Oktoberfest and Other Festivals in Germany

If there is one thing to be excited about with your move to Germany, it should be the many amazing festivals that take place throughout the year. Here is a list of some of the many festivals that you have to look forward to, and should not miss out on, while you are living in Germany.

Carnival

Beginning before Shrove Tuesday, usually in Feb, this festival is one of the biggest in Germany. The idea is to celebrate before the beginning of Lent. There are street fairs, parades, masquerade balls, and other indoor events as well. There are many costumes involved. The best areas to go to Carnival are in the Rhineland.

Easter and Pentecost

In the early spring, there are many wonderful festivals and parades for Easter, with some of the best happening in Bavaria. There are also excellent festivals occurring on Pentecost weekend, especially in Bogen, Sankt Englmar, Rothenburg, Schwäbisch Hall, and Frankfurt.

Walpurgis Night

Similar to Halloween in the United States, towns in the Harz Mountains put on shows and rituals featuring witches, devil, and ghosts. Walpurgis Night occurs on April 30.

Rhine in Flames

In the spring and summer you can see the Rhine looking beautiful with firework shows, many lights along the river, and the boats lit up and decorated. There are multiple displays and shows throughout the year. Some of the best ones are in Bingen in July, in Koblenz in August, and in St. Goar and Oberwesel in September.

Dragon Spearing

In August, Fürthim Wald hosts a Dragon Spearing. A lifelike dragon prowls through the streets of the town, spewing fire, only to be slain by the hero Udo to spare the town from the dragon’s wrath.

Wine Festivals

Throughout the summer and fall, there are many wine festivals all over Germany.

Oktoberfestthe most popular and biggest festival in Germany is the famous Oktoberfest. The main event is in Munich and lasts all through September and October. There are copious amounts of food and beer for all. The event is so huge, that reservations for hotels should be booked months in advance.

Christmas Markets

In December, most towns decorate a Christmas market and hold festivals of light and music. The most famous Christmas market is in Nuremburg, but they can be found in nearly every town.

 

 

One of the benefits of getting to live in the country of Germany is the plethora of festivals to attend. It seems like almost every month of the year has a new event for you to experience. If you are not sure about where and when to go, keep your ear to the ground and do a little bit of research. Talk to your coworkers and neighbors to find out what festivals they attend. Do some research on the internet to find when and where some of the festivals take place, so that you can participate. Even if you are just getting settled in Germany, going to a festival could mean having a wonderful time and making some new friends while you are at it.[...]

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Favorite cafes in Frankfurt

Frankfurt has an abundance of great cafes where you can sit for hours and enjoy both the atmosphere and the decadent treats they have to offer. During the summer, these places are a big hit, primarily due to the outside seating areas, where you can soak up all the sun and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

 

Here are some favorites amongst expats:

Cafe Laumer: This beautiful cafe is located in the Bockenheimer Landstrasse and boasts a charming atmosphere and very pleasant staff, most of which speak at least some English. It's great for a morning coffee, afternoon cake as well as brunch. They offer a wide selection of products that are guaranteed to effectively satisfy your sweet tooth and have you licking your fingers long after. The lunch menus come in rather large portions and are definitely worth the price based on both quantity and quality. During the summer the large outdoor patio is very popular, so try to get there early in order to secure a spot for yourself. 

Mainkai 5: Situated within such close proximity to the river, its popularity is ever increasing amongst expats who crave appetizing foods and unforgettable scenery. Maneuvering your way through the menu will be rather simple, as most items include an English translation. Prices are very affordable, portion sizes are rather normal for European standards.

Iimori Konditorei Pattisserie: This cafe is beautifully designed as are the goodies they offer. The comfortable design makes it a great place to hang out with a book, and just chill a while over cappuccino and some cake. They offer a breakfast buffet, for a very reasonable price. If it's your sweet tooth that needs pleasing, you surely won't be disappointed. Not only do the pastries taste lovely, but they're uniqueness is uncanny.

Brot & Butter: A very comfortable cafe with outdoor seating available in the warmer seasons. Enjoy a bread basket with a variety of different breads, all freshly baked, and top them off with some delicious meat. The place in itself, is rather large and roomy, making it a great option for larger groups. Also available are a selection of exotic cheeses, which you can have packaged, take home and enjoy with your favorite wine.

 

 

There are so many cafes to choose from in Frankfurt. You'll find that the staff in most of these places are exceptionally warm and welcoming. It's definitely worth trying out as many as you can. The experience will certainly be different every where you go. You can learn so much about a culture through food, and meet such great people in these locations to share your cultural experience with. With such comfortable settings, regularly hanging out in these places for coffee or brunch will be something you wholeheartedly enjoy. And if you haven't got enough time to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere, at least stop by and pick up something to enjoy at home. The pastries in Germany are so different from those in the United Kingdom and the United States, and you'll be certain to find a new favorites in one of the many coffee shops Frankfurt has to offer. 

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Excitement and Fun – Theme Parks in Germany

Sometimes a vacation is more enjoyable when it is a good combination of relaxation and excitement. Germany has many wonderful theme parks that offer just that. While you are living in Germany, you may want to take a short vacation, maybe a weekend getaway, to go to one of these amazing theme parks.

What makes theme parks what they are, are the rides and the entertainment. From roller coasters and adventure rides, to spooky mansions and water rides, there is something for everyone at a theme park. There are also lots of different shows to watch. There are puppet shows, variety shows, circuses, parades, animal shows, laser shows, movie shows, and musicals.

Here is a list of the seven largest theme parks in Germany, along with a few details about each park.

·         Europa Park

Located in Germany’s Black Forest, Europa Park is Europe’s second largest theme park. It is arranged with various “lands” representing different European countries.

·         Phantasialand

Phantasialand is located in Brühl. This park has a few elaborate themed areas, including a fantasy area, an African jungle area, a mystery area, and a Mexican town.

·         Movie Park

Located in Bottrop, Movie Park is also a movie studio, where visitors can learn about the process of making movies. There are many different movie-themed rides all over the park, including roller coasters and water rides.

·         Heide-Park

Located in Soltau, this park is home to the world’s tallest drop tower, scream, as well as the world’s steepest rollercoaster, Colossus. There are many different rides, restaurants, and shows to entertain the whole family.

·         Legoland Deutschland

 

 

Legoland Deutschland is located in Günzburg. The park has replicas of architecture, jungles, pirates’ coves, and fairyland castles all made entirely from Legos.

·         Hansapark

Hansapark is located on the coast in Sierksdorf. The park has recreated buildings and scenes of historic significance, while also including the rides that visitors love.

·         Holiday Park

Located in Haßloch, Holiday Park is a wonderful place for kids and adults alike. The Free Fall Tower, the first theme park ride of its kind, can be found in Holiday Park. Not only does the park have rides, but they also offer many entertaining shows, including some daredevil stunt shows.

There are also many other parks you can visit in Germany. There is the Autostadt, an automobile park in Wolfsburg, the hometown of Volkswagen. There is also Serengeti Park in Hanover where you can go on a safari adventure.

Whichever parks you choose to visit, be prepared to spend a bit of money while you are there. The food, snacks, treats, and souvenirs add up very quickly. Also, be sure to allot yourself enough time to enjoy the park, you do not want to feel rushed and stressed while at a crowded and expensive theme park.

 

 While living in Germany, it would be worth it to visit at least one of the amazing theme parks. There is something to be said for the childlike fun and adventure you can experience even as an adult when you go to a theme park.[...]

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Trendy, Unique, and Interesting Hotels in Berlin

Germany’s capital has become quite the hot spot for visitors of every caliber. One of the things that make Berlin so unique is its artistic crowd. When you have a city with a trendy and artistic population, you are bound to get some interesting hotel options for your next visit to Berlin.

Ranging from five-star, high-class hotels, to the trendy, chic, and unusual, Berlin is a great place to visit, stay, and check out the city and the sights.

ü  Boutique Hotels

Known for their architecture and design, the boutique hotels are quite popular in Berlin. Check out the link above to browse through the many boutique hotels available for your next visit to the trendy city.

ü  Casa Camper

Made for the modern traveler and equipped with walk-in mini bars in every room, this artistic hotel is an excellent and relaxing place to stay.

ü  Soho House Berlin

Set within a restored department store, Soho House lives up to its name with its Soho and artsy atmosphere. The hotel is expensive, but beautiful and worth the price. The rooms have an art deco design with antique furniture and record players equipped with LPs in every room.

ü  Hotel Q!

Minimalist and modern, Hotel Q! has been the recipient of multiple style awards. If modern is what you are looking for, then be sure to check out Hotel Q! when you come to visit Berlin.

ü  Lux Berlin

Excellent food, beautiful architecture, and stylish but functional design are what make this hotel so unique.

ü  Axel Hotel Berlin

Located in Berlin’s gay district, this “hetero friendly” hotel is exquisitely stylish, elegant, and comfortable.

ü  Arcotel John F

This hotel is beautiful, elegant, chic, and modern. It is located in the Mitte District in Berlin, where most of the more artistic hotels are located.

ü  Hotel Art Nouveau

Designed in the art nouveau tradition, this small hotel is simple, yet elegant and filled with beautiful antiques.

ü  Ku Damm 0

This futuristic hotel is filled with designer furniture and rooms are available at decent prices.

ü  Motel One

Located in the trendy Mitte District, this hotel has stylish four-star rooms for affordable two-star prices.

ü  MichelBerger

Unique, strange, and worth the visit, this hotel has personality that is even reflected in its website.

 

 

While this list may seem like a lot to deal with and choose from, each one of these hotels is worth looking into. If you would rather look into potential hotels by comparing ratings and prices, you could always do an internet search and use one of the hotel comparison websites. That way you can see the ratings and prices of hotels side by side.

 

Living in Germany, you are privileged to be so close to such beauty and culture. Not every city is perfect, but so many are worth visiting and experiencing while you live in Germany. Berlin is one of those amazing German cities that are definitely worth visiting and exploring when you get the opportunity to do so. [...]

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Germany’s Luxury Outlet Shopping

After moving to a new country, it is beneficial to find ways to relax, unwind, and pamper yourself. One way to accomplish that is through shopping. You get to walk around, take in the sights of this new and fascinating place, and you get to treat yourself to whatever foods and items strike your fancy. It is often referred to as retail therapy for a reason.

In the United States, outlet shopping is not as popular as shopping at a traditional mall. In fact, outlet stores in the United States are often associated with bargain bins, messy sales racks, and poor neighborhoods. In Europe, however, outlet malls and outlet shopping centers are places of luxury and comfort, and Germany is no exception to this.

Why Shop at an Outlet?

 

 

With the many chic and posh European designers, there needed to be a place to sell their clothing, accessories, and items that had gone out of season and out of style. With outlet shopping malls, those designers can take the out of season items out of their stores, but still make a small profit off of those items. Those items are then placed in outlet shops and the prices are heavily discounted. Outlet shops are win-win for both the designers and the customers.

Outlet Shopping Centers

Major outlet developer, Value Retail, opened luxury outlet shopping malls throughout Europe, including the three largest outlet shopping centers in Germany. These outlet shopping centers are the Ingolstadt Village, the Wertheim Village, and the Maasmechelen Village. The Ingolstadt Village, which is located near the city of Munich, offers over 70 boutiques and over 75 designer label shops. The Wertheim Village, which is near the city of Frankfurt, offers over 85 boutiques and over 00 designer label shops. These outlet shopping centers offer high quality luxury shopping for visitors, with adorable cafes and comfortable restaurants, where you can stop to relax and have a bite to eat or grab a coffee before continuing with your shopping experience.

Other Outlet Shops

In addition to the main outlet shopping centers mentioned above, there are also many outlet shops scattered all over Germany. With a simple internet search, you should be able to find the locations of the nearest outlet shops to you, or the nearest specific outlet shops if you have a certain store or brand in mind. There are outlet shops and shopping centers in or near most every major city in Germany, so the shopping experience you are looking for is never far away.

The major outlet shopping centers sometimes have information available in English, if you still are not good with German yet. Also, the large outlet shopping centers accept most major credit cards.

 

Outlet shopping can be a fun, relaxing, and extravagant event. When you get the opportunity, treat yourself to a day of shopping. You will have the chance to enjoy your new home country, and get to observe and interact with new people in this culture that is still new to you. Plus, you get to spoil yourself with some gifts.[...]

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Canceling a gym membership

Canceling gym memberships as well as many other contracts in Germany can be rather tricky. Many contracts consist of clauses that state that a resignation needs to be transmitted via mail at least three months prior to the desired termination date of the contract. If such resignation is not sent at least three months before, contracts will be extended by as much as 2 or even 24 months. This can turn into a very costly affair if the service isn’t needed any longer. Gym memberships tend to have clauses such as the one described. In addition to this, most gyms will offer significantly lower rates for those people who sign up for 24 months in comparison to 6 or 2 months. A pay per month option is generally not offered by most of the gyms or is relatively expensive.

Some places even follow the criminal strategy to claim that they have not received a resignation letter and extend the contract anyway. In order to be protected against such fraud it is important to keep copies and records of sent resignation letters. The safest is usually sending an e-mail since the e-mail provider keeps records with time stamps of any outgoing e-mails. Save the e-mail as soon as it is sent in order to make sure that the automatic deletion after a certain time does not go into effect. Many companies, however, will not allow for resignation letters to be e-mails.  In this case it is smartest to deliver the letter personally and to demand a receipt for said letter. If that is not possible, for example due to a great distance between one’s location and the mailing address of a company, make sure to send the letter as an “Einschreiben”. It costs a little more in shipping but the person on the receiving end has to sign for it, therefore technically handing out a receipt for the resignation letter.

 

 

Just in the recent past a law has been passed concerning gym memberships. This one is especially concerning for those planning on leaving Germany or relocating within Germany. Prior to this law people who moved but still had a contract with a gym were supposed to pay the membership fee until the end of the contract, despite having left the area with no way to use any services of the gym. Now it is possible to cancel existing gym memberships solely based on the fact that one is moving away, regardless of the time left on the contract. 

 

Like with all contracts, know what you are signing before you sign. Schedule a date to check out the gym, ensuring that the facility hosts the necessary equipment for your work out regime. As a form of promotion, gyms often offer a trial period, where there may be a reduced cost, or no cost at all. If you are required to sign a contract during this time, ensure that you are aware of any clauses stating that the contract will automatically prolonged if you haven’t contacted the gym to cancel. [...]

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