Latest posts by FIRECracker (see all)
- Guest Interview with Craig, Author and House Hacker Extraordinaire - October 7, 2019
- Book Review: Choose FI, Your Blueprint to Financial Independence - October 1, 2019
- Are You a Good Fit for FIRE? - September 9, 2019
This blog has taken a turn for the weird this week, what with all the housing analysis punctuated by inappropriate sexual innuendo. I have nobody but myself to blame for that, but I thought as we go into the weekend we hit reset a bit and get this blog back on the straight and narrow.
Now let me tell you a thing or two about whores.
After we left Belgium on our pan-European road trip, we ended up in Cologne, Germany…a city known for perfume, museums, cathedrals, and Pascha:
You see in Germany, prostitution is legal, and the Germans being Germans, they of course took one look at the situation and piled on as much cold, ruthless efficiency as they could. Hence, that 12-floor apartment building up there dedicated to humanity’s “oldest profession.”
That’s right, in Germany they have an entire skyscraper full of whores! It’s like a…Whore-Scraper or something. Hmmm that sounds weird.
Wanderer had done a lot of research on Pascha (for “blogging” purposes, obviously), and he was way Way WAY too excited to go see the thing. “Did you know they have 120 prostitutes, spread out over 12 floors and 9000 square meters of space?”
“They even have a whole FLOOR dedicated to transsexuals!”
“Oh and do you know how many customers they have a day? 1000! Holy shit!”
So of course being the filthy human being that I am, my interest was immediately piqued. But when we went there (again, for “blogging” purposes), we found that despite all his research, Wanderer clearly hadn’t done his homework.
“No women allowed,” the bouncer growled at me, arms crossed.
“Employees and customers only.”
“Well, I want to be a customer! I like girls!” I bluffed.
“We don’t let women in,” he said, clearly seeing through my paper-thin ruse. “It would be weird.”
I blinked, looked up at the giant flashing monstrosity before us. Yeah. THAT would be weird.
So unfortunately I couldn’t go inside to check it out. But as a consolation prize, we got to see the next best thing: Nazis!
Yeah, I know. I am REALLY running down my short list of German stereotypes right now, but this was once a Nazi prison, where they crammed people they deemed enemies of the state into tiny basement cells. To say it’s “claustrophobic” would be an understatement. This was like taking the entire the Duggar family and cramming them one tiny, New York apartment.
After leaving Cologne, we ended up in Frankfurt…the most boring city of all cities. Which, to be fair, wasn’t entirely the city’s fault, since it got bombed to all Hell during WWII. Frankfurt reconstructed itself as a commercial/business center, which meant a lot of cubicle-filled offices, but not a lot of touristy stuff.
As a result we didn’t do a lot of sight seeing, but what they lacked in sights to see they more than made up for in stuff to eat. This was the first place we got to experience German cuisine at its finest.
If I could use one word to describe German food, it would be “hearty.” Lots of meat, lots of potatoes. I loved it. Think thick juicy sausages, and roasted slabs of meat, drowning in gravy and served with a heaping pile of sauerkraut. My favourite was something called “schweinshaxe.” A whole roasted pork knuckle drowning in gravy that’s a local favourite. And when we got one, it was served to us in the most German way possible. Meaning, hacked off a pig, stabbed with a sword and plunked down in front of us as the waiter yelled “SCHWEINSHAXE!!!” at the top of his lungs. Scared the CRAP out of us, but it was delicious nonetheless.
The sheer volume of food we stuffed into our pie holes just to finish one knuckle, was insane, and add to that the gallon of beer that came with it and we could see why there were so many portly locals in the bar with us.
After Frankfurt, we headed for Stuttgart, a city with gorgeous gardens, historical architecture (which thankfully wasn’t destroyed in WWII), and heavenly, well-priced spas.
So of course we headed for “MineralBad Cannstatt”, where for a mere 8 Euros ($12 CAD or $9 USD), you could soak in the mineral baths and chill out for 2 hours.
One thing marred our visit to this city however. As we were lining up for the spa, my cellphone rang. It was our AirBnB host.
“You broke my washing machine! Please come back and resolve this immediately!”
Whoops. As it turns out, because I couldn’t read the German instructions I didn’t close the drum properly before I turned it on and a piece broke off, clogged the drain pipe and flooded the poor guy’s bathroom with half a foot of water.
Needless to say, he was NOT pleased. “I would kindly ask you to buy me a new washer.”
Crap. I explained to him that since I couldn’t read the German and he wasn’t home, I didn’t know how to use it. But to no avail. He was pissed.
“How much?” I asked, winching and waiting for the number that was inevitable going to blow our trip budget.
I let out a deep breath. Really? That’s it? That’s how much washers cost in Germany?
Good God, are things in North America that overpriced?
“Okay, let me see if AirBnB has any insurance to cover it.”
Up until that point, I’d really liked AirBnB because we could have a kitchen to cook and the ability to do laundry.
I had no idea what was going to happen now.
“Since you you’ve been getting consistently good reviews from your hosts, and you didn’t intentionally break the washer, we can split the cost 50/50 with you. Does that sound reasonable?”
Reasonable? We could get out of this for 40 Euros? “Deal!”
“Wonderful!” The cheerful rep said. “And for being such a good customer, we would like to offer you a $50 US travel credit as a thank you!”
And now we somehow ended up MAKING money from obliterating this poor guy’s washer?
God, I love AirBnB.
Cost Breakdown (in CAD dollars, per couple):
• $72/night from AirBnB (if you’re not an existing customer, click here for a $40 credit)
• Germany was pretty cheap for food. We ate our fair share of pretzels (pronounced “Bret-zel”), sausages, sauerkraut and drank lots of booze (in Europe, booze really is cheaper than water).
• We also cooked a lot and the groceries in Germany were the most reasonable out of all the European countries we’d been to.
• Would’ve been more if we’d been able to get to the spa, but generally attractions in Germany are inexpensive. The former Nazi prison was 9 Euros/person, and there were lots of free parks and museums to visit.
• Light rail and subways in Germany was pretty cheap, so we were able to get around pretty easily. Some attractions were also within walking distance.
Total cost: $123.50/day/couple
Rating: 3.5/5 Pretzels
Out the 3, I’d say Stuttgart stood out the most. Cologne and Frankfurt didn’t have the European architecture because of WW2.
Stuttgart was small enough to walk around, and still had enough gorgeous parks and spas to chill in. Also, somehow I made $6 whole dollars while causing massive damage to a homeowner’s washer. SWEET! Renters win again!
Click here for the next post in the series.
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