Trips on the Autobahn and First Impressions of Germany (Frankfurt, Muhlhausen)

I was in Germany for 6 days visiting my wife’s relatives and this has been my first trip to Europe. First stop: Frankfurt, Germany’s financial hub, and then Muhlhausen, a small town of 30,000 in the German countryside (it is literally in the woods near castles). Some early thoughts of my experience:

1) You can get a Porsche taxi. The one below was parked, oddly, at an elementary school.

2) Mettbrötchen / Mett is really damn good – it’s raw ground pork on bread, for breakfast.

3) People park their cars ON the curb. This concept will be super familiar with Vietnamese but unheard of for Americans. As a plus, this does free up space on the road, but reduces sidewalk space.

4) The vast majority of the cars being driven are from German carmakers – BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Audi. Must be 90%, and a count watching cars showed 24 consecutive German cars passing me by. Smart (that’s a car company) cars are super small 2 person vehicles that are allowed to park perpendicular to parking spaces.

5) Frankfurt is a good looking city. It’s got the old-European town feel like (as seen on TV!). Perhaps that’s boring to Europeans though. it’s also consistently clean, at least in the areas that I walked around (financial district, area around the Mein river). Muhlhausen, however, is a real old European town. From the places and homes I visited, Germany in general is really clean.

(Frankfurt and the Mein River)

(Downtown Frankfurt)

(Dom Römer Area)

(Muhlhausen City Center)

(Muhlhausen City Center)

6) Some roads are somehow one-lane two way roads. In case there is oncoming traffic, you either have to back up or with some roads, there is a place you stop on the right hand side so the other car can pass by.

7) While the Autobahn was not the super racetrack freeway I envisioned (in my dreams), Germany still seems like a great place to drive. The Autobahn feels like Highway 5 in California. Perhaps it’s just been too long since I drove a car consistently, but I feel like Germans drive fast.

8) I thought that all 1st world Europeans were fluent in English. This is not so true, at least for spoken English, though Germans do study English in school.

9) Germans neighbors commonly greet each other (“Allo!” for “Hello”, “Cheers” for “Goodbye”) in the mornings – I do not feel like this happens in the US, and it certainly doesn’t happen in Vietnam.

10) Chipotle exists here. As does Footlocker and Gamestop. (I hung around a Frankfurt mall) Starbucks exist but nowhere with the density you will see in the US, or even Tokyo.

For more of my photos from Germany, see:

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