Feeling at Home in Cairo
Cairo East Magazine chats with Mrs. Dagmar Bock,wife of the German Ambassador
By Hilary Diack
After having spent four happy years in Cairo Mrs. Dagmar Bock, wife of the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany H.E. Mr. Michael Bock, knows Egypt better than many newcomers. When we met on a crisp Cairo winter morning at her comfortable Zamalek residence we immediately fell into animated conversation about the myriad things to do and places to visit around town. Bock has the wonderful ability to put any guest immediately at ease, there is no excess formality, although as wife of an ambassador she handles a hectic social calendar which involves meeting people from many walks of life.
CEM: What is your typical daily schedule?
DB: I always get up early and join my husband for breakfast at 7.10 am, as it gives us a chance to spend some quality time together. This is a must, even if we have had a late night entertaining guests the previous day. I generally follow up with a walk, and a workout or yoga session. Then I have to check my mail to see what official engagements are lined up, we entertain regularly, and I approach this as creatively as possible, always bearing in mind that our guests should not only spend a comfortable evening, but also leave with a sense of contentment.
What are your favourite locations in Egypt?
I feel truly privileged to live so close the Nile, it is really special. You can’t beat the appeal of a leisurely felucca cruise at sunset. I also have great memories of a Nile trip with close friends from Munich, we took an eight-cabin dahabeya and spent some beautiful days together. The White Desert is a magical place for me as well.
What other postings have you enjoyed?
My husband’s first posting was in Venezuela, my home country, and that was when we met. That was followed by Bonn, Bangkok, Amman, back to Bonn, and then on to Madrid. We then spent six years back in Berlin at the Ministry before coming to Cairo. Although we have lived in many locations it has always been paramount in my mind that my responsibility to our two daughters was vital, so I ensured that we maintained a good family environment.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, what is your most romantic memory?
Without a doubt that goes back to the time we were in Bonn, waiting to see if our next posting was to be Warsaw or Madrid. One night I had a very clear dream of a lemon tree, and told my husband it had to be a sign that Madrid was the answer. I was right, and the very first gift he gave me when we moved there was a beautiful lemon tree. That was a moment I will always treasure.
Thai as a first choice, followed closely by Indian, Italian and Spanish. I love spices and robust flavors. I enjoy trying out new recipes and ideas, so our guests often become our tasting panel.
Favorite style of dress?
Soft fabrics and unstructured lines, with a focus on bright, rich colours and dramatic jewellery.
Favorite genre of music?
South American! Merengue, salsa… I love to dance in the kitchen while I am cooking and even have a cookbook of my favourite recipes that I give as a gift to friends with the title Dance While you Cook.
Best advice you have ever been given?
Be 100% present in whatever you do.
The best movie you have seen recently?
I saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on a recent visit to see my daughters and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Any pet peeve?
I can’t stand injustice and can fight against unfairness with a passion.
Your best habit?
A glass of hot water before breakfast, with a dash of lemon or cider vinegar.
Being continually connected to technology, it is only when I am with my family that I can switch it off.
Your favorite perfume?
At present I wear L’interdit , but I tend to switch perfumes when a major change occurs in my life, like a new posting.
Anything creative like writing and painting, as well as reading when I have time. A lot of my time goes to giving training sessions in Facial Harmony, a holistic therapy, with any proceeds going to local charities.
What can’t you live without? Hugs. I love giving and receiving long, warm hugs!