Monday, 14 August 2017
Today is the day we go to explore the town of Bayreuth, in north Bavaria. This is where Mindi and Fin are entering the University of Bayreuth this fall. Our primary objective was to find them an apartment. Mindi drove us there in Chris' car. A three hour drive.
Along the Way- Cornfields and Windmills
We had a lovely, sunny day for our trip. About half of the drive was on local roads through farming regions. These were valleys fringed by mountains, mostly with fields of corn. I saw a few cattle grazing, and a few fields of solar panels. Many barns and other buildings also had arrays of solar panels. These are much more popular in Germany than in the USA.
The windmills were plentiful. We saw dozens on our drive. These are imposing towers, probably 200 feet tall with blades extending half that length. The day was not windy, but all were somehow finding enough wind to spin slowly (about 15 rpm). Some people have complained in newspaper articles that these are an eyesore. I thought they were majestic.
This little university town is home to 72,000. It has existed since at least 1194. Walking around the level cobbled streets, we saw many old brownstone buildings, parks and sidewalk cafes. The university is more modern, and located away from the town center.
The town square seems to be populated by the same ancient buildings we've seen all around town, reused as shops and restaurants and offices. The effect is charming. We were there on a Monday, and business was booming. A few vehicles plyed these central cobbled streets, but so few that we imagined that use was restricted by license. Pedestrian traffic dominated, and restricted the cars. A fair number of bicycles added to the flow.
Folks in German cities like lots of flowers during their brief summer. We saw many windowboxes and container gardens, and grand muncipal flower beds.
Looking for Housing
The university here is not engaged in student housing. Mindi and Fin looked on the internet real estate sites. They had a list of 4 places places available for students in Bayreuth. They were looking for a one-bedroom apartment to share. They seemed to have a price range of 600-800€. One of the places was gone when we got there. The first one they visited went away right away. The other two, which they liked, they made signed up for. Their names were placed on a list of applicants for these places. The decision about which applicants would get the places was made in some way by the owners or the real estate firm. That process was murky to me. From the number of applicants, it was clear that student housing was not keeping up with demand in Bayreuth.