Easter Monday is a federal holiday in Germany, as is Good Friday. Everything is closed: shops, offices, schools. Since we are affiliated with the U.S. military base, today was a normal Monday for us; Jason went to work, Natalie went to school and I went to the gym. As I was driving through the village between my house and the gym, I noticed that it was extremely quiet. No cars parked on the street, not one person waiting at the bus stop, etc. It was quieter than even a Sunday morning. I saw a few people, dressed in riding gear (not an unusual sight), riding their bikes and I thought, “Hmm, this is what some locals choose to do with their day off work.”
I should have known better! Continue reading
There is a road connecting two of the bases – Patch Barracks & Panzer Kaserne – and it is an alternative to the autobahn. People who use this road call in the ‘Frog Road.’ Why? During mating season, the frogs try to cross the road to get to the other side. 🙂 Really!! Along this road, and set back from the shoulder, there is a barricade that is 18-24 inches in height.
According to people who have lived here longer than a year, this barricade is new; presumably it was erected to prevent the frogs from crossing the road and potentially getting flattened. When we sat through the classroom instruction before taking the exam to get our military sponsored driver’s license, the frog road was explained to us: when it is mating season, you must slow down so you don’t run over the frogs. Well, the warning signs have gone up and the speed limit has significantly decreased in order for the frogs to have the highest likelihood of safely crossing the road. (That 30 is kilometers per hour which translates to about 18 miles per hour. Normally the speed is between 70 and 100 kmph.) Not only that but there exists an Amphibian Project where volunteers capture the frogs, place them in buckets, and then carry the buckets across the road dumping the frogs out on the other side! According to our community newspaper, this will happen daily from 7-9 a.m. and 7-11 p.m., February 18 – May 10. This sign, however, has us slowing down from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. How, exactly, are the volunteers with the Amphibian Project actually seeing the frogs in order to catch them when it is dark 7-11 p.m.? Headlamps? I would think the greater concern would be slowing down so we don’t hit the volunteers transporting the frogs!
9/5/13: I have had my feet on the ground for two days and I still feel overwhelmed by everything – the ‘deer in the headlights’ look. Jason is scheduled to be out of town next week and the car we had shipped from the States is to arrive next week. So he would like me to get my driver’s license in order to pick up the car from the Customs office in Böblingen. What?!! Is he insane? Couldn’t we just leave the car there until he returns from his business trip?
Driving in Germany is quite a bit different from driving in the States. The roads are extremely narrow, the signage is different, and some of the basic rules of the road are different. I’m sure I still have jet lag. This is a bad idea…
Nonetheless, I have read the driver’s manual the base provides, in English, and I sat through the 3 hour video/lecture/discussion before the test was administered. I passed with 97% but you could score 85% and still pass, which is a bit disconcerting. Shouldn’t we have to know everything about driving in Germany? Even with my score, I don’t feel adequately equipped to safely be behind the wheel. Really, public transportation is a GREAT idea! I’m sure with the bus and train system here, I can get anywhere.