The German Shuffle 14 | EP 127
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Kleo is a language learning app in which you can learn not only German, but also Spanish, Italian and even Ukrainian as well. This app offers a completely unique learning experience that sets it apart from all the other language learning apps we've tried over the years. The app teaches you with interactive videos in which your virtual tutor will prompt you with vocabulary, phrases, and grammar. They will then ask you questions regarding how to say a phrase, for example, and the virtual tutor will actually rate your pronunciation! The app now has the World’s first ever virtual pronunciation coach. Kleo features Feli from the extremely popular "Feli from Germany" YouTube channel, sharing all her best tips for the toughest sounds in German. You're able to get as much “face-to-face” practice with Feli as you want!
However, the hosts of your favorite expat podcast are now on the app as well! CLICK HERE to see our special lesson (iPhone Link only). We discuss phrases related to the Christmas season here in Germany.
Inside vs. Outside Berlin's "Ringbahn" | EP 117
Berlin's "Ringbahn" (circle railway) is a circular public train route that surrounds Berlin's inner city area. It helps to connect the vast network of subway and above ground train lines that criss-cross the city, making transfers from one part of the city to the other much quick. However, beyond being a helpful public transit feature, it also acts as a dividing line for two different versions of Berlin.
To help all of you who don't live in Berlin have a better idea of the Ringbahn's location, please see the graphics below.
The Ringbahn (circle line) on the BVG public transit map.
The Ringbahn surrounding the "city center."
Inside the Ringbahn vs. outside the Ringbahn.
Tourist Destinations: To Go, or Not to Go? | EP 116
At the end of the episode we discuss Schloß (castle) Neuschwanstein and whether it is worthy of a visit. In case you were unaware of exactly which German castle we were talking about, see above. As mentioned, Walt Disney used it as his inspiration for Cinderella's Castle at Disneyland.
Questions for a German: "Feli from Germany" | EP 112
First of all, another special thanks to Felicia for joining us once more on the podcast. She's officially our longest running guest!
If you haven't already, please check out her YouTube channel. She posts really fun videos about the cultural differences between the USA and Germany and gives her unique perspective on living in the States as a foreigner.
On the top, she now has a podcast with her good friend Josh, who is an American living in Germany. Together, they compare and contrast many topics and have great guests, such as Alex and I :)
The German Shuffle: 11 | EP 110
During this week's "German Shuffle" we discussed Berlin's culture of dumping old furniture and other household items on its sidewalks. It didn't take us long to walk by a perfect example! We think placing smaller items that someone else will most likely take home and use, is a good form of recycling. However, placing larger items that no one will take, such as old mattresses or broken bedframes, is just being downright lazy. Below, is unfortunately, a normal example of what you see in some neighbourhoods in Berlin.
German Beer: The Sequel | EP 107
Kleo is a language learning app that offers a completely unique learning experience that sets it apart from all the other language learning apps we've tried over the years. The app teaches you with interactive videos in which your virtual tutor will teach you vocabulary, phrases, and grammar. They will then ask you questions regarding how to say a phrase, for example, and the virtual tutor will actually rate your pronunciation!
The Kleo app offers fun tutors to learn with, such as the hosts of your favorite expat podcast! That’s right, we have a special FREE lesson on the app that will teach you some useful phrases about ordering drinks at a local German pub.
TRY OUR FREE LESSON (iPhone Only)
What the heck is beg packing? | EP 102
What are your thoughts about begpacking? Do you agree with us? Send us a message and let us know. If you'd like to see some examples of begpacking, check out this article here.
As we mentioned, we had just celebrated the Easter weekend in Germany. Geoff and his girlfriend enjoyed a classic German "Osterfeuer" (Easter fire) at the Plötzensee lake in Berlin. Above is an image of the fire, which was quite large (the top of the flames reached around 5 meters tall).
Above is just a taste of the abandoned Spreepark in Berlin. During the episode, we informed you that this former amusement park will be renovated over the next few years and once again people will be able to enter (legally) to enjoy the space. If you'd like a quick look at the park and learn a little about its history, take a look at this 5 minute BBC documentary.
Driving Culture: Why City Planning Matters | EP 101
During the episode when speaking about our childhood vehicles, Geoff mentioned he had once owned a decommissioned police car. Here it is, in all its glory:
100th Episode! Behind the Scenes | EP 100
Believe it or not, we have now been around for 100 episodes! We're a bit shocked ourselves, to be honest. Today we recorded this very special episode, which included a live audience over instagram and a lot of "behind the scenes" stories.
Recording this 100th episode brough us so much joy. It was humbling to see how many of you showed up to watch us live and ask us questions throughout. With so many people participating, the whole thing really felt like a group effort. This episode is now officially our favourite episode of the entire run of the podcast!
Click below to listen to our "21-Pop-Salute." This was created by gathering 21 of our best whiskey bottle opening sounds from the past two years of episodes.
Since this episode was all about the behind the scenes of our podcast, we thought we would include a few videoes below that show the set up and break down of our recording equipment. These videos were created for our YouTube channel about a year or so ago and and we have since then improved some of our equipment and changed the overall set up in order to improve recording conditions. Please excuse the fact that one of the videos is out of focus.
Listener Travel Stories (Part 2) | EP 97
One of the listener stories we read during this episode was from Kris. He said his secret to getting sun during the Berlin winters was to take cheap, one day trips to Mallorca. Kris was kind enough to share with us some photos from these sun filled trips:
The German Shuffle (9) | EP 94
Here is one of the trash cans in Mauerpark that "holds your beer." These were added when the park was renovated about a year or so ago and we think they should be used throughout Berlin!
During our discussion about how people in Germany recycle their glass bottles, we gave two examples that are used by the majority of people living here. Firstly, many apartment buildings provide bins in their courtyards for residents to recycle their empty glass bottles. Sometimes, they even provide multiple bins, each for a different color of glass bottle. For Berliners that do not have glass recycling bins provided by their apartment building, they do have another option. Most neighbourhoods in Berlin have large glass bottle recycling containers in public spaces, for anyone to use. Below is an example we came across on a winter walk. The color of each container represents the color of glass bottle that should be placed inside.
Our European Travel Tips (3) | EP 93
During this episode, we mentioned a scam that can be found in many European cities, especially in their respective city centres around locations tourists are likely to visit. This is known as the "food weight scam."
If you'd like to see the scam in action, the YouTube channel "Honest Guide" has a great video exposing how it works and you can watch it here.
Take Me Home...USA vs. Germany | EP 91
Geoff recently returned from a month long trip in the United States. It had been 2 years since he was able to visit or see his family! Oddly enough, the reason for staying away was the Covid-19 pandemic, and yet he ended up finally catching Covid during this trip. I guess it's sort of poetic, in a way?
Below are some photos that help better illustrate a few of the oddities we mentioned during the episode. Take a gander, eh?
Click on gallery above to go full screen
Preserving Traditions While Abroad | EP 87
We'd like to once again thank Günther Jähnl, the host of the "Hier & There" podcast, for joining us as this week's guest. The podcast is produced by the Germanic-American Institute (GAI) in St. Paul, Minnesota. The ultimate goal of the series and the organization is to connect the people of the United States and Germany through language, culture and increased understanding. To learn more about either, click the links below:
As we mentioned during the episode, Alex last week had a little accident. Don't worry though, he's OK! In a freak occurrence, he hit his head directly on the top of a glass bottle that was sitting on the counter. How this happened exactly, we'll never know. To prove to you it did happen, just take a glance at the picture above. This was taken right after his forehead and the bottle connected. Less than 5 minutes later we would all be walking with him to the nearest hospital, which luckily was close by.
Long story short, you should always have a small first-aid kit somewhere in your house. You never know what could happen...
Schooling & Education: Germany vs. USA | EP 79
We'd like to introduce this episode's sponsor, the Germanic-American Institute (GAI) in St. Paul, Minnesota.
They offer immersion-style German language courses for all levels and ages, in-person or online. Fall classes just started this week, but there is still time to register at gaimn.org!
Past GAI students eventually took the German skills they learned and moved to Germany to live, work, and just have fun. They also have our own podcast, called “Hier & There” which covers grammar questions, cultural topics, and interviews with famous people, just like Alex and I.
The GAU also provides online and in-person “Samstagschule” for kids and teens, and a new online enrichment preschool age program called “Kinderstube German@home”
Their ultimate goal is to connect the people of the United States and Germany through language, culture and increased understanding.
To find out more about German classes, events, and cultural resources, please go to gaimn.org
Berlin vs. Bavaria: Part 2 | EP 77
We'd like to once again give another special thanks to Aspen of "Aspen Abroad" and the "Dating Abroadcast" podcast for joining us! We had a great time hearing about Munich, and more specially what the dating scene is like down there in the south. Will she be back on the show for a part three? Who knows...
If you enjoyed the episode, then you should definitely check out her new podcast, which focuses on what it's like to date in Germany as an expat. As their slogan goes, they date Germans so you don't have to!
Things the USA Does Better Than Germany: Part 2 | EP 73
Image copyright: Getty Images
As most of you have already seen in last week's news, Germany was hit hard by a devastating flood, which has thus far claimed the lives of over 160 people. Our thoughts are with those that have endured this horrific event and we hope you are all safe and doing well. As we mentioned during this week's episode, we have provided links below of organizations you can send donations that will help the victims and infrastructure that have been affected by the floods:
The DRK provides huge support in emergencies, such as medical services, care, accommodation and food.
The DLRG is involved in water rescue.
They have created a donation account for victims, which will help provide emergency aid and helps those who have lost their homes due to the flooding.
Berlin vs. Bavaria | EP 71
The epic showdown between the North and South is finally here! However, considering only one of us has lived in Munich and for only a few months at that, we needed an expert who could help fill in all the blanks. We'd like to wish another special thanks to Aspen of "Aspen Abroad" for joining us and making the episode fun for all of you! Hopefully in the future she can join us again at some point, because we simply could not fit all of the comparisons between Berlin and Munich into one episode.
If you enjoyed the episode, then you should check out all the other content Aspen has to offer:
Traveling Around Europe on a Budget | EP 68
This week we gave tips on how to travel around Europe cheaply. If you want to backpack through Europe for several months or simply want to enjoy a one week tour of Italy, this information will be very helpful for you.
When we say pack light, we mean PACK LIGHT. As we mentioned in the episode, lay out in front of you everything you think you absolutely need for your trip. Then, remove half of the items. Bring only what is left and you'll thank yourself later.
If you truly think brining just one backpack for a week's travel is impossible, look below. This is the only bag I carried for a nearly 2 month backpacking trip around Europe!
These are cheap, simplified versions of hotels. They offer very few frills or services beyond a basic place to sleep and keep your belongings. Hostels are known for their "dorms", in which a single room can have on average between 6 - 12 bunk style beds (sometimes much, much more). Some dorms are co-ed and some are gender specific. However, most hostels tend to also offer a few private rooms as well, if you'd rather not share a room with strangers.
Below are some examples of cheap hostel rooms we have stayed in over the years. Most offer lockers for you to keep your belongings safe from the others you'll be staying with. Keep in mind, they usually rely on you to bring your own padlocks for use with the provided lockers.
During the trips in our early twenties, we specifically stayed in very low cost hostels because we were backpacking on a nearly non-existent budget. Fancier hostels do exist, however you will obviously pay more for the higher quality furnishings, etc.