Preparing for the coming winter

Snow in OberurselLast winter many towns in Germany were criticised for not doing enough to prepare for the hard winter months. In fact, when I think about it, the last TWO winters have been very cold and with lots of snow here, and in some cases I had the feeling that the side roads were not being gritted or cleared. There were days when it was almost impossible to get off my parking space and I resorted to taking the bus into town to get to my appointments.

Now Oberursel, at least, is confident that it is well prepared for the 2011/2012 winter, and the new winter service came into force last Monday. At the same time, the mayor has made a point of reminding the residents that they have snow-clearing responsibilities as well! [Read more…]

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The Salt Lounge in Oberursel

This week the Monday Podcast visited the Salt Lounge in Oberursel. The salt lounge is a place that people can go to, in order to relax and enjoy the salt air. There is one grotto for families and other for business people.

We talked to the owner Sven Warth about how he came up with the idea, why people go there, and where all the salt comes from.

Sven Warth in the Salt Lounge

Sven Warth in the Salt Lounge

To find out more, listen to the podcast:

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Salzsteuer

Salzsteuer was a tax in Germany on salt, specifically on table salt.

Originally salt was considered to be a luxury and hence was taxed.

The tax was discontinued in Germany at the beginning on 1993, in Austria in 1995, but continues to this day in some parts of Switzerland.

The type of salt that is used to keep roads clear in winter was not taxed. To avoid people buying the “wrong” type of salt and avoiding the tax, the latter was coloured and had a bitter taste added – a process called vergällen.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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