London or Paris? Which is the better city to visit as a tourist?

The eternal question and rivalry on the European continent: which is better: London or Paris? France or England UK? I know you are tired of Covid, but let’s hope that 2021 will be better and we will be able to travel again.

Although Europe has many wonderful cities, few have the power, prestige, size or wealth of these two rival capitals. There is of course also Madrid, but it’s just not quite in the same league. Vienna and Amsterdam are very beautiful but quite small, Istanbul is huge but leaves much to be desired, and Berlin is …just Berlin I guess.

I had the pleasure of visiting both capitals over time. Paris in 2009 long before we moved to France, thanks to my sister, to whom I wish to thank once again, and London in 2018 before moving to England.

But let’s start with the beginning: after we landed we made our way to the hotels, both in somewhat peripheral areas and this was the first impression we had of the cities:

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Londra sau Paris – Care e mai bun de vizitat ca turist?

London or Paris? Which is better to visit as a tourist? ENGLISH Article HERE

Intrebarea si rivalitatea eterna de pe continentul European: care e mai bun: Londra sau Paris? Franta sau Anglia UK? Stiu ca v-ati saturat de Covid, dar sper ca in 2021 va fi mai bine si vom putea calatori din nou.

Desi Europa are multe orase minunate, putine au puterea, prestigiul, marimea sau bogatia acestor doua capitale rivale. Desigur avem Madrid, dar nu este chiar in aceasi liga, Vienna si Amsterdam care sunt foarte frumoase dar relativ mici, Istanbul este urias dar lasa mult de dorit la unele aspecte, iar Berlin … e Berlin doar.

Am avut placerea de a vizita de a lungul timpului ambele capitale, Paris in 2009 cu mult inainte sa mutam in Franta, datorita sorei mele care ii multumesc inca odata, si Londra in 2018 inainte sa ne mutam in Anglia.

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Cat de socanta e vremea in Anglia UK pentru straini ca noi?

How shocking is the weather in UK England for foreigners like us? English article here

M-am născut în România și am venit în Marea Britanie din Marsilia Franța și vremea in Anglia UK, de aici a fost un șoc complet pentru noi. Chiar dacă am fost avertizați de prietenul nostru care locuiește aici și, în ciuda faptului că am venit în vizită înainte de relocare pentru a cerceta locul, tot am fost loviți puternic de acesta. În mod remarcabil, în timpul vizitei noastre aici, nu a plouat aproape deloc, așa că cine lucra acolo sus la discursul de convingere, a făcut o treabă foarte bună.

Deci, practic, cam asa este Iarna în Anglia Marea Britanie:

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How shocking is the weather in UK England for foreigners?

I was born in Romania and came to UK from Marseille France and the weather was a complete shock for us here. Even though we were warned by our friend who lives here, and despite the fact that we came to visit ahead of relocation to scout the place, we were still hit hard by it. Remarkably during our visit here, it didn’t rain once, so whoever was working on the sales pitch up there, did a very good job.

So basically this is winter in UK:

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Care sunt cele mai socante chestii in Marea Britanie UK?

WHAT ARE THE MOST SHOCKING FACTS ABOUT UK? – ENGLISH ARTICLE HERE

Locuiesc în Marea Britanie de mai bine de doi ani. Iată ce am am gasit șocant în Marea Britanie pentru mine ca străin (venit din Franța și născut în România):

  • Marea Britanie este una dintre puținele țări din lume în care impozitele locale pe propietate sunt plătite de chiriaș și nu de proprietar. Dacă sunteți chiriaș în Marea Britanie, veți plăti 130 de lire sterline pe lună (sau mai mult) ca impozit pe proprietate, autorităților locale pentru o proprietate care nu vă aparține (cunoscut ca Council Tax). Dacă sunteti chirias și nu plătiți impozitul pe proprietate, puteți fi urmărit penal și aruncat în închisoare pentru asta!

Înainte de a spune că nu este un impozit pe proprietate, hai să analizăm faptele: se calculeaza in functie de valoarea proprietății și dacă casa este liberă de chiriasi, acesta revine si este plătit de proprietar. Indiferent cât de mult incearca ei sa va zica ca nu este o taxa pe propietate, este totuși un impozit pe proprietate care susține serviciile locale pentru rezidenții permanenți ai orașului, nu pentru ocupanții temporari ai proprietății. În calitate de chiriaș, nu folosesc 90% din serviciile pe care le plătesc (parcuri, școli, transport public, biblioteci, centre comunitare, proiecte pe termen lung pentru îmbunătățirea orașului), dar proprietarul casei in care stau, și copiii lui care locuiesc în oraș, folosesc toate aceste servicii. Si vor continua sa le foloseasca in continuare mult timp după ce eu voi părăsi orașul, e corect nu? În Franța plăteam 10 Euro pe lună pentru colectare gunoi și cam atât. Restul serviciilor sunt finanțate din impozite locale plătite de proprietarii caselor. Așa este în toată lumea. Folosesc serviciile de urgență, da, dar acestea sunt taxate separat în factură (aproximativ 21% din factură), nu am nicio problemă în a le plăti pe acestea. Restul de aproape 80% care merge exclusiv catre consiliul local sunt cele cu care am o problemă.

Council Tax UK
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What are the most shocking facts about UK?

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.
UK Council Tax
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UK COST OF LIVING IN ENGLAND – WHAT SALARY DO YOU NEED FOR A DECENT LIVING?

So what is the cost of living in England? Salaries are probably higher than in your home country, but so are the costs. Is it true that some people are are living hand to mouth here? … In some cases yes, but most are living just fine. The cost of living in England is quite good compared to wages, although the pound is dropping quite fast since Brexit… We already established in the previous article that food costs in the UK about the same as in countries in East Europe, so from the start you are at an advantage. Let’s see what costs and expenses we have in England:

  1. Accommodation: by far the biggest expense you will have will be securing a roof over your head. Unless you bring along around 150 to 200 thousand pounds to buy your own house, you will most likely rent like most people. The rental expense depends a lot on where you are. In general in the South of England (London, Southampton), and especially in London, to rent of a house costs double or triple compared to renting a similar house in the North of England (Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster, Hull, Newcastle). If in the North you can easily find a house of your own at 500-600 pounds per month, in London on the website www.rightmove.co.uk, the only rental house located in a decent area that is less than a thousand pounds per month was in Brentwood (one hour by car or train + subway to central London)
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How much does food cost in England UK? Cost comparison UK vs Romania

We have all heard the myth that the cost of food in the West is even cheaper than food in Romania and East Europe, despite the fact that salaries are about 4 times higher than in the East Europe. How much does food cost in England UK? Living in UK England and seeing every day the prices in pounds I could never figure it out, so I decided to make a detailed comparison.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to ask for any receipts from folks back home, today we have online groceries shops in both countries. I compared the same food products from 2 large chain stores, respectively Mega Image in Romania, and ASDA in UK England. We went for products of medium quality or cheaper lower end, because let’s be serious, both the Romanian and the English do this. On the below list we have on the left side the online shopping cart from England with the prices of the products in British Pounds with their converted values into Romanian Lei currency below (at the exchange rate of the day: 1 GBP pound = 5.43 Lei), and on the right side the same products (or their similar equivalent in terms of weight and quality) with their price in Romanian Lei and their converted values into British Pounds to see the difference.

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UK Residence – How to apply for Settled or Pre Settled Status

Corona Virus is in all the news right now, but let’s not lose the long-term essential. Who does not have Settled or Pre Settled Status after 31 December 2020 will no longer have the right to reside and work in the UK. However the government of the UK also said that the deadline for applying for UK status is 30 June 2021, so nobody really knows what to make of it.

The procedure is simple and fast. All you need is an email address, a UK mobile phone number, a camera phone that supports the EU Exit application: Document ID, electronic passport (the type with chip), NINO number and possibly a proof of residency. (utility bill, bank statement, P60 form if you are self employed). It can be done without the application on the phone, but this means sending the original documents by mail, a process that takes much longer and is riskier. I also definitely recommend using your passport when applying. You can also apply with the national ID card, but I have heard many cases when they were very delayed with the granting of Settled Status due to the lengthy procedure of manual verification of Identity cards.

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UK Cum sa iei permis de rezidenta Settled sau Pre Settled Status

UK Residence – How to apply for Settled or Pre Settled Status

Corona Virus e in toate stirile acum, dar haideti sa nu pierdem esentialul pe termen lung. Cine nu are Settled sau Pre Settled Status, dupa 31 Decembrie 2020 nu va mai avea dreptul de a locui si munci in UK. Desi oficial guvenul UK a spus ca termenul limita pentru aplicare este de 30 Iunie 2021, asa ca nu stie nimeni sigur ce se va intampla dupa revelion. Mai sunt 8 luni asa ca aveti timp destul.

Procedeul e simplu si rapid. Va trebuie doar o adresa de email, un numar de telefon mobil de UK, un telefon cu camera care suporte aplicatia EU Exit: ID Document Check , pasaport electronic (cu chip), numarul NINO si posibil vi se cere si un act de dovada rezidentei (factura de utilitati, extras bancar, formularul P60 daca sunteti self employed). Se poate face si fara aplicatia de pe telefon, dar asta presupune sa trimiteti actele in original prin posta, un procedeu care dureaza mult mai mult si este si mai riscant. De asemenea recomand neaparat folosirea pasaportului cand aplicati. Puteti face si cu buletinul dar am auzit multe cazuri cand au fost intarziati destul de mult cu acordarea de Settled Status mult datorita procedurii de verificare a Cartii de Identitate Romanesti.

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