Posts posted by bytex
I just discovered this town of 33k people in Thuringia. It has a thousand year history and it survived the wars unscattered.
It looks really amazing architecture-wise:
I wonder if one can live there and commute to the other, larger cities nearby for work?
Altenburg is located 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Leipzig, 90 kilometres (56 miles) west of Dresden and 100 kilometres (62 miles) east of Erfurt.
It has a cute old town:0
On 11/29/2021, 9:07:18, slammer said:
Sadly Malta has fallen into the hands of developers, and boy do they develop. Old townhouses; gone, replaced by highrise flats that nobody can afford! Beautiful art deco buildings along the Sliema seafront; gone. Ancient temples, gone by a "whoopsie" from an excavator. The list is endless.
Injured immigrant workers dumped on the side of the road for someone else to take care of, knife gangs in Qawra. Unemployed and very aggressive "immigrants" roaming the streets. The skyline dotted with cranes and corruption in the highest levels of government.
Too bad. Gibraltar being even tinier it is mostly high-rise already. I generally prefer houses anyday over flats, but it makes sense there and I strangely like the place. Malta is not as dense and small as Gibraltar. I also like Spain but their high-rises are of poorer quality than even many ex Socialist countries. They look so cheap, haphazardly built to capitalize on the tourist/expat boom. Thank God that period seems to be over as I see lots of houses built in the Spanish areas from Cadiz all the way up to Marbella. And many of these are terraces, so more space efficient and lower priced than detached houses. I think the best thing about Gib is it's not an island so one can escape when fed up with the high rises and all the cabin fever tightly packed places have and go to a low-rise, less dense area in nearby Spain. That's what many now do as the property prices in Gib are crazy. I just wish some of those terraces in Spain were of the British Victorian style. Maybe I can convert one to it if I get a permission lol0
So far I've lived in 4 countries abroad. Out of these the best was Slovakia. The main reason was this organization founded by a fellow expat. Basically they bring together people from all around the world living or visiting Bratislava, regardless of their cultural origin. They organize parties, gatherings and trips for foreigners and locals in Bratislava and the Slovak (and nearby Czech) countrysides. I think they even had a person for legal advice.
I went to several trips with them where I made new friends. Were it not for those trips I'd be completely alone as I was single and went to work there all alone.
I also visited a presentation of the organization on the customs and culture of Slovakia. They totally helped me get over most of the cultural shock and nostalgia. I later moved to Prague where I couldn't and can't find a similar organization. All there is are some language exchanges in pubs or hiking Facebook groups, which are helpful but not as much.
So my tip is look up if there is a similar organization in the place you plan to live in. Unfortunately this is not as common as I thought it is. AFAIK there's an expat representative in Benidorm Spain but she's more like a politician, a liaison of sorts between the expats and the authorities.
In most places all those functions are divided between different instituions and businesses such as a country club, a trip provider etc. If someone reading this has an idea about such an organization go for it! It really makes the life of brand new expats that much easier. I made very good friends there! I haven't found this type of organization to be very common anywhere else, not even on the Algarve and Costa del Sol. There's an American-Greek association in Athens but it's mostly for Americans while the one in Bratislava was open to all expats. And also to locals! In fact it was the best way to meet open-minded locals as those not inclined to mix with foreigners rarely visit such events and groups.0
I like some small and exotic countries like Cyprus, Malta and Gibraltar. Cyprus is like a blend of Greece, Turkey and even the ME but Malta and Gibraltar are often forgotten.
They strike me as almost like those immigrant New world societies. Seeing people with Arabic, Spanish or Italian surnames speaking English natively is so unexpected!
The locals in Malta are mixed between Maltese, Italians, Jews and some Brtis. And Gibraltarians are a unique blend of Spaniards (mostly Andalucians), Brtis, Italians, Maltese, Moroccans but also Portuguese and Indians. Heck, there are recent Swiss and German expats living there (or on the cheaper Spanish side but often visiting). People often forget they exist but to me they're multiculturalism done right (maybe being small and multicultural for centuries helps, you can't get far in a small place by being hostile to your fellow man; maybe people there learned to accept differences for the common good). I also believe in an island of just just 525,285 and an even smaller peninsula town of ~30k people disruptive behavior is not tolerated much. It must be great to have English-speaking authorities in a good climate without having to go all the way to the USA or Australia!
Greece and Cyprus are also pretty, but they're too warm in summer for me, Gibraltar is more bearable believe it or not. Same for most of Spain - great culture, people (except Madrileños ) and food but some areas get way too hot in the summer. Still, I like how it's so clean, even Andalucía is much cleaner than, say Greece.
I love Portugal, esp. Braga, Lisbon, Porto and of course the Algarve and Madeira. The Azores aren't bad either but way too isolated
I like the architecture, cultures and nature of Austria, Germany, Hungary and Czechia but I'm afraid the people are not very warm nor welcoming there (I come from Southern Europe so it's hard to find most people outside of Southern Europe as friendly). Budapest, Salzburg and the Alpine areas are surprisingly beautiful and Czechia has some fairy-tale like old towns like Klatovy and Cesky Krumlov, not to mention the UNESCO Spa towns of Karlovy Vary and Marianske Lazne. As for Germany I love the very southern tips with the Alpine meadows, ofc the German cars, esp. from the 90s and their pop culture and music from the 70s to 90s. I also like Hungary, esp. Budapest.
I like the slightly melancholic pop culture of Sweden and the beautiful nature there plus their freedom to roam free.2
On 10/27/2021, 7:26:11, optimista said:
While I disagree with Karin's final sentiments - it's fine making do, but the bar is set low and long-term you may wonder if you wasted your life in the wrong place with the wrong people (have T-shirt) - I find your last post so sugar-coated it sounds unreal. Is this all a TT Friday wind-up?
You could try au-pairing if you are any good with kids. Or sell yourself as a gentleman's valet. Then again I smell the whiff of financial ease. My nose is telling me you wouldn't want to enslave yourself and presently don't need the money. Paying to stay in a family as an adult just for the experience is new on me. And speaking from personal experience, there is no guarantee that marrying in ensures integration, specially in teutonic circles.
Maybe just flip a coin, jump off the cliff and move on if you find yourself like a fish out of water.
The bolded rings sooo true. Is it any wonder why I do so much researching in advance?
I mean I loved Prague's architecture but I wouldn't ever use "friendly, warm and welcoming" to describe the locals. At the end of the day fancy old architecture means nothing if you can't find local friends easily and if they're too stand-offish.
Bratislava locals were slightly friendlier than Prague. This organization "Internationals Bratislava" was very helpful. It was created by a fellow expat and they offer presentations, hiking trips and trips to castles and old towns for expats and locals and try to bring them together. I made very good friends there! I haven't found this type of organization to be very common anywhere else, not even on the Algarve and Costa del Sol. Sure you can go to a British bar but an actual organization offering organized trips for expats? I don't know of any. Do you have something like that in Munich?
Unlike in Bratislava, in Prague and most other places you're left to your own devices to make sense of the place and culture. As I was single I had to organize all trips myself and travel alone which was boring. There are Bla Bla language exchanges but no one wants to learn my native language. And that's focused too much on food and bars. The trips IB organized had that too but also hiking and visiting castles I wouldn't know existed. As for Germany I'm really shocked that after passing an A1 course I can read and understand less of it than I can Spanish with just an A1.1 (first half of an A1) course plus rusty B1 knowledge of French. Some languages are really harder.0
Hi all! I've realized I like British culture but not Brit weather nor now needing a visa to even visit the UK.
I appreciate the 4 seasons Bavaria seems to have and I'm especially into the areas close to Austria or the Czech Republic. What better way to enjoy British culture than live in a place where there are many expats?
Aside from the obvious Munich, I'd like to please know where do British expats congregate?
I was recently in Lagos Portugal and it was not only very beautiful but filled with British tourists and expats (I spoke with some, they were spending their gap year there). It's not as Anglicized as the Costa Del Sol in Spain, but it is beautiful and it felt fun getting to enjoy not only the local culture but also having so many British bars. Apparently there are even some British businesses there. So I wonder where in Bavaria one can be within many British expats aside from Munich itself? Thanks in advance!0
you may wonder if you wasted your life in the wrong place with the wrong people
Yep, this is the whole point of my thread. I really enjoyed living in Slovakia and Czechia and visiting Hungary and Austria. There's something je ne sais quoi I felt about the whole former Habsburg region. When I lost my job there I felt the same for the city I felt almost as emotional as I do when leaving my childhood city. I made more friends there for a year than I do in my childhood city, so I consider it a win despite the whole land making me feel too emotional (past lives lol?). In Hungary I felt less moody, the vibe of the place was laid back, earthy and I felt like home. Prague had a flashy and sunny vibe and I loved the countryside around it. I saw the least of Austria but I never went to the more typical Alpine regions. Vienna was nice, if not as WOW as Prague but lately, I've discovered I love the Salzburg and Linz areas.
By the way, the above story is completely real. Even I cannot believe I was that lucky to discover such a kind-hearted family. I've heard lots of negative stories about host families or Couchsurfing hosts. This Dutch family literally saved me from loneliness. Maybe the best people are out there in a village or small town and not in the big cities... The only caveat was you really needed to push yourself to speak their language. Also, not everyone would like to be treated like a kid or be told what is the done and not done thing. Most people above 18 are too set in their ways and would consider this an attack.
I didn't care, I knew that's the deal with experiencing their culture from inside. There are expats living in the Netherlands for years that know less about the culture than I do now. Most of them never had the chance to be part of that, to interact with a real-life local family. It helps with the little things like knowing what's considered a faux pas. Basically it was the closest one can get to a fast-track of what growing up in the culture is. I lived in the NL for just 2,5 years of which a couple of months with my host family, not including the many guest visits later. I learned more about the life and culture when staying with them than all the other months spent there combined. As I half-seriously joke now I have an adopted Duch oma.0
Nah, nothing negative really. Such a move is big business. Choosing a culture that's not a good fit might cost one dearly. Btw maybe it's the way one moves that's more important rather than the place. All alone as a single guy? Gonna be bad! Moving with a SO, family or wife? It'd be better, if she's a local even more so. The expat bubble is the surest way to never integrate.
Which reminds me of my study abroad from hell/heaven. At first it was hell. I was staying in a dorm like most. Almost no locals whatsoever. In uni they had their groups and foreign students were in a separate bubble. The 2 groups would rarely interract. Moved to a flatshare, even worse.
I missed my family like crazy so I signed up for a stay with a local family in a small town not far from my uni's city. The oma, a somewhat traditional Mrs. Doubtfire-looking lady temporarily had to move in with them as her house was getting renovated. I can still smell her delicious sponge cakes, home cooked meals & tea. Her daughter was into yoga. She taught me to meditate, while her husband would play tennis with me. It was my first time living in a terraced house. I still can smell the fresh backyard grass after the rain.
Best was they took me with them on their camper van trip to France! The children (also students) would get back in the weekends & on holidays. They offered me to try weed. I hate the smell so I refused but we went partying together often.
Their oma would take me to church with her and teach me about their values and traditions. At times she'd scold me for dressing 'too Balkan & standing out' (Dutch directness + being in the bible belt). One of her catchphrases was 'This is (not) the done thing here!' but she'd congratulate me when trying my best to soak the culture. It was the best way to experience life as a local and get to really know the local culture.
We're basically an extended family with them now & my female cousin is engaged to their son. If you wonder why I didn't move there I found out I cope better in cold continential winters with snow than mild but humid oceanic ones.
My eyes are now wet from nostalgia. Maybe I'll have to do the same as a working adult, but in Austria, Germany or Czechia. Like pay rent to a family in exchange of a glimpse into their culture/language. Has anyone here tried a home stay?1
And what about Austrian mentality?
In a video about Austria or Vienna, two locals posted "Come to Austria!" and similar-sounding posts. Then one expat living in Munich said you never see Munich locals posting things like "Welcome to Munich" online. Here's his post on YoutTube:Quote
I am living in Munich but Austria, especially Wien has the more foreigner friendly atmosphere and open. Never have I felt warmth with the people here unless they were my friends but Wien, everyone was really happy to connect with other people. You see in the comment some people saying “come to Austria”. I believe Munchener would say “I don’t give a thing about you moving to Munich as long as my space is secured”.
I don't really get what he means by secure space as En is likely not his first language, but I feel disillusioned. I mean I grew up on German TV - Pro7, RTL 2 (RTL is based in Munich). It's really shocking if this is true, but my online interactions with Germans have been similar. The most welcoming to me bunch seem to be those bordering on Czechia or Austria, but the cities and towns there like Passau are certainly smaller than Salzburg, Linz, Pilsen, and Ceske Budejovice so not much in terms of opportunities.0
And one of them was called Merkel, Angela Merkel?3
I think it's easier to find a job in Czechia but the pay is significantly lower.
The problem in Germany is that almost every job apart from the lowliest, most unskilled job requires at least an Ausbildung (apprenticeship) which takes 2 - 3 years to complete. I regularly look at job listings and feel like weeping as there wouldn’t be any point in even applying for almost every position.
“Want to work in a warehouse counting boxes? Then we have the job for you!
Must have 3 year apprenticeship as warehouse worker“.
A girl I know worked in her parents bookstore as a teenager and knew the business inside out. After school she wanted to continue working in the trade but her parents couldn’t afford to give her a full-time job so she applied to one of the large chains. She immediately started a 3 year apprenticeship. 3 years training to work in a bookstore! I know other girls doing the same to work in a bakery selling bread. Selling bread, not learning to bake bread. I wonder what do Toytowners do for a living?0
So then I must chose a place where everyone can be/has been/is employed in arts or music? So Southern Europe?
So what can be done to get there in my case? It was so easy to find a job at a multinational in Slovakia and Czech Republic but a.) Those jobs are only available in poorer countries like Greece, Portugal and ex-socialist ones. b.) Those jobs are a temporary solution, I don't want to spend my life in an office doing boring administrative work.
Besides after working for American business, their practices are terrible, you're so overworked that you have no energy to even learn the local language, all I did in the weekends/evenings was recover from work fatigue. Maybe a Western European-owned company would be a better employer but there are not that many (my friends working at Henkel and Roche certainly liked them more than I liked my US-owned employers and now working for a French-owned business it's much less of a rat race, sure, they have norms but for a whole months we had no norms. That will never happen in a US business).0
I have a Master Degree (from another Western European country no less, Eastern Euro degrees in anything but medicine are not well-regarded, I get it). I've seen lots of compatriots who work at unis in Germany. I don't think all of them teach in German, so I'm thinking of a PhD.
I've noticed even some small Bavarian universities have some foreign staff that teach for example things like International Business or Politics, and many of them teach in English due to the subject matter. Those are related to my degree.
Back in 2013 when I was researching for my master there were very few Master degrees taught in English in anything in both Austria and Germany. However, today their number seems to be much higher. As for teaching English, there are far too many native EN speaking expats and most European countries prefer them or locals that know good EN over a person from a third country. That works only in Asia or Eastern Europe (e.g. I had a Greek coworker who taught English in Romania).
Apart from that I can sing in German (by ear) and Czech, and can even write lyrics in them, so singing gigs are a-OK for me.0
20 hours ago, engelchen said:
1. I don't know about Bavaria, but it takes me 45 minutes to an hour to get to work regardless if I drive or take public transport. I live less than 10 km from my office. Commuting even short distances can take a long time with poor connections. Very long commutes are not as common in Germany.
2. Despite all the research you seem to have done, you seem to have unrealistic expectations.
That's really bad, where is that?
I find it sad that locals never venture much, do they even visit the neighboring small towns? Or just live their whole lives in their village?
I mean just look at this about 45 km or about 30 minutes by car from the closest Bavarian town Furth im Wald (which itself is fantastic and has a huge robotic dragon they use for slaying reenactions):
or this cute town just off the Nuremberg - Prague highway (Via Carolina):
^^Well that's true but I'm not work-from-home material. I mean I like it more than working in an office but I'd rather work in a school or university, I love academic environments. That said my true passion are the performing arts which requires lots of networking. Ideally I'd like to combine both plus nature, so a satellite town around a city with amenities like theaters, festivals and music/TV production is ideal.
Maybe I should've just reduced my OP to asking for places that offer opportunities for college/uni teaching (in EN) or/and access to music business/TV channels.
I've heard college towns are a thing in Germany just as in the USA. Even Erlangen has a branch of a university I think and even Nuremberg has music recording studios.
What I find weird is how little talk there is of commuting considering the distances are not that big (Bavaria is larger than the Netherlands or Belgium but still has a good road network). Do expats and locals commute much in Bavaria? And what about the two/tri-country D/CZ; A/D; CZ/A and D/A/CZ areas?
In the USA many people commute everyday the same distances as between Ceske Budejovice & Linz or even the one between Klatovy & Regensburg. Is it viable to live on the cheaper Czech side, yet work in Bavaria or Austria? How common are such cross-country arrangements? Or maybe one can work in Austria, live in Bavaria (they say it's cheaper) and have a summer house/vacation flat in Czechia?
You certainly don't get that many areas in the EU where you can have 3 distinct countries with distinct flavors and architecture at your fingertips, yet you need to learn only 2 official languages instead of 3. I don't get people who live close to the borders and have never visited any of the other two countries... I imagine living somewhere like Madeira, Stockholm or Athens would get more boring after a while as you only get one culture and they're quite isolated.
^Dreisesselberg's just a hill, not many opportunities there for songwriters/musicians like me I'm afraid.1
Austrian women seem to invest almost as much time in their looks as their Slovak neighbors. Most women at one of the local TV stations in Linz look like this: https://www.lt1.at/team/
Here's the local TV team at Augsburg (similar population size as Linz): https://www.augsburg.tv/a-tv-team/ - most seem to have that farm-girl-from-US-flyover-states-like look. Just the other day I saw an interview with a random young female farmer in one of the smaller towns around Linz and she would be considered actress material in Munich.
I wonder what is the cultural reason for this disparity? Sissi? Being surrounded by Slavs/Italians/Hungarians?0
I often street view Central Europe. I still can't believe there are small towns with so many fairy-tale like town squares & fantastic historical architecture there. I like lots of Czech towns but on the other hand salaries there are quite low but from some places in Germany & Austria one can easily do monthly or even weekend trips to Czechia.
Bavaria & Thuringia are my favorite parts of Germany but the salaries in Thuringia are a joke. Munich & Nuremberg look quite unattractive to me on Street view compared to other places I've lived in like Prague, Sofia and even Bratislava. Makes sense as they were heavily bombed in WWII. Smaller towns in Bavaria like Regensburg are more inviting but I wonder what can one work there? I know Germany has many small college towns, afaik Regensburg has a uni. Can one teach in English there (until I learn German well enough)?
On the other hand all the media/arts seem to be based in Munich in Bavaria. I'd like to have access to that as I have a side career as a lyricist/musician/TV commerical director. I'd prefer Prague or even Vienna over Munich if I have to live in/outside such a big city (though Linz, Passau, Freistadt, Plzeň, Cesky Krumlov, Ceske Budejovice and Regensburg are placed ideally for cross-country trips). Maybe I could live in the hills very south of Munich but I think it's not very practical to commute so much everyday?
Then comes Austria, the often overlooked Germanic speaking country. Supposedly it must be like Bavaria but unlike Bavarians their larger cities have at least some small hills (even Vienna has some hills in its Western outskirts). Unfortunately most major Bavarian cities and towns seem to be in flat, not so picturesque areas. And unlike the also-flat Pilsen and Ceske Budejovice they do not have the picturesque old architecture preserved, nor so many cobblestone streets. So Austria has the most beautiful nature/hills/lakes in the region, Czechia the best preserved classical architecture and easiest language (for me) and Bavaria has some also picturesque hills and small towns but in terms of the larger cities it seems to be behind the other two. What would you say makes Bavaria stand out compared to Austria and Czechia? It seems to have a larger number of small college towns, the Bavaria Film studios and that's great but the more I investigate the more unsure I am. Oh and on a funny side note there must be something in the Austrian water as I find Austria has the most attractive women in the area, esp. Linz ones outmatch even the Czech holkas.
Has anyone decided between these three in the past?
Other countries I like and have considered are Greece and Italy (only Athens, Catania and Rome but they're quite isolated from rest of Europe, and I hate the summer heatwaves & earthquakes), Hungary (hard language + heatwaves as well), Sweden (too isolated for international travels, winter's too humid and grim). I lived in Bratislava for quite a while and liked it there but the salaries were not particularly high. I found the winters in Prague nice as the snow trapped the humidity and it felt less cold despite the temp being much lower than in the Netherlands where I hated the humidity.0
Can you teach in a university in Germany with only basic/pedestrian knowledge of German?0
If you dare say even one remotely not-so-positive opinion on Munich they go ballistic on you (e.g. I just asked if there are hilly nearby towns as it seems way too flat for my liking). And I was not trolling.
Btw it really sucks that all large cities in Bavaria are in flat boring valleys (namely, Munich, Nuremberg and Augsburg) and far away from any hills so I'm considering Linz and Salzburg for living/working while I can always travel next door to Germany on shopping trips.
AFAIK only Stuttgart, Coburg, Passau and maybe Regensburg seem to have hills within the city proper and of those Stuttgart is too far away from the Czech Republic, which to me is important as I love traveling there. Coburg and Passau are too small so that only leaves Regensburg as suitable for me from the larger cities. I don't know whether it'd be better to live in the 4th largest city in Bavaria or the 3rd in Austria.1
optimista, I went to a sauna in Slovakia and nothing much happened. I'm a bit not into that though as I don't like being around nude old people lol.
I don't know about Austrians but I would feel creepy sharing a sauna with a Greek. Their friendliness rubs me the wrong way and is a bit creepy.0
Thanks! I wonder if Austrians differ in behavior to their Bavarian neighbors?0
Virtually all of our greatest minds, those who fought for our uprising in Bulgaria came from the mountains. So we have a saying "The fields give birth to pumpkins while the mountains give birth to people".
Anyway, I've only lived in two mostly flat areas - London and various places in the Netherlands. I found living in both insufferable and enjoyed my life in Prague and Bratislava (it has a hill though small) much more. There are very few towns/cities that are mostly flat and I like - most of them in Bulgaria, Sweden (Stockholm is lovely yet flat) or Czechia. That said I don't like towns in tight valleys surrounded by huge hills on every side (for ex. Madan in Bulgaria), even Vitosha looks too suffocating looming over Sofia, so I would prefer Linz (small hills) to Innsbruck (too mountainous) or Munich (too flat).
I like sea/lake towns but the open sea scares me at night, something about all that dark water and not being able to see the opposite coast is creepy to me so I guess I would hate living on the oceanfront. At least with most lakes you can see the opposite side. Rolling hills with winding country roads is my version of heaven, so I like the hilly areas of Upper/Lower Austria, Czech Republic and Bavaria the best in central Europe. But even Hungary that's known for plains has some small hills, so it's nowhere near as boring as a completely flat country. Rolling hills beat both huge mountains and flatlands imo.0
What's your favorite country in Europe?
in World travel
^It's much better than Greece and most of Italy in that respect though. Quakes and summer heat are my main concerns of moving to Athens.
I totally forgot Slovakia - some very nice old towns there. Bratislava seems to be developing fast. It is becoming a skyscraper type of city.
After living in both Prague and Bratislava and visiting Vienna a lot I think I'd chose Bratislava for living although it's less exciting for visiting. It's a city with a small town feel, very walkable and yet an IT/services hub with so many flats and offices of 15-20-25 floors.
Most of the places I like in Germany seem to be smaller size like Cham in the Oberpfalz, Regensburg, or Altenburg in Thuringia as I am not fan of any city that saw lots of destruction in the wars or post-war drabness.
I'd also like to plug Graz and the Styria in Austria, Bari/Lecce/Brindisi, well whole of Puglia/Apulia in Italy, Visby/Gotland island in Sweden, Ljublana, Celje and Maribor in Slovenia - all underrated.