5 x 5 Erlangen

21 Feb

Five things I love about living in Erlangen

Cheap and delicious beer – Before I lived in Germany I was a confirmed wine drinker, tepid English beer just did not do it for me. Beer in Erlangen however has been a revelation, with the exception of drinking Tucher at the Berg the first year (big mistake) and suffering the worst hangover in history. The beer here is much purer due to German purity laws, consequently no chemical induced hangover but obviously a normal alcohol induced one if you get carried away.

Biking – Everywhere and anywhere, I hadn’t ridden a bike in at least 15 years when I arrived and I had somewhat of an attitude about cyclists (lycra clad maniacs), which might be true of the UK but in Erlangen bike is king. You are just as likely to see your elderly neighbour on a bike as you would a five year old, and lycra? Limited to the serious cyclists (thankfully). Stupidly safe, quick and easy, you will never go back to walking again.

The Market – Good quality local produce, inexpensive and you get a free German practice session whilst you are there.

The Botanical Gardens – Small but perfectly formed and open year round. A great place to chill out and take photos, there is an indoor tropical area too which makes a nice change in the rain or snow but considering it’s not far from the Hauptstrasse it is very peaceful and hardly ever crowded.

The library – I’m a total bookworm and for 15 euro a year I have access to a decent stock of English books, it is also the best place to do  German homework in, you don’t even have to buy a coffee. The atrium also has a decent range of papers and magazines that you can hang out and read (membership not required).

Five things I don’t love about living in Erlangen (or things that need some getting used to)

Staring – This is a common trait that most of Erlangen seems to have, having been taught that staring is rude from an early age it goes completely against the British personality to stare at a stranger, for no apparent reason other than you don’t know them. I spent a lot of time wondering if I had something on my face and constantly feeling embarrassed when I met a strangers eyes, as far as I know there is no rhyme or reason why I get stared at, I think I blend in pretty well (when not speaking), even though I don’t own any Jack Wolfskin. My advice stare back and smile, enjoy the results.

Customer service – Mostly the lack of it, considering to work in a shop you have to complete ‘on the job training’ (an Ausbildung) it does not seem to cover service with a smile or helping your patrons. Try not to take it personally, it’s not you its them, when I get good service I will go back again and again, bad service and I will tell all of my friends and we will all stay away, who knows one day shops might realise this?

Getting shouted at – This is generally but older people and it is when I do something very minor ‘wrong’. When waiting for the green man, on an empty street I give up and just cross, cue the little old lady berating me for jaywalking, which yes is a crime here for which you will get a telling off from the police (if they see you) but as long as I don’t do it in front of a child (forever the good example) I’m a grown up and I’m just going to do it.

Lack of apologies – As a Brit I am maybe prone to over apologising on occasion but here I’ve been punched and knocked off my feet and the persons responsible merely shrugged and have given me a dirty look. I don’t care if it was the person behind you who initially pushed you, and you dominoed into me, at least bloody apologise!

Sundays and ‘quiet holidays’ – Everything is shut, you may not do washing (or even hang it where people can see), hoovering, wash your car, put bottles in a recycling bank, you may only eat or get out and exercise. This can be hard to come to terms with when you come from the land of 24h shopping and bemoan the limited Sunday opening hours of 10-4. Good news, the Czech Republic is only 3 hours away, and they open on sunday!

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3 Responses to “5 x 5 Erlangen”

  1. Tom Otomcio February 21, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    And all of this is equally true of Wiesbaden, too! Bad customer service dulls my mood for hours. Is it a power thing?

    • theerlangenexpat February 25, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

      After 3 years I’m so used to it that it’s water off a ducks back, good customer service however always brightens my day. I don’t think it’s necessarily a power thing I think that it’s part of the dislike for small talk and I don’t think ‘a smile costs nothing’ has made it here yet!

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  1. Five Things I Love About Living in Erlangen | Young Germany - March 10, 2015

    […] post was originally published on The Erlangen Expat and was used here with permission of the […]

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