Thursday, April 7, 2011

Subtle differences

I have spent just over a week here in München and in this time I have noticed some small, but significant differences from my home town, Brisbane in Australia. So here is a few to give you some sort of perspective on life here in Germany...

You drive on the right hand side of the road: Okay, so this is an obvious one, but I had to start somewhere. The very first time I rode around a round about in an anti-clockwise direction was a wierd feeling and I am still confused as to which way to look at intersections.

You can drive literally as fast as you want on the highway: The Autobahn is like a speedway, but it sure makes the journey go faster.

Beer is the standard beverage, no matter where you are: If it is at one of the many, MANY beer gardens, or at a cafe, or at a pub or if you just want to have a drink while you walk around in the park, beer is the standard drink. No matter the time of day; breakfast, lunch or dinner. And there is no small 'pot' or 'schooner' of beer either. The smallest serving you will find is half a litre! Maybe it has something to do with that little beer festival they have here each year... Oktoberfest or something?

Mercedes and BMW are the Ford and Holden of Germany: Every second car is a BMW or Mercedes. Evenn the taxi's! In Brisbane, these are considered more of a luxury vehicle reserved for those that can afford them, but in Germany, every second person has one. Also, there does not seem to be any old cars in München. In Australia, it is typical to see a car from the 80's spewing smoke as it struggles aloing, but here I struggle to see a car more than a few years old.

Spring actually causes a physically change in the environment: In Brisbane, spring means it gets a little but warmer and a little bit greener, that's about it. In the space of a week, here in München, tuplips are sprouting out of the ground, skeleton trees are growing foliage and rivers are flowing!

When the sun is shining and its warm outside, people head to the river to get naked and sunbake: When I consider it barely warm enough to put on a singlet, half the population of München shed their clothes and sunbake on the banks of the river. There would be less naked people on a nudist beach in Australia!

No matter what the temperature or the time of day, it is always a ggod time for ice cream in Bavaria. Even when I have just finished breakfast and am shivering from the cold, people are sitting down to meal-sized serves of ice-cream at one of the MANY ice-cream shops.

Public toilets are not free: Whether you have to tip the toilet attendant, buy something to get a pin number to unlock the toilet door or simply pay to enter, it is extremely rare to find a free public toilets here in München. When you are busting to use one, this can cause some problems! Equally as hard to find is a public tap. Finding somewhere to fill a water bottle during a ride is impossible.

München is a long pants city: Personally, I am not much of a long pants guy but almost no one wears shorts. I find this a little bizarre as everyone here also rides a bike and if you have ever done so in long pants, it can have dire consequences.

Men wear scarves, aviator sunnies and leather satchels: And they don't get mocked for it. Wear this in Brisbane and everyone will pay you out for dressing like a male model in a Ralph Lauren show. Here, it is just 'euro'.

There are about 675 different types of salami but its almost impossible to find a steak: I can't pronounce any of the names, but the salamis are all delicous. Perhaps the reason I cannot find a steak anywhere is that in almost 1000km of riding, I have not seen a single cow, sheep or any other livestock!

All the houses look like they were painted yesterday: Most of the villages look like something out of an episode of noddy. Perfectly groomed buildings painted in bright colours and not a dirty window in sight!

Almost every second shop in München is a bakery. In Brisbane, you have to look high and low to find a decent bakery but here you just have to turn around. Despite this, it is extremely difficult to find a normal loaf of bread!

Nordic walking in fluorescent parachute tracksuits is still cool in München: In Brisbane, most people think twice about using a bush walking stick, never mind breaking out the ski poles, but here nordic walking is done with pride in tracksuits that look like they came directly from a 1980's ski resort advertisement.

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