cakes, muffins, doughnuts, pancakes, pastries, bread rolls, muesli, cereals, cheeses, cold meats, salmon AND as much tea, coffee, hot chocolate and juices as you can drink. (Don’t you hate it when you have to pay for drinks separately?) Needless to say, I went to TOWN!
The rest of the day, Roxy serve incred-looking burgers, milkshakes and classic American meals, all in a retro diner interior. It’s great.

The Bratwursthäuschen

I’ve been told on numerous occasions from reliable long-time Bayreuthers that this little takeaway stall is the place to sample the local Wurst speciality. 

Most towns have their own type of Bratwurst, and I LOVE Bayreuth’s: for 2,40€ you get two of the long, thin sausages in a soft, fresh bread roll, with your choice of traditional mustard or ketchup (mainly for the kids!) It’s simple, and it’s delicious. A must.

OK, I may have only been to Louis once, and it was only because I had a voucher for two-for-one pizzas, but it was fab. Trendy inside, cheap prices even sans voucher, big portions and delicious food. What’s not to love? Emma and I both indulged in huuuuge pizzas, but they also do breakfast, salads, pasta, meat, cakes, coffees and more. Basically, you’re bound to find something (or lots of things!) you’ll want to eat at Louis.


There’s not loads to do in Bayreuth, but you can go ice-skating, swimming, to the cinema, cycling, to the theatre and more, so there’s enough going on. Shopping-wise, I’m going to be blunt: Bayreuth is pants. But hey, you can’t have it all. There’s H&M, so I’ve just about survived.

The Innenstadt/Inner Town

The whole Bayreuth town centre is, in my opinion, beautiful. I simply adore the architecture and the wide, open, cobbled, pedestrianised high street is lovely. It’s the heart of the town, and really, this one street (Richard-Wagner-Straße which turns into Maximilianstraße) sort of is Bayreuth. I also love Friedrichstraße. However, there are lots of little side-streets to wander up and down too, around which Bayreuth’s multiple churches are dotted. On a Saturday afternoon, it’s really rather bustling. 

As Emma showed me round on my first evening, I couldn’t stop expressing my amazement and wonder at how beautiful the town is. It really does have charm. And whenever I came back from weekends away, the view of Bayreuth all lit-up at night never failed to make me smile.

The Neues Schloss/New Palace

It may not be the grandest of Bavarian Schlösser (and sure, it ain’t got anything on Neuschwanstein), but I think Bayreuth Neues Schloss is a beaut as palaces go, and I loved admiring it on my way to and from school. It holds a museum now which I’ve never been fussed about visiting, but I love that you can walk through the Schloss anyway, and the gardens and fountains are gorge too. 

The Hofgarten/Court Gardens

Leading up to the Neues Schloss you find the beautiful Hofgarten, through which I also cycle on my ‘commute’ to school. It has a lovely big pond (with ducks!), a bridge, fountains, benches and statues dotted around the grass amidst the trees, as well as lots of different paths to explore. 

Now, it seems strange to look back at my pictures of the Hofgarten (yes, I've taken quite a few over the months) in all its lush greenery when I arrived, and I bet it’s simply delightful for a summer picnic, but in the autumn leaves and covered in wintry snow, the Hofgarten was gorge.

Eremitage, the Altes Schloss/Old Palace

Slightly outside the town, Eremitage is certainly worth the 20 odd minute cycle ride. The beautiful old palace has wonderful sprawling gardens, full of little alcoves and pretty flowers. There are also a couple of pretty ponds with lovely hourly fountain shows – they don’t run during the winter, but luckily I managed to catch them when I first arrived. 

There’s a lovely orangerie with a café, and I’ve been told there’s a big annual festival there in summer too, which I imagine is AMAZING as the buildings and grounds are so beautiful.

The Festspielhaus/Festival Theatre

As the name would suggest, this grand old theatre is where Wagner’s operas are performed at the annual festival. Apparently it’s one of the world’s greatest opera houses, so if that’s what you’re into, it’s definitely worth a visit.

The Markgräfliches Opernhaus/Margravial Opera House

Similarly, the Opera House is – you guessed it – another home of opera in Bayreuth, and in my opinion, a more beautiful building than the Festspielhaus. It’s located in the town centre so I see it all the time, and I think it’s simply gorgeous. 

Tragically, it was covered up for construction works for a few months when I first arrived, then when it was revealed, I was suddenly like WOW! I’ve seen pictures of the insanely ornate auditorium, but unfortunately that’s off-limits for the moment too. Shame, oder?

The Tierpark Röhrensee/Park with a pond and mini zoo

I genuinely think this is one of the most random but great things in Bayreuth. The pretty Röhrenseepark is a lovely place for a stroll (apparently you can rent boats on the pond in the summer – I’m gutted to be missing that), and there’s a mini zoo with ducks, flamingos, goats, donkeys, kangaroos, llamas and more all around. For free. How random is that?

Considering a student ticket to Nuremberg Zoo costs 11,50 Euros, I think the fact that Bayreuth Tiergarten is open to the public for free is just amazing. Sure, it's considerably smaller, but there are still a lot of exotic animals to be seen.

I went the other day for a sunny stroll with Emily and Emma and blimmin' loved it. I tell ya what, I'm going to be so jealous when all the baby animals are born and the girls are still here to see them! And we finished off our visit with Kaffee und Kuchen in the restaurant overlooking the pond. Simply delightful.

The town dinosaur

OK, I take back what I said about the zoo being the randomest/greatest thing about Bayreuth. That accolade definitely goes to the dino on the high street. Isn’t he great?

Charlotte and I high-fiving a dinosaur. Obvs.
I’m not 100% sure what it’s all about, and sure, it doesn’t go with the quaint Bavarian feel of the town AT ALL, but I think he’s there because there’s a prehistoric museum or something hidden away nearby. It’s irrelevant really. We have a dinosaur in our town. And I love him.

Maisel’s Brewery and Beer Museum

There are quite a lot of museums in Bayreuth, and I should probably be ashamed to say I haven’t been to any of them. *slaps wrist* Except, that is, for the beer museum, which I wrote all about here.

So there you have it - all my recommendations for a visit to Bayreuth. It's a lovely town, and I'm sure going to miss it! Whether you ever get to visit Bayreuth yourself or not, I hope you enjoyed my guide (it's taken me hooouuuurs so if it's useful/interesting/entertaining to anyone that would be grand.) And of course, should I discover another gem during my last few days here I'll be sure to update!
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