May 072011

First, one of the steps forward:

We went house hunting!  First we searched ads and newspapers.  Honestly, there are *very* few 3 bedroom apartments (or houses) in this area.  There are even fewer in our price range.  We wanted to find a place somewhere in the general area of Offenburg/Kehl as David’s work will be moving from Kehl to Offenburg (next city down) in October.  But, as we looked, we found ourselves considering places further and further afield.  One otherwise promising duplex fell through because it had a hefty finders fee for the agent (3 month’s rent!) and it had very poor internet.  We might have been able to stomach the fee with pain, but the internet deficit was a deal-breaker!

Luckily, though, David’s incredibly helpful co-worker Sanja was on the case.  She had volunteered to call places for us as her German is infinitely better than ours (so, by the way, is her Croation, French, her Spanish, and possibly even her English!  What can I say, the lady is impressive!)  Sanja found a 3 bedroom apartment in Offenburg.  It is at the northern edge, nearest Kehl, a little too close to the railroad, but surrounded by farmlands.  The place had been occupied until recently by the owners of the building who, apparently, *really* liked their bathrooms!  Check out this tub:

Jets, bubbles, rotating head rests.  Even a heated towel rack!

And these sinks:

Note the toilet in the bathroom.  Unusual, here, but convenient!

And then there is the shower.  It has radio, multiple jets, and even a steam setting!

Also a shower seat and an overhead rain shower.

The guest toilet is also fun:

These folks clearly liked modern fixtures.

The apartment itself is small compared to what we are accustomed- 97 sq. meters, or about 1050 sq ft.  But it has a large enough livingroom that leads out onto a functional balcony:

Would need rugs for that floor!

The piece de resistance for us, though is that it comes with a fully installed kitchen!!!  Most of the apartments in Germany are completely barren.  And I mean completely.  No appliances, certainly, but also no counters, no cabinets, and no sink!  You are expected to bring your own or contract Ikea or similar to make one for you at considerable extra cost.  This place has everything- even a dishwasher and a small dining/cooking counter at one end!  Sadly, the fridge is Europe-sized, but we were still duly impressed.

OOOOOO!  Ahhhhhhh!

The place also has a laundry room.  Now, this is not like a laundry room in the states with big coin-operated washers and dryers.  This is a room in the basement with a number of water hook-ups and electricity outlets.  You purchase your own washer and/or dryer and set it up in your designated spot attached to a meter that tells the landlord how much water/energy you used.  There is also space in the room to set up portable clothes lines.  We only saw one dryer in the room, but there were, I think, 3 active clotheslines on the day we visited.  The basement area also has storage for the unit, and even a bicycle room to store your bikes!  There are garages outside for the cars.

The capper was that the building gets 16 times better internet speeds than the house we are in currently!  I wouldn’t say we were in love, but we definitely liked the place.

We asked Sanja to start the process of helping us apply for it.  This involves more here than in the US.  We have to get attestation from David’s employer that we can afford the place, for instance.  We have no idea if we will get it.  But even if we have to look some more, I definitely count this as a step forward because the process has definitely begun!

Next up, A step back

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