Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oberhausen, Germany

Oberhausen is well known for the biggest shopping mall in Europe i.e. CentrO as well as being the home to Paul the Octopus.  

Unfortunately we were not able to have a glimpse of Paul as he passed on in October 2010 prior to us immigrating to Europe however his shrine can be found at the Sea Life Centre.  For those who are not familiar with Paul, he was the oracle used to predict the results of the soccer matches in which Germany played.  He and his accurate predictions received global recognition during the 2010 world cup.  

You might wonder how (as we did) Paul made his predictions... Well, we were told he was presented with two boxes containing a moreish snack for him to savour.  Each box was marked with a flag of a soccer team who would be versing one another in an upcoming match.  Paul chose the box with the flag of the winning team in several of Germany's six Euro 2008 matches as well as all seven of their matches in the 2010 World cup.  With a success rate of 85% (11 out of 13 matches correctly predicted), Paul predicted the World cup final win of Spain over Netherlands by eating the mussel in the box which displayed the Spanish flag.

Albeit not being able to see Paul, we had the opportunity to visit CentrO which was truly is one of the biggest malls we have been to in Europe to date.  

Oberhausen from a historical point of view was a city largely focused on mining and steel production until the 1960s.  These days, it has become more popular due to the large mall.

We spent the day exploring the town and headed back to Netherlands, in the late evening.  Part of our highlights for the day was of course experiencing some German cuisine, that being the infamous schnitzel as well as freshly baked pretzels.  

Freshly baked pretzels

We found that the German cuisine was rather tasty and not as bland as the Dutch cuisines as it contained an array of spices... something that we appreciate.  Most impressed with German chocolate, a first for us once again, we purchased a few slabs as gifts for our return visit to South Africa.

Chocolate pizza 

Oberhausen is a great stop over city for a quick shopping trip and an introduction to Germany.  Of course when driving from the Netherlands through to Germany, the highlight for us was the autobahn.  Every speed addicts dream where you're allowed to responsibly drive top end speeds in the speed free zones.  We must admit though that the quality of drivers on the autobahn are questionable with many occassions of people driving wrecklessly and displaying a lack of road courtesy.  This didn't stop us though from enjoying the thrill of driving on the autobahn but of course made us more alert regarding the drivers behind and in front of us.

You know you're on the Autobahn when the speed limit disappears off your navigator system.

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