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LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: Life after the €9 ticket, dialect maps and Waldpilze

In this week's roundup of life in Germany, we look at the end of the hugely popular €9 ticket deal, a map of Germany's regional dialects and the start of the autumn mushroom-foraging season.

Pumpkin art in Germany
A discus thrower made from pumpkins at the pumpkin art exhibition in North-Rhine Westphalia. Photo: picture alliance / Rainer Jensen/dpa | Rainer Jensen

€9 ticket: People in Germany want change

Last week the €9 per month ticket offer came to an end. People in Germany enjoyed three months of travelling on buses, trams and trains in local networks all over the country at the massively reduced price. With around 52 million tickets sold, it’s been widely touted as a success story. Transport Minister Volker Wissing said this week that he had convinced his FDP colleague Christian Lindner that a follow-up ticket – and restructure of local public transport – was needed in Germany.

“By buying many tickets, people voted that it (public transport) shouldn’t stay this way, and that’s why I want us to simplify the public transport structures, digitalise them, and we need a better fare structure,” said Wissing. “There has to be something new.”

Lindner had previously ruled out the idea of a follow-up scheme, saying Germany couldn’t afford it. While it’s unlikely that we’ll have another nationwide ticket that’s so cheap, it would be encouraging to see public transport reduced in price from the current cost, and to see it simplified. The coalition government seems to be receptive – although it will still be a case of thrashing out how it can be funded together with the heads of the 16 federal states. Fingers crossed that we’ll see more positive changes to public transport in Germany soon.

READ ALSO: End of €9 ticket and fuel cuts – Germany says goodbye to cheap travel

Tweet of the week

At The Local we write about language a lot. But accents and dialects are also fascinating. This map is a guide to Germany’s different dialects, whether Hoch Deutsch (High German) or Sorbian.

Where is this?

Pumpkin squirrel in Germany

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Henning Kaiser

Now that September is here, we are saying goodbye to summer. But not all is lost, because pumpkin season is around the corner. Embrace this time by checking out this squirrel formed from pumpkins, which is on display at the pumpkin exhibition (​Kürbisausstellung) under the theme of “wondrous forest creatures” at Krewelshof in Mechernich, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Did you know?

Late summer and autumn is the time of year that lots of Germans love to go foraging for mushrooms – or Waldpilze. That’s because this season is when the best edible mushrooms poke through the undergrowth of forests so mushroom hunters can find them. In many cultures, looking for mushrooms isn’t very popular because of fears of getting poisoned. But Germans who do this as a hobby learn to distinguish between an edible and poisonous mushroom.

READ ALSO: What’s behind the German fascination with foraging for wild mushrooms?

However, searching for wild mushrooms is now such a popular past-time in Germany that you are only allowed to pick them for personal use. Keep in mind that Bavarians call mushrooms Schwammerl, which means literally “little sponge” – so you may hear this word depending on the region you’re in. Our advice if you want to get involved with this hobby? Always go with someone who knows how to forage so you don’t end up with any poisoned mushrooms. Alternatively, head to a restaurant and enjoy Waldpilze on the menu.

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LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: Long-distance train boost, confusing kitchens and Hanover highlights

In our weekly roundup about life in Germany we look at plans to invest in the train network, the perplexing lack of kitchens in German flats, the arrival of Herbst and some cool things about Hanover.

Living in Germany: Long-distance train boost, confusing kitchens and Hanover highlights

German long-distance travel set for modernisation programme

There are some really positive things about train travel in Germany, but there is definitely lots of room for improvement. So we were glad to report this week that Deutsche Bahn is planning a €19 billion modernisation programme. The operator says that an extra 450 high speed – or ICE – trains will be added to the country’s network in the coming years. CEO Richard Lutz said the aim is to invest in “the trains of the future”, and even unveiled new double-decker models that will include special office cabins and family areas. The aim is to encourage people to leave their car at home and take the train. Let’s hope that punctuality gets better along with the style of trains. And there is good news when it comes to local public transport: German transport ministers plan to thrash out a plan next month for a €9 ticket successor. Although details are thin on the ground at the moment, it is likely to cost €49 and will be valid on buses, trains and trams throughout local transport networks. 

READ ALSO: How did train travel in Germany get so bad?

Tweet of the week

We relate to English footballer Georgia Stanway, who plays for Bayern Munich, and her confusion about German flats being rented out without a kitchen.

Where is this?

Pumpkins being taken by boat.

Photo: DPA/ Patrick Pleul

You know it’s Herbst (autumn) in Germany when the pumpkins are out in force. This photo shows Harald Wenske steering a Spreewald barge fully loaded with pumpkins across the water. The 72-year-old also grows potatoes, horseradish and beets in addition to pumpkins on his farmland, which is surrounded by waterways. Now is the time when you’ll start to see Kürbis (pumpkin) on the menu everywhere. 

READ ALSO: 10 ways to enjoy autumn like a true German

Did you know?

Situated on the River Leine, Hanover is the capital of Lower Saxony, which has a state election coming up on October 9th. But did you know it is also home to the World of Kitchens museum (or das Küchen-Museum), the first of its kind in Europe? The museum houses a cafe and cooking school, and features dozens of real kitchen exhibits from different cultures and eras starting from the Middle Ages. Visits to the museum are only possible with pre-booked guided tours, but are well worth it for food and history lovers.  Either at the end of your tour or before, make sure to indulge in traditional German cake and coffee at the Museum’s Schloss Cafe. While in Hanover, you should also check out the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen, the New Town Hall and Eilenriede Forest. 

Thanks for reading,

The Local Germany team

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