Just over a year ago, I moved to a town the German town of Paderborn - a place that very few people had heard of before its football team joined the Bundesleague last summer. However, I embarked upon this new adventure to a relatively unknown town so that I could live with my husband. He is in the British Army and had been posted here for another two years. That was 13 months now, so it would be remiss of me not to mention this beautiful town on my blog.
Paderborn is a city based in the area known as North Rhine-Westphalia. It is about an hour's drive East of Dortmund, and two hours away from Dusseldorf and Cologne. All of which have airports with routes from the UK. That being said, with the flight from the south of England being little over an hour, and said flights often being ar awkward hours or costing a small fortune (or both), we often just drive. Or rather my petrol head husband drives, I sleep.
Whilst Paderborn does have a fairly historical past (Pope Leo III fled here in 799. The town had recently been founded by Charlemagne in 795 and it was Charlemagne who reinstalled Pope Leo III in 800 back in Rome. To return the favour, Charlemagne was made Holy Roman Emperor), the town itself has embraced modernity, with many buildings having to be rebuilt after World War 2. I also find it to be charming and full of character. One of the main reasons for this are its residents. The Germans here, I find to be both curiously abrupt and politely helpful at the same time. They make for an almost cosmopolitan city that is amply supplied with bars and restaurants as well as a smattering of culture with its inner city walls and cavernous cathedral with its famous three hare picture.
But although these are certainly reasons that help make a great weekend destination, and a fun place to live, Paderborn really comes into its own and one of its many festivals throughout the year. We recently had the Spring festival and at the end of July, the famous (and apparently oldest) Libori festival will be coming to town. Whilst the reasons for these festivals vary, as well as the appearance of fairground rides, there is one thing that remains a constant throughout the year even to the quaint Christmas markets: beer.
German beer is second to none in my eyes and here in Paderborn a stein of the stuff will set you back less than half a pint in London. Warsteiner was the first drink I had as a Paderborn resident, and I am still drinking it to this day. Folk lore or not, Germans have purity laws placed upon beer brewing, which stops the likes of a Fosters type beer ever being created here. Luckily there are plenty of watering holes in Paderborn to sample all the local brews. Deutsches Haus, Brauhaus and Petit Gallerie in the summer are all excellent. I personally try to steer clear of Bar Celona, but its central location and large seating areas make it hard to do so all of the time.
There is also a diverse selection of food available in this small German city.No list of Paderborn restaurants would be complete without mentioning the Michelin starred Balthasar, which is typical fine (and expensive) dining. Nor would my list be complete without again naming Deutsches Haus and Brauhaus again as they both offer tasty German fare (more schnitzels than you can shake a stick at). However, there are three restaurants that I will genuinely miss when we leave here:
1) Edoki is a surprisingly good sushi place. Surprising in that, in my view, for a provincial city, it can rub shoulders with places like Stix n Sushi or Tsunami in London. It serves what can only be fresh fish, yet we are a fair schlep from any sea here. It has an extensive menu and not so extensive seating. Make sure you book.
2) The slightly out of town, and slightly less than salubrious look of Argentina, hides a gem of a steakhouse. I have had some of the best steak I have eaten here, and I am from Texas where you are bottle fed cow rump from the day you are born. It also, importantly, has really good side dishes. And I mean really good. I love steak, but I would also be quite happily fed, and satiated with this restaurant's creamed spinach, chanterelles and bacon, and their huge jacket potato with soured cream.
3) Last but not least, is Osteria. Happily 400 steps from my front door. It is also happily my favourite restaurant in Paderborn by a country mile. It is quite simply excellent Italian food. They make the pasta for its daily menu fresh on site, and only use the best ingredients. An antipasti dish for starter here is some of the best I have come across, with mouthwatering burrata and tasty cured meats. The pasta is out of this world and as a consequence, it is always a good idea to book a table in advance at this out of town restaurant. The staff are friendly, and the house red is extremely quaffable. The bills are often laughably cheap amounts.
Over the next few weeks, I shall be basing a lot of my blogs on German towns that are driving distance from my home city, which is conveniently placed for weekend jaunts throughout Germany. For example, Berlin, which I have already written about here. I would love to hear any recommendations that my readers have as Germany is a huge country, with so much to offer, I sometimes do not know where to start. So far I have Hamburg, Dresden and Stuttgart on my list. And perhaps a necessary trip to Berlin again, so I actually get to see some of the city.
My limited edition prints are dedicated to my current city though. Please do contact me with any requests.
PS, apologies for the token waffle picture. But they are a mainstay of the German diet!