Germany: What’s the difference? – Part 3

Happy Thursday! I am so happy to report the weather here in Frankfurt has been absolutely beautiful! We had a questionably on again-off again summer, but apparently the atmosphere and the weather gods are conspired in our favor… at least for a short while.

And another piece of Germany-specific news to report: fresh brussels sprouts are officially available in the neighborhood grocery store, Rewe! It’s a beautiful, sunny, summer-like day and this fall crop is finally available. Subsequently, I spent 15 minutes perusing brussels sprouts recipes. I wonder how often is too often to cook them per week? Fortunately M loves them as much as I do, and he could happily live by eating at the same restaurants and eating the things he loves over and over.

And onward to the topic! I previously discussed two differences in Germany: 1. grocery shopping and 2. Sunday.

This time, I will go into a little detail about my perception of Germans  and their relationships with their cars. Now my perspective can be considered somewhat biased, but altogether informed considering M is an car fanatic. He lives and breathes and works with automobile engineering. And now, since he works on the supplier side, I think there is a bit of wistfulness when he considers this shift.

But ultimately, I don’t believe there is another nation that would prioritize their choice of automobile above just about anything, even housing. That’s right, many people would make a choice to have a better car over a better house or apartment! For them, it is just a matter of deciding which of the major German auto manufacturers is preferable, and which fits their personality best.

I just snapped a pic from our apartment looking at a row of parking.

As you can see, every car is German with a smattering of other brands.  I was impressed the other day, when I noticed at the fuel station on the autobahn that every car lined up to get fuel was either a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes.

After discussing this concept of car prioritization with  M, I learned a few other details regarding car ownership and usage in Germany.

Germans take their car washes extremely serious. It is a true embarrassment to drive around with a windshield including an insect cemetery let alone letting it get to the point of wondering what color your car actually is due to all the dust or dirt caking it. They have similar car wash locations, but then at the end, every German will be doing their own vacuuming and spraying and wiping on the inside. The Deluxe car wash doesn’t exist here. Business idea, anyone?? We can get all Breaking Bad together, too. Just kidding, we would have a real car wash.

I learned quickly that my concept of the autobahn before ever visiting Germany was absolutely false. I assumed it was some sort of race course, and this is where you can take your car to unimaginable speeds! Was I ever wrong. The word autobahn is equivalent to the American word, highway. Which is to say, unless a specific speed limit is noted along the autobahn due to road work, etc, the highway is without speed limit. And the first time M took me up to these unimaginable speeds, I was dumbfounded.


And then after further observation, the rules of the autobahn are clear and specific. And it works. The traffic-related fatality rate in Germany is significantly lower than the US. And Germans don’t mess around with the rules; there are systems with blinking the lights and expectations about the left lane that absolutely must be followed otherwise you will find a very unhappy German.

And to be living with a German car-fanatic, is to begin noticing all the cars and all the corresponding attitudes regarding cars. Fortunately, I am highly self-sufficient by walking and using public transport  so I don’t expect to integrate myself into the German car culture. But maybe in a year, things will change.

Very early tomorrow morning, we will drive to Munich for Oktoberfest! I am really looking forward to my 2nd Oktoberfest, and this year I am fully willing and prepared to wear a traditional dress, a dirndl. We discussed bringing Oskar and dressing him up in this outfit:

And to any Germans or those living in Germany who are reading, enjoy your public holiday tomorrow!

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