Travelogue XXXVII: Im Dachstübchen II

Carl Spitzweg, The Poor Poet

 April 6, 2015 My Spitzwegian life-under-the-eves in the Mainzer Altstadt continues. Here’s a tour of the inside of my new apartment, to satisfy all of you snoopy (I mean, curious!!) readers out there. 😉 I’m finally fully moved in, a process that took several weeks of back-and-forth and carrying suitcases up lots of stairs.

The entire apartment is exactly 14 square meters. That’s about the size of a large walk-in closet. But it’s incredibly efficient–there’s a bed/living room, a bathroom with a tub, two skylights and a dormer window, and a tiny kitchen. It’s rather like living in a Hobbit house, minus the cave part. Micro-living at its finest.

It’s super reflective of the German/European relationship with space, actually, which is entirely different than the American McMansion-and-four-door-sedan mindset. Here, less is more, and not just because there is so little space–I think people actually like it that way. One family I know, for instance, who own what would be considered in America a normal-size home for four people, actually turned the first two stories into apartments because it was too much space. That doesn’t happen all too often in the US.


The spiral staircase (blue cast iron!) and balcony with room for exactly one person. And a cup of tea. It’s rather barren at the moment, but I am planning to install an entire forest of herbs as soon as it warms up enough.


Many students in Mainz want to live in the Neustadt (New City)–it’s super hip, Mainz’s “little Berlin,” full of bars and clubs and funky places to eat. Apartment prices are lower, and the entire neighborhood caters to the student life. But there, you can’t sit on a balcony every and drink tea and listen to the bells in the Augustinerkirche.


Coats and Caspar David Friedrich.

Also, when I was putting together these pictures, it struck me how many absolutely fantastic people have contributed to the apartment in small or large ways, and, really, to my entire existence in Germany. Thanks, guys. Not to get too sappy, but I wouldn’t be here without you.


The beautiful Persian rug is on loan from a friend, as is the desk. The host father of another friend of mine helped me with the move, which included re-locating a wooden wardrobe from the 5th story of an apartment complex to a room at the top of a spiral staircase, and his wife is sewing me curtains. People are amazing.


A farewell present from Sissy from Finland, a fellow WWOOF-er on the farm in Kulmbach.


The Kitchen.


Mugs from the Christmas Markets in Germany, glass from a dear friend in Vermont, and champagne–a birthday gift–from my host family in Mainz.


“I think somebody up there likes me.”


Lentil-Coconut milk curry on the stove. Drop spindle and wool from home, books (Reclam FTW!!), Kandinsky poster inspired by an afternoon with the German Expressionists in Munich, and daffodils bought from the local farmers’ market. In a Jägermeister bottle, of course. Also, you know you aren’t in the country anymore when you have to PAY MONEY for flowers, people.


I bought a tiny bust of Goethe IN Goethe’s house in Weimar. It doesn’t get much more awesome than that, even though he looks super grumpy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, there it is. I’m super proud of it, actually, if you haven’t picked up on that already. My first apartment–another step on the road to adulthood. I got my first electricity bill yesterday and just about passed out. It was only for 20E, but, I mean, I got an electricity bill. There’s no going back from there.


Best of all, the trees outside my window have bloomed.

9 thoughts on “Travelogue XXXVII: Im Dachstübchen II

  1. Dear one, your flat looks so modern! All white and sharp clean lines with dots of color here and there. Lovely. You’ve made it a delightful, artistic home.
    (love that gilded champagne glass on the shelf!)

  2. I love it! It is a little more quaint than my first apartment when I was your age (actually I was 2 years younger). I lived in an old gas station right on one of the busiest stop lights on Main St of a very small rural Virginia town. There was always a red, yellow, or green glow coming in my one big picture window. My apartment was probably the same size as yours. The bathroom was so tiny, you could stand in the shower and not be able to lift your elbows all the way. Instead of cute cafes outside my door, in one direction, I had a long road that lead out of town by an old dairy farm. In the other direction, you went into town past a Wendy’s fast food restaurant. My apartment had one small bed, one small chair, one small table with two chairs at it, and tiny kitchen and micro tiny bathroom.
    I used to come home from teaching school, pull out my jump rope, take my boom box out front, and jump rope for an hour….while watching the traffic go by. Then, my neighbor, who was from India, would bring me Indian curry to eat for my dinner.

  3. Have to agree Em…your first place, your first time truly going it alone is quite wonderfully self-empowering :- ) and this feels good and feels ‘right’! Welcome to the other side young lady! Love, Aunt Sylvia

  4. Hey Emily, I found your blog. And just in time to see your apartment photos. It looks wonderful and cozy, in the true, nice sense of the word. Happy for you that the grey rainy season is ending and Spring is bursting forth, as well.

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