I have been living here in UK for more than 2 years now. Here is what I found out to be shocking in UK for me as a foreigner (came from France and born in Romania):
UK is one of the few countries in the world where the local property taxes are paid by the tenant and not by the owner of the property. If you are tenant in UK you will pay an additional 130 pounds per month (or more) in property tax to the local authorities for a property that is not yours (aka council tax). If you are renting and not pay the property tax, you can be prosecuted and thrown in jail for this! Before you say it’s not a property tax, let’s look at the facts: it’s based on the value of the property, and if the house is vacant, it is paid by the owner. No matter how much you try to sugarcoat it, it is still a property tax that supports local services for the permanent residents of the city, not for the temporary occupiers of the property. I as a tenant am not using 90% of the services I am paying for (parks, schools, public transports, libraries, community centers, long term projects for improving the city),but my landlord and his kids who live in town are using them and will continue to use them after I leave the city, hardly fair no?In France I was paying 10 Eur per month for bin collection and that was it, the rest of the services are funded from taxes (impot local) paid by the owners of the properties, it’s like this all over the world. I am using Emergency services yes, but they are charged separately in the bill (roughly 21% of the bill),I have no problem in paying those, the rest of 80% that goes exclusively to the council I have a problem with.
So the eternal question and rivalry on the old continent: Which country is better: England, UK or France? Well, I lived in Marseille France, and than I moved to Hull, England, UK. It’s hard to say which is better to live in, and depends a lot on what language you speak , the region you are in and your job.
Both are somewhat problematic cities, with high unemployment figures and bad local reputation, so I might not be in the best position to judge these countries. (Or I might be in the perfect position to show the truth of each country, depends how you look at it)
In general, if you look only at the numbers and stats, life in France (if you speak French) is indeed better than life in England, UK. Everything from the weather to salaries, geography , location, infrastructure and social benefits is indeed better on the main land. It was not such a big difference before, but the gap has widen considerably since the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum and it will continue to do so unfortunately. Let’s see why:
In my previous article about the Lost train line in the Park, I made a call out to all my readers asking for old scanned photos of the park and of the miniature train. A few days ago Mr. Ray Wilkinson from Halifax contacted me. He was in vacation in Constanta, Romania in 1991, a short period just after the anti communist revolution and luckily he made coloured photos that he was kind enough to share. As a tourist he described his experience as beeing “real” , enjoyed the train ride and mentioned that in the post-revolutionary Constanta of 1991 there was still chaos and disarray (which sadly still is today after 28 years), but everyone was being friendly and tried to show them a good time.
[pentru articolul in Limba Romana dati click aici ]
Although I was not expecting to catch snow home this year, due to unfortunate circumstances I did catch , and although I hate the cold, I do try to enjoy the few advantages of winter, especially snow and winter sports. Like many of our trips were made, everything started whie talking over a beer and was loosely organized, and if the previous planned trip to Bucharest failed, now looks like the stars alligned and within 48 hours of that beer we were on the road. We chose traveling by the direct bus Constanta – Cluj from Fany company , leaving from Constanta in the evening at and arrive in Brasov at 05:40 , costing 90 Lei or 20 Euros, being able to take advantage of all the day light of day on the slopes, a necessity thing given the fact that the winter season has not yet officially started and the nocturne instalation of the slope in Poiana Brasov is not yet active , also this way we avoided to changing to other means of transportation at North Station in Bucharest. Continue reading “Brasov weekend – last trip of the year”→
Sometime not so long ago , in Tabacariei park – the only large park of Constanta city, there was a quite unique tourist attraction, a miniature train line. It a type of “mocanita” train encircling the lake of Tabacariei Park. This was very popular among tourists and local people .
[ I Appeal to all readers , if anybody has old pictures of the train or stations since before construction of the mall please contact me at email@example.com ]
This narrow gauge urban rail line in the park , which included two bridges and two tunnels was quite unique in the country. There were only 2 more like this: one in the Children’s park in Timisoara and one more in Bucharest Children’s Town. Today unfortunately only one survived in Bucharest in a reduced form .