I’m a student. As in most other parts of the world, that means that I have to carefully watch the limited funds that I have so that I don’t spend more than I earn. I’ve been playing the Budget Game for almost a year now, and the amount in my bank account is actually going up every month (good feeling that). Of course, when I travel to Poland and Spain and Italy this summer, that bank account is definitely going to take a hit. Which is the whole point of budgeting and saving: to cut back on the things you don’t need so that when there is something you really want (Florence!!!!), you have the money to spend on it.
That is, however, irrelevant to the topic at hand. Today I want to discuss the things in life that everybody can enjoy regardless of how strict their budget is: the things in life that are free. And, for the record, by free I mean the things that are REALLY free and not just the things that you mooched off someone else and therefore didn’t have to pay for (although I do have difficulties saying no to free food…).
I’ve been living in Düsseldorf, Germany for close to five years now, but I have only recently become aware of all of the cool events and stuff that are available in this city. A couple of weeks ago, I spent an evening listening to some music at the Jazz Festival in Düsseldorf. There was a free yoga course in a park that I REALLY wanted to go to last Saturday. I decided instead to fix my bike. Bad decision. As soon as I fixed the front wheel, the back wheel went flat, so I’m STILL without bike this week (and suffering because of it). Yesterday I went to a free music festival with some friends after working out (also quite a fun thing to do for free).
Of course, all of these fun free things are in the past. There are many more that I am looking forward to this summer:
1. The World Cup
The whole world is in a frenzy. Who is going to be the football champions of the world this year? In a mere three weeks we will know! The world cup is a month long of solid free entertainment. You can watch it online, with friends, in a sports bar or restaurant. Or you can just count how many times the walls of your apartment vibrate with the coordinated cheers of the whole block whenever Germany scores a goal. 4-0 against Portugal? Not bad. The world cup is also an excellent opportunity to connect with people around you. Even if you are someone like me who doesn’t normally watch much football, and therefore doesn’t know the teams very well. You can always pick up some peripheral to start a conversation. “Can you believe that Spain is already eliminated? The defending champions?” *indignant* (for the record, I REALLY can’t believe it. They scored one solitary goal!)
Personally, I’m looking forward to the Germany vs. USA game on Thursday. It is time to see where exactly my loyalties lie…Just kidding. I can’t wait to see Germany DESTROY the USA team. The USA might be better than Germany in a lot of things, but football is NOT one of them. My heart is painted with black, red, and gold… (I have actually been considering painting my face with a half-Germany, half-USA flag pattern. Symbolism.)
One of the coolest free things to do in Düsseldorf is Rollnacht. The night where the awesome Düsseldorfer shut down the streets to allow thousands of inline skaters to glide through the city. It is a great group activity, rollerblading is awesome, rollerblading in the street is even more awesome, and you get to see different (and sometimes very beautiful) parts of Düsseldorf that you have never seen before. I’ve said it before (although I don’t know if I have said it on this blog before) that I find Rollnacht to be one of the main reasons that make Düsseldorf a great city to live in. Einfach klasse!
3. Entenrennen Düsseldorf
I just recently heard about this. It was apparently supposed to take place on the 15th of July, but because of the huge storm that visited Düsseldorf that week, it was cancelled. They are supposed to find another date for the event, and I REALLY hope that they do. Throwing 6000 rubber duckies into the canal on the slightly-snobby Königsallee? Spraying them with water to see which one can swim the fastest? Yes please! I’m all the way there. Wouldn’t miss it for the world!
4. Büchermeile Düsseldorf
I actually found this on the NRW hits page while looking for free activities in the Düsseldorf Altstadt. I love reading, so I’ll probably make a point of going and checking out all of the cool books that they have there.
Ok. That’s pretty much it from my side. There are, of course, many other lovely things in life that are free. Or at the very least, lovely things that do not cost any money (small distinction there). For instance, having lovely friends with whom you can do a lot of these free things is worth its weight in solid gold. Making and keeping friends doesn’t cost you any money (or shouldn’t anyway), but it does require you to spend your time and energy. But in the end, it is totally worth it.
Of course, this only really touches the free events that you can visit. There are a lot of other things that are free. For instance, loads of books can be found for free from Gutenberg. My favorite book (The Bible) is free from many different organizations (like this one) or can be read in many different versions online on sites like this one. If you stumble on a job fair somewhere, chances are you will be able to find free pens (I love free pens so much!). And there are countless other places to find free entertainment online and in the wide wide world (although to clarify, any website that makes it’s profit by selling your personal information (I’m talking to you Facebook!) is NOT free).
So now I want to hear from you. Do you have any recommendations for me? Do you have any favorite free events?