Monday, June 11, 2012

What to expect during Home Swaps

When I tell people that we're doing home swaps as a way to have a wonderful and cheap vacation time, they ask me about the main differences between the countries: in this case Germany and the USA. The biggest and probably the most hard to comprehend for Americans from the South like us is the lack of Air Conditioning. I don't know any private homes in Germany that has an AC. Public places and hotels are different. In Germany, we open all the windows to create a breeze and love living outdoors -weather permitting. Mind you, we hardly ever have the temperatures nor the humidity that prevail in Florida for almost half of the year. AC even has a bad reputation in Germany: it causes colds, spreads germs and is a waste of electricity. Well, here it's a different kettle of fish and we encourage our house guest to keep the AC on even they may think doing us a great job in saving money for us when they switch it off. They learn soon enough.
With open windows come flies and midges.There aren't really any mosquitoes in Germany. But they annoying midges will find their way into the house and bedroom. You just have to switch off the lights when the windows are open.
Another difference are the fridges.People tend to have smaller fridge-freezers that have no ice-makers.That's what my poor hubby really misses. We even take an extra old fashioned cube tray with us so that we have enough ice cubes. For some reason, Germans don't need ice cubes in their drinks as we do here. Once their drink is chilled in the fridge- that's cold enough.
Germany has its famous Autbahn. Many foreigners dream of driving there at top speeds. In reality, in many areas speed is restricted due to heavy traffic in densely populated areas. But I have done my 240 km/h legally. The rest of the country has Bundesstrassen which often are only 2 lane roads. In fact, traveling in the countryside that is the type of road you're likely to encounter. There is only one or 2 of this type of narrow roads left where we live. As my neighbor called it:"The dangerous road..."Ooh, and also windy...scary, scary.
Other differences are the ones that I miss dearly: foods! My favorite foods like white asparagus, Italian Gelaterias (ice cream parlors), a gazillion different breads and Broetchen, (bread rolls), most of them not sweet -thank goodness- exquisite cakes and tortes (tartes) as well as beer gardens.I wrote about some of these before in last years blog, Season 1 as an eBook.( With less than 4 weeks to go, my excitement is growing. I'll keep you posted! For more information see
Siggy Buckley

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