I don’t appreciate travel as much as others in the FIRE community. Seeing other parts of the world is fun, but there is a lot of value to being in the same place with the same friends and same routine. But, that doesn’t mean I like to sit around all the time.
Right now, I’m in Germany with Mindy and the girls. Germany has been high on my travel bucket list for a couple of reasons:
- History: World war! A super-villain!! The world’s most famous (and horrific) wall!!!
- Orderly and efficient: Oh yeah, total stereotypical. However, I like a culture with these values.
Regarding the second point, perhaps I’ve watched too many episodes of Sprockets:
Germany has exceeded all expectations. I love it here. I could live here. Everything is awesome! Well, almost everything…
Germany Is Great!
No billboards: I HATE big nasty billboards. In Colorado, the landscape is littered with ones advertising personal injury lawyers, cheap beer, local sports teams, Burger King, and other nonsense. Burn them all down! They are ugly. Germany has no billboards. Just nice trees to look at.
Good drivers (no left lane sloths): Whoah, folks know how to drive here! No one is going under the speed limit in the left lane, oblivious to the world. Everyone uses their turn signal. Drivers don’t look at their phones. Yay Germany!
Autobahn: Oh yes, there are parts of the Autobahn where you can drive as fast as you want. Unfortunately, I rented a Skoda which was not up to the task. The poor Skoda topped out at 160km/hr (100 mph). Pppht! But, it was fun seeing 911s, Audis, and an occasional VW van (?!??) roar past in the left lane.
Rule followers: I prefer to take the stairs, but on one occasion, they were out of order so I was forced to take the escalator. I noticed that everyone got to the right so those who wanted to walk up the stairs could pass. Just like on the autobahn. Good move Germans! There seems to be some basic rules that almost everyone respects and I appreciated it.
Weather is nice: I don’t like heat and Colorado sucks in the summer. As I type this, it’s 100 in Colorado while Berlin is a very pleasant 76. Germany is much more reasonable. Again, I could live here.
Aus fahrt!: The word “fahrt” is everywhere. Since my sense of humor is permanently stuck at age 13, I find this highly amusing.
Trabants (and other automotive obscurities): I love all of the little European cars. It’s the opposite of America where folks are obsessed with land yachts.
Wind turbines/solar panels everywhere: Look no further than Ukraine and you see that the world needs to get off of fossil fuels as soon as possible. German has wind turbines and solar panels everywhere.
Roundabouts: I love roundabouts and they are all over Germany. I could live here for this reason alone.
Berlin bikes: Berliners love their bikes. The city has bike lanes everywhere.
Incredible history: I have incredible autonomy over my life. I don’t even have a job! Sometimes, I take it for granted. Seeing the wall was a great reminder that in some parts of the world, humans can’t even freely move.
Subway: The subway is cheap, always on time, and clean. I love cars, but the older I get, the less I like driving. Trains are great! And the weird thing about Germany is that no one even checks your tickets when you get on. But, if you come here, please buy a ticket. In our case, it was 9 euros for unlimited rides.
Sauerkraut: I LOVE sauerkraut and the German version was the best I’ve ever had.
Conservation: At the hotels we stayed at, lights in hallways would only come on when they detected motion. I also saw escalators that only started moving when they detected someone approaching. I love the elimination of waste!
Eclectic design: There is cool design everywhere! Even in the shower! Look at this awesome minimalist shower drain:
And this building:
I love it all.
Not So Great…
Pay to pee: Yes, that’s right. F***ing pay toilets! Who does this?!?? Germany, that’s who! Remember that no one checks your ticket to get on a train. However, you have to pay to pee. At one rest area on the autobahn, there was even a guard stationed at the toilets to make sure no one snuck through.
Smokers: Lots of people smoke in Germany. Most of the time, I don’t care. Its your body, do whatever you want. But this happened frequently.
- We would find a nice spot to sit in a biergarten where no one else was sitting.
- (Three second later) Someone sits down at the table next to us and lights up. Germany, you could at least segregate the smoking area. Bleh!
No ice: Mindy is obsessed with ice. The first thing she does when she gets to a hotel is hunt down the ice machine. Ice isn’t a thing in Germany and Mindy doesn’t like it.
Germany Is Great!
I have a couple of days left in Munich before we head home. I plan on walking around downtown and seeing the BMW museum. Regarding the former, it’s great fun just to walk around aimlessly and take it all in.
I don’t know when, but I’ll be back. Oh yes, I will.
More 1500 Days!!!
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