German Men Sit Down to Pee and Other Insights into German Culture

I posted a review of this book some time ago, but I recently re-read it and decided it was worthy of another mention.

The book title is “German Men Sit Down To Pee And Other Insights Into German Culture”. The title says it all and the book takes a jovial look at the Germans and their often strange mannerisms.

The authors of the book are Irishman, James Cave, and a German, Niklas Frank, so the facts have been checked by a native.

  Continue reading “German Men Sit Down to Pee and Other Insights into German Culture”

German State Pensions

I was surfing the web a while ago when I stumbled upon the German Pensions (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) website. Pleasingly, it contains 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. However, the website does at least it give an overview on how things currently work, and we can get an idea of what the rules might be following the worst case Brexit scenario.

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

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 of 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 centered 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.

A Quick Survey – Who’s Been To The Mosel Region?

Sprechen Sie German? The Quest Continues…

I recently did a posting wherein I recommended some online German courses and an excellent app for iPads walled Duolingo. In my quest to increase my German knowledge and to help you guys along with it too, I have since discovered a website called “How To Learn German” which can be found here. Written by a 25 year old Danish guy, Peter, who speaks no fewer than five languages, this site offers plenty of no-nonsense advice on how to learn the language with limited resources. Continue reading “Sprechen Sie German? The Quest Continues…”

Sprechen Sie German?

I have absolutely no wish to insult the German population, but it has to be said the German language is not the simplest to learn. The grammar is notoriously complicated, and whilst the language is generally phonetic, the length of some of the words are so enormous that you almost need to draw breath half way through saying them.

Having studied French and Arabic previously, I must admit to finding German the most difficult of the lot. To exacerbate matters, I find in many situations that no matter how hard I try to speak German, I am often met with a giggle and a reply in excellent English. Me being me finds that a little patronising – on the one hand my German friends tell me it’d be great if I learned German, but on the other they find it easier to speak to me in English rather than endure me struggling to utter “Es tut mir leid aber ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch” in a heavy East Midlands accent.

Continue reading “Sprechen Sie German?”

So What’s The Attraction?

As you can see from my “Who Am I?” section, I am a Brit (yes, I can still call myself that now that the UK remains intact following yesterday’s referendum!) Germanophile currently trying to juggle a career in the Arab world with a life in the Mosel. I like to think that my situation is unique and that I am the only “foreigner” living in Zell. Yeah, I know that sounds selfish but the region is so special I would hate for it to get overrun with people wanting pie and chips and the Daily Mirror in the same way the Spanish Costas have. Thankfully, that is not likely to happen as the region is not known for being a haven for sun worshipers which is ironic as when the sun shine over the river, it really shines and the river offers aquatic activities on par with most seaside resorts!

Whilst it is no secret the region attracts tourists from many places both near and far (I regularly see cars from Sweden, Denmark, Italy and such places), there are also numerous folk who have – like me – decided it really a nice place to be. Most of those invest in holiday homes which gives them an income whilst also allowing them the opportunity to grab a weekend or more here and there to quaff the lovely local plonk, whilst others are living here either as retirees, workers or even business owners. Originally I bought my place in Zell as a base where I could escape the madness of the Middle East from time to time. Previously I had a flat in the industrial Ruhr region of Germany. That was okay, but not the kind of place I want to spend the rest of my life. So for now, I fly to my new ‘home’ as often as I can, and I am looking forward to the day when I can be permanently part of local life.

So what attracted me to this region in particular? Well, it is unquestionably an area of outstanding natural beauty offering so many leisure opportunities for everyone. Personally, my favourite activities are exploring the region on foot or by bike and discovering the numerous historic towns, villages and castles that the area is so abundantly blessed with. Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland are on the doorstep and other places are within easy reach. Then of course, there is the wine which really does speak for itself, and being in Germany, the beer is not half bad either! I am also a bit of a motorbike fan and the region attracts bikers from all over Europe seeking thrilling rides against a backdrop of thrilling scenery. Oh, and I almost forgot the river – boating and canoeing for starters? Yes please! But above all – and excuse me if this sounds corny – it is the people who are wonderfully friendly and welcoming.

If you have never visited the region, do so. You will not regret it. But shhh, keep it to yourself as we don’t want to spoil the place!

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