Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Part 1: the Good, the Bad, and the... I don't get it.

When getting ready to come over here to Germany, Malcolm and I tried really hard not to imagine what it would be like. We'd listen to stories and google search things now and then, but in general we avoided it because we didn't want to get unrealistic ideas that would leave us disappointed when we got here. We've been here now for a month and a half, and we don't regret our lack of research, because it's been fun discovering for ourselves the good and the bad, though there are some things that we still just don't understand.

So, today I'll be taking you through some things that we've loved about being here! (please remember, that all of this is just our opinion!) 

1. Public transport
Countless people told us how great the public transport is here and how much we'll love it. And it's true! 
It really is great not needing to worry about putting in petrol or that rattling sound from the engine. Plus, now that we're getting the hang of it, it's not so confusing anymore and we can get around quite easily. It's nice being able to relax while in transit (as opposed to focusing on the road) and the traffic is certainly less with so many people on trams, buses and trains!
germany public transport

2. Being a pedestrian
It's so strange how pedestrians are seen here. We usually need to cross two zebra crossings at the traffic circle and we're always surprised at how cars will screech to a halt to let us cross. 

3. Window boxes
It's amazed me that the streets often really do look like the pictures if you google "Germany streets". Most people live in apartments and don't have gardens, but instead they have beautiful window boxes and decorated windows. 
flowers germany apartments

4. Generosity
We've mentioned this one before, how people leave things out to be taken by whoever needs. What sometimes surprises me more though, is how people stop and look at the things, and then don't take it. I think often, when we see something being given away, or even just on sale, we tend to want to just grab it because we can. It also kinda surprises me how there'll be a washing machine on the side of the road with a note saying "take me"... in South Africa no such note would be necessary ;)

5. The crime rate
I don't know what it is, but it is lower than SA for sure. It is strange walking through the forest or being out late at night with hardly any concerns. It's a relief when I forget to lock my bike and when I come out it's still there. It's nice not seeing high walls and having a view from our window that's not obscured by burglar guards. The dogs here are kept to be loved, not to protect their owners. 
(Although, bear in mind, people are people and so crime does happen here, particularly in certain areas.)

6. Long summer days
Having lived in KZN all my life and only experiencing Cape-Town long days a couple times, these long days have been great. It's fun being able to go out after supper, especially because the weather is often better after 7pm! 
(you don't need to warn me about the short winter days, I've heard about them too!)
long summer days adventure active

7. The price of filter coffee
I do miss instant coffee, being able to make a cup really quickly. But, filter coffee works out to be cheaper here?! So, it's filter coffee every morning, and tea for the rest of the day :)

8. Castles 
There are castles on just about every hill. 'Nuf said. 

9. Biannual sales 
Clothes here is, in our opinion, really expensive. BUT the sales are great. No, not 10% off, how about 70% off rather? 
(the only down-side is that we're prioritising seeing stuff in the city over buying stuff... a little part of my girly side is sad.) 

10. Solar power
We were really surprised when we arrived to see how many houses have solar-panels on their roofs. Our water is solar-heated, which we didn't know for quite some time, but it's warm enough and problem free! 

11. Bakeries
In our little area of Dunnwald there are FOUR bakeries, all with the most delicious looking and smelling things. The bakeries in grocery shops are also great and things are Fresh!
It's also good that the bakeries on the streets aren't that cheap (the ones in the grocery shops are a bit better), which stops me from running there every morning.
Germany bread street

There's more we could say, but that's what we could think of as our favorites, and I look forward to being able to add to this list over the next few years! (and I'm sure it'll be amusing to look back on this one!) 

Tomorrow I'll be sharing with you what we found to be the bad (cue dramatic music) in this very quaint country... 


  1. Oh man, I've been in SA for less than two weeks and I am already floored by the fact that cars don't stop or acknowledge pedestrians. It is terrifying! Glad that you're enjoying Germany, though! I would love to visit and see all those castles!

  2. I'd stop for pedestrians at a crossing if they were there first (not the norm!) but here they'll stop even if Im a couple meters away! never realised this is normal! good luck crossing those roads!!!

  3. Oh, how I would love to be able to use public transport! The two hours of traffic I sit in every day is killing me slowly. If only the Gautrain bus would actualy be willing to stop by my school instead of speeding past.
    It sounds as if you have quite an exciting time ahead! Enjoy it!

    1. Public transport DEFINITELY has it's ups and downs... Right now it's just inconvenient and annoying. But I do sympathise with you guys in JHB/PTA, that traffic is crazy and a good network would help so much.