The German Shuffle: 11 |  EP 110

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During this week's "German Shuffle" we discussed Berlin's culture of dumping old furniture and other household items on its sidewalks. It didn't take us long to walk by a perfect example! We think placing smaller items that someone else will most likely take home and use, is a good form of recycling. However, placing larger items that no one will take, such as old mattresses or broken bedframes, is just being downright lazy. Below, is unfortunately, a normal example of what you see in some neighbourhoods in Berlin.

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German Beer: The Sequel |  EP 107

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Kleo is a language learning app that offers a completely unique learning experience that sets it apart from all the other language learning apps we've tried over the years. The app teaches you with interactive videos in which your virtual tutor will teach you vocabulary, phrases, and grammar. They will then ask you questions regarding how to say a phrase, for example, and the virtual tutor will actually rate your pronunciation!

 

The Kleo app offers fun tutors to learn with, such as the hosts of your favorite expat podcast! That’s right, we have a special FREE lesson on the app that will teach you some useful phrases about ordering drinks at a local German pub.

TRY OUR FREE LESSON (iPhone Only)

What the heck is beg packing? |  EP 102

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What are your thoughts about begpacking? Do you agree with us? Send us a message and let us know. If you'd like to see some examples of begpacking, check out this article here

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As we mentioned, we had just celebrated the Easter weekend in Germany. Geoff and his girlfriend enjoyed a classic German "Osterfeuer" (Easter fire) at the Plötzensee lake in Berlin. Above is an image of the fire, which was quite large (the top of the flames reached around 5 meters tall).

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Above is just a taste of the abandoned Spreepark in Berlin. During the episode, we informed you that this former amusement park will be renovated over the next few years and once again people will be able to enter (legally) to enjoy the space. If you'd like a quick look at the park and learn a little about its history, take a look at this 5 minute BBC documentary.

Driving Culture: Why City Planning Matters |  EP 101

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During the episode when speaking about our childhood vehicles, Geoff mentioned he had once owned a decommissioned police car. Here it is, in all its glory:

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100th Episode! Behind the Scenes |  EP 100

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Believe it or not, we have now been around for 100 episodes! We're a bit shocked ourselves, to be honest. Today we recorded this very special episode, which included a live audience over instagram and a lot of "behind the scenes" stories. 

Recording this 100th episode brough us so much joy. It was humbling to see how many of you showed up to watch us live and ask us questions throughout. With so many people participating, the whole thing really felt like a group effort. This episode is now officially our favourite episode of the entire run of the podcast!

Click below to listen to our "21-Pop-Salute." This was created by gathering 21 of our best whiskey bottle opening sounds from the past two years of episodes.

Since this episode was all about the behind the scenes of our podcast, we thought we would include a few videoes below that show the set up and break down of our recording equipment. These videos were created for our YouTube channel about a year or so ago and and we have since then improved some of our equipment and changed the overall set up in order to improve recording conditions. Please excuse the fact that one of the videos is out of focus. 

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Listener Travel Stories (Part 2) |  EP 97

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One of the listener stories we read during this episode was from Kris. He said his secret to getting sun during the Berlin winters was to take cheap, one day trips to Mallorca. Kris was kind enough to share with us some photos from these sun filled trips:

The German Shuffle (9) |  EP 94

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Here is one of the trash cans in Mauerpark that "holds your beer." These were added when the park was renovated about a year or so ago and we think they should be used throughout Berlin!

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During our discussion about how people in Germany recycle their glass bottles, we gave two examples that are used by the majority of people living here. Firstly, many apartment buildings provide bins in their courtyards for residents to recycle their empty glass bottles. Sometimes, they even provide multiple bins, each for a different color of glass bottle. For Berliners that do not have glass recycling bins provided by their apartment building, they do have another option. Most neighbourhoods in Berlin have large glass bottle recycling containers in public spaces, for anyone to use. Below is an example we came across on a winter walk. The color of each container represents the color of glass bottle that should be placed inside.

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Our European Travel Tips (3) |  EP 93

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During this episode, we mentioned a scam that can be found in many European cities, especially in their respective city centres around locations tourists are likely to visit. This is known as the "food weight scam."

If you'd like to see the scam in action, the YouTube channel "Honest Guide" has a great video exposing how it works and you can watch it here

Take Me Home...USA vs. Germany |  EP 91

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Geoff recently returned from a month long trip in the United States. It had been 2 years since he was able to visit or see his family! Oddly enough, the reason for staying away was the Covid-19 pandemic, and yet he ended up finally catching Covid during this trip. I guess it's sort of poetic, in a way?

Below are some photos that help better illustrate a few of the oddities we mentioned during the episode. Take a gander, eh?

Click on gallery above to go full screen

Preserving Traditions While Abroad |  EP 87

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We'd like to once again thank Günther Jähnl, the host of the "Hier & There" podcast, for joining us as this week's guest. The podcast is produced by the Germanic-American Institute (GAI) in St. Paul, Minnesota. The ultimate goal of the series and the organization is to connect the people of the United States and Germany through language, culture and increased understanding. To learn more about either, click the links below:

 

Hier & There Podcast

Germanic-American Institute

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As we mentioned during the episode, Alex last week had a little accident. Don't worry though, he's OK! In a freak occurrence, he hit his head directly on the top of a glass bottle that was sitting on the counter. How this happened exactly, we'll never know. To prove to you it did happen, just take a glance at the picture above. This was taken right after his forehead and the bottle connected. Less than 5 minutes later we would all be walking with him to the nearest hospital, which luckily was close by. 

Long story short, you should always have a small first-aid kit somewhere in your house. You never know what could happen... 

Schooling & Education: Germany vs. USA |  EP 79

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We'd like to introduce this episode's sponsor, the Germanic-American Institute (GAI) in St. Paul, Minnesota.  

 

They offer immersion-style German language courses for all levels and ages, in-person or online. Fall classes just started this week, but there is still time to register at gaimn.org

 

Past GAI students eventually took the German skills they learned and moved to Germany to live, work, and just have fun. They also have our own podcast, called “Hier & There” which covers grammar questions, cultural topics, and interviews with famous people, just like Alex and I.

 

The GAU also provides online and in-person “Samstagschule” for kids and teens, and a new online enrichment preschool age program called “Kinderstube German@home” 

Their ultimate goal is to connect the people of the United States and Germany through language, culture and increased understanding. 

 

To find out more about German classes, events, and cultural resources, please go to gaimn.org

Berlin vs. Bavaria: Part 2  |  EP 77

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We'd like to once again give another special thanks to Aspen of "Aspen Abroad" and the "Dating Abroadcast" podcast for joining us! We had a great time hearing about Munich, and more specially what the dating scene is like down there in the south. Will she be back on the show for a part three? Who knows...

If you enjoyed the episode, then you should definitely check out her new podcast, which focuses on what it's like to date in Germany as an expat. As their slogan goes, they date Germans so you don't have to!

"Dating Abroadcast" Podcast

Aspen Abroad Website

Aspen Abroad Instagram

Things the USA Does Better Than Germany: Part 2  |  EP 73

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Image copyright: Getty Images

As most of you have already seen in last week's news, Germany was hit hard by a devastating flood, which has thus far claimed the lives of over 160 people. Our thoughts are with those that have endured this horrific event and we hope you are all safe and doing well. As we mentioned during this week's episode, we have provided links below of organizations you can send donations that will help the victims and infrastructure that have been affected by the floods:

The German Red Cross

The DRK provides huge support in emergencies, such as medical services, care, accommodation and food.

The German Life Saving Association

The DLRG is involved in water rescue.

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They have created a donation account for victims, which will help provide emergency aid and helps those who have lost their homes due to the flooding. 

Berlin vs. Bavaria  |  EP 71

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The epic showdown between the North and South is finally here! However, considering only one of us has lived in Munich and for only a few months at that, we needed an expert who could help fill in all the blanks. We'd like to wish another special thanks to Aspen of "Aspen Abroad" for joining us and making the episode fun for all of you! Hopefully in the future she can join us again at some point, because we simply could not fit all of the comparisons between Berlin and Munich into one episode.

If you enjoyed the episode, then you should check out all the other content Aspen has to offer:

Aspen Abroad Website

Aspen Abroad YouTube

Aspen Abroad Instagram

Traveling Around Europe on a Budget  |  EP 68

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This week we gave tips on how to travel around Europe cheaply. If you want to backpack through Europe for several months or simply want to enjoy a one week tour of Italy, this information will be very helpful for you. 

PACKING

When we say pack light, we mean PACK LIGHT. As we mentioned in the episode, lay out in front of you everything you think you absolutely need for your trip. Then, remove half of the items. Bring only what is left and you'll thank yourself later. 

If you truly think brining just one backpack for a week's travel is impossible, look below. This is the only bag I carried for a nearly 2 month backpacking trip around Europe!

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HOSTELS

These are cheap, simplified versions of hotels. They offer very few frills or services beyond a basic place to sleep and keep your belongings. Hostels are known for their "dorms", in which a single room can have on average between 6 - 12 bunk style beds (sometimes much, much more). Some dorms are co-ed and some are gender specific. However, most hostels tend to also offer a few private rooms as well, if you'd rather not share a room with strangers. 

Below are some examples of cheap hostel rooms we have stayed in over the years. Most offer lockers for you to keep your belongings safe from the others you'll be staying with. Keep in mind, they usually rely on you to bring your own padlocks for use with the provided lockers. 

During the trips in our early twenties, we specifically stayed in very low cost hostels because we were backpacking on a nearly non-existent budget. Fancier hostels do exist, however you will obviously pay more for the higher quality furnishings, etc. 

Story Time: Travel Beauty & Chaos  |  EP 66

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This week's episode had a whole new format and we hope you guys enjoyed listening to it as much as we did recording it! Let us know if you enjoyed and if so, we'll do more "story time" style episodes in the future. 

Below are pictures related to the four stories we told. Enjoy!

STORY 1: "A Long Night in Sofia, Bulgaria" - 2016

Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia, Bulgaria

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Sofia, Bulgaria

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Sofia, Bulgaria

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Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the bar from the story :(

STORY 2: "First Time in Germany...with Mono?" - 2005

Olympic village - Munich
Olympic village - Munich

I took this photo of my friend Jameson only moments before blacking out and falling to the ground. However, after 2 days in the hospital I was back on my feet and on my way to Berlin for the first time.

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Munich Hauptbahnhof

The first image I ever took on my European backpacking odyssey. From the airport I arrived with my taxi at Munich's main train station.

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Munich, Germany

My first experience with a classic German radio/TV tower.

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STORY 3: "The Alps, the Beautiful Alps..." - 2018

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STORY 4: "A Really Long Night in Bayeux" - 2005

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Normandy Coast, France

One of the fortifications has been turned into storage for someone's home.

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Bayeux, France

This photo was taken well into one of the longest nights of my life. Here you can see how tired and cold we are (this is why they have their arms in their shirts).

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Normandy Coast, France

One of the D-Day invasion beaches in the background. Unfortunately, I can not remember which one we visited.

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A German Perspective From Our Girlfriends  |  EP 65

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Thanks again to the lovely women in our lives for joining us on this week's episode of the podcast. We had lots of fun and are so thankful to be sharing our life with them. 

As Alex promised during the show, we have posted below some examples of Alex's old fashion sense back when he first moved to Germany. In fact, one image shows the actual "Blue Moon" beer shirt that he was wearing during their first encounter! To hear her describe the day they met in detail, give the episode a listen :)

The German Shuffle (5)  |  EP 64

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This week's episode was another good ol' fashioned "shuffle". One of the subjects we covered was how a person living in Germany could possible carry large items to their home, without a car,. Of course, a person could always bring a large item on the subway, tram, etc. However, the walk from the store to the subway, and the subway to your final destination would still involve you carrying the awkward and heavy items yourself.

 

An alternative is a bicycle, which is capable of carrying lager items than you would think. Geoff, for example, often uses his bike to haul construction materials (including wooden boards) to his house for the various projects he works on. 

NOTE: Carrying large items on your bicycle is done so at your own risk! When cycling on public roads, only do so in a safe manner!

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In both cases, bungee cords were used to maintain tension and keep the items firmly attached the bicycle. Also, the weight was distributed in such a way as to not affect my balance or the bicycle's center of gravity. This ensured cycling did not feel more difficult than usual. However, for safety reasons, I cycled very slowly.

German Sports & Games  |  EP 62

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During this week's episode we covered football (soccer) extensively and reminisced about the moment when Germany won the World Cup in 2014. However, Geoff forgot to mention he was fortunate enough to actually attend the 2018 World Cup hosted by Russia and went to a group stage match between Sweden and Germany. Luckily, Germany won, but as many of you may know, it was one of these few times they were victorious during the 2018 World Cup games...