Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Piano Man

One of my favorite things is walking around and hearing people playing instruments, singing, etc. This happens on a daily basis in the city center, near a large shopping and office district.

After leaving the gym today, this is what I was treated to:

It just so happened that the moment I started recording, it was noon and the bells were ringing and music from the church bell tower was playing at the same it's a bit of a competing sound.
But this was lovely! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

All Washed Up

Are you at all curious about how we wash our clothes here in Germany? No? Well, you're going to hear about it anyway...:)

Watch the video below for a very interesting lesson an insider's view (OOO! Lucky you!) on the subject.

Side note: Do you despise hearing your voice play back on videos and such? I do! Do I really sound like that, in real time? Hmm....

Quick list of some of the differences in doing laundry/washing machines in Germany: (this is from my observations and may not necessarily be the stone cold truth)

*Washing machines use a lot less water during the cycle here, which is good as it's better for the environment!

*Our "load size" is a lot smaller than a standard load size in the U.S. There ARE washing machines that are much larger here, but in general I think the size of the loads are smaller for most machines in Europe. BUT I've been set straight advised that the clothes don't need to "float" due to less water in the cycle, allowing you to pack the drum completely full. Hence a larger load. However, I don't pack it full, as I feel my clothes don't come out as clean if I do so, despite what everyone says! I do what I want I'm my own person here! :)

*Laundromats are a bit harder to find here. They do exist, but they tend to be smaller and the ones I've seen are a bit expensive!

*Most washers have internal water heaters. You don't have to rely on the temp of the tap to dictate the temp of the wash water.

*Wash cycles take a bit longer- as it used less water and the machine stops and starts a lot.

*Clothes tend to come out just as clean as what I'm used to, so I don't see a big difference there. This washer actually seems to be a bit harsher on my clothes.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Open Library

One of the very first things I found to love about living in Germany was the "Offene Bibliothek" that is literally 200 feet from our apartment. Now, you're probably wondering what on earth I'm talking about, so I shall explain. Right outside our patio is the cross section of the road we live on and another road (a platz), complete with a circular drive with a grassy middle area that is raised. If you walk outside and take a right onto the road that is perpendicular to ours, you will immediately stumble upon this:

Upon first glance, it looks like nothing more than a crazy graffiti-laden cabinet on the side of the road and walkway. BUT WAIT! Upon closer inspection (and opening the cabinet doors), you would see:

Wah-la! Books galore! Books of every genre. It is an open library (Offene Bibliothek) for people to enjoy at their leisure! The premise is simple: You take the books you'd like to read and return them when you're finished. You can also add to the collection by donating books. It's pretty amazing! I remember my first thought and spoken response after seeing this the day I arrived. It was something like, "Woah, don't people steal the books or destroy the cabinet or do mean things and vandalize this?" That's not very elegantly stated, I know. I was really thinking that something like this, with no lock and operating solely on the honor system, wouldn't last long in most cities in the U.S. *Sheepish face*
And I'm certain that sort of thing does happen to some of the Offene Bilbiotheks here, but this one remains in good shape. The cabinet doors don't even latch all of the way. People do post pictures and ads and add graffiti to the outside of the cabinet, but the inside has never been damaged.

I do so wish the books weren't all in Deutsch. Once in a while I find one in English and I do a happy dance and yell WOOPEE! and take it home to devour. Or something like that...;)
I love this open library system!