Swapping Homes Anybody?


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

There is a lot to do...

Other people would be packing bags already or at least think about what they are going to take. We spent another preparation-marathon-weekend doing up the porch. Thank goodness, it wasn't as scorching hot as before when we did the outside painting.On Saturday, hubby power washed. We had only painted the floor of the lanai last year before our trip, but watering plants had left unsightly stains, rusty and some algae-green. While we were at it, some plants had to be repotted and the urns they went into---you guessed it: They had to be derusted and painted too. That's the trouble when two perfectionists come together.
On Sunday, we painted the floor and I cleaned the garage. Yes, I hear you ask...but you know yourself: Whose garage is in ship shape? Certainly not ours. There were even some remnants of the last (French) visitors beach erosion that they must have caused judging from the amount of sand we found in some corners. Now there is only the indoor touch up jobs to be done, be that walls or skirting boards and doors. I'm sure, we'll find some last minute extra job that needs doing urgently....2 weeks and counting!
In the meantime, we've also got a schedule for our roaming visitors. I didn't really want to run an open house again, but the nature of the beast is that you want to see your nearest and dearest. And no better place than in a house that can accommodate 7 people easily although they won't all be there at the same time.
Exciting times! And it will all be worth it. We can relax when we're there!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Main Differences

When I told people that we're doing home swaps they asked me about the main differences between the countries: in this case Germany and the USA. The biggest and probably the most hard to take for an American from the South like is the lack of Air Conditioning. I don't know any private homes in Germany that has an AC. Public places and hotels are different. In Germany, we open all the windows to create a breeze and love living outdoors -weather permitting. Mind you, we hardly ever have the temperatures nor the humidity that prevail in Florida for almost half of the year. AC even has a bad reputation in Germany  for some reason: it causes colds, spreads germs and is a waste of electricity. Well, here it's a different kettle of fish and we encourage our house guest to keep the AC on even they may think doing us a great job in saving money for us when they switch it off. They learn soon enough.
With open windows come flies and midges.There aren't really any mosquitoes in Germany. But they annoying midges will find their way into the house and bedroom. You just have to switch off the lights when the windows are open.
Another difference are the fridges.People tend to have smaller fridge-freezers that have no ice-makers.That's what my poor hubby really misses. We even take an extra old fashioned cube tray with us so that we have enough ice cubes. For some reason, Germans don't need ice cubes in their drinks as we do here. Once their drink is chilled in the fridge- that's good enough.
Germany has its famous Autbahn. Many foreigners dream of driving there at top speeds. In reality, in many areas speed is restricted due to heavy traffic in densely populated areas. But I have done my 240 km/h legally. The rest of the country has Bundesstrassen which often are only 2 lane roads. In fact, traveling in the countryside that is the type of road you're likely to encounter. There is only one or 2 of this type of narrow roads left where we live. As my neighbor called it:"The dangerous road..."Ooh, and also windy...scary, scary.

Other differences are the ones that I miss dearly: foods! My favorite foods like white asparagus, Italian Gelaterias (ice cream parlors), a gazillion different breads and Broetchen, (bread rolls), most of them not sweet -thank goodness- exquisite cakes and tortes (tartes) as well as beer gardens. I wrote about some of these before in last years blog, Season 1 as an eBook.(http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005N0N3CO). With less than 4 weeks to go, my excitement is growing. I'll keep you posted! For more information see www.Intrepidhomeswappers.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Evaluating Site for Seniors

With only 30 days to go on our adventure, I want to report about home swapping website today that exclusively caters to people over 50. If you belong into that category and are thinking about joining one of these agencies, here is the address: www.SeniorHomeSwaps.com.Surprisingly, there is always room for another version to a product by going into niche markets. What may the benefit of it be? People without children. If you don't want children to be running around your house and precious belongings, this may be an obvious possibility. On the other hand, you can always rule children out on the site where we are paid up, like pets. Just tick off the appropriate boxes. You may be limiting your choices, but there you are.
I had a look at this site as a visitor. You can do that and look at individual countries free of charge, of course you cannot connect with the advertising people yet.They only had 7 exchange partners in the whole of Germany. Only one had a photo on offer and only 2 were willing to swap cars too.The may have to grow for more members or they may have more participating partners in the SA and Canada. I didn't look there. They do, however, offer, paid accommodation in private houses.It would be worth checking out comparing the size of houses. Goes to reason that "Seniors" have downsized and families have bigger houses. I wouldn't want to end up in a "Retirement community".
For now,  I'll stick to mine...