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Talking Germany

Blog with Peter Craven

Meike Winnemuth: 12/12

You could have done it. I could have done it. She did!

Babies, small children, partners, lovers, minders, security guards. We’ve had them all in the make-up suite before the show. This, though, is the first time that one of our guests has brought along a dog. Viete is, I think, his name. He’s a fox terrier. Four months old. There’s some debate about whether we want to have the very likeable little fellow with us in the studio when we go on air. But we’re reminded of the famous show business adage, attributed I think to W.C. Fields: “Never work with children or animals.” The owner of the dog is Meike Winnemuth – my latest guest on Talking Germany. And why, I wonder, has this tried-and-tested individualist decided that she wants a dog? “My life,” she explains, “is so boring!”

Stuff and nonsense! This is, after all, the Meike Winnemuth who was already a successful journalist before she went on the German version of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” TV quiz show. Where she won half a million euros! Which in turn prompted her to travel the world, visiting a different city for a month each – twelve in all, making up a whole year away from home. Then she wrote a book about her travels. It almost goes with saying: it’s a bestseller.

That’s the thing: her book and her blogs have proved so popular that she could have done it all without the TV winnings. You could have done it. I could have done it. But she did it. Before all this, she already had a reputation for experimentation after she spent a whole year wearing the same blue dress! Then she decided to give away one possession each day for 365 days – another whole year: an excellent idea. “My plan now,” she says, “is never to be chained to an office again.”

And I think she might just make that plan work. Her next project: a new book. This time she aims to travel around Germany, visiting – you’ve guessed! – 12 cities in 12 months. Not big places like her beloved Hamburg, but smaller towns such as perhaps Erfurt, Görlitz or Bamberg (the list isn’t final). And what about doggie? Well, it looks like Viete will be going along on the trip. Just as well that fox terriers are well-known for their energy and curiosity.

Date

August 12, 2013

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