Es herbstelt schon! Autumn in Germany and Austria

(323 Posts)
LinzerTorte Fri 11-Oct-13 07:56:45

A thread for all those living in Germany or Austria or anyone who just wants to chat/ask a question about living in or visiting this part of the world - all welcome. smile

Previous thread here.

LinzerTorte Mon 11-Nov-13 13:34:25

Ambling I don't think the DC have done any activities that have been more than a 5-10 minute drive away so I've never hung around waiting for them - apart from when they went swimming, but then I sat at the side of the pool. I did get fed up with the amount of chauffeuring I had to do a few years ago, but now we just have DD1's dyslexia lesson and scouts and DD2's piano lesson, which is quite manageable. DD1 usually walks to scouts and gets a lift back with a friend, so I hardly do any driving during the week.

€100 for the mole removal sounds about right. I can't remember exactly what I've paid, but I know that a check-up is €90 and I think mole removal is slightly more (but it includes a follow-up appointment to have the stitches removed if necessary).

Primark madness has reached Austria too, but I have no intention of going - it's the other side of Vienna from us anyway, so not the easiest place to get to. Not that this puts us off going to Tesco and M&S in Bratislava. grin

Our 20th anniversary is coming up soon and we were hoping to go out for a meal to celebrate, but our neighbours - one of whose daughters we would normally ask to babysit - are most inconveniently away that weekend and I'm a bit stuck about who to ask otherwise. Virtually everyone we know here has children the same age as ours, which is no good for babysitting purposes, and has family on hand to babysit, which means I can't even ask for recommendations.

AmblingAlong Mon 11-Nov-13 13:43:24

Linzer what a shame about the anniversary dinner, could you make it a family meal out for a treat so you atleast don't have to stand in the kitchen that day!

Having activities 5 to 10 minutes away has always been my goal too! We moved to this part of town especially so the dc had a 10 minute walk to school and dh 15 minutes to work. Ds obliged my plan by joining the local Verein for table tennis but dd has other plans!

The club she has chosen is 35 minutes away by car when traffic is OK but today she has to be at training at 5pm meaning we'd have to set of at 4pm due to Berufsverkehr. I think I'll send her on the tram (40 minutes) so she atleast gets there on time and I can pick her up at 7pm. She's 14 now, I keep forgetting she's not my baby anymore so she is quite capable (and willing) to go by tram.

SpookedMackerel Mon 11-Nov-13 14:46:40

I love the image of groups of girls running towards Primark screaming grin. That would be me but running in the opposite direction!

Does anyone here subscribe to LoveFilm? We were thinking of doing it, as finding the actual German TV not very compelling, and we thought it would be easier to watch films with subtitles (or in English!) It is €6.99 a month, not sure if it is worth it or not.

AmblingAlong Mon 11-Nov-13 14:53:31

Spooked we don't have it but it's got to be worth it when you see the rubbish on German TV!

OK, dd is going on the tram to her training so she's just got in from school (long day until 3.10pm), scoffed her lunch in less than 5 minutes and is getting changed to go. I'm going to drop her at the tram station but it's only 5 minutes away by car. Phew, no sitting around for me atleast!

LinzerTorte Tue 12-Nov-13 07:21:06

Argh, just typed a long message but IE went all weird for a minute and now it's suddenly disappeared from the box!

Ambling The tram sounds like a good idea if it saves you all that driving and hanging around. That does sound like a long day - does your DD do her homework in the evenings then? I find it can be a real struggle for DD1 to fit in all her homework and revision on her long days if we have anything else planned in the afternoon - like yesterday, when she had an appointment at the dental hygienist's. Her long days are "only" until 2, but by the time she's walked home, had lunch and is ready to do her homework it's getting on for 3pm.

Spooked Sorry, no idea about Lovefilm. Someone on here did recommend it to me (or recommended a couple of films that are available on it, at any rate), but I don't know much about it otherwise.

Our search for a babysitter is looking a bit more positive as I've been given a couple of phone numbers to try. DS wants a babysitter to come and look after them when I'm at the parents' evening in a couple of weeks and was quite disappointed when I told him that he can come along too (until I reminded him that there'll be a buffet)!

SpookedMackerel Tue 12-Nov-13 07:48:22

I think I'm going to have a lot to learn before Dd starts school - do you mean that if your kids have a "long day" at school then they don't get any lunch until after they get home?!

Good luck with finding a babysitter Linzer! We had to take the DC with us when we went out for our anniversary meal. Luckily it was in the summer so we could sit outside

I think I am going to bite the bullet with love film - had alook last night and there seem to be lots with the option of English. And iit's too cold to sit out on the balcony in the evenings now, so we need to find something to do !

LinzerTorte Tue 12-Nov-13 08:26:14

Spooked Most secondary schools have a canteen, I think - I'm not actually sure whether ours does, but I can't even give DD1 a packed lunch as she wouldn't have time to eat it (her two long days go from 7.45am to 1.50pm, with just a 20 minute break at around 10.15am and otherwise five-minute breaks in between lessons). People here are shocked that primary school children are at school until around 3pm in the UK, but I think that expecting an 11 year old to do those hours with no time for lunch is hardly ideal either.

Sounds like a good decision re Lovefilm; I need my fix of British TV to help keep me sane! I was thinking recently that I really should start reading and watching more German as, even though I speak it every day, I feel like my German is stagnating atm - but somehow, when there's an English option available, I'll always go for that. grin

C4ro Tue 12-Nov-13 09:52:00

Hallo new-thread!

DDs St Martin/ Laterne fest walk thing got cancelled last night as it rained so they held it over to tonight. Fixed rictous-grins of forced-sociability being practiced and pasted on face already for that. DH is coming too as I have a feeling DD is making a couple of friends now and wants to sort playdates. She has been telling Kiga buddies about her Ritter-burg which is a giant house thing engineer DH made out of a bedrooms worth of IKEA boxes!

I can warn anyone unaware of it that SCS/ Shopping City Sud Vienna carparking is getting worse. Not just the bit round the train stop but all round IKEA where the entrance is remodelled and it doesn't look possible it will be fixed before Christmas- it's absolutely hellish. We had to go as my BIL/ SIL have unsensible cars with no boot space but needed a large amount of kit (they are expecting twins in Feb). Payback at least is sweet- it's in the form of babysitting as I got tickets to a concert 22 Nov. I don't know how useful it is but I will PM you my childminders dets Linzer.

AmblingAlong Tue 12-Nov-13 10:34:40

C4ro I noticed a small group of dc walking with lanterns last night when I went to pick dd up from training. Will you have a Glühwein stand at the end of the walk? I remember that was one of the rewards for the parents after walking round in the cold!

Linzer yes, the long days are a rush but dd had prepared most of her homework on Sunday and when she got home at 7:30pm she showered the sat in the kitchen eating toast and doing her french homework with me (I helped her so she got it done quickly).

Long days here are from 8am to 15.10pm with no canteen in school. Under year 10 dc aren't allowed off the school grounds to go to the bakery or Imbiss either so those days I pack extra snacks and then my 2 have their hot meal at 3.30pm when they get home.

Primary school in Berlin was just as bad really as they had 8.20 to 2pm classes with no lunch break and by the time we got home it was half past two. Not surprisingly the last lesson was a waste of time as all the dc were hungry and not concentrating. That's one of the reasons I'm just hmm when they talk about ganztagschulen - the sooner the better, but they need to start building canteens onto their school buildings before they make the change.

LinzerTorte Tue 12-Nov-13 11:53:25

Ambling That makes the DC's mornings seem short in comparison! Unless they do afterschool activities, the children are always out of primary school here by 12.45pm. Are people in Germany very sceptical of Ganztagsschulen or is it just here? It seems to be considered almost akin to child slavery. And Glühwein stands at the end of the walk? envy I might actually have enjoyed the Martinsfest if we'd had such a luxury!

C4ro Thanks for the PM - looks like I have a few options now. smile
I really didn't want to hear that about the SCS, though; platanos and I are meeting there on Friday and it's only the second time I've driven there. The car parking area is difficult enough to navigate at the best of times - has it got worse over the past few weeks? We last went about a month ago and had to drive to the top of the Ikea multistory car park then.

C4ro Tue 12-Nov-13 19:43:11

Back from day-late Laterne thing now. There was indeed apple-based "Erwachsene punch" at the end to make it bearable! The kids one smelt/ looked a bit similar so I may have dosed up DD now by possibly getting the cups muddled up while juggling paperplate of cake and salzstangerl!

We also had a quite ineffective policeman blocking cars from coming as we walked slowly round the block in the middle of the road! He couldn't quite stop both ways of traffic as we did the t-junctions but it was only 30-speed backstreets so not too critical and fairly clear to the drivers what they'd accidentally come across! All three classes of DDs Kiga sang a song and did some play thing. It was amusing enough. Despite it being actual candles in the lanterns I didn't smell burning hair or child once which did impress me.

SCS horrors are the SouthWest side of IKEA. Shops and parking being remodelled there- but on a weekday I think you'll really be OK.
You know how there is that massive ring road round the place that you usually start on the South side there is more parking if you go all the way to the North/top and cut in around Media Markt/ Reiter/ ToysRUs for parking (so go all up the long side and a bit across the top of the whole shopping-behemoth). Recommend not to go on a Saturday though!

AmblingAlong Wed 13-Nov-13 13:26:01

Erwachsene punch is great stuff isn't it? Our Stadtteil does a lantern walk and then sets up a Glühwein stand on the public carpark at the end of the walk which seriously improves attendance by parents, grand-parents etc.

Vienna parking sounds fun. Parking is a nightmare where dd goes to training. Sometimes I have to drive round and round the block until I can get in a space.

We had the brakes changed on the car yesterday and the winter tyres are on now too. They were so generous as to only charge us half for changing the tyres seeing as they had the front wheels off anyway to do the brakes. That's 360€ spent.

Both dc brought Klassenfahrt letters home too last night. Dd's is 340€ for 5 days camping near Poland in the Uckermark forest area, a hundred of which has to be payed by 31st December (not a great time for some families to have another 100€ going out of the bank I'm sure) and ds's is 220€ for 4 days in Berlin.

LinzerTorte Wed 13-Nov-13 13:50:11

I'm sure we only ever got Kinderpunsch afterwards, which wasn't quite enough of a reward for me. wink They dropped the walk once KiGa started taking 2.5 year olds as they decided it was too far for them, which was definitely an improvement in my eyes. I prefer to walk when it's light, dry and not too cold, and at a reasonable pace!

Ambling All the school expenses really add up, don't they? Particularly if you have more than one child at school. DD1's trips away have only cost just over €100 so far, but they only went for a few days both times. They were supposed to be going on a week's skiing trip this year but too many of the parents refused to send their DC, so they just went away on a "normal" trip for three days away instead. DD2 went on a class trip yesterday, just for the day, and gave everyone a fright when she fainted after lunch; she's been fine since, though.

C4ro I try to avoid the SCS on a Saturday full stop, even if it's DH driving! Luckily we rarely need to go any more, although there was a time just after we first moved here when we would find ourselves at Ikea almost every weekend.

Off to the doctor's now to see if anything can be done about DS still wetting the bed. None of them was dry at night particularly early and I know that boys usually take longer than girls, but I thought I'd better get him checked out now that he's 7.

AmblingAlong Wed 13-Nov-13 14:05:22

Hope you can get it sorted out Linzer, does it upset your ds when he has accidents at night time?

Not sure what to think of school's latest news.

Teachers in Nidersachsen (at Gymnasium) are being asked/made to teach an hour longer than usual. They're not happy and are threatening to stop all extra Nachhilfe, day trips and extras unless the rule is changed back to how it was before.

Last week they called the entire school together and presented their side of it, then asked the dc to vote if they agreed or not (ds voted no and dd abstained).

Now they've sent a letter home with a copy of a protest letter for parents to sign and send to the Bürgermeister! Niedersachsen already has one of the lowest Pflichtstunden that a teacher has to be in class (23 I think compared to 28 in Bavaria). We won't be signing (wonders if dh will make it home before 9pm tonight after a 13 hour working day)!

LinzerTorte Wed 13-Nov-13 18:12:00

We had a similar kind of thing here a couple of years ago, Ambling - I think it was primary school teachers then, who were being asked to work an extra two hours a week. There was talk of strikes but it didn't get that far in the end. I found it hard to have much sympathy for them, as they're at school for far fewer hours than primary school teachers in the UK and are probably better paid - I read somewhere that Austrian primary (I think) school teachers are among the best paid in Europe. I bet they have less paperwork to deal with as well and far more freedom to teach the way they want (teaching methods and curricula vary hugely even from class to class within the same school).

DS does get a little embarrassed about still wearing a nappy at night and would really like to be able to do without it - he's particularly worried about going away to the Pfadfinderlager for a week in the summer (although as he didn't get a place this year, it won't be an issue until summer 2015!). He has a chart to fill in - whether he's dry/slightly wet/very wet - over the next few weeks and we also have to measure his fluid intake and output over a weekend. He'll have to have an ultrasound (IIRC) at his next appointment and, if no physical cause is found, can be given tablets to adjust his hormone levels. So it's all looking quite positive and as if the problem will be able to be sorted out before too much longer.

I've had quite a stressful afternoon trying to find someone willing to lend me their Android phone so that I can test an app I've translated. I was even thinking about putting out an appeal on FB, but have now arranged to go over to a friend's tomorrow morning to borrow her phone for a while. I'm sure that arranging to borrow other people's electronic equipment was never in the job description. grin

That all sounds positive, Linzer. I hope it's sorted fairly quickly and that your DS doesn't have to worry about trips etc. What sort of app did you translate?

Ambling I was a teaching assistant in Niedersachsen on my year abroad (10 years ago) and as far as I can remember an average of one teacher a a month went off sick with stress or had a nervous breakdown. That might just have been my particular school though. I remember them talking about leaving the classroom at 1pm, but not actually stopping work until 11pm or thereabouts. This was 10 years ago though and it might just have been the school I was at. That said, it does seem like they have it easier than teachers in Bundslaender with more Pflichtstunden. I think anyone would revolt at the idea of an extra hour nailed onto your working day, but I don't think I know enough about it to really form an opinion, especially with not having school-age DC. So really, that was a bit of a pointless waffle on my part grin

c4ro Glad you got some punch out of the Laternenumzug!

Have you found anything good on LoveFilm, spooked? A friend of mine here uses it and really loves it. We had the free trial and enjoyed it, but then cancelled it as we were trying to save money.

Hello to everyone else!

DS has completely dropped his daytime nap, yet appears to have twice his usual amount of energy, which is why I haven't had chance to post for ages. The days seem very long at the moment! Bedtime has become a lot easier though, which is a really big positive. I took a few of the bars out of his cot so he can get in and out, thinking that he could come to our bed himself when he wakes in the night. Unfortunately, while he's happy to climb in and out of his bed during the day, he refuses at night and cries for us to come and get him, and screams at the suggestion that he might like to come out himself. Maybe he just needs a bit of time to get used to it, who knows! He had a nasty virus the other week too and is still a bit clingy, so I think that might have something to do with it too.

BlingBubbles Wed 13-Nov-13 20:10:12

Hello everyone,
I have been living in Munich since July, moved here with my DH and my 2 year old DD from London. We have been enjoying all that Munich and the surrounding areas have to offer and I am slowly getting use to no shops been open on Sunday and I hate to admit it but I am missing the variety of food in tesco.

Will look forward to reading this thread smile

AmblingAlong Thu 14-Nov-13 16:12:42

Hi Bling I would love to have Sunday shopping in Germany too. We sometimes go into the city by tram to the Hauptbahnhof just because all the shops are open! Does Munich have Sunday shopping on the build up to Christmas? When we lived in Berlin the opening hours were getting better and better, often shops open up to 9 or 10pm too, lots of Sunday open days etc.

woolly can't remember exactly how old your ds is - is he just gone 2? Do you have a night light for him when he wakes up at night? Maybe he can't see to get to you in the dark?
My dc kept their afternoon naps until around 3 years old but they were late go-to-bedders. Now they are teenagers and have an afternoon nap quite often after school and never go to bed before 10pm - infact I've been in bed before them a few times this week!

Sounds like your doctor is very good offering so much help with ds Linzer, hope it's worked out soon. I have yet to find a doctor who doesn't seem to be in a rush to get me/the dc out of the place.

Just got back from the vets with the gerbil. She has scratched her eye until it stated bleeding and now that's making her scratch it even more. Hope the gel we were given will help stop it bothering her.

LinzerTorte Thu 14-Nov-13 18:02:46

Ambling Poor gerbil, hope her eye is better soon. We were wondering whether to take the tortoises to the vet before they hibernate, but DH reckons we can leave it until next year.

Hi Bling, I'm another one who misses Sunday shopping and Tesco! We don't live too far from the border with Eastern Europe so can get to Tesco there, which is open on a Sunday - but has only a tiny shelf of British food, unfortunately.

Woolly The app is for women affected by DV. It really felt like I was translating something worthwhile and the actual translation was quite straightforward, but the technical side was a bit of a challenge; actually, finding someone with an Android phone who was around this morning was the biggest challenge! Lovely friend made me coffee and took her toddler off into her bedroom so that I could work blush - although she insisted it was fine.
Hope the nights get better soon - neither of the DDs would ever get up in the night and would always cry for us to come and get them; DS is the only one who would ever get up and come into our bed (still does, occasionally), which is much easier albeit rather cramped!

We've lost the girls this evening (they're sleeping at a friends), but have gained an extra boy as DS has a friend staying overnight. They're off school tomorrow for St Leopold's Day so we're off to meet platanos and her DC if I can manage to negotiate the roads round the shopping centre. smile

platanos Fri 15-Nov-13 14:05:58

Hello everyone!

boo hoo hooo linzer and I could not meet up because ds has a fever. I am waiting for him to wake up to take him to the drs. He's got a history of emergency drs coming round in the middle of the night and dispatching him in an ambulance to hospital, so I would rather get him seen by the GP before the weekend. Hope you had a good day Linzer, I was so looking forward to catching up. And discussing naked vegan cooking wink.

The Lanternefest stories made me smile - first year without one! I found the walk quite stressful as was never sure where my dc were, and hoping someone was looking after them. Always a relief when they found me at the end of the walk, and "shared" their Kipferl with me. I say "shared" but I got the tiniest crumb, they kept the rest. I told them it was like St Martin giving the poor man a thread of his coat. But the message never got through.

The long school hours with no lunch, or a proper break, are a nightmare. DD1 goes from 8 - 14 with no food. I could not do it. At the beginning of the year, taking a Jause was not "cool" but she is now taking one with her. Yes, hupa she is tired at the end of the week. We have had to endure some horrible behaviour at home. She took to shouting, hitting and kicking (me and her siblings) so we have been strict and things seem to be improving.

Hope you have stocked up on shoes, boots and winter gear. So far, DS has had fleeced lined waterproofs rather than snow trousers. Maybe why he is constantly ill? Or is that because he does not wear a wooly hat in 20 degrees? Which reminds me, I came across a blog - a spanish mum in germany. It is rather funny and many of the things she finds "odd" are things we discuss on here. But one thing puzzled me - she says that when a child is ill, her German ILs insist on putting raw onion under the bed, in the bedroom, everywhere. Have any of you ever come across this? DH says he has never heard of it.

I am dreading the cost of those school trips.

Must go as ds seems to be waking up. Sorry for the disjointed post! Hope you all have a good weekend!

BerstieSpotts Fri 15-Nov-13 16:03:37

I keep hearing the onion thing, not from Germany though. I have to keep biting my tongue. The "theory" is that it absorbs bad bacteria hmm hmm and I just want to shout HOW DOES IT DO THAT, DO YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW BACTERIA ACTUALLY WORKS AAAAAAAAARGH.

I've heard that onions have antiseptic properties, which is why one could put raw onion on a wound. Haven't heard about it getting rid of flu, colds etc though

Sorry meant to post properly but ds1 just arrive...

SpookedMackerel Fri 15-Nov-13 17:03:27

My Irish grandmother used to claim you should drink hot milk with cloves and onion in for a cold. Never heard of putting it under a bed though.
No room under any of our beds to squeeze a raw onion anyway, too much rubbish stored under there.

First Lovefilm envelope arrived today - perfect timing. The King's Speech. Very much looking forward to packing the DC off to bed and watching it

BerstieSpotts Fri 15-Nov-13 18:49:10

Exactly! For something to have an effect against bacteria you need to actually touch the bacteria with it, it doesn't magically suck it out of a sick person through a room! confused

It's like saying, oh, bleach cleans toilets. I'll just leave this open bottle here and it will magically suck all of the dirt and germs away! Er, no, it won't.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 15-Nov-13 21:56:30

Hello - the OP says this is a place where we can ask about visiting so perhaps someone here can help me with a couple of questions relating to DD's German exchange which is the first week of December, somewhere near Cologne?

The first question is, she needs to take a gift for the host family and for her partner (another 14/15yo girl) - which should be something typically English, ideally local (Lancashire). So... can you think of anything you'd really like from hereabouts? Obv not heavy/bulky or too expensive (as they will doubtless reciprocate on the return visit).

The second is a reality check on what the weather is likely to be like - the teacher says it will probably be very cold, probably snow ... her normal non-school footwear is canvas hightops which I doubt will be adequate, her boot selection is wellie, walking or snowboots, which seem like overkill or inappropriate so I'm trying to persuade her she needs something else (I've got the one teenage girl who doesn't like shopping, esp not shoes).

Danke! thanks

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