19 November 2017

Germans Take Sundays and Speeding Seriously.

Things I've noticed as an American living in Germany:

1. Germans take Sundays and speeding, seriously.
On Sundays virtually all grocery stores are closed, all shopping centers, about half of the restaurants, and astonishingly even websites!

I personally love it.  It forces you to take a day and just relax.  Spend it with your family, and do nothing.  Companies in Germany have also introduced measures such as no emailing after work hours.  During vacations instead of coming back to 200 unread emails, you come back to ZERO.  All of your emails have bounced back to the sender because you were out.  As someone who just got an email at 0705 on a Saturday with tasks I need to do on Monday, I can tell you that sounds awesome!  http://time.com/3116424/daimler-vacation-email-out-of-office/ 

Now on to the speeding situation, they LOVE speed cameras.  They are EVERYWHERE.  Seriously.  It's a right of passage to get your first speed camera ticket.  It took 7 months for me to get one.  In that amount of time I have a friend who has received 7.
But it's not just the government that takes it seriously, it's the Germans themselves.

On one particular jaunt home from work, I came to find that the exit on a roundabout to my home was blocked for construction.  I had no idea how to get home.  My GPS just kept rerouting me back to the closed road. So, I was stuck.  I figured if I could just sort of attempt to go left I could get behind the blocked road.  I was frustrated and tired, and I'll fully admit - speeding.  As I rolled down a street at about 50K (residential areas are 30K), I ran into a dead-end and had to make a 5-point turn to get out.  Once I began heading back I had to slam on the brakes because in the middle of the road were two VERY angry German men shouting at me.  While I couldn't understand them, I could interpret the gist of what they were saying.  I rolled down my window, did the international sign for I have no idea what's going on (shrugged my shoulders with my hands in the air), and then said, "HELP, I'M LOST."  Immediately the one man's demeanor changed and he asked in stilted English, "You want to go where?"  HOME.  Then he really got a look of pity, like this poor girl doesn't even know how to get to her house.  He knew where I was trying to get to (because the type of neighborhood busy-body that yells at a speeder always know what's going on with construction in their 'hood), then gave me directions with lots of motioning of how to get home.  Thank you sir.

2. Rolladens are the bees' knees. 
These beauts block out all the sun so you can sleep in, or keep your non-air conditioned place cool in the summer, and warm in the winter, or keep the creepers out if you're worried about that.  You don't need blinds or curtains.  AND, if you're super cool like my apt, they're wireless.  When my first alarm goes off, I hit the rolladen button that's within arm's length to have some natural sunlight pour in, wait out another 1 or 2 snoozes and then wake up.

3. WWII Bombs are all over the place.
There are legitimately unexploded WWII bombs all over the place...like in the woods near base where we host 5ks.  No big deal.  No need to be alarmed.  It's only a 500 pounder, and they're evacuating to detonate it.

4. Eating at restaurants is an occasion, not a convenience. 
You can show up to a restaurant that looks abandoned with lots of tables open and be told they don't have room for you.  They're not lying.  Those tables are reserved.  When you make a reservation in Germany they reserve the table for the night.  Eating at a restaurant is an occasion, you wine, you dine, you dessert or coffee.  You enjoy the company of the people you're with.  There's rarely a phone in sight...or a waiter for that matter.  They don't disturb you.  They let you relax.  There's no constant refills, or giving you the check.  You have to flag someone down and ask for all of the above.  I LOVE IT.  My friend and I went out for dinner and dined for 4 hours.  We legitimately weren't bothered by anyone for the last 2.  We just talked.  It was delightful.  Now I know it's different than America because the wait staff actually make a reasonable wage here and therefore don't need to turnover the table to get more tips.  The fact that they pay their people well is just one more reason why I love it.

5. Everybody hikes.
You've got a baby?  Strap them on.  You've got bad knees?  Get a pole.  There's no excuse for not hiking.  I can't go a day without seeing someone with walking poles.  They enjoy it profusely.  Even now that it's cold, I saw two people walking with their poles.  Go on with your bad selves.

6. They trust every one to do the right thing.
I went on a hike where there was a shed built over a lil creek.  There were radlers (beer and lemonade mixed together, quite popular here and incredibly delicious in the summer!), and other beers in crates in the stream.  There was also some schnapps if that was your delight in the middle of your 5 mile hike.  There was a suggested pricing list, and a lock box.  Take your drink, drop in your money, and hope for the best.  It's the same with blumen fields.  There's gorgeous fields of flowers (or I saw pumpkins in the fall) ripe for the picking, and then a lock box for you to just drop in some money.  It's refreshing, and miraculously it works!

No comments:

Post a Comment