Friday, 13 February 2015

5 Little Aspects of German Life That You Get Used to Incredibly Quickly

Yes, this article is written in unashamedly Buzzfeed/clickbait-y style. But we all love Buzzfeed, right?

1) Seeing pizza delivery guys on push-bikes.
Okay, so back home pizzas are delivered from motorbikes, Renault Twizys, or just normal cars.
In Germany, meanwhile...

This isn't a recent eco measure, though - apparently the main national pizza chain, Joey's, have been doing this for ten years!
I'd love to see Domino's guys trying to get up Bathwick Hill on pushbikes to delivery to campus in Bath... hahaha! (Strava link for those who don't know Bath)

2) Safe cycling
Another cycling-related one (I've really fallen in love with this aspect of German life!). I've never felt in danger of death from a car while on my bike here in Germany. At home, that happens on a regular basis.
For example, where the cycle path (because they exist!) crosses a motorised traffic lane (when the traffic is turning off the road and I'm carrying on forwards, for example).... the cars give way to the cyclists! I know, right! I was surprised too.
This is kind of proved by the fact that (when it's not snowing, anyway), only about 10% of cyclists wear helmets. For more on this subjective safety, check out this post from David Hembrow.

3) Different packaging quantities for food, especially milk and eggs
A dozen eggs, two pints of milk... these are phrases of quantity built into everyday British life.

This box of eggs looks totally normal, until you see that it contains 10 rather than 12 eggs. Of course; Germany uses the metric system!

This carton of milk, too, is a litre. (No plastic bottles here, oh no!). I have to say that I prefer buying milk in litres: it's just that little bit less than a 2 pint bottle (which is 1.13 litres and which I don't always manage to use up before it goes out of date).

4) Long-life products.
The milk pictured above would be fairly unusual to see in my fridge here in Germany. Germans love UHT milk, and it's easy to see why.

Firstly, German apartments often have relatively small fridges. While my mum can store a week's worth of milk in our fridge at home easily (this can be upwards of 6 litres when we're all at home) you'd have a bit of a task to fit that into your German fridge.

Secondly, shops being closed on Sundays means that people seem to 'stock up' a little more. If you run out of milk late on Saturday night, you can't just pop down to the corner shop to get more until Monday. (That said, I found out last weekend that some of the Sunday-opening bakeries will sell you a litre of milk. Useful to know!). So while in the UK I don't buy a new bottle of milk until mine's nearly empty, here I always have the next carton ready - which is why it being long-life is useful.

Both of those reasons are also why, although German supermarkets have nearly as many ready-meal type products as British ones, they're not in the fridge cabinets. Instead, there are a lot of 'fix' products - spice and sauce mixes, so that you only store the meat in the fridge and the cooking is still easy - and also tinned and vacuum-packed ready meals. That means you can store them in your kitchen cupboards instead of taking up valuable fridge/ freezer space.

5) Fantastic coffee and cakes
This is unquestionably one of the best things about German life.

Pictured are Quarktaschen, a kind of pastry which is like a Danish, but has Quark (a bit like cream cheese) inside instead of fruit. And coffee... well, that's a big deal here. Shortages of coffee in the former East have been discussed in multiple classes I've been in. There's also a lot of herbal tea around, though very little English (black) tea.

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