My German Learning Progress – Update

I promised a while ago to give you all an update on the intensive residential German course I did in Bavaria a couple of months ago. Apologies for not having done that yet, but I will do as soon as I can.

All I will say here is it was extremely positive and I am going back to Bavaria for six more weeks in November to the sister school to do a combination of group and private lessons (as opposed to the residential course which was totally one-to-one and super intensive).

I will do a review of both when I finally get my act together, but if you cannot wait that long, here are links to the two schools: is what I did in August and was based in the teacher’s home in Bamberg. I can thoroughly recommend this and it boosted my German considerably in two weeks. If you contact them, tell them Simon sent you! is the sister school in Bamberg and offers group and individual tuition or a combination thereof. I will be doing a six-week combined course there shortly.

Autumn Colours In The Mosel


I am not a huge fan of Autumn as it signals in the coming of several colder, wetter months ahead as well as short days and long nights. But of course, the early part of Autumn does bring fabulous colors to the ever-changing landscape in the valley. This picture was taken from Zell Barl towards Zell and the road leading between the hills towards Hahn airport and Simmern.

Swapping German Beer For English Tea

I suspect many of you who drive to Germany for holidays or whatever are guilty of this. My best mate and his three sons came to visit from England at the weekend and they brought over several month’s supply Tetley tea bags, English bacon and Cheddar cheese.

As you can see, rather than taking the truck back empty they took advantage of the cheap booze here. No Riesling made it onto the truck – we polished the whole lot off at the weekend…

Hochmoselbrücke In Ürzig

Love it or loath it, they really are cracking on with the new Hochmoselbrücke near Ürzig. The picture does not really do it justice – it really is enormous. 158 metres high in fact.

There are more facts and figures as well as webcams – unfortunately all in German – on the project webpage which can be found by clicking here.

Farmer’s Market At The Ostrich Farm in Bengel

Just outside of the Mosel Valley between Alf and Wittlich is Klostermühle ostrich farm where a farmer’s market is being held this weekend.

I will (when I get round to it) be posting an article on this little place, but it  is worth a visit for the wonderful cafe, open countryside and of course the large feathered friends. There is also a Baroque church with a stunning interior just down the road too.

Hanging Around The Hunsrück

Recently we ventured just a few miles out of the valley to the “Geierlay Hängseilbrücke” at Mörsdorf in the Hunsrück, and wow, what a bridge that is!

Opened just a little over a year ago, at 360 meters in length this is the longest rope (or in this case, cable) suspension bridge in Germany. It sits about 100 metres at its highest point and whilst it is not for the faint hearted, the views from the bridge itself are very impressive.

The bridge is actually part of the network of walking and hiking trails that crisis cross the area. It is about a kilometer walk from the village of Mörsdorf where parking is available (sadly not free, although access to the bridge is) along with a visitor centre and a couple of cafes.

By the way, please excuse my finger blurring the bottom left of the picture!

Healthcare In Germany

In Britain, we all complain about the National Health Service (NHS), but having myself lived in several countries that do not have one, I think it is pretty darn good.

Of course, Germany is also highly regarded for its health care, but I must admit I do find it considerably more complicated to navigate than the British system. For example, when you start working in Germany, you must actually choose a provider as the government effectively contracts it out. And if you earn above a certain salary, you can opt to go private and your and your employer’s contributions get fed into that. Things get even more complicated if you are unemployed, self employed or a student.

Therefore, I was pleased to find a page on the “How To Germany” website which gives a good overview of how it is all structured and some of the rules and regulations which govern it all. Click here to go directly to that page.

A Sad Time For Cheese Lovers

It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that the British Cheese Emporium has recently closed down for good. It is a tremendous and sad loss as they used to sell incredible cheeses and other goodies which are impossible to find elsewhere in Germany.

I want to thank the owner, Sally, for the great service she provided in the past and I wish her well in her future endeavours.

English Speaking Doctors, Dentists And Opticians

All of us who choose to live in Germany find one of the most daunting aspects is what to do when medical problems occur. Indeed, one of the most common questions I am asked is how to go about finding an English-speaking doctor, dentist or optician. Whilst I plan on doing a full article on this subject in the near future, I just want to share my experiences gained over the couple of years or so that I have spent here. Continue reading