Swapping Homes Anybody?

NOW THAT WE'VE WALKED THE WALK, WE CAN GIVE YOU THE STRAIGHT TALK ON HOME SWAPPING. (Season 6)

Downtown the world famous spa resort of Baden-Baden

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

That's the Life

Have you got your head around the idea of Home Swapping yet? It has a lot of advantages once you jump the mental hurdle of having strangers in your house. Don't forget they will want to have their house treated in an equally respectful fashion: a variation on the Golden Rule.You're trading house of similar standards, not with low lives who want the chance of a lifetime to holiday in a nice villa and trash it while at it....:)
We spent the last 2-3 weeks on finding an extra spot that we could add on or visit before our stint in Meck-Pomm..This spa resort is one of the most prestigious At long last, we found it! A beautiful second home of a family in Baden-Baden.Lovely scenery, a Casino to satisfy all our gambling needs, shopping!!!All of this in walking distance. Pretty cafes  to watch the world go by ( and it will be a nice world in that town...),
great restaurants and food ( and it will be an expensive one at that). Oh I know why I miss my home country!



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Visiting Meck Pomm


Anyhow,we are going to the one that borders on the Baltic Sea, Mecklenburg -Vorpommern, or Meck-Pomm as a British friend called it.(Even for German speakers it's a mouth full!). That’s where Wismar is located, a Unesco World Heritage Town that belonged to the Hanseatic League. And Heiligendamm where  from June 6 to 8, 2007, Heiligendamm's Grand Hotel hosted the 33rd summit of G8 leaders. Many beautiful seaside resorts, including Usedom, the island of Ruegen that got facelifts since reunification and are favorites among Wessis now. My former in-laws hailed from Greifswald, a long trek away to their new home in the west after the Russian troops evicted millions of German after the war. My own family from my mother’s side came from Silesia which fell into the hands of Polish and Russian troops after the war. In fact my family was only evicted in the winter of 1946-47. There is a short story I wrote about it a couple of years ago:  There is no going back. I don’t have any emotional bond to that part of Germany, but my aunt who is still alive does. She and my mother feature in the story. And now we’re going to visit.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Meck Pomm- one of the “new” states


Meck Pomm- is one of the “new” states- and short for Mecklenburg -Vorpommern.
After reunification, the federal Republic of Germany got six more states (Bundeslaender) which until then had belonged to the GDR (German Democratic Republic). As a Wessie (from Western Germany), I had always been annoyed about their claim to democracy. There were so many proofs of the contrary…
Germany now has 16 federal states; only 10 until 1990. Berlin was never one of them but had a special status, a city ruled by the four allied powers since the end of World War II. Now it’s the capital of reunited Germany. Most people will be hard pressed to name them all, maybe now after twenty years plus, they are well-known. Here’s the challenge to Germans and all other readers alike: fill in this picture below…:)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Special Sale of Season 1

Announcing special sale of my eBook on Home Swapping.(Season 1) Season 2 is under way...http://cheapkindledaily.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/todays-featured-read-101/ Will go live tonite! Have a look, maybe even like that page? Thanks.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Agreement

So we've signed the contract for our next exchange in July. The company we're using and where we are members calls it "exchange agreement". There are two sides to the agreement, ie. each exchange partner lists the names of the visitors and contact details. This is also the place where relevant insurance details are listed about the cars that are going to be swapped-- if you want that part of the deal.   
Only these people are allowed to stay--unless otherwise stated. E.g. I always mention that I may have my children stay the odd day while we are there. Otherwise people could be inclined to run a B&B, have wild parties, or come with a gang of 8 family member, I suppose.
Under special arrangements we list that the other party will be responsible for using our Pay TV option. After last year's experience where the French had run up a bill of almost $80 I can only advise you to include that in your agreement. In all fairness, this bill was paid without any quibble. Well, after all they had agreed to it in advance. How feasible it is to enforce any financial arrangement between two countries that are so far away and have different jurisdictions I can't even start to imagine.
The only recourse I can see is to complain to the organizing website and approach them as a mediator. The is a special process that can be invoked...if it comes to that, an official complaint.
This agreement is also made online. Each partner has the chance of making changes and then the agreement is signed electronically.
"By signing this agreement you are acknowledging that you accept the conditions and understand that the cancellation of an exchange, once an agreement has been signed, is a serious matter and may lead to exclusion from further participation in a ...exchange."
Sounds reasonable? I left out the name of the company on purpose. It is available upon request.