how to survive in Germany, Deutschland without cultural barriers, best and worst of Germany

German reaction to snow: lost and unsafe

2012-12-08 11.03.21 (2)This thought is chasing me. Until I do not write about German reaction to snow, the spring will not come.

First of all I must say that my impressions about Germany is mainly based on NRW. I have seen other parts too but this is where I stay the longest.

Weather conditions here are closer to UK weather conditions only better. Quite a lot of rain but more sun, not very hot in summer generally but mild and shorter winters.

Last winter my garden roses still had some blooms in… January cause the temperature was keeping around +8 C. But later it got colder. But one way or another snow has shown up in all four winters I was here. Generally it comes for few days. Sometimes only for one day, sometimes for about two weeks. Only one time I think it was longer than two weeks.

Street cafe in snow (Germany)There is hardly a lot of snow laying on the ground. It happened once of twice this winter that 10 cm of snow fell down during one night. It is a lot for here.

Both times my favorite radio station 1LIVE have announced that there is 500 km of traffic jam in the whole land all together. Germans would not be Germans if they were not very stable and easy to predict, the second time the number of kilometers of traffic jam was exactly the same!

Once we decided to go for about 75 km long trip to visit Monet exibition. Our neighbours were trying very hard to convince us not to go. It was our first winter in Germany and we sincerely could not understand why. By the way, since then nobody ever tried us to convince anything in our private lives in that insistive manner.

We got why. A little later. When we got stuck in a dead traffic jam on the highway.

We were lucky to somehow reach the first possible exit and tu turn away from the highway. Thanks to the brilliant invention of XX century we reached our home in about an hour driving beautiful local roads and enjoying unbelievably beautiful scenery. I would especially recommend Ratingen. Just sit in the car around Christmas when it is all decorated and just go driving to the private houses areas in Ratingen. I was thinking to myself, this is how fairytale looks like.

As we found out on the radio next day, it was not a fairy tale at all for our fellows other passangers who were stuck in the traffic jam together with us. It turns out that the jam did not move for the whole night and rescue helicopter was delivering blankets and hot tea. It was just unbelievable, when I think of me stuck in situation like that, it just does not fit to my head. It was cold, and no restrooms?!

I still do not understand why they did not take their nearest turn to a side road and went home? If our car moved so that we finally reached an exit, it means other cars in front of us and the same amount of cars behind us passed the same opportunity?!

Only later we found out that highways do not get cleaned of snow. I could not understand this and still can not. Cause German are the first to watch for safety. But they are also the ones who calculate everything, and I guess the total number of days with snow on highway is way too little for the special machines to pay off during their lifetime.

Second, Germans are not that used to drive on snow. OK, the highways are not cleaned, this increases the probability of car accidents. Which turned out to be the reason of endless jams. But they really do not change their driving habits when the road is covered in snow!

Add the fact that many of them drive smaller cars rather than big ones which are more likely to have four weel drive because of taxes. Also, it turned out that there was no official requirement to change to winter tires, and you get a nice bucket of reasons why it is a complete chaos when it snows.

What is very very nice though that the same day snow falls, parents are not lazy to get out sleigh and take their kids to kindergarten on them! Even if they have to drag it on half naked asphalt, it is very sweet bow to childhood memories.

2012-12-07 09.01.46 (2)

And as always, Germans are very organized. And if you did not think to take your kid on sleigh he or she is going to hate you on that day.


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This entry was posted on March 2, 2013 by in Character, For kids, Going out, Traffic, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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