Thursday, October 30, 2014

November 2014 - Overview

Holidays (Federal or Bavaria specific) and Important Dates      
November 1 - Allerheiligen (All Saint´s Day) - Shops closed. See post here
November 2- Allerseelen (All Soul´s Day)
November 11 - Martin´s Tag, and the official start of the Fasching season! (not a public holiday)

Events (by no means a complete list)

Herzo

November 7 - 11 Martini Kirchweih
November 8 - City walking tour for new residents (in German, English Dec. 6) 
November 9 - Open Sunday! Shops open from 1-6 pm
Through November 23 Herzo Cultural Days
November 23 Hobby and Art Market

Erlangen
November 13-16 Fernwen Festival Wanderlust Festival! Information  related to travel, photography, and more. More of a convention than a festival IMHO. 
November 26 - December 26 Erlangen on Ice, Erlangen´s free ice skating rink opens Schlossplatz
November 26 - December 24 Forest Christmas Market, Schlossplatz
November 26 - December 24 Historic or Middle AgesChristmas Market 
November 28 Sternen Nacht, Shops open until 11pm!

Nürnberg 

Every Thursday, City Marketing Nürnberg publishes weekend tips! 
October 24 - November 2 Gingerbread Market 
October 25- November 2 - Consumenta Bavaria´s largest consumer fair includes both information and items for sale. Fashion shows, home goods, cooking/kitchen, health         information and services, activities for kids. Over 1,000 exhibitors. Tickets from               €7,50
November 15 GPS Scavenger Hunt. €29,99
Through November 16 Circus Krone, tickets from €18,50
November 28 - December 24 Christkindlesmarkt!
November 29 Langwasser Christmas Market Heinrich-Böll-Platz
November 29 - 30 Romantic Christmas Market Gleißhammerstr. 6

Other
October 25 - November 9 Würzburg´s Autumn Market 
November 2 Indian Festival of Lights, Fürth €6 Adults, Children under 14 free
November 7 - 9 Kofferhofmarkt, Fürth Clothes, ceramics, jewelry, crafts and more for sale!
November 8 - 9 Wine and Delicacy Fair, Fürth. Sample wine, cheese, meats, etc. from around the world. Tickets €8 per day.
November 8 Lichthöfe Bamberg Kind of hard to explain. Basically, it is exhibitions of light, be it artificial, or candle light in gardens in and around the area. Pictures from last year, which better explain it, here. Some of the 20 stops offer light food and drinks. 
November 8 - Honky Tonk Festival, Würzburg Jazz, Blues, Honky Tonk 
November 9 - Open Sunday, Bamberg (Only at ERTL shopping center)
November 16 - Fall Market, Coburg (Entry €1,50 Adults)
November 21- 30 Bach Days, Würzburg 9 days of classical music concerts
November 27- December 23 Christmas Market, Fürth (also has a Middle Ages Market)

November 29 - January 6 Bamberg´s 39 Nativity Scenes are up! Walking map of the Nativity Trail here. More info at the tourist center.

Other things to do? 


From September - April 2015 go ice skating at Nürnberg Arena!

Take a hike! Link to VGN hiking information site here (English). Combine hiking and beer with the 5 Seidla Tour (English). Hiking trails in and around Herzo here. Nature parks in the region may be found here (link in German, click on interaktiven Karte for the map). 


Head to the Frankischer Schweiz (link in English) for breweries, hiking, castles, rock climbing, canoeing and more. An interactive map of hiking trails in the Frankischer Schweiz can be found here


Take the historic train (link in English) from Forcheim to the Frankischer Schweiz (operates until October 26). Especially fun for children! 


It´s  still wine festival time! With so many wineries in the lower Franconian region there´s a festival every weekend. Check out the list (in English) here (in English). The area is about one hour from Nürnberg by train.


Kerwa (or Kirchweih) season is not over yet! Click here for a list of local festivals. Wondering what a Kerwa is? See our previous post


It´s Bockbier Anstich time! That time of year that the Bockbier kegs are tapped. Find a list of local Anstichen (the celebration the day the first keg is tapped) here


Take your own wine walk in Nürnberg (link in German, map on right hand side of page).


Sign up for a class at the Volkshochschule (page includes links to the VHS in the HENhaus area).


Explore our area´s many bike paths! (For a Nürnberg map of bike paths, click here) For other cities, start with a google search of your city´s name and Fahrradweg). Maps are available in most book stores for under €5. 



Head out to a local soccer game. Tip: For those with children with short attention spans, some clubs offer free admission for the second half.


Mundraub allows you to search your area for wild fruits/veggies/nuts. Take the kids and pick your own wild apples or pears. (link in German) 


Visit a pool or sauna- Atlantis is in Herzo, Nürnberg has many to choose from (link in    German), Bamberg has Bambados Can´t decide?  Schwimmbadcheck is an online review site for public pools, link is in English.


Produce


Produce availability in Germany is VERY seasonal. Want fresh asparagus right now? Not likely.

Want to know when to expect what (of locally grown produce)? Click here  This also includes information about when to plant what in this area of Germany.

Things cropping up (pun intended) ;)

Kale, or Grünkohl (after the first real frost)  
Rotkohl (red cabbage)       
Local Chicoree
Brussels Sprouts
Squash of all kinds! 
Salsify - how to use it here

Things to stock up on as they will go away soon! 

Mangold               
Local Spinach
Local Walnuts, Chestnuts

What in the world is that?

Black radish. Here´s a recipe for a salad, and a soup. and here is more on the various radisches found in Germany, as well as a few more recipes.  

Mangold  I personally like the leaves in a quiche, or sauteed with garlic and butter alone, or on pasta. The roots can be boiled and pureed like mashed potatoes, or added to soups. 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Allerheiligen and Allerseelen 2014

This Saturday and Sunday are holidays within the Catholic Church.

Saturday, November 1 is Allerheiligen, or All Saint´s Day. The day is to honor all Saint´s, known and unknown, collectively. November 1 is a Bavarian holiday.  All shops will be closed, and additionally, it is a Stille Tag. That means NO loud music, dancing is forbidden, and you will find the general mood outside to be quiet and reflective. In the more Catholic regions, for example, my city of Bamberg, there isn´t really much laughter. The USAG Schweinfurt put out a code of conduct for Stille Tage a few years ago. You may read it here.

Many people will return to the city or town of their family´s origin. The family will go to the Allerheiligen Church service, have a meal together, and visit and decorate their family´s grave. At night, candles are placed on the gravestones.

NOTE: Many museums have special holiday hours. See page 2 here for museums in Nürnberg that are open.

Sunday, November 2, or Allerseelen (All Soul´s  Day)  is NOT a Bavarian, or Federal holiday, but it is observed by Catholics. This day is to honor those departed who were faithful to the Catholic Church.

The holidays have been observed since 835.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What I love about living in............................Erlangen!

Erlangen is a middle Franconian city in Bavaria with a population of over 100000 people. Known for it's University, the massive amount of Siemens offices located here and it's annual festival Der Bergkirchweih. 
Photo: http://www.airport-nuernberg.de/255761/Erlangen


Name: Nathalie Caswell

Hometown: UK

Age: Thirties

Family Status: Married

Occupation: Student

What brought you to Germany? My husbands job

How long have you been here? 3.5 years

How did you settle on Erlangen? Its the town my husband works in

How easy is it to meet people? Other expats? Erlangen is fairly large, and there is usually something going on, if you are willing to join in someone will usually want to chat to you. The population is quite international so if you go out looking to meet other expats you will find them.

Favorite things about living in Erlangen? Proximity to the countryside and green spaces like the Schlossgarten, biking is the number one form of transport and everything is within biking distance.

What do you do on the weekend? At the weekends we travel, meet up with friends, shop in Erlangen, Fuerth or Nuernberg, go to festivals, eat out.

Weeknight activities? Take courses at the VHS, get together with friends, play in music groups

Transportation? Do I need a car? Not necessarily if you live in town, the public transport system here is cheap and efficient, a bike however I would definitely recommend.

Doctors? There are plenty to choose from, just be aware that your wait may be long

Favorite spot for a beer? Steinbach brewery outside under the lanterns in the evening, Entlas Keller in the woods in the daytime or Enoteca for wine. Café for a coffee? Amir Der KaffeeMann

Favorite restaurants? Mein Lieber SchwanThe Curry HouseZum Angerwirt

Place to watch a game? The only places in Erlangen that show Rugby are the Irish pubs.

Clothing? Shops here are mostly like the ones in the UK, the prices however are higher.

Taste of home? Lidl do a twice yearly 'British foods' selection, its good for stocking up on cheese, most supermarkets now carry things like Heinz Beans, digestives and tea. Asian shops also stock things like self raising flour and Marmite. Granny Mac's Irish pub does a decent Full Irish breakfast at the weekends.

New in town? Erlangen.de has a lots of information about what's going on locally.

Other helpful hints for newcomers? Learn some German, even if it´s just the basics, it will really help!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

HENhaus............more just than a Facebook group!


In response to the HENhaus survey recently taken, we thought it might be helpful to again share the purpose and mission of HENhaus. So here's a little bit about where we came from and what we do. 

HENhaus (HEN stands for Herzo, Erlangen, and Nürnberg) was founded in 2009. Katrina (Kat) de Laat relocated to Germany in 2008, and was here almost a year before meeting any English speakers in the area. After posting an ad for an English speaking playgroup, Kat was able to find other English speaking women, and the idea for HENhaus was born. It was prior to the Facebook group  that the blog www.germanyexpat.org was started. The idea was to create a repository of information so that new expats in Germany don´t have to rediscover answers to common questions all by themselves (what's the deal withflour, or where to find an after hour doctor or pharmacy, for example). The Facebook group was created in 2011. 

HENhaus was founded as a service related organization.  HENhaus has three main purposes, 1. to provide "Newcomer Greetings" and get people connected to other English speakers in the area, 2. to share information helpful to the assimilation process, and 3. something we call Stork Squads. Newcomers to the area may register for a "Newcomer Greeting," where an established HENhaus volunteer meets the newcomer for a coffee or lunch to chat, provide information about social opportunities or groups in the area, local  tips, etc or just lend a friendly ear!  The information portion comes through the repository on www.germanyexpat.org, and providing a forum for questions and answers through our facebook page. And, when a new mother (or someone incapacitated due to medical reasons) receives a Stork Squad, amazing HENhaus volunteers provide meals for the individual/family which are delivered to their home.  More information about the services provided can be foundhere on the HENhaus website. 

If you are in need of a Newcomer Greeting, or Stork Squad please....contact us! Click here if you are interested in greeting newcomers. 

If you are interested in finding social networks or activities there are several groups in the area which provide social activities for members. 

Our sister organization Chickhaus (events organised on Facebook) provides a variety of social activities: Girl´s Night Out, Coffee and Conversation, Dinner and Drinks, Book Club, etc. 
International Women´s Group also provides a variety of events.They also frequently attend local "international" fairs. 
English Stammtisch Nürnberg has events (normally at a bar) at least twice a month. Typically over 100 in attendance. 
Nürnberg Expats on Meetup organises meetups at sporting events, festivals, etc., as well as bike rides and much more. 
Internations is a well established, group of expats around the world. The Nürnberg group, has a forum for q & a, classified ads, etc. Events in the coming month include book club, tennis and a dinner out for example. 
A list of local English speaking playgroups may be found here 
And if you can't find what you're looking for feel free to post about your interests here in the HENhaus Facebook group! With over 650 members and growing, there are plenty of smaller, private "specialized" groups, whether for knitting and crafts or running and sport, and they are typically always welcoming to newcomers!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What I love about living in.......................Nürnberg!

Name: Rituparna Roy or just 'Ritu'                 

Hometown: Kolkata, India

Age: 32

Family Status: Married, with two kids

Occupation: House and kids manager at home

What brought you to Germany? My husband's occupation (Siemens)

How long have you been here? Just a year and half

How did you settle on Nurnberg? Husband's office is in Nürnberg (Siemens Nürnberg & Erlangen). We preferred staying in Nürnberg as it seemed more convenient with lots of transport options and supermarkets located nearby. Plus we don't have a car so we need to stay somewhere which is easily accessible from station, airport and let's say, everywhere.

Photo: http://www.altstadtplaetze.nuernberg.de/hauptmarkt.htm

How easy is it to meet people? Other expats? Very very easy and too much fun. People are very helpful. The Facebook groups like HENhaus and Chickhaus are really helpful whether you want to find a new friend in town or you need any information about anything.

Kid friendly? School information? The area is very good for kids. I live in the old part of the city which is centrally located.  There are many parks and grounds near my place where I can spend a leisurely evening or afternoon with my kids.  Also there are many museums and beautiful gardens for kids. There are swimming pools with special play areas for kids (südstadtbad, freibad, westbad) which is real fun in summers.

What do you do on the weekend? As everything is closed on Sundays, we are mostly shopping and collecting our grocery on Saturdays (in the afternoon). Along with that we also stroll around the city center and grab something to eat in the afternoon and come back home before the kids get too tired. Sundays are mostly spent with friends...meeting up with their families at restaurants, cafes or at home.

Weeknight activities? There are many bars, pubs and night clubs close to our house. But as parents of a one year and a three year we hardly get the scope to take privilege of that. But sometimes we do boy's night and girl's night with our friends when one parent is babysitting. At other times we are also lucky enough to get a babysitter.

Any negatives about the area? Well, I can't see anything negative about this area. But living in Altstadt, close to the city center, means lots of noises entering your ear all day, lots of tourists' crowd to see on the road when you go out for shopping, etc. and living in old houses. If that's a problem for you then it's a negative factor. Honestly, I and my husband quite like it here.

Transportation? Do I need a car? It is always better to have a car anywhere specially when you have small kids.  But we don't have a car yet and don't think we need one urgently. As we live near the city center we are well connected with underground rail (U Bahn), tram (strassenbahn) and bus services. The main train station (Bahnhof), city center(the main shopping area), supermarkets, parks, clinics and hospitals, post offices, schools and kindergartens are within 1 or 1.5 km from our house.

Crime? I was not aware of any crime in this area unless last month our kids' strollers got stolen from our entrance passage. And when I spoke with others about this I came to know that many have similar experiences of their stuffs getting stolen here. But I guess it is not 100% safe anywhere you live.

Doctors? Dentist? We have a very good dentist just 5 minutes walk away from our house. Our general physician (Haus Arzt) is 15 minutes walk from our house. The pediatrician (kinder Arzt) is 20 minutes walk away.

Hairdresser? There are lots of hairdressing salons in and around the place, almost at every corner.

Favorite spot for a beer? Lots and lots of small and big restaurants serve good beer. You just have to try them out, each time at a different place until you find your favorite beer joint.

Café for a coffee? My favorite cafes are W2 and Wanderer in the Altstadt, where me and my friends hang out quite often. Besides, there is Di Simo serving good coffee and Starbucks of course.

Favorite restaurants? Cafe Finca & Bar Celona, Enchilada, Block House, Nordsee and so many. You can find many restaurants serving food from all corners of the world. There are good Indian, Mexican, Australian,  Italian, Spanish, French, Chinese and Turkish restaurants here.

Place to watch a game? Most of the small cafes have screens put up where you can enjoy a chill wine or a beer while watching your favorite game. Otherwise there are some sport bars around. Sorry ,don't remember the names now.

Day trips? Well, from Nürnberg you can go anywhere. Würzburg (link to blog post from Bavaria Undercover on how to make the best of a day in Würzburg) and Bamberg are the most heard of places where people from Nürnberg go for day trips. Besides, there are other small towns and mountain ranges around which you can explore.

Clothing? You can find many designer shops located in the corner of every street in the old town. The popular brands like Mango, Desigual, S.Oliver, Ansons, Jack Wolfskin and other are available here. H&M and C&A are the most popular stores.

Taste of home? As I am from India, I am always in a look out for Indian or Asian stores to collect some stuff. This city does not disappoint the expats.  There is a huge American section in the supermarkets, many Asian shops and several small shops where you can get specializations of different countries. You just have to look for it. 

Other helpful hints for newcomers? Nürnberg is one of the perfect places to stay when you are away from home. With it's international population you won't feel as an outsider. All you have to do is meet people and learn the language. This makes living here real simple. All the best :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

English Speaking Hairdressers in the HEN Area

English speaking hair dressers in the HENhaus area:

Sandra B (Nürnberg) Sandra speaks perfect English. Jenny, Florian and Theresa have also been recommended.

Toupet or not Toupet (Nürnberg) Laura is highly recommended.

Zöe Cutting Club (Nürnberg) - especially noted for great highlights

Cosmic Stylers (Nürnberg) Mark speaks great English

Capelli Friseur (Fürth) - owners are Australian

Headquarters (Erlangen) Kevin is American. Note: reportedly a bit pricey

Midori (Erlangen) also good with color. Jenny or Kirsten recommended (July 2015)

Hair Flair (Erlangen) Michelle speaks fluent English

Maurice Molnar (Wiesendorf)

Haarstube Herzo - (Herzo) Stephen is recommended. Note: website also in English!

Cut & Color Hairzo-Style - Tobi is recommended, book early, as appointments are tough to get.

Schnitt and Color - (Erlangen, across from Rathaus) Jasmine speaks perfect English. Recommended for both cut and color.

Also see here for the 2011 post on the same topic.

Updated June 2016