Archive | June, 2013

Keeping cool when that temperature’s rising

20 Jun

Since we seem to be in the midst of a heatwave I’d like to share some warm weather ideas

Outdoor Swimming

Roethelheimbad – Hartmannstrasse 121 91058 Erlangen
Was redeveloped fairly recently so the facilities are in really good condition. There are plenty of grassy areas surrounding the pools, so bring your blanket and picnic in addition to your towels. Standard sized lane pool in addition to a more fun based large pool which has slides and spa areas, also a kids shallower pool suitable for all ages. There is parking available and it is on a bus route.
If you decide to visit regularly it is worth considering your ticket options, a season card means you can skip the sometimes substantial queue to get in!

Freibad West – Damaschkestrasse 129 91056 Erlangen
A little bit more dated than the Roethelheimbad but still a great place to cool off on those long summer days. If you like to dive this place has great boards and a specialist pool for them, in addition to a regular swimming pool and a children’s pool suitable for all ages. There are shady and sunny areas to cool/dry off surrounding the pools and convenient parking and bus stops nearby.

Ice Cream

Eishaus – Luitpoldstrasse 15 & Neuer Markt/Woehrl & Buckenhof/Alte Tankstelle
I love this ice cream, (More like Cornish ice cream, not Gelato or Mr Whippy) and you get a LOT of ice cream for your money, a single scoop is enough, you have been warned! Be prepared for long but quick moving queues on hot days and at lunchtimes. Like their Facebook page for details of special offeres and extended opening hours.

Beer Gardens

Biergarten am Roethelheim – Am Roethelheim 40c
One of Erlangens best kept secrets, this is a lovely shady spot to enjoy a beer and catch up with friends. Sandpit to play in for littler kids.

Entlas-Keller Biergarten – An den Kellern 5
Up on the berg (where the Bergkirchweih is held) beneath lovely shady trees, look out for live music nights (and days) which go throughout the summer and continue until Autumn arrives.

Unicum Biergarten – Carl-Thiersch-Strasse 9
A hidden biergarten frequented by locals, the play area is a great pull for families.

Alter Simpl Biergarten – Bohlenplatz 2
One of the more touristy places, but that does mean you can get a menu in English, should you want one! Based in the centre of town but just off the main high street so quite a quiet spot.

The Kitzmann and Steinbach also have decent biergartens.


Making Connections

15 Jun

When I arrived I knew no other native English speakers (other than the husband) and even though lots of Germans were really lovely and befriended me, there are still times when you just want to chat with someone who “understands”. I’m not kidding when I heard English being spoken I just wanted to hug that person and MAKE them be my friend! And yes I did this, and made some very good friends so don’t discount it as an option!

Luckily this little corner of Franconia is positively bustling with people from all corners of the world thanks to the University, Siemens, Arreva, Puma, Addidas and the many more international companies that employ a massive amount of international people. Thankfully people always want to spend time with folk from their home country, being away from your friends and family means that your new friends become that link to your home country, embrace them, and you could make life long friends.

Join a Stammtisch was what I got told a lot when we first moved here, a what? Basically a Stammtisch is a regular table, and any group can have one. Some I’ve seen have matching T-shirts displaying their membership and “fun” nicknames others are merely a group of people who used to work together. There are a number of English Stammtische in this area, these people meet to speak English, but don’t expact everyone to speak it as their first language, it’s merely the common language spoken. Most of them have a facebook group detailing meets and membership, Erlangen, Nuremberg

Facebook is a wonderful tool, not only will it allow you to keep in touch easily and quickly with your friends and family back home (and allow them to do the same) but it is a great source of potential new connections! Even if you object to Facebook because of targeted advertising, information sharing and annoying oversharers you really should consider getting connected, there are a number of ways to minimise and stop your information being shared if you are worried.

To get you started, try these (I have to add the caveat that most of the expat groups I have experience of are considered “womens groups” because women are the most likely to need support and new social opportunities in Germany as they are more likely to be the one in a couple that has not moved for/due to  work)

HENhaus – Volunteer organisation that welcomes women new to the area. They will set you up with a coffee date and provide useful information for you, and your family, very useful for mums or mums to be. They will also find you contacts for groups and activities that you are interested in. A Facebook group provides real time advice and information.

Chickhaus – Volunteer organisation created to connect women new to the area socially. Dinners out, happy hour, running group, book club along with other impromptu events, directly aimed at the social needs of expat women. I can’t recommend this group enough, I’ve made life long friends and shared wonderful experiences with other expats here. Their Facebook group provides real time advice, information and all members are automatically invited to all events.

International Womens Group (IWG) – Members only group which provides women a forum to make friends, foster intercultural exchange and have fun.

Volkhochshule Erlangen – Their Club INTERNATIONAL is a great way to meet new people, they show films in their original languages (not just English), have musical nights and also host Spachstammtische where you can practice your German in return for speaking with people who want to learn your language. Most events are completely free! Same goes for their branches in Herzogenaurach, Nuremberg and Forchheim.

German-American Institute Nuremberg (DAI) – Has a wealth of information for Americans in the area, hosts regular events, advertises volunteer opportunities and has it’s own English library.

German French Institute Erlangen (FAI) – For all you French speakers, this place hosts regular events and has a pretty good library, they also offer language courses.

Do you know any other groups that should be added to this list?

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