Hello! it’s been a while… I know! Life’s been, how shall I put it… entertaining…yep, let’s call it that. Lately, I have been more active on Instangram @helena_nenena, you can follow me there as well.

Since I was last here, we have adopted two cats, Vlad and Mina. I will let you guess which one is which. They are adorable! They brought so much love and cuteness to our lives, but they are also soooooo much work. I would like to share with you the process of adopting pets in Germany, and 5 surprising facts about house cats. I would love to hear about your experience too.

Adopting in Germany:

  • Shelters have many cats, normally very young cats/kittens. The facilities are very clean and you can immediately see that the cats are well looked after and well socialised.
  • Before adopting, they do a sort of vetting process to see if your home is suited to the pet you want to adopt. This is very basic, they just looked a some photos of the flat, and asked about our experience with pets.
  • The animals are all castrated, vaccinated and chipped before they are given up for adoption. The chip is then registered in your name.

I know this is not the process in all countries, so I was very pleased with the whole process here. Is it the same where you live?

Now, 5 surprising facts about having house cats (or just cats or just our cats):

  • Green thumb – They love to “garden”. In other words, they will destroy your house plants! Most house plants are also poisonous to cats.
  • Privacy – They are more dependent on you than free roaming cats, they will follow you everywhere, including the shower and the toilet. Vlad loves to stare at the shower-head for ages, and Mina loves to sit behind me when I am on the toilet….(charming!)
  • Sleep – yep, this one is a biggy. No more sleep. These two little ones wake me up around 5.30 e-v-e-r-y d-a-y! But they do it in most adorable ways – lots of purring, headbutting, cute little paws on my face…they pull all the cute punches.
  • Vocalisations – they say that cats only vocalise with humans, well, these two vocalise a lot. They call us and each other all the time.
  • Personality – They have totally different personalities. Vlad is easy to train, he plays fetch and loves clicker training. He loves to cuddle, but he is also more demanding. He wants to be entertained, groomed, fed… he must always be in the middle of the action. Mina is reserved. She comes when called and loves to be petted, but is more economical with her interactions and does not enjoy being picked up. They cuddle and fight most days.

I would love to hear about your pets and pet adopting experiences.


How sexy would you rate the country you live in?

This month the US News Best country website announced the best country ranking list. Germany ranked #1 , UK #3 and Portugal #23 out of 60 countries. Apparently, they surveyed a few people, amongst them: “8,092 … informed elites and … 4,513 business decision-makers. Some respondents were considered both informed elites and business decision-makers. The remaining 6,381 respondents were from the general public”.

The attributes were: Adventure, Citizenship, Cultural Influence, Entrepreneurship, Heritage, Open for Business, Movers, Power, Quality of Life.

Although I think this is mostly a marketing ploy to attract business investment to a particular country, I was curious about some of the categories. I particularly like the category Adventure which included the sub-category “Sexy” – How sexy would you rate your country on a scale out of 10?

Here is my sexiness rating for these 3 countries:

UK – 8.5

Portugal – 6.5
Praia de Mira2

Germany – 5 (the coastline lets it down)



On the road again

platanenheinI’m packing again… or trying to avoid packing at the moment… but, yeah, I’m packing again! Back to Germany. New flat… new job…

I’m thinking of the things that I enjoyed and will be able to do again, like riding a bike and eating Turkish food. Or even better, eating Portuguese food, now that I found a Portuguese shop in town!!!

If you don’t know much about Germany, there’s a funny and interesting post on “what I know about the Germans” by Liv Hambrett. Most of observations are kind (26), some are spot on (99), and some might be region specific (139).

I am also looking forward to dusting my cameras…so stay tuned. Meanwhile check out my Mini Guide to Darmstadt.

Follow me on instagram:@helena_nenena

Germany: There were two, now there is one

Written on THE WALL : “Du hast gelernt was Freiheit heisst, und das vergiss nie mehr” – You have learned what freedom means and that you shall forget no more.

Today is the anniversary of the reunification of Germany. Berlin still stands as a symbol of the once divided Germany with what is left of the WALL that separated East  and West Berlin. But the whole of Germany was separated not just Berlin, in fact, West Berlin was a little island of “Western Germany” in “Eastern Germany” – yes it was that crazy!

Here are some of my favourite pictures of Berlin.

Weekend Plans: Trip to Kassel, home of the dOCUMENTA

I’m excited to go to Kassel this weekend. This time it’s just a short day trip to see my cool friends from Kassel. I lived there for a short time in 2001, and coincidentally that year was also a year of the dOCUMENTA – a massive art exhibition that takes place every 5 years. I really enjoyed living there, there was lots of things happening as part of this art show, and the city is generally a cool place to be.

Last year I visit the dOCUMENTA again and I was quite taken by these portraits by a South African artist – Zanele Muholi


Happy Weekend! Any nice plans?