Driving Miss Furstenbergerstein

Most of the time, Toblerone drives. Thank god for that. As you all know I have a thing against the Autobahn and I’m not so sure I understand the rules of driving here. But, I’ve had many times where I’ve had to drive myself around to go shopping or what have you. I’m so thankful for my photographic memory, otherwise…I probably would end up somewhere in the Alps. So far this is what I’ve come to learn:

Other than the basics, Everything you’ve learned does not apply here. 

Truth. I’m what they call a “defensive driver.” I’m quick, sometimes daring, but my plan is always well played out! I should be a FORMULA 1 driver! 🙂 Dreaming big! The basics are obvious…get in car, put seatbelt on, turn key. Thankfully, I’ve always driven a manual car because EVERY single car here is a stick. I’m not sure if there are automatics but everyone I know drives a stick. (“Stick” – I know you love it when I talk all technical!) Regardless of my fantastic defensiveness when it comes to the fine autos, there is NOTHING in the good old U.S. of A. that prepares you for the way the Euro’s put the pedal to the metal.

Never in my life have I been car sick. Only here. Literally. There are SO many curves and with the lack of a speed limit, it’s like a joy ride..one that I was never excited to take. The only real straight road is the Autobahn which I have had to drive only a few times pushing my own personal limit to 100MPH (160 KPH) while I was being passed by others going closer to 200MPH.

So even though there are few speed limits, only in places that are clearly necessary or when you first come up upon a new village. There aren’t signs for this but there is a general knowledge, which I didn’t know for quite some time that you MUST be going 50KPH (which is 30MPH) as soon as you drive past the town sign. If you don’t obey…well you have to risk the possibility of getting caught by a “flashing station.”

Flashing stations are genius. I WISH they had these in America. The Germans hate them here but honestly, if they had to deal with the random police everywhere, I would bet money they would choose these stations over that. So, let me explain. The flashing station or a “blitzer” is placed on the side of the road and it’s set to “flash” you or take your picture rather when you’re somewhere between 5-10 KPH over the limit. Here’s the smart part…you usually can see it ahead of time ANDDDDD it never  moves. You know when one is coming up if you’re in that town enough. People! Are you with me? Consider a world where there are no cops sitting in their cars hidden behind bushes or right around the corner. No, all you have to do is go 50 when you enter a town and you’re good. Some towns have flashing stations, others don’t. I get it, I’m rambling. I’ve had two glasses of wine.

Here’s a bit of what they look like:

Something else that almost caused me to have a bit of an accident was the lack of knowledge about who has the right of way. Let me see if I can put this into words to explain. So there aren’t many “stop” signs. In fact, I’ve maybe seen two or three since I’ve been here. Most of the time it’s like a “yielding” situation without the yield signs. As you’re driving along what you would think is the main road in a village you have to be careful. If a car is coming from a side road on your right, you MUST stop and let them go. The righties have the right of way. ODD!! I’m not sure who thought of that rule but most of the time I don’t let them go. I use my, “Oopsies! I’m a blonde American” excuse and go with it! I think this rule is stupid so I continue to give myself the right of way, ALWAYS.

There’s a little driving lesson for you folks. The thing is, if you go to another country…you rent a car..good for you. However, you better really look into what the driving rules are. You don’t want to be stuck trying to explain to the Police what you’re doing driving on the wrong side of the road! Oh and here’s a fun fact that most people don’t know: If you’re in Europe you drive on the same side of the road as you do in the US (the right side) UNLESS you are in England or Ireland.

Until next time, Readers!!!


How Do You Really Feel?

Someone asked me the either day, “What do you not like about Germany so far?” I had to sit and think about this one because there really isn’t much! However, I did compile a list of things that I find strange or quite different from what I’m used to. This is not to say that I will not be used to these things in a few years! 

So here in no particular order:

1. Shake it!

On many occasions I have met many different people and just like the rest of the world, a hand shake to say hello is common. I made a conclusion. Women CLEARLY do not understand the importance of a good handshake! It shows confidence and in business matters, it’s your first impression. Usually the men shake with power, but every woman so far has given me the dainty-barely-touch-your-hands shake. It’s like shaking with only your fingertips like an alien. I don’t like this as I am a big believer in women going forth in the world…you’re not going anywhere with that! Put some love into it, ladies!!!

2. No Freezer?

Why would I ever want a freezer in my fridge? Oh maybe because I like ice cubes and ice cream readily accessible. Or how about when you just bought beer, vodka, or wine and need to make it cold quickly. You get my drift? Precisely. Lo and behold…..the fridge with no freezer. Thank you Germany. Well done.

Even Harley hates the idea....

It’s ok, we will spend a trillion more dollars to make our lives more complicated. Yes, I will buy a freezer…put it in another room completely so now I have to walk 5 feet to this room to get my meat. I can no longer talk about this issue. It upsets my bones.

3. Say No To Church

This is not a bash on religion – Remove panties from bunch and continue reading. Per my previous post you should all known that I’m not religious however, I’m all for people being one with the big cheese above. Like the majority of Germany, minus the travellers that have invaded, Toblerone is Catholic. I might have mentioned that our land (or 5 feet of yard) is owned by the Church and we must pay rent for our yard. Don’t even get me started on this. So, as someone not religious, I don’t see the good in this. I smell corruption! Anywho..moving on. During a drive the other day Toblerone mentioned he wanted to pull out from the Church. Que???

I guess there is some weird thing where if you are a registered Catholic, each paycheck the Church takes out 80Euro a month….people…do the math…thats 960Euro…which means $111 USD a month and $1300 USD a year, goes to the Catholic Church. STOP THE MADNESS!! THE HUMANITY!! I can’t even believe it. So, I told Toblerone to pull from the church via his paycheck and go as he pleases, as it should be. Again, I stress that I am not against religion and what they do to stay afloat…but here…it’s different.

4. Luck o’ the Irish

I’m freckled, stubborn, and a heavy drinker. You get my drift? I’m thick as blood Irish and damn proud of it! Christmas is great…Halloween is great…Cinco de Mayo is a good time too but nothing..and I mean NOTHING can compare to the greatness of St. Patrick’s Day. It’s all about commradery and competition. All wearing the same color while we see who drops to the floor first. In all seriousness, I know the real history of St. Patrick and why we made a holiday of this man. I know America in general has lost or is not educated on the true meaning of this wonderous holiday but what does it matter? The fact that everyone comes together for the same mission is fantastic!!

Deutschland…you dissapoint me. I would say 90% of this country doesn’t have a CLUE what this holiday is! So, this year I will do nothing. Nothing whatsoever and I’m hurt. I can’t possibly celebrate this day wearing only green underwear (yes…yes I did) and sipping wine on the couch. Gag me. I’m certain I will change this country. One person at a time. Rivers will be green. St. Spice is coming!!!!

5. Shhhhhhhh

It’s taking me some time to get used to the fact that people talk so LOUD here. You know when you’re hungover and even the slightest whisper makes you say, “ugh…please stop talking so loud”? Yeah…thats me…all the time. Voices are constantly echoing and inducing strange angry headaches. Not only are they loud but it sounds like they are yelling!!

6. Cha-Ching

Debit Cards, Credit Cards, plastic of any kind…there’s no place for you here! Many times when I first arrived I tried to pay for lunch/dinner/what have you with my cute little red credit card and it was declined. Words were yelled said and the wallet they arrive at your table with was waved back and forth. When you go out to dinner here, the waitress will come to your table tell you how much it all was and wait for you to hand her the cash right then and there. Oh and tipping? Barely exists. You give 26Euro cents, no more than 1Euro. Crazy right?

So this will conclude my “things I don’t like” list but I still feel this as a list that I’m not used to yet. It’s just different and maybe in some cases the better way of life. I just haven’t figured that out yet! Tomorrow is the 2 week mark. Can’t believe how fast it has gone!