Germany, oh Germany
With our contract coming to an end, and my recent trip to Canada putting this all into perspective, I have started to think about all the things that I will miss about Germany once we have moved. While it was hard to limit it to just 10, we have come up with the top 10 things that we will miss about living in Germany. We have also made a list of the top things that we won’t miss, because let’s be honest, nothing in this world is perfect.
Check out The Expat’s Guide to Moving to Germany
10 things I will miss about Germany
- Autobahn – no speed limit
- These people are freakin’ crazy and I love it. If the road is safe and you are a good driver, why the hell not. Drive as fast as your heart desires, knowing that everything you do will come back to haunt you in this life, and the next. Did I mention that obtaining a Germany drivers licence is no easy feat. These people know how to drive at these speeds, that’s for sure.
- Rough translation – an outdoor Beer hangout. Because why not. Sadly, only available in the warmer months. Lucky for me, it rarely gets cold in this part of the country so we are not with out for long.
- Excessive number of castles
- And I do mean excessive. It’s like every other town has a castle or two protecting it. It’s amazing.
- Freebies for kids
- Don’t worry about feeding your kids during snack time; just head to the grocery store and walk through the various counters. They hand out sausage slices at the meat counter, cheese and crackers at the cheese counter, and brotchen at the bakery. All you have to do is order your usual groceries from those counters and voila – free snacks. Shops also hand out random toys or gummies to the kids too, but this is more fun.
- Budget airlines
- Porter has nothing on Ryan Air. The sheer number of budget airlines running around this continent, connecting every possible vacation destination, is ridiculous. They are a la carte so you pick all your add-ons based on budget and away you fly.
- Inexpensive, good wine at the grocery store
- I recently discovered a wine in Germany that sells for 4euro, goes for $14 in Canada. It’s crazy! And it’s not crap wine either; it’s Chanti, and Valpolicheli and Pinot Grigio.
- Drinking in public
- I like that I don’t need to finish my beer before I can walk onto my front step. I can order a drink from the biergarten and sit next to my kids at the park. They have pop-up beer trucks everywhere in the cities. One time, we were given a free beer on May Day when we walked into a Nursery (the plant kind, not the small children kind)
- 80’s mentality on personal safety
- Take care of yourself and don’t be stupid. The government isn’t going to hold your hand and tell you how to live your life or raise your kids.
- While Canada is taking away train tracks, Germany is installing more and growing their network everyday. There are very few towns that can’t be accessed by train – it may require a transfer or two, but they can be reached sans personal vehicle. Check out more about traveling by train.
- No plastic bags
- The stores don’t provide them! They are at the end of the check-out counter and cost between 50cents to 1.50euro for fabric bags. The bakery has paper bags for their items and those still cost 10cents per. They don’t mess around with garbage (or rubbish, as they call it) – with a population this size (81.4 million in case you were wondering – that’s 2.5 times more than Canada), you can’t blame them for wanting to cut down on unnecessary waste.
Also see; 18 Cool Travel Gadgets
10 things I won’t miss about Germany
- Complicated highways and exits
- When the GPS says things like “take exit left, and keep right, then keep left”… I question my decision to drive
- 20 letter words
- As if learning the German language wasn’t hard enough, there are literally words that translate into an entire sentence.
- Drinking in public
- While I have no problem with moderate drinking while walking down the beach, I have an issue with drunk-ass chick buying more vodka at the corner store at noon. There are legal limits to how drunk you can be in public, mind you, but that requires the police to find you.
- Netflix selection
- It is better than Canadian Netflix, but not nearly as great at American Netflix. There are still a handful of shows we can’t get here, and they are different than the shows that we can’t get in Canada, so it’s a very real mix of emotions for my children. We have discovered a few German shows that are dubbed into English, as well as the original version of others – did you know that Octonauts is British, not American? Amazon Prime isn’t much better – most of the kids shows only have one or two season in English and the rest are German.
- Neon 80’s fashion
- Between the bright colours and the accessories, I feel like personal safety isn’t the only thing stuck in the 80’s in Germany. It has made shopping for clothes a little tricky, but not impossible. It’s all up to personal taste, honestly. I don’t like standing out that much – my English-speaking rambles with the children do that enough for my taste.
- Bag your own groceries
- While it can be fun to race with the checkout lady in bagging your own items, having everyone stare at me as I fumble between packing my bags, keeping the kids from unpacking them to find their snacks, and paying the cashier, all before the next customer starts getting antsy, a little too stressful for a quick stop at the local grocery store. I can’t handle the pressure.
- When it rains (and it always rains) it pours
- I know everyone says that it rains a lot in the U.K and I’m sure they aren’t wrong, but man alive does it ever rain in Germany. After a few days in a row, every week, for months, it starts to grow old. You can easily spot the locals from the expats – the locals will jump out of their houses the moment the rain stops in order to get those few minutes of fresh air and a walk around the block before the rain starts again. There is no putting off plans, no need to consult the weather network – make your plans and just bring proper rain gear, because there is always a chance that it will rain. Even in December.
- Crazy-ass German drivers that cut at close range
- Getting cut off on the highway is scary. Getting cut-off on the unlimited sections of the highway is enough to give a young man a heart attack. They cut so close to you and without warning. I know they are good drivers and they wouldn’t do it if they couldn’t, but still – two cars length people. And signal for Gods Sake.
- No Sunday shopping followed by a Monday holiday
- I have no problem with being closed on Sunday. As a former retail manager, I appreciate having Sunday’s off as family day. What I do dislike is the Sundays that proceed a holiday Monday. The lines that form Saturday afternoon and Tuesday morning are crazy long and the shelves are never stocked enough. It’s like we can’t live with the stores closed for more than one day at a time – and you want to know why – Our fridges and kitchens are so crazy small, we can’t keep that much food in our house at any one time.
- As a Canadian, I find the German honesty and forwardness a little on the rude side. But then, I can only imagine what they think of my Canadian politeness.
Also See; Day trips from Dusseldorf
All time favourite thing about Germany
My all time favourite thing about Germany… is all the holidays! Holy Smokes do they ever celebrate holidays. Sometimes it feels like the kids are never in school, it’s insane. Between Karnival, May Day and Saint Martin, there are so many celebrations to be had in Germany that it is hard to keep track of them all. And the Christmas Markets are amazing. They start the last week of November and some go as long as the first week of January, depending on the city – but most end December 23.
Check out my various articles regarding Christmas Markets in Germany and across Europe by clicking here.
An excellent resource for planning all of Germany can we found with the Lonely Planet Germany Guide.
~ Click the images to find out more ~
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