Shopping at the US Military Base

Shopping at the US Military Base

 

Being able to shop on the United States Military Base is a privilege that is afforded to the members of the United States Military and their families. This is not something just about anyone can enjoy. The shops on the US Military Base are the dreams of many American expatriates who have been in Germany for a long period of time. There are so many items that they offer that one can only find in American grocery stores. In addition to this, they are relatively cheap. Things like, vanilla extract, Ranch dressing, Lucky Charms you can find it all.

 

Of course, you can have your family members and friends back home ship you your favourite items so that you will be able to get a touch of home while you're living in Germany. Or you can do what many do, and stick it out until you return home. But sometimes, there is just that one thing that you crave. Having to wait a week or so for your family in the United States to go to the grocery store for you and pick up some treats to have them shipped to you sometimes feels like a burden. After all, how much do you really want to pay for a bottle of ranch? The truth is, care packages are nice, but they're not something that you can get used to every week without feeling the weight of the monetary burden.

 

And when you know that all these things are available in a Military Base that is so close to you, you can almost smell it, you may feel a bit of disappointment. However, provided you do have a family member or friend who lives on base, you may be granted access. Be sure to bring your passport with you and keep in mind that you will not be allowed in all areas. You will also not be allowed to make any purchases and the person you are with may get in trouble if the supervisors learn that the shopping being done is for your benefit. So if you are willing to take the risk, be very, very cautious.

 

Many expats have made friends who live on the base and are happy to take a list of goodies that they can pick up for them. However, there are many people who are unhappy about the occurrence and are adamant to report anyone they find breaking the law.

 

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Quedlinburg: UNESCO Site and the Birthplace of a Nation

Quedlinburg: UNESCO Site and the Birthplace of a Nation

 

The beautiful Quedlinburg is located in the west region of Saxony Anhalt, Germany. This town is home to many astonishing buildings including grand castles and churches. Its popularity is surging amongst tourists and for all the right reasons. With so many beautiful buildings and amazing architecture to see as well as the fact that it is a UNESCO World heritage Site there is no reason to wonder why tourists continue to flock to Quedlinburg. Due to having escaped a lot of the destruction and damage caused by the second world war,  Quedlinburg's architecture remains seemingly untouched and is in fact one of the most well preserved renaissance and medieval towns in all of Europe.

 

 

Some amazing locations in  Quedlinburg include:

Castle Hill: Founded by the late Heinrich der Vogler's widow, Mathilda, the religious convent that she governed marked an important part of the town's history.

This memorizing Castle is available for tours. Be sure to make sure that your attire consists of comfortable shoes that can withstand the steep hill leading up to the castle. In order to have your tour done in English you will be required to book this feature in advance.

 

Town Hall and Roland Statue

This representation of the Middle Ages, is still standing strong having undergone refurbishment in the 600's. Guarded by a knight and his horse, you'll have to come before the Christmas season to see this statue in full effect as the Christmas market tends to overshadow the majestic structure.

 

Klopstockhaus Museum

The birthplace of the amazing poet, Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock has now been transformed into a museum in order to celebrate both his work and the work of other noted members of the  Quedlinburg society.

 

Altstadt Quedlinburg

The heart of it all. Once you've been to the Altstadt Quedlinburg you will need to stop, compose yourself and take it all in. The scene is breathtaking, the buildings make you feel as though you've stepped into another era of time. Take your cameras out and don't be afraid to snap away. Being here will make you understand why this town was welcomed with open arms as a  UNESCO World heritage Site. Everything about it is miraculous and you won't regret one moment of your trip. Packed with half timbered houses, narrow roads and alleys, there is so much to see and there will never be a dull mooment. [...]

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Maternity Allowance in Germany

Maternity Allowance in Germany

 

In Germany, expecting mothers receive what is known as Mutterschaftsgeld. This is maternity pay, and is  applicable for those who are six weeks from their due date and lasts up until eight weeks after the actual birth. This is just one of many benefit received by mothers. It's a great part of the system that eases some of the financial burden that comes with having a child. Mothers find the system great because during pregnancy and also the years after, it is important to know that one is financially secure, and certain repercussions of having a child don't become stressful. Certainly you're going to need to take some time off work and it is essentially helpful knowing that you won't completely lose your salary because of this.

 

 

Do you qualify?

Those who qualify for Mutterschaftsgeld include employed pregnant women who are covered by the state insurance.

 

 

What is the application process?

In order to apply for  Mutterschaftsgeld you will have to receive a certificate stating the expected date of deliver. Upon reception of this document you will need to get in contact with your health insurance agent and file the application for your Mutterschaftsgeld.

 

 

How much money will I get?

There is no fixed amount when it comes to how much Mutterschaftsgeld  you are entitled to receive. The amount depends on many factors including what your salary was prior to your pregnancy.

 

 

 

Where can I find more information?

Additional information can be found at  http://www.mutterschaftsgeld.de/.

The corresponding phone number is 0228 69 888

The opening hours are Monday- Wednesday and Friday from 9 am to 2 pm and Thursdays from 9 am to 2 pm and from pm to 3 pm.

 

 

Be sure to contact the responsible authorities in order to ensure that the process runs smoothly. They will inform you of any applicable deadlines as well as let you know what forms need to be filled out and what other documents you will need to submit.

 

If you are not insured through the Krankenkasse, and instead are privately insured, be sure to check with your agent to find out what funds you are applicable to receive. Funds are also available to you after your  Mutterschaftsgeld period comes to an end. Be sure to check what paper work you'll need to fill out and file in order to obtain the financial help you will need at this time. The system is there to help parents and sure enough you will be satisfied to know that having a child will not weigh you don't financially.

 

 

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Southwest Germany- Baden Württemburg

Southwest Germany- Baden Württemburg

 

With a population of 0.7 million people, .3 million being foreigners, Baden Württemburg is the third largest, of the 6 federal states in German. It's beauty is incomparable. Home to places like the Black Forest, Lake Constance, the Hohenzollern Castle, and the Mercedes Benz Museum, Baden Württemburg is a popular destination for tourists looking to experience German culture, learn a little about the history, and fill their cameras with photographs of exceptional sights.

 

When planning a trip to Baden Württemburg, here are some places you can't afford to miss.

 

The Black Forest.

If you enjoy the sweet decadence of Black Forest cake, you'll enjoy visiting the namesake of this savory treat even more. As opposed to popular belief, the Black Forest isn't black at all, in fact it primarily consists of pine and fir trees and is therefore rather green. While strolling through the mountain range, perched upon layers and layers of sandstone, look out for the giant earthworm, as this is the only place on this entire planet that you'll be able to spot them in their natural habitat. And before you head home, don't forget to pick up the traditional Black Forest souvenir, a cuckoo clock.

 

Castles

Baden Württemburg is home to many beautiful castles, where lots of interesting history has been made. On your visit, be sure to check out one, two or as many of these castles you can fit into your schedule. Traveling down Burgenstrasse or Castle Road will give you the experience of a lifetime. Your journey will be filled with flashbacks of a past you couldn't have imagined until now. With over 70 beautiful castles and  other noted historical architecture you'll feel like you're driving into a whole new era of time.

 

Theme Parks

 

Everyone in the family will appreciate taking the day out to ride all the rides they can while enjoying, cotton candy and succulent roasted nuts. Three of the most popular parks in this area of Germany include: Europa-Park, Erlebnispark Tripsdrill and Ravenburger Spieleland.

 

Europa-Park is the second largest theme park in all of Europe. The park is home to roller coasters and lots more rides waiting to be enjoyed by the entire family. During the summer months, there's more going on than one can keep up with. The most popular event, however, is the Midsummer Party where an extravagant display of fireworks lights up the sky. For this event, the park is open until midnight, so that visitors have more time to enjoy themselves for longer.

If you're one that seeks a thrill, consider visiting Europa-Park in October for Horror Nights where you'll be sure to get a scare or two walking through all the creepy mazes they have set up to keep you on your toes.

 

 

When planning a visit to Baden-Württemburg, ensure that your GPS is fully functional and your hotel room has already been booked. There's so much to see here that you'll need a couple days in order to soak it all in and you can't afford to waste time getting lost.

 

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Spas in Germany

Spas in Germany

 

For all those who work hard and are almost always hard at work, a spa day every now and then is a great way to relieve some stress as well as to get a little bit of healthy water therapy in. Germany does not have a shortage of spas and thus taking advantage of this means of leisure is quite easy to do. Sure enough, you won't have to drive to far to find one. Whether you're looking for a spa that is simply for relaxation and a day away from reality, or you're in search of a spa with medicinal properties, Germany has something for you.

 

Heilbad.

 

A heilbad, is a healing bath and are solely medicinal. In older times, they were believed to offer cure for certain ailments. Spa towns in Germany are noted with a Bad in front of their name. For example Bad Pyrmont, Bad Bevensen, any many other towns have adopted this prefix. However, the addition of Bad to a town's name is something that needs to be approved by the federal sector that deals with health as that town has to meet a certain criteria when it comes to the quality of the air as well as the quality of the water. Those with predetermined conditions of stress, anxiety, migraines, and sleeping disorders as well as those with a physical disability are usually the ones who make the most use of the Heilbad.

 

Some medical insurances cover visits to a Heilbad. To be able to take advantage of this luxury, one would have to get a referral from their doctor and of course ensure that your particular insurance will stand the costs. This doesn't, however, mean that you can't go for your own personal purposes, because you definitely can.

 

Types of Heilbad.

 

.      Kneip spa

2.      Sea spa

3.      Marsh spa

4.      Salt water spa

5.      Mineral spa

 

Thermal spas

 

Thermal spas lean more toward the recreational relaxation aspect of things. Thermal spas, or Thermen offer a wide range of things to get you relaxed, and looking radiant as well as feeling free. Apart from being in a space where there is a minimal amount of noise, and the atmosphere is as zen as can be, there are a lot of other things offered in thermal spas for wellness. Thermal spas typically offer massages, facials, tanning bed, pedicure and manicures, and facials. They make a great location for a girl outing, or personal day, and of course are a great idea for an anniversary presents or valentines day treat.

 

 

Top choice for Thermes

 

.      Baden-Baden: Caracalla Therme

2.    Taunus Therme

3.      Therme Bad Wörishofen

4.      Mediterania

5.      Therme Erding

6.      Palm Oasis

 

These places will have you thinking you're in another world. They add the perfect touch of luxury but still adhere to the level of comfort needed. When taking a day trip to one of these wonderful places, keep in mind that you may have to ditch the swimming costume, and bare all in the saunas.[...]

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The Postal Service in Germany

The Postal Service in Germany

 

Being away from home, you'll surely want to send letters or postcards back to your loved ones to let them know what a splendid time you're having in Germany. Thankfully postal services exist. And when it comes to the German postal service, you will not be disappointed.

 

Apart from the most popular postal service in Germany, Deutsche Post DHL, you've got a list of other services you can use to get your letters and packages to their ultimate destination.

 

Here are a few of the available options:

·         Air Berlin

·         Eurodis

·         Hermes

·         Iloxx

·         FedEx

·         UPS

 

Being the most popular postal service in Germany, DHL is perhaps the company that you'll see the most, proudly displaying its bright yellow shade and may also be the one that will be your first option. Apart from offering very reasonable prices, Deutsche Post DHL are both trust worthy and speedy. Most letter deliveries in Germany, a whopping 95%, are delivered nationwide within the next business day.

 

If you've got a package that you need to keep an eye on, you'll be able to as you are provided a tracking code that you can dial into the DHL website at any time and see where it is. Being able to keep a tab on things is convenient and also offers you the security, that if you've sent an important package somewhere or are waiting to receive one, you won't have to sit through long telephone conversations in order to find out it's location.

 

One thing to avoid is sending money or other valuables via regular mail. If there is something you absolutely can't afford to lose then check if the postal service you are using offers some for of insurance for valuable as well as a more secure means of delivery.

 

What happens if you're not home to receive a package?

 

If you happened to have stepped out during the time that your package was delivered you can either schedule a new date for it to be brought to your home, or pick it up at the post office. In other case, your neighbour may sign for the package and a note will be left in your mailbox informing you of this. Another option which you may want to look into if you receive lots of packages, is getting a card for the post office where your packages will be brought when there is no one home to accept them. This is convenient as you can retrieve your package outside of the post office's operating hours.

 

What are the costs like?

Post throughout Germany

 

Prices vary depending on size.

The cost of mailing a letter ranges from 45 cents to 2.40 euros.

The cost of mailing a package ranges from 3.90 euros to .90 euros.

 

International Packages

 

The cost of mailing a letter ranges from .75 cents to 6.90 euros.

The cost of mailing a package ranges from 8.90 euros to 42.00 euros.

More information can be found at: http://www.dhl.de/de.html

 

 

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