Friday, June 22, 2007

Some thoughts on Germany

On our vacation we spent about two weeks in Germany, one day in Austria, and two days in Switzerland. When in Germany we were mostly in Bavaria and Franconia (Southern Germany).

Germany is a very interesting country and we really enjoyed our time in Germany. I want to point out some of the things I noticed about Germany:

1. Very few Germans have air conditioning in their homes. Some German businesses have air conditioning; however, a majority of businesses do not have air conditioning.

2. People drive very fast on the Autobahn.

3. I saw a lot of windmills. They were small and all looked to be exactly the same.

4. There was very little trash laying around; however, there was a significant amount of graffitti.

5. A lot of Germans had a lot of flowers in their yards, many houses and businesses had wooden flower boxes beneath their exterior windows.

6. Germany has extremely strict zoning laws. Germans are not allowed to build houses wherever they wish. German homes are clustered together. This creates an environemnt much different then in the US.

7. Ice was not real common.

8. Bavaria and Franconia are beautiful; rolling hills with a lot of woods and fields.

9. Most things were significantly more expensive in Germany then in the US. The exchange rate is a large factor in this since the Euro is at a high vs the dollar. (The dollar has plunged in the last few years for many reasons)

10. Restaurants were very expensive. At most restaurants you have to pay a 40% tax.

11. Recycling is mandatory in the parts of Germany we were in. I think it is mandatory in the entire country.

12. Gas was between $5 and $6 a gallon while we were in Europe. The price varied based on the price of oil and the local tax rates.

13. Small cars are much more common in Germany then the US.

14. Parking lots are much smaller then in the US.

15. Most stores are much smaller then in the US.

16. Almost everything is closed on Sunday. In fact you are not allowed to do anything that makes a lot of noise on Sunday. You are not supposed to even mow your yard on Sunday in the town we stayed in...

Mike Sylvester

3 comments:

Jeff Pruitt said...

"The dollar has plunged in the last few years for many reasons"

Nah. I don't want to get started.

Welcome back...

Parson said...

Welcome back, sounds like you had a great trip. Did you drink any good beer?

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

Welcome back, and I am sure you are glad to be home.

I lived in Germany in the mid 1960s when my husband was in the Army. He was stationed at Wiesbaden, but we lived in Mainz-Gonsenheim across the Rhine River from Wiesbaden.

My ancestry is German, but at that time (being young and not interested in geneology), I didn't realize the area in which we lived was the very area called the Palatinate from where my ancestors emigrated in 1680 (I did my geneology later).

I loved the old architecture and the narrow streets. We couldn't get an apartment on the base because he was too low in rank at the time, so we lived off base. I am glad we did because I got to get a real sense of German life that way.

And, boy, was I spoiled. We had no washer or dryer, so I packed everything into a perambulator along with our son and walked about a mile to a German laundry. We also had cement floors in the apartment, no screens on the windows, and milk delivery the good old-fashioned way with bottles set at the door on a daily basis. Grocery shopping for the most part was also on a daily basis as I would walk to nearby markets. We didn't even have a car for the first two months I was there.

I did get to do some sightseeing to the Black Forest. The castles are magnificent. We were treated like royalty back in the '60s. Our German neighbors would have us over for meals all the time, and they were always anxious for us to teach them more English.

I really don't think Americans understand how good we have it until you see other countries. I came back with such an apprecitation for all the niceties that we take for granted.

I really hope that someday I can go back under more leisurely conditions.