In a strange turn of events, my daughter and her family, including my two wonderful grandchildren, have moved to Germany for a few years for her husband’s job! We moved close to them when we retired and although we like it here we surely will miss them terribly. They had to empty their house and store what they could. Their house is rented and they will hopefully be returning when this adventure is over.
In the meantime as soon as I learned they were leaving I made plans to visit and hopefully help them settle in. The job is in Aachen, Germany just over the border from Belgium and the Netherlands. So it was most convenient to fly into Brussels for my visit.
I flew to Atlanta in about 3 hours and then took an 8 hour flight to Brussels. After landing and deplaning, we had a long line to go through immigration to get passports stamped.
The family was staying in a beautiful old home in Stolberg that had been renovated but still had obvious signs of retrofit including a very old plumbing installation.
It also had many beautiful details. But buying an 1980’s house and updating and buying a 1800’s house and updating are two very different challenges.
One of the most interesting features was what they called a shelf toilet. No longer much in use, the Germans and other Europeans had a toilet that held water in the front instead of the back and only enough to cover a small hole. Waste is deposited on a shelf and flushed clear (mostly) by a rush of water at the flush. All toilets seemed to be dual flush and this model seemed to use little water. But the necessity of using a brush to clean up required more flushes.
Stolberg was about 20 minutes from Aachen and the family wanted to be closer to the city and jobs, so their apartment is in Wurselen. It is very spacious for a European apartment and has two floors but the entry is on the third floor of the building. The hallway stairs are granite and the railing wrought iron. Each flight of stairs curves in the middle. It also has a parking space in an underground garage, a storage room and a designated washing machine spot in a shared laundry room.
It has a wing with two bedrooms and a full bath, an entry with a half bath, a large room that the family will use for dining as it is off a small kitchen. Many German apartments don’t have kitchen cabinets and appliances, but this one did. Unfortunately the refrigerator is quite small and does not have a freezer compartment. But they will probably add a bit larger refrigerator to supplement the existing one. There is a room off the dining room that will be used as a kid bedroom. Upstairs there is a large loft area that they plan to use for a living room and a huge walk in storage closet at one end. It has hot water heat that appears to be controlled at the radiators.
There is also a very large bedroom upstairs that they will use for office and guest bedroom space. There are three decks, two smaller off the kitchen and entry and one larger with doors from the main room and the master bedroom.
The temperatures were in the 90’s while I was visiting which is high for Germany but with the windows open the apartment benefitted from a lovely breeze throughout. Like almost all German windows and doors they were the tilt and turn variety with no screens. But they allowed for the great ventilation.
The apartment is lovely and light-filled and spacious and seems like a happy place.