We moved into our apartment last week and everything went better than expected. Julia’s parents and uncle helped us (a lot) take everything from Seelenberg, a small town near Frankfurt where Julia’s parents live, to our new apartment in Heidelberg. We were fortunate in that the previous renter left a lot of her furniture behind, which means that we didn’t have to buy and transport so much.
A difference that I have noticed in Germany is that more often than not you buy the kitchen when you move into an apartment. That means the previous renter also bought the kitchen when she moved in. When she moved out, she had the option of taking the refrigerator/stove/oven with her, or selling it to the next renters. I find this to be pretty impractical, as most kitchen appliances fit very well in the place for which they were bought and would not necessarily go with a kitchen in a new place. On top of that, you have to worry about transporting them and hooking them up. In addition, at least in the place we moved into, certain small things that I would never expect to be taken were in fact taken. For example, the standard bathroom sink mirror was gone when we moved in. Then we had to (more accurately: Julia’s dad and uncle) put up our own bathroom sink mirror. It seemed unneccessary since I take the following to be true: 1) A bathroom sink mirror is standard in a bathroom and 2) The style of the mirror is not very personal and is just there for function. Can’t we all just leave our bathroom mirrors? Anyway, these are just differences from America that I think others may also find interesting.
Our apartment is a “2 room” apartment. This means there are two “hang out” rooms: rooms where you can do things that aren’t purely functional like a bathroom or a kitchen. Our two rooms are the bedroom and an eating/living room. In the USA, this would be a 1 bedroom apartment. The bedroom is a good size and the second room is a bit smaller. What is really nice is that the hallway is really wide and doesn’t feel cramped at all which I think can often be the case in hallways in apartments.
The apartment is in a beautiful, small courtyard that hangs off of the main street in the old city area of Heidelberg. The main street (Hauptstraße) always has a lot going on and makes you feel alive. We are just far enough removed where our section of the courtyard is peaceful. We can be in the action in 20 seconds, though, if we want.
Overall, we really, really lucked out getting the apartment and are excited to live here. Heidelberg is notorious for being hard to find an apartment. There is a massive influx of students every semester that all need places to live and even the dorms are way over capacity. There also seems to be an unwritten law where the landlords don’t just jack up the price to meet demand like they would in the US. Our landlady said, for example, “the price from the last tenant seems fair, so let’s just keep it like that.” I can’t imagine a landlord/lady in the US saying that. I have the feeling the rent has been the same for six years and she could easily get a couple hundred Euros more per month for it. We saw worse apartments with worse locations that were way more money. With an overcrowded market and lower priced apartments the competition comes not in the form of money, but in the form of appearance and how well you will get along with the landlord. I have heard, but not seen, that there are often long lines of would-be renters that line up to see apartments when they become available. You write your name, age, and occupation down on a list and hope you are the chosen one. Again, we really lucked out and are excited for the times ahead.
Here is a video of the apartment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miCXD5Nc-sY