6 Things to do in summer in Düsseldorf

Good weather has finally come to stay!  (At least it seems so).

Since one week we are enjoying high temperatures as well as a splendid shiny sun that stands up in the sky and which makes all of us feel happier and excited than usual.

As you might know, Düsseldorf is a living city plenty of interesting events and exhibitions, therefore you can imagine how cool can be to enjoy all those events in good weather together with your friends and family.

This year, furthermore, Düsseldorf hosts one of the biggest sporting event of the world and the whole city is ready to celebrate this special occasion.

Before keep talking about this international huge event, I would like to talk you about other annual summer activities and events which usually take place in the lovely city of Düsseldorf.

So, if you are thinking of having a break or if you are already planning your next trip I highly recommend you to keep reading this post and find out all the possibilities that Düsseldorf can offer you in the upcoming months. Are you ready?

2017 Düsseldorf ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships

Each month of June takes place the awaited T3 Triathlon in Düsseldorf . Around 2000 participants register each year at this important event where professional, and not so professional, athletes swim, run and pedal all around the city.

However, this year not only the annual T3 Triathlon will be taking place in the city, but also the Triathlon European Championships. More than 2000 are called to participate in this international event which will take place at Mediahafen.

When

24th of June: Triathlon European Championships

25th of June: Annual T3 Triathlon Championship

Where

In Düsseldorf, in particular at the Mediahafen, where the start and finish lines are located.

What are you going to find

Different kind of stands, good music, interesting people and tasty food.

More information

http://www.triathlon-duesseldorf2017.de/

Mittelaltermarkt

The same day as the Triathlon, but some kilometers away from Düsseldorf, the annual medieval market will take place. This occasion will allow you to find beautiful craft products and also to learn about the daily life in the Middle Ages.

When

From 24th to 25th of June

Where

Burg Castle, a beautiful monument located in Solingen.

What are you going to find

If you are curious about the Middle Ages lifestyle, here you can discover and learn more about those times and, at the same time, you can buy some craft products and try tasty food.

More information 

http://www.schlossburg.de/termine-news/terminkalender/

 

Düsseldorf is a an amazing city full of activities all year around.

Light festival and picnic at Benrath Schloss

The Schloss Benrath light festival is known to be home to one of the most astonishing classical music concert in Germany.

Each year around 10.000 people meet at the gardens of Benrath Castle to enjoy the music, to taste different groceries and to enjoy its impressive fireworks spectacle.

When

Friday the 30th of June from 18.00h

Where

At Schloss Benrath (click here to discover more information about this beautiful castle)

What are you going to find

If you love classical music this summer concert is a must.

More information

http://schloss-benrath-lichterfest.de/

Kirmes am Rhein

How can I introduce you the Kirmes?

Let´s say the truth. The Kirmes is without a doubt the event of the year par excellence in Düsseldorf.

Yes, among all the events that take place in the city during the 360 days of the year, the Rheinkirmes is the most popular one for the citizens of this german city. I am still not sure about the reason why this festival is so important but every time I talk with my german friends they explain me that the Kirmes is a huge party to celebrate life, friendship and, at the same time, to have fun.

No wonder, many companies organize a “Kirmes Tag” (a day at the Kirmes) for their employees as well as for their clients.

When

From the 14th to the 23th of July

Where

In Oberkassel, the Rhein side in front of the Altstadt

What are you going to find

Hundreds of rides, raffle stands, huge brewery stands and tons of fun.

More information

http://www.rheinkirmes.com/

Full Moon Pic-nic am Rheinstrand

An outdoor picnic in Germany?

Everything is possible in Düsseldorf! In fact, this picnic is one of the most famous outdoor events in the region. You just need a sweater (we are in Germany… 😉 ), some food and be ready to have fun.

When

Friday the 7th of August from 20.00h

Where

Düsseldorf Rheinstrand, nearby the Altstadt

What are you going to find

A nice atmosphere and people from all around the world.

More information

https://www.facebook.com/events/275499582912710/

 

And last, but not least, the event of the year in Düssledorf:

Grand Départ der Tour de France

 

As you probably already know the Gran Départ of the most famous bike race in the world takes place in a different city every year.

If two years ago the neighboring city of Utrech had the honor to hold the first stage of the Tour de France, this year this sporting event will start in the cozy city of Düsseldorf.

When

From 29th of June to 2nd of July

Where

In Düsseldorf (the whole city will be a huge party!)

What are you going to find

I am sure you will enjoy from a huge and international party, in fact, there are a lot of events and small parties already organized for the previous days to the Grand Départ.

More information

https://www.duesseldorf.de/letour

 

 

Art in Düsseldorf: Tomas Saraceno In Orbit

Hey guys! How are you? Long time no see. It is more than one month since I posted something new.

Last month was a busy time for me but I am back and ready to tell you more about our expat adventures here in Düsseldorf.

A couple of weekends ago I had a really special visit. Some old friends came here to celebrate the bachelorette of one of them. I was so excited!! We wanted to prepare a perfect weekend for her and, at the same time, I wanted them to discover this incredible part of Germany.

Therefore I organized a beer taste evening at the Beer Craft Festival in Düsseldorf, a tour around Cologne (the sun shined the whole day :)) and another beer taste afternoon, but this time in Düsseldorf.

However, I was not satisfied enough. I wanted to offer my friends the possibility to enjoy something different, something unique. But what could I do?

Suddenly I realized about something; there is still one thing you can do in Düsseldorf that you can´t do at any other place (and it is not beer related 😉 ).

To carry out my plan I convinced my friends to spend some time in a museum. Although that weather was perfect, I mean, we had more than 20 degrees and a splendid sun shinning above us, they accepted to make some indoor activity.

The exhibition

The museum chosen to experience something unique was the impressive, well known K21 Museum.

One of the main exhibitions of this awesome museum is called In Orbit, an enormous installation suspended at a high of more than 25 meters, created by the argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno.

The physically accessible work is constructed of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. Five air filled spheres are located within the net structure.

Visitors are welcomed to enter the installation, during 10 minutes, and explore it by climbing it from the inside. Those brave enough to venture into this unique piece of art will experience a mix of feelings up there.

If you suffer from vertigo I would sadly not recommend you to enjoy this “floating in the sky” adventure, unless you feel brave enough to walk 25 meters above the floor.

Inside the installation

As previously mentioned, the installation is a construction of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. To access this art work you will be provided with a special suit to prevent personal things falling down to the museum visitors down below. Furthermore, the museum staff will also provide you with a special pair of shoes so that you can walk safety inside the net.

The entrance to the structure is located at the third level in order that the visitor can decide the path he wants to follow during his visit.

Usually I like to start at the third level to come down calmly until the first one. Personally, I think this is the best way to avoid the initial shock of being 25 meters high protected only by some steel cables.

I must admit that, although I have already visited this exhibition more than 3 times, I am still impressed by the height once I reach the first level of the net.

Price, opening hours & more

The museum opening hours are the following:

  • Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 am until 18.00 pm
  • Saturday, Sunday & holiday from 11.00 am until 18.00 pm

The admission price is 12,00€ (9,00€ for children)

Here you can find more information about the museum.

I hope you are brave enough to enjoy this unique experience! 🙂

 

Best places in Germany

Unlike many people think, Germany is not a grey, serious and rainy country but an interesting place to discover something new every day.

After a couple of years living here I have had the opportunity to visit not only the well-known German metropolis such as Berlin or Hamburg, but also small ancient cities and the countryside. If you are willing to come to visit Germany in an unconventional way (by visiting some “non-so-touristic” places) keep reading this post because this week it is starting the “Best Places in Germany” post series. Are you ready to discover this remarkable country?

Best places in Germany (of the week):

Monschau

The first time I heard about Monschau was in December 2014, when I friend of mine advised me to visit its Christmas market. Since I could not do that (it is worthier to visit it during the week, instead of during the weekends) I decided to give this old town a chance during the summer time.

Located nearby the Belgium border, Monschau preserves an ancient style, which provides this small city with a special charm. The city center is divided in two by the Rur river, consequently, the two parts of the city are connected by ancient bridges.

What to visit in Monschau

  • Christmas market

Although I could not visit it (not yet 😉 ) I can imagine the importance and the magnitude of this market, since one of the most visited places in the city of Monschau it is its Christmas store (open all year)

  • Castle Monschau

Most part of the castle is in ruins nowadays. Reused as a hostel after the IWW it is the perfect location to host summer concerts.

  • Market square

The heart of the city. Here the visitor can find restaurants, ancient buildings with flowerbox adornments and remarkable spots to be amazed with the mountains surrounding the city.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany, as well as one of the most important student cities.

Ancient castles, narrow alleys, hilly streets  and beautiful parks and gardens are part of the landscape. Its university is the oldest in Germany and famous for its medical faculty. In Heidelberg, everything is within easy reach either on foot or by bike.

What to visit in Heidelberg

  • Heidelberg Castle

The castle, one of the most important renaissance structures, was started to be constructed in 1210 A.D. and, although, it has been destroyed several times due to different wars it preserves its ancient splendour.

It is worth to visit the main attraction of Heidelberg and it can be seen from each corner of the city.

  • The Altstadt

Down in the Altstadt (the old town) there are plenty of narrow streets and squares full of restaurants, stores and cafes. The main square, Markplatz, is a cute place where to enjoy a good cup of coffee or a Rothhaus Pils, one of the most famous beers of Heidelberg.

  • River Neckar

Having a walk along the River Neckar is always a good idea to avoid the crowds and to re-discover Heidelberg. The view from this side of the river is really cute and, if the weather is good, this area of the city is the best place for a picnic.

  • Alte Brucke

The Alte Brucke (Old Bridge) can be discover after passing through a remarkable medieval gate. The bridge dates from the 18th century and it is the most visited bridge of the city.

Düsseldorf

And last but not least, the beautiful city of Düsseldorf.

The capital of the NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) Region reflects the development that this area of Germany suffered some years ago.

The old industrial city of Düsseldorf led to a modern, cosmopolitan city, centre of fashion, glamour and international businesses. Known as the german city of fashion, Düsseldorf has the honor to have been ranked as the 6th world´s best city to live in beyond other important cities such as Frankfurt or Berlin.

What to visit in Düsseldorf?

  • Mediahafen

To understand the transformation suffered by this remarkable city it is important to have a walk around its “Mediahafen”. The old port was rebuilt into a modern area full of international business, restaurants and hotels. Frank Gehry, in charge of this transformation, built the most emblematic buildings of this area.

  • Altstadt

The old town is the core of the city. Full of narrow, car-free streets is the best place to discover the ancient Düsseldorf.

  • Königsalle

Ready to have a walk surrounded by the best fashion firms of the world? Just visit the Königsalle.

Special tips:

  1. From the Rheinturm the visitor can enjoy a strinkingly view of the city
  2. Benrath Schloss (the palace of Benrath), located 15 minutes away from the oldtown by subway, has beautiful gardens and tasty home made cakes
  3. Bilk is the best area to enjoy a good meal under the sun
  4. Stadttmite is the place-to-be for sushi and japanese-culture lovers (more than 10.000 Japanese live in Düsseldorf, the largest community in Europe)
  5. An “altbier” tour should be compulsory ;). Do not forget to try the traditional Düsseldorf Beer!

Have you ever been to Germany? Which are your favourite places? Share your thoughts!! 🙂 

Actualités en Allemagne

Stuttgart

Nouvelle année, nouveaux objectifs et… nouvelles règles?

Certaines choses ont changé en Allemagne depuis le 1 Janvier. Si tu habites déjà en Allemagne, ou si tu prévois de déménager cette année, continue à lire ce post pour mieux comprendre l’actualité en Allemagne.

1. Salaire Minimum

Bien que le terme “salaire minimum” ai été défini en 2015 pour la première fois en Allemagne, cette année est la première année que le salaire minimum payé aux salariés a augmenté de 8,50€ par heure auparavant à 8,84€ par heure.

Le salaire minimum est aussi valide pour les “mini jobbers” (À prendre en compte: le salaire reçu pour un “minijob” ne peut pas excéder 450€ par mois)

2. Prix des transports publics

D´habitude, dans un pays, les prix des transports publics augmentent chaque année au début du mois de Janvier. En 2017, les tickets de transport coûteront entre 2 et 2,5% de plus.

3. WIFI dans le trains

Depuis plusieurs années, l’Allemagne avance timidement mais sûrement dans l´intégration du WIFI dans les transports et bâtiments publics.  C’est pourquoi l´installation du WIFI dans les trains à grande vitesse (ICE) est une bonne nouvelle non seulement pour les usagers et aussi pour les touristes.

Même si la première et la deuxième classe dans les trains allemands vont bénéficier de cette nouvelle technologie dés à présent, les passagers de deuxième classe auront de volume limité de données.

4. Facture de l´électricité

Les fournisseurs d´électricité allemands ont commencé l´année en augmentant les prix de presque 3,5% .

Il y a deux raisons pour cette augmentation. La première est la diminution des aides reçus par le gouvernement allemand, car celui-ci subventionne davantage les entreprises produisant des énergies renouvelables. L’Allemagne est en train d´investir massivement dans l’implémentation des énergies renouvelables à travers tout le pays. La deuxième est les coûts élevés de la maintenance des lignes haute tension, qui ont obligé les fournisseurs à augmenter leurs tarifs.

5. Cyclistes

L´année 2017 est arrivée avec des changements pour la conduite des cyclistes. Pourquoi?

Jusqu´à aujourd´hui les cyclistes purent “utiliser” le feu rouge des piétons s´il n’y avait pas de feux rouges pour les cyclistes aux carrefours. À partir de 2017, les cyclistes devront respecter les feux rouges  dédiés aux voitures.

Un autre changement important qui s´est produit, implique les familles. La nouvelle législation permet aux parents d’ accompagner leurs enfants sur les trottoirs, tant que ceux-ci sont âgés  de moins de 9 ans. Etes vous prêts amis piétons? 😉

6. Retraités

Quiconque prendra sa retraite en 2017 devra payer des impôts sur 74% de sa pension retraite. Jusqu´à présent, le revenu imposable était équivalent à 72% de la retraite.

En fin de compte, 36% de la rémunération sera exempte d´impôts en 2017.

7. Assistance program 

Jusqu’à l´année dernière seulement les personnes diminuées physiquement par une maladie étaient considérées comme ayant besoin d´aide. Cependant, à partir de cette année  les personnes  ayant des problèmes mentaux seront aussi couverts par ce programme d’aide.

Ça veut dire, que plus de personnes pourront bénéficier de cette aide aux soins de longue durée.

8. Kindergeld 

Le “Kindergeld” est l´argent que le gouvernement allemand verse aux parents pour les aider dans leurs dépenses  associées à l´entretien des leurs enfants. Le “Kindergeld” est distribué mensuellement aux familles.

Combien d´argent ont reçu les parents allemands en 2016 par enfant?

  • 190€ par  enfant, pour les deux premiers enfants
  • 196€ pour le troisième enfant
  • 221€ pour chaque enfant suivant

À partir du 1er Janvier, l’indemnité reçue par enfant a augmenté de 2€. C’est une augmentation symbolique mais toute aide est bonne quand il s’agit des enfants.

Le “Kindergeld” est payé jusqu’à la majorité de  l´enfant.

9. Grundfreibetrag

Le “Grundfreibetrag”, ou abattement à la base, est une part du salaire non imposable.(un subside minimum pour vivre)

À partir de 2017, la part non imposable augmente à 8.820€ par an pour une personne seule et à 17.640€ par an pour des personnes mariées. Cela signifie que le Trésor Public ne taxe le revenu que si celui est supérieur à cette assiette nouvellement définie.

 

Carnival season

carnival cologne germany

Carnival is one of the most important events in the NRW (North Rhein Westphalia) region. Probably you have already heard about the Cologne Carnival, the fifth season of the year, one of the most celebrated events in Germany. But, why do germans celebrate carnival in such an intense way? Which is the symbolism of this celebration? 

To answer these questions we need to understand that Carnival has been celebrated in cities such as Cologne from time immemorial, in fact, it is difficult to find more information regarding the first time that a Carnival celebration took place.

However, during the french occupation, leaded by Napoleon, these celebrations were suspended.

In 1814, once the french troops left the city of Cologne, its citizens reestablished the carnival tradition as a part of a German revival. In 1823,  the “Festordnenedes Komitee”, the predecessor of todays Festival Committee, was founded to “organize” the street festival, which was getting out of hands.

The same year, on the 10th of February 1823, took place the first “Rosenmontag” of the city of Cologne. Given its Christian roots the date of “Rosenmontag” is determined by the church calendar. It takes usually place the monday before Ash Wednesday.

Traditionally, the fifth season of the year, is declared open the 11th November at 11 minutes past 11 hour. At that time people stop working and the carnival celebration starts.

Does Carnival take place only in Cologne?

As I previously mentioned, carnival celebrations take place in the whole NRW region, due its catholic roots. Some other cities where to enjoy this festivity are Düsseldorf, Bonn, Aachen and Dortmund.

Although all of the above mentioned cities celebrate the same festivity (carnival)  each of them has its own carnival troupes, parades and celebrations.

How can I celebrate Carnival?

If you want to have some insights about carnival celebrations I recommend you to read the following posts:

5 Tips To Celebrate Carnival

Carnival vocabulary you should learn to do not miss anything

Carnival: The fifth season of the year

9 new German laws

Changes in Germany in 2017

New year, new challenges, new intentions and… new rules?*

Some things changed in Germany since January 1st. If you are living in this lovely country maybe you want to keep reading this post to understand what it is new in Germany.

* Post updated the 29th of May due to the new streaming law which entered into force on April 2017

1. Minimum wage

Although the “minimum wage” concept was implemented in Germany  in 2015, this is the first time that the amount paid to workers have increased. From the 8,50€ per hour previously paid, the minimum wage had increased up to 8,84€ per hour.

The minimum wage is also valid for minijobbers (Important: the income received for a minijob cannot exceed the amount of 450€ per month).

2. Public transport prices

Usually, public transport prices increase across the country at the beginning of the year . In 2017 transport tickets will cost on average between 2 and 2,5% more.

3. WIFI on trains

Germany is working slow but sure on integrating WIFI in transports and public buildings. Therefore the implementation of WIFI on high speed trains (ICE) are great news for locals and tourists.

Although both classes (first and second) will benefit from this decision, second class passengers will have a limited data volume.

4. Electricity bills

German electricity providers started the new year raising their prices around a 3,5% due to the increased subsidies for renewable energy (Germany is investing a huge amount of money to implement renewable energies nationwide), as well as due to the high costs of upkeep of power lines.

5. Bike riders

The year 2017 leads to a couple of changes on the behaviour of bike riders. Why?

Until now bikers could “use” the pedestrians´ traffic light when there were no own lights signs for cyclist at traffic light crossroads. From 2017 onwards, cyclists have to observe the light signals for car traffic.

Another important change is related to families. The new legislation allows parents to accompany children on their bikes on the pavement, up to the age of nine. Are you ready pedestrians? 😉

6. Pensioners

Whoever retires in 2017 will have to pay taxes on 74 per cent of his pension. Until now, the taxable revenue was equivalent to the 72 percent of the pension.

In the end, this means that only 26 percent of remuneration will be tax-free in the new year.

7. Assistance program 

While up to now only people with predominantly physical afflictions were considered to be in need of care, the new guidelines will also cover the needy with mental problems.

This also means that more people than before will receive benefits from the long-term care insurance.

8. Kindergeld 

The German government provides money to parents known as Kindergeld, which is paid monthly per child.

How much do parents received in 2016 per child?

  • 190€ per child for the first two children
  • 196€ for the third child
  • 221€ for every subsequent child

From January 1st the amount received per child has increased 2€. The increase is small but when talking about raising a kid every bit is welcomed.

The Kindergeld is paid until the child reaches age 18.

9. Grundfreibetrag

The “Grundfreibetrag” is the basic personal allowance, is a part of the income not subject to tax (a minimum subsistence rate).

From 2017 on the basic fare for single persons climbs to 8.820€ and for married people up to 17.640€. That means that Treasury deducts taxes on income only if it is above this amount.

10. Illegal streaming

 

Since the past month of April german authorities have determined that not only downloading is illegal in this country but also streaming.

The previously known as a “grey area” has turned into a completely prohibited activity, which is driving crazy to many residents in this country.

What can you do now?

If you did not have a Netflix or Amazon Prime account, it is maybe the right time to open one. Choose your favourite platform and start enjoying their series and films, because if you try to watch any serie or film in a free of charge platform you may have to pay a huge fee.

How much is the fine for streaming?

Although the existing information is not clear enough, according to Focus journal, the fine a user will have to pay vary between 5 to 10€ per streaming.

Has this law a retroactive character?

No, it has not.

However, if you were not aware of this new law I would recommend you to stop using streaming pages as soon as possible.

Christmas in Germany – The importance of the Glühwein

Mulled wine Glühwein

Christmas time is not complete in Germany without drinking a glass of Glühwein, the traditional warm spiced mulled wine every merrymaker enjoy as they walk along the charming Christmas markets. But, what does exactly “Glühwein” means? And, more important, which are the ingredients?

Glühwein

“Glühwein” means “glowing wine” and, apparently, its name comes from the hot irons that were formerly used for mulling (these hot irons are not longer used).

Although the most common glühwein is made with red wine, some marketers also serve “Weißer Glühwein”, which is made with white wine.

The recipe

Glühwein is usually made with wine, which is heated up and spiced with Glühweingewürze (cinnamon, cloves, star anise, sugar and orange juice or lemon). Sometimes people add a shot of liquor. That kind of drink is known as Glühwein mit Schuss.

Another variant of Glühwein is the “Feuerzangenbowle” (Fire Tongue Bowl). The recipe is the same as for the “regular” Glühwein, but for this drink a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and drip into the Glühwein.

A bit of history

The historic origins of Glühwein date back to when wine started going bad, but germans did not want to throw it, so they added some spices to drink it again.

The oldest documented Glühwein dates from 1420 and it is attributed to a German nobleman (Count John IV of Katzelnbogen), the first grower of Riesling grapes of the world.

Where you can find it?

Mulled wine GlühweinAs I previously mentioned, christmas time in Germany is not complete without drinking a glass of Glühwein at the christmas markets.

Glühwein is usually served in a limited edition ceramic mug. Inscribed on it you can find the name of the German city where you are, the current year and a christmas draw.

A glass of Glühwein costs around 3€ + Pfand (a small additional fee). If you want to keep the cute little mug as a souvenir of your visit to a particular Christmas market, you will lose the fee, if not they will give it back to you as soon as you return the mug.

How should you drink the Glühwein?

To be honest the purpose of drinking Glühwein is to warm people from the inside out, so I highly recommend you to drink it really warm. Once the Glühwein is cold it lose some of its charm and it can´t accomplish its main purpose. 😉

Furthermore, it is really common to drink a Glühwein while enjoying some traditional german specialities such as “Lebkuchen” (gingerbread), “Reibekuchen” (potato pancakes) or “Bratwurst” (sausage).

You still have time enough to enjoy this magic drink because the christmas markets are opened until the 23th of December, and they never run out of Glühwein ;).

If you are willing to visit any christmas in the NRW (Northe Rhine Westphalia) region in Germany click here to find more information about them.

Now it is your turn. Have you ever tried Glühwein? Which one do you preffer, red or white? Could you recommend a nice christmas market in Germany?

 

Good Food Festival

This weekend takes place the Good Food Festival in Boui Boui Bilk (Düsseldorf).

As I already talked to you about the festival (check here for more information about what kind of food you could find last year at the  Good Food Festival 2015 ) let me get straight to the point.

What did I like the most at the Food Festival 2016:

1. There are many local producers

This year I decided to go earlier (at 13.00, the moment the doors are opened) and it was a wise decision! The place was not too crowded so I had time enough to check all the different stands and to talk with the local producers.

2. New flavours are ready to be discovered!

  • To start I opted for a veggie and gluten free Frittata (made with pumpkin, onion and apple) while a friend of mine tried a veggie burger with home made ketchup sauce.

Good Food Festival

 

  • Then I could not resist to try some Süßkartoffeln (Sweet potatoes) with chutney and pumpkin sauce.

Good Food Festival

  • As a dessert I tried the best vegan ice cream I have ever tried!

I am Love is an ice-cream bar located in Bochum and Essen. The merchant was really nice and provided me with information about the ingredients of the ice-creams (made with soy). Hazelnut flavour highly recommended 😉

Good Food Festival

3. There where special things that will redefine the way we understand cuisine

The moment I saw them I wanted to know more about this revolutionary concept.

 

Good Food Festival

The “DOC´s Essenz” essences are gonna shake up the traditional concept of cocktails. Just with a drop you can provide a drink with an intense new taste.

After a talk with the manufacturer I had the opportunity to add one essence to a home made cocktail. Not only the flavour but also the odor of the cocktail improved drastically after adding the chosen essence.

The product was so original that I  just bought some samples to bring home. I wonder what will happen when I add one of them to a roast… 😉

Good Food Festival

4. You can find some traditional products

After talking with some producers and tasting different kind of products. I decided to buy some home made sauces and some french macarons.

  • The sauces are made with natural ingredients produced in a farm closed to Düsseldorf. Check more information here: issbaldfertig

Good Food Festival

  • The macarons are gluten free and manufactured in a french Pâtisserie which is coming soon to Flinger (Düsseldorf).

Good Food Festival

5. The classics will always remain

A part from all the food that I previously mentioned you can also find some classics like burgers, hot-dogs, german sausages, waffles and greek cheese.

Good Food Festival

And you, have you ever been to a Good Food Festival? Which kind of food have you tried? Did you discover something new? Share your experience!

If you want more information about the manufacturers and the workshops check this website: Good Food Festival. Do not miss the chance to learn more and to try all kind of food this weekend!

 

 

Buscar piso sin morir en el intento

looking for a flat in germany

Tanto si buscáis un piso  como si buscáis una WG la cosa se complica bastante dependiendo en que ciudad de Alemania viváis, pero no os preocupéis que aquí os voy a dar unos consejos.

Como empezar

A los Alemanes les encantan las entrevistas, así que preparad vuestra mejor sonrisa (y un montón de información sobre vosotros) que vais a tener que dar una muy buena impresión. Otro dato importante es que en este país es muy común que los pisos estén sin amueblar (las WG ó pisos compartidos también). Llevarse la casa a cuestas es  normal. Aquí os enseño las tres opciones que os vais a encontrar:

1. Piso sin amueblar (lo más normal) – Unmöblierte Wohnung

2. Piso con cocina incluida: Esta se suele comprar al arrendatario anterior o bien se “compra” mientras se paga el alquiler, ya que se incluye en el precio del mismo

3. Piso amueblado: Mucha suerte!! Los muebles se suelen comprar al dueño o a los antiguos inquilinos. – Möblierte Wohnung

WG-Piso compartido

Si buscáis una habitación en un piso (WG) donde podáis conocer gente, os recomiendo esta web: http://www.wg-gesucht.de/ es la que mejor funciona.

Aquí podéis ver fotos de vuestra futura habitación y toda la información relativa a precios, que tipo de persona buscan en el piso y disponibilidad. Os recomiendo contactar con muchos pisos (donde vuestro perfil encaje) y escribir toda la información posible sobre vosotros en el email: edad, aficiones, trabajo, sueldo…

Cuanto más escribáis mayores opciones de recibir una respuesta. Si aún no domináis el alemán no tengáis miedo de escribir en inglés! La mayoría de la gente contesta sin problema.

looking for a flat in Germany

Piso invidual

Aquí la cosa se complica un poco más. Hay varias webs pero la más conocida es esta: http://www.immobilienscout24.de/.

Si para encontrar una WG os he recomendado contactar con muchas, aquí os recomiendo un esfuerzo doble. En Düsseldorf (así como en Köln), la demanda es muy grande y los precios de los pisos están elevándose cada día un poco más. Siempre que sea posible llamad por teléfono para conseguir una cita, muchas veces las inmobiliarias no contestan los e-mail si ya tienen varios candidatos.

Aquí la entrevista varía un poco, hay veces  esta está programada para que dure 15 minutos y otras veces puedes estar durante una hora hablando con el dueño. Todo depende de cuanta información queráis obtener el uno del otro.

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El arrendador

En Alemania hay varios tipos de arrendadores:

  • Particulares
  • Inmobiliarias

Muchas veces los dueños del piso son flexibles y dejan que los arrendatarios hagan la pre- selección (de ahí que los horarios de visita puedan ser más limitados). Otras veces son las propias inmobiliarias las que se encargan del proceso (sobre todo cuando el piso lleva algún tiempo vacío), en este último caso hay muchas opciones de que lleve a cabo una jornada de puertas abiertas. Esto consiste en citar a 10-20 personas el mismo día  a la misma hora para ver el piso.

Tras pasar la pre- selección (enhorabuena!) ahora llega el momento de la verdad y es entonces cuando el arrendador decide quien va a ser el futuro inquilino en función a un montón de documentos que os va a hacer rellenar

Los documentos 

Tanto para la WG como para el piso los propietarios suelen pedir información sobre el sueldo neto de la persona (a veces incluso piden una copia del contrato de trabajo). Otros documentos que os pedirán serán:

  • SCHUFA
  • Auskunft: Documentos con información personal como ingresos, número de cuenta, estado civil,etc…

looking for a flat in germany

SCHUFA

Este concepto no existe en otros países como Francia o España. La SCHUFA es un documento oficial donde consta que una persona tiene o no deudas e impagos. Los arrendadores lo solicitan para asegurarse que no están alquilando su piso a un moroso. Si lleváis menos de 3 anos en el país puede que no podáis solicitarlo, depende de cada persona. Aquí tenéis más información: https://www.schufa.de/de/.

Redes sociales 

Muchas veces en los grupos de expatriados de facebook la gente que se muda publica anuncios avisando que su piso se queda libre. Estad al tanto! Suele ser una manera bastante rápida para poder organizar una visita sin tener que depender de la inmobiliaria desde  el primer momento.

Ahora que sabéis todo lo que hay que hacer os recomiendo ¡Mucha paciencia! Y os deseo ¡¡mucha suerte!!

How to find a flat and not die trying

looking for a flat in germany

Looking for a flat

Wether if you are looking for a flat or for a shared-flat (WG), you will have to work hard to get one. It can be complicated depending on where do you wanna live and, sadly, Düsseldorf and Köln are one of those “complicated” places to find a future flat. However, I am going to give you some helpful advices.

First  of all, you should know that, here in Germany, flat interviews are really important. So just prepare your best smile (and lot of information about yourself) and go for it! By the way, in this country is really common to rent unfurnished flats (also in the WG rooms). These are the possibilities you will find when looking for an apartment:

1. Unfurnished apartment (the most common thing) – Unmöblierte Wohnung

2.Apartment + kitchen: You will have to buy it to the old renter or you will “buy it” while paying the rent, the price of the kitchen will be included in the rent.

3. Furnished flat: Good luck!! Usually you will have to buy the furniture to the old renter or to the   landlord – Möblierte Wohnung

WG: Shared-flat

If you are looking for a shared-flat (WG) where you can meet new people I highly recommend this website: http://www.wg-gesucht.de/.

Here you can find all the information related to your future room, including photos, information about which kind of person your future roomies are looking for and the price of the rent.

I recommend you to contact as much WGs as possible. Check first that your hobbies, age, way of life… fit with the requirements of the ad. The more emails you send the more options to get an answer. If you are not good enough speaking german, do not panic! You can always contact people in english, most of them answer.

looking for a flat in Germany

Rent a flat
Here it comes the difficult part. There are lots of websites, however, the most used is the following one: http://www.immobilienscout24.de/.

To find a flat you have to work hard. The demand  is really high in Düsseldorf and Köln, also the prices are increasing rapidly. I recommend you to contact the real state agency by telephone (if possible), because once they have a considerable amount of candidates requests they do not answer more emails.

This time the interview  depends on which kind of meeting you have. Sometimes people organize visits which last 15 minutes, other times it can last more than one hour. It depends on how much information you want to obtain about the owner and the flat.

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The landlord

In Germany there are different kind of landlords:

  • Private landlords
  • Real states

Sometimes the owners of the flats are quite flexible and they allow the renter to accomplish the pre-selection. The other option is that the real states take care of the pre-selection process. In the last case, it is possible that the real state agency carry out an open door day, where they invite 10-20 people to visit the flat at the same time.

If you pass the pre-selection process (congrats!!) it is time for the final process. Now the landlord will decide who will be the next renter basing his decision on thousand of documents which will be required from you.

The documents

All the landlords (also for the WG) will ask you about your net income (in many cases they also will ask you for a copy of your work contract). Other documents they will ask you for:

  • SCHUFA
  • Auskunft: Documents with personal information like income, family status, bank account…

looking for a flat in germany

SCHUFA

I know this concept does not exist in countries like France or Spain. The SCHUFA is an official default document. If you are living in Germany since less than 3 years ago you have to ask if you have a SCHUFA or not, it depends on the person. Here you can find more information about it: https://www.schufa.de/de/.

Social Networks

Social Networks are a helpful tool. There are expats groups where people tend to post lot of information. Take a look! It is usual that people post when they leave their flats. Contacting them is a fast way to get a flat visit without waiting for the real state.

Be patient and keep looking!  In the meanwhile I wish you good luck!