My German Learning Progress – Update

Well, that is week one of my two-week intensive German studies over, and it has been one of the busiest weeks of my life.

I am staying in the beautiful home of the teacher (actually, she is the school owner) and her husband, and each day comprises one-on-one lessons from 9am to around 4pm. Meals are taken with the family, and free time is also spent predominantly with them.

Being private tuition as opposed to class based lessons, the programme is tailored to my particular needs, and in my case it is a combination of grammar, phonetics and comprehension. Of course, I am finding the German grammar the hardest element to get to grips with, but also the fact that the entire day is pretty much solid German means I am feeling mentally exhausted quite often and on occasions emotionally drained too. The latter was a surprise to me – on Wednesday evening I just felt like jelly and incredibly homesick to the point where I thought to myself “why the hell am I doing this?”. I think this was the result of exhaustion from the intensive studies and the fact that it started to hit me that all my efforts to date really have only lightly scratched the surface of the vast sphere of the German language. My teacher came to the rescue and after half an hour or so I was back on track and ready to face yet another German social gathering, but I have to admit there are still occasions when I really feel I need to be alone but cannot without appearing rude. Continue reading

A Bridge Too Far? The Hochmoselbrücke…

 

Anyone who has been along the river between Trarben Trarbach and Bernkastel Kues lately will have seen the one of the most controversial civil engineering projects in Germany to date – the Hochmoselbrücke or High Mosel Bridge.

Designed to connect various European ports, this bridge caught the public eye because it seems to needlessly follow a route which will carry the autobahn across one of the most important and beautiful wine regions in the world.

Love it or hate it, it cannot be denied that it is an impressive piece of engineering and I am pretty sure many of the objectors will end up using it anyway.

My German Learning Progress…

I previously published a number of posts on everyone’s favourite subject – German language learning. It was my intention to embark on a combination of systematic and diligent self-study coupled with using various apps and other types of software to support my efforts. Here is an update on my progress… Continue reading

Sofa Salvation

We had a bit of a disaster when we moved into our house and hopefully our advice will help many of you moving to the region to avoid the same stress.

Generally houses in the Mosel have the living areas on the upper floors, with the ground floor being given over to utility space and more historically to wine production. The reason for this is simple – the flood risk. That means your sitting room is likely to be on the first floor, accessed by a staircase with at least one bend in it. Our house has no fewer than four such staircases, three of which dog leg back on themselves but with no half landing.

All fine and dandy I hear you cry, as such features add to the character of the property. We were of the same opinion – until our sofa (amongst other things) would not go up…! Continue reading

German State Pensions

I was surfing the web earlier when I stumbled upon the German Pensions (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) website and was pleased to see it contains some useful downloadable brochures in English and six other languages on State pensions for EU and non-EU citizens.

Of course, for those Brits amongst us everything in that respect is up in the air now, but at least it gives an overview as to how things work at the moment, and we can get an idea of what the rules might be if the UK exits the EU lock, stock and two smoking barrels.

The website can be found here and the downloadable brochures here.

Messing Around On The Mosel

If you fancy seeing the river from a different angle, why not try canoeing or kayaking?

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A few weeks back we packed my son and his cousin off on a “tour” run by Mosel Kanu Tours who have several stations along the middle part of the river and offer several options for getting you afloat. You can either rent a vessel and make your own arrangements to get it back to the starting point, or if you do the tour, they transport you and all your kit back at a pre-determined time. It s not a tour in the real sense though, and don’t expect to be accompanied by an instructor or tour guide – you make your own way downstream and at your own pace so you can make up your own itinerary as you go along.


Buoyancy aids are provided as is a floating waterproof container to stop you losing your keys, phone, sun cream and the like  overboard. Liability insurance is also included in the price. There is a choice of boats available, namely kayaks, Canadian canoes and those stand up board things that seem to be the rage now. The kayaks can accommodate one or two paddlers and the canoes three and four.

For more information, click here. Incidentally, they also do bicycle hire.

Post Brexit Fallout

So, the UK has – rightly or wrongly – voted to leave the European Union and now the dust is starting to settle a bit it is looking highly probable that the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her cabinet will honour that vote and formally instigate the exit.

I myself had hoped the vote would go the other way, but equally I felt the EU needed a bit f a kick up the backside in a few areas. However, we are where we are and it now remains to be seen what the UK and the EU manage to agree on. My initial concerns centred around the right of EU citizens to live and work in other EU states, but I suppose at the end of the day other non-EU nationals manage to come and settle in Germany so it s by the end of the world I suppose.

If you are a UK national living in Germany, what are your thoughts and concerns on it all? And what about non-EU nationals living in Germany – is it difficult to actually come here and settle? Any comments would be welcome, and I moderate them before they are published so please just mention if you don’t want me to put your comment public.