We spent roughly two weeks in Germany in total. The first week or so was spent with friends in Hamburg and Grapel. The second week was spent driving from the north to the south with only one rest day whilst in Bamberg. This was driven by our desire to make it in time to meet up with my cousin Andrew in Croatia. We did over 1100 km through Germany that week.
What we saw of Germany whilst driving we both liked a lot. In fact, I think now that we are even further into our European road adventure we are realising even more how lovely a country it is. We are both adamant that we will return again one time to see more of it. We were especially taken with a part of Bavaria we drove through in between the towns of Schmidmuhlen and Kallmunz. The road meandered alongside a pretty river set in a gorgeous valley. I looked longingly out the window and wished we could have stopped and stayed a while but our onward commitments kept us moving.
So much of my impressions of Germany south of Grapel are what I could glimpse out of the VW window. Following are just ten things that stood out to me:
- There is a major commitment to renewable energy. The north and centre are dominated by wind farms. The south by fields of solar farms.
- Push bike riding is extremely popular. There are very often bike ways that run adjacent to the road linking up the towns.
- Traffic lights are located in a perplexing position, that being directly above the car and not out in front of the waiting vehicle in clear view. It is not uncommon for traffic lights to be blacked out. I assumed that this was an energy saving measure.
- There is basically little or no road side advertising.
- There is a distinct lack of any shops of any kind in many towns meaning that getting any supplies has to be done in major towns or not at all.
- There are basically no overtaking lanes. And on the topic of overtaking, it was not uncommon to see cars overtaking a line of about five cars at once. Though, for the most part this was done on straight roads with good visibility.
- There are virtually no road side rest areas. This was difficult for us as it was more of a mission to find somewhere to pull over for lunch.
- Similarly, there are no road side shoulders to allow you to pull over in an emergency or, in our case, to let our massive tail of cars go past us. I should mention here though that aside from a couple of occasions where we accidently ended up on autobahns we were not travelling on major roads.
- Most fields had no fences. The main crop was corn. Bright green and luscious looking.
- There were wildflowers of many pretty colours growing on the side of the road and particularly masses of red poppies.