Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Keepin' Cool

Most if not all German households do not have a central heating and air conditioning system.  If there is a house with one, I have yet to witness it.  Most modern homes are constructed of concrete.  This has it's pros and cons.  A major "pro" is that it's great insulation.  With double pained windows and concrete walls it keeps the sounds and "environment" out and the "indoors" in.  For most of the year this works splendidly. I equate German summers as mild.  Similar to Central California early spring or late fall.  Meaning cool mornings and warm afternoons and cool evenings.  So, to keep it comfy in the Summer we open the windows in the morning close up during the afternoon and then open up in the evening. 

The trouble or "con" really starts during that one super hot humid week or two during the year and there really is no relief.  Which brings me to another trouble with German homes.....NO FLIPPING SCREENS! I don't mind bugs I most truly do not....except for fruit flies and they are abundant during the Summer.  Also, regular flies are a nuisance but I can usually swat them outside (and yes, I am one of those crazy granola crunchers who puts out the bugs and doesn't kill them). Screens are sold at the local home depot store.  A screen door for one of my balcony window/doors would cost 69 Euro.  WTH?! For all 4 of those doors it would cost close to $400 and that doesn't even include the regular windows. This along with built in closets and bathroom shelving gets checked off as  'things that are just automatically included in a rental property at home'.   A good thing to invest in is fans.  The cheapest I've found them is about 20 Euro.  (I'm talking about a good sized standing fan. Now again, ceiling fans or whole house fans don't seem to exist here). The fans I have seems to keep the fruit flies and gnats disoriented enough to not pester me.  Something with moving air detours them I've found. Portable AC units are available, I believe the price tag on those was about 400 Euro.  But, for anyone who needs this it might be worth it.  Also second hand is always an option.

Another way to keep cool and this seems to be what most Germans do is to go to a local lake or pool.  There is usually a public indoor pool in most areas. Azur, Waschmühle, and Monte Mare or some that came up from my Google search. In our area there are many many local lakes as well.  The closest one to us is in Kindsbach.  It's a old old man made lake (There are not many if any natural ponds or lakes in German forests most are man made and in olden days, were stocked with fish) Barenlochweiher is a small lake with a wading area for smaller tots, a Cafe, restrooms, and playground and it's free to enjoy.
Another place that I've just heard of is CUBO. This I've heard is a fantastic natural pool (no chlorine or saline just plants are used to filter it) there is also an indoor spa.  Click here for a link in English. Something I've mentioned in the past but will again here is Gartenschau.  For families this is really a fun place.  There is a creek that runs through the park area along with a water play area.  This is fantastic for parents like me don't necessarily want to "bless" everyone with an appearance in their mom bathing suit.  This park is great and for a little over 40 Euro families can purchase a season pass.

So, keep the faith newbies.  When the thermostat reaches a hefty 98-100 degrees with humidity in the "hell" rating, go swimming and for heavens sake, don't cook!

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