It is a requirement of German law that if you move to a different address within Germany you have to register within a week of moving with the local government authority there. This isn't just for Ausländer (foreigners) like ourselves, but all German residents.
Our local authority resides in the Rathaus in Wandlitz, so today we set out on the Heidekrautbahn railway to register ourselves with the Einwohnermeldeamt as officially resident at our new address.
Or such were our plans. What we thought was that all trains going North of Basdorf went through Wandlitz. Ah, but no. Every other one goes on a seperate line to Wandlitz, ending at the tiny village of Wensickendorf. I am sure Wensickendorf is a beautiful hamlet in its own right, but you can't register residence there. Somit, rather than wait for the next train back to Basdorf and then try again for Wandlitz, we started walking East along Wandlitzer Chausee (see map here). Of course, we hadn't thought to bring a map with us, but we figured the road name was a give-away that it might go to Wandlitz.
After 6km or so we made it to the Rathaus. We expected the registration place to have a large, crowded waiting room where you had to take a number before you were called. Well, maybe not many people register to live in our area, because we were beckoned straight in to ein Beamter's office and sat down with him in front of the computer. He asked us a number of questions about name, address, marriage status, date moved, religion (because you have to pay income tax to the church if you say you are a church- or synagogue-goer!), and so on. All these were done in German, even though he knew full well we were English. After ten minutes we had an Anmeldebestätigung (certificate confirming registration) each, and then he said something to us which completely went beyond our German comprehension. We asked him to repeat it, and he told us in perfect English, that we were entitled to pick up a free welcome pack to the region from the Tourist Information Bureau opposite. Why he let us squirm to understand and answer everything before that in German is beyond me. Well, maybe not; Officials are the same everywhere and like to complicate matters.
We are now legally official residents of Basdorf and Germany!