9.30.2007

Choices

Max arrived safe and sound from his extended stay in Germany. It’s good to have my man home--even though he came back empty handed or, to be more exact, without a signed lease on a new apartment.

The bottom line is Max refused to make a decision without me. My husband reckoned that, while he will be headed to a job most mornings, I would be stuck at home, day in and day out and especially in the beginning before I meet new friends and learn the area. For this reason, it seemed important that I be more than content with our new abode.

“If momma ain’t happy, no one be happy. We’ll just have to go back together and find our new place,” Max said with a smile, handing me an itinerary for our upcoming house-hunting trip.

We leave for Germany on October 18th, and won’t return until we have found our new home.

Pretty exciting stuff, huh?

But, it’s also a little nerve racking. Choosing the right apartment and neighborhood will be a tough decision. During his recent visit, Max surveyed four areas—Heidelberg, Mannheim, Speyer, and Neustadt. Each had its advantages and disadvantages.

In the beginning, we had our hearts set on Heidelberg—a beautiful city and popular tourist destination. The downside of living in Heidelberg is that it is at least 45 minutes from Max’s office. Also, because it’s desirable, rent tends to be much higher. Given that the sale of my condo is going so poorly, we may be funding two households for a while. Prudence dictates Max and I choose a more economical area to live than Heidelberg. Boo!



Mannheim sits twenty minutes from Heidelberg. It’s an industrial city—much less picturesque than Heidelberg. Because Mannheim was almost leveled during World War II, rebuilding came quickly and without much consideration to architectural details. It doesn’t have the German charm, and looks more like a run-of-the-mill American city. Max says there are some very nice areas, however. Within a 15-minute stroll outside the center, we could find an apartment bordering the Rhine or a large, lovely park. The other advantage of being in Mannheim is that there exists easy and expansive public transportation system, as well as plenty for me to explore and do—including a thriving salsa community.


Across the Rhine and 20 minutes from the office, Speyer is a small, quaint town, which boasts more restaurants and pubs per capita than any other place in Germany. It doesn’t offer the variety that a larger city, and in some ways wouldn’t be as convenient for me to make my way around. However the natives tell us, if we’re looking for a more traditional German experience, than Speyer would make a nice choice.

Neustadt is a small town in the wine country, which I have nixed from our choices only because it seems too quiet for my tastes. I may have been raised on a farm, but I have the soul of a city girl. If I lived in this small town made famous for its wineries, I run the risk of becoming the village's American wino.

Of course, I don’t know any of this for a fact, basing my judgments solely from what Max and his co-workers tell me. Since a few of you know the area, feel free to leave opinions of your own. And for those of you don’t know Germany, I’d still like your thoughts. What should be important criteria in making this decision?

16 comments:

November Rain said...

Michelle sent me to say HI from München

Princess Extraordinaire said...

I truly believe that home is where you make it ad it will become everything you want it to be simply by living your life. I understand the difference between wanting city and/or coutry life, however, many of these places offer a bit of both so it's hard to go wrong...

Ian said...

You are very attractive. You should forget max and join (charlie) Charley Pride

JustJunebug said...

going off the little bit that i know of you i would suggest Mannehim. seems like you would have more to do since you'll be on your own a lot of the time. you can always move later!!

that soul of a city girl wont be happy in a small town for very long. if at all!

zerodoll said...

i forget, how long will you be living there?

Diane Mandy said...

I'll be there 2-4 years.

mollymcmo said...

what an exciting time in your life! good luck with hunting down the perfect pad! :)

m

Jayne said...

You can't really decide til you're there to feel the atmosphere of each area.
Making friends in a small country town can be just as difficult as a large city and those first few experiences could end up colouring your view of your time there.
Good luck!

kenju said...

My only experience of Germany is seeing it from a train on my way from Zurich to Paris, so I can't help you. Speyer looks great to me!

M said...

I've only visited Germany but I loved the Rhine - it's absolutely gorgeous.

armalicious said...

I honestly have no idea what to even begin to look at while trying to find a new home in another country! Wow! Best of luck to you!

Are you going to be able to take your dog when you move?

Anonymous said...

I vote Speyer but have never been there. Heidelberg should be ruled out, sad as it is, b/c you should have as much time together as poss. Mannheim could be good too. Good luck!

Suvii said...

Wow.. what a tough choice! From te pictures alone, Speyer looks absolutely charming, but given what I know of you, you might behappier in the bigger city of Mannheim with more activities for you to adventure into. What i think will happen is that when you're there, you'll absolutely fall in love with one place over the other and that will be that!

Just a trumpet player said...

Personally, I would go with Mannheim.

Much cheaper, and since most people only speak German, well, you would still get your "German experience". That'll leave you extra money to travel to those cutsy towns, go salsa dancing and drink loads of Martinis...

utenzi said...

Go with Speyey so you can immerse yourself in German-ness and Max can have a short commute. In your spare time you could make tasting those fine German beers in all those pubs a hobby. Someone must be dancing there...I don't know about Latin American dances tho--would polkas be okay, Diane?

Me said...

Heidelberg is pretty...might be overrated and far from his work though but if you are stuck at home at least this is a city you can walk around in and get to know... I have not spent much time there but have an American friend living there right now. Email me or leave a message on my blog and I give you her email. she can give you the info on heidelberg at least.