Following on from last week’s post where I highlighted 5 things I love about England and 5 that I don’t love, it’s only fair that I give the same attention to my new home and share the things I love about Germany and the things I don’t love.
I’ll preface this by saying that I love waaaaay more things about Germany than I dislike. The things I don’t love are mere mild annoyances. Obviously, I choose to live here. I am choosing to stay here for the foreseeable future. So, of course, the good must outweigh the bad.
Anyway, let’s go!
❤ 5 things I love about Germany ❤
1. No post on Sundays.
Okay sure, the post doesn’t come on Sundays in Britain. But Amazon does. Your home shopping does. Just about every store is open, at least for a few hours. It’s just another day, really.
But not in Germany (Bavaria)! Only the most important places are open on a Sunday. When I say “most important,” I am of course referring to the Bäckerei and Biergarten. And die Kirche, natürlich.
While it was certainly a shock to my system at first, it’s something I have come to really enjoy. Sunday’s are full of peace, cake and Wandern.
2. No BS. Straight to the point.
Often one of the characteristics people dislike about Germans, I actually really love. Perhaps it is because I live in a small town close to a small city, but the stereotype that Germans are unfriendly and cold is yet to be proven to me.
There have naturally been the odd one or two people who have been miserable and rude, but generally speaking, I find the Germans (Bavarians) to be pleasant, warm and friendly.
I have been warned that will change when I visit Berlin, but we’ll see.
Germans are direct, though. They don’t mess about with what they say or how they say it. And it just makes good sense, you know? I must have saved hours of my life avoiding small talk about holidays and children I don’t care about!
3. Bread & Cake.
One of the best things I love about Germany.
German bread is the best bread. Come at me France.
The Pfefferbaguette that our local Bäckerei sells is honestly top tier food. I’d happily eat at least three of them in one sitting.
And the cakes 🤤 aw man, the cakes. SO GOOD. Often made with fresh fruit, too. So they’re healthy, right?
What Germany lacks in spices and flavour in the rest of its food, it more than makes up for with its bread and sweet, sweet cakes.
4. Beautiful wide, straight roads. And cycle paths!!
This point really hit home for me on our trip back to England. I felt so travel sick driving on British roads. The same British roads that I once drove along with ease.
German roads just make sense. There are no hedgerows so you can see clearly along the road, even when there are corners, making it safer for everyone when a lorry or tractor comes along. Not that you have to worry about that because most German roads are wide enough to actually fit two cars on them.
Rarely do we see a pothole. The Autobahn flows a lot better (yes, even with all the roadworks they’re doing right now). And there are cycle paths absolutely everywhere!
5. It’s SO GREEN!
No, but seriously.
England is green, we’ve got a lot of fields and forests. A few big hills, etc. etc. But Germany is GREEN. And the water is BLUE. At least, it is near the mountains.
The colours of nature in Germany are so beautiful, they have legit made me cry on a number of occasions.
😐 5 things I don’t love about Germany😐
1. Supermarkets close at 8 pm.
Contrary to the fact that I quite like supermarkets being closed on a Sunday, I really dislike the fact that they close so early.
Because of their short opening times, and because it’s not common for Germans to do a “big” weekly shop, there isn’t really a quiet time in supermarkets here. I’m an anxious, claustrophobic person. I would much rather go to a supermarket late in the evening when it’s inevitably quieter. Until such a day comes, I’m that annoying person that goes at 19:30, right before they close 🙃
2. Paperwork or bureaucracy of any kind.
I’d like to say it gets easier the more you learn the language, but I have it on good authority from actual lifelong Germans that it does not.
But Germany is the country of bureaucracy, no? Genau. The thing is, they love paperwork a little too much. And part of me understands it – much of it is about employment protection. Think about how many jobs have been lost due to the digitalisation of almost every service in Britain. So I get it.
However, from a consumer (and environmental) perspective, it’s more convenient and eco-friendly to submit applications and the like online.
It’s just so difficult 😭
In Britain, I think I walked into my local bank branch twice the whole time I lived there. Loans, credit cards, bank management – it was all done online! If you needed a new pin for your card, there was an online system that allowed you to go through the process. In Germany, if you need a new password for your online banking system, they have to send you a letter with a link and a code (which takes up to 10 business days) before you can change it.
I had to download three apps in order to be able to successfully do mobile banking, and even then it’s very clunky and slow.
4. Flavours/Spices in food.
Although bread and cakes are some of the things I love about Germany, I have to admit their other food lacks spice and flavour.
The best example of this is jalapenos. They do sell them in Germany, but they are about seven times milder than they should be. Now, I’ve got used to that mildness during our two years here. If you shovel four or five into your mouth at once, you start to get a bit of flavour. But I forgot about this when we went back to England. So I ordered a pizza one night and merrily started chucking back jalapenos. And then it hit me.
Another perfect example is cheese. There are no cheeses in this country with flavour. I even tried some blue cheese, which had less flavour than a mild British cheddar. Gorgonzola is about as strong as you’re getting in Deutschland.
5. Salaries don’t work for everyone
This one comes courtesy of Mr Steffi.
It seems to me that most employed people are on salaries in Germany. I struggled to find evidence of people on hourly pay contracts, but if you know any different, please let me know!
For me, salary life is great. But I work an office job where overtime is rarely required and my hours are relatively flexible. Any overtime I do, I’m happy to receive as time in lieu. That’s because it’s half an hour or an hour here and there.
Here’s the problem – my boyfriend works as a specialist mechanic for Oldtimer cars. Many of these cars are involved in various races and rallies throughout the year. He regularly works waaaaaay more hours than he’s contracted to, which he doesn’t mind because he loves his job and is passionate about what he does.
However, for someone like him, it’d be nice for him to receive proper paid overtime for the hours he puts in instead of accumulating time off, which he can never use because they’re always busy.
What are your thoughts? Let me know!