It is the end of my first week of a nice, long vacation. If it ended today, I’d be satisfied.
Already I feel like a better designer, and in a way, I can’t wait to get home and bust out some new schnitzel.
I’m at a free computer in the lobby of the Hotel Alpina in beautiful downtown Gramisch (thanks Gene - this is a great place!), so this will be ALL TEXT, with no photos, or my useless hidden Youtube music links.
Bavaria has been nothing but great. I grew up with a little bit of German culture, and after being here a week, I now realize it was really A LOT of German culture. It’s funny that a place so far from home could bring back so many childhood memories. We were not raised in a very ethnocentric household. In fact, my mother worked pretty hard to point out the similarities in people and cultures, and downplay the differences. Never-the-less, we ate a lot more beerocks and sourkraut than any of my friends.
There are a lot of things I really like about Bavaria - The food, culture, history, beer, and these ridiculously charming towns with their local castles and townsfolk in dirndl’s and lederhosen (dudes really dress like that….still). But the one thing that has really impressed me, and needs no photos, is the Autobahn.
Driving has always been a source of frustration for me. I’ve spent way too many hours on the phone with my friend Eric talking about how other people drive (so poorly). Back at home, we have 3 or 4 lanes to herd commuters, and somehow, it seems to all get bogged down to the slowest common denominator. Without going into too much detail, it always seems to come down to the fact that there is someone in the left lane (or fast, or passing lane) that should move over to the right. That’s it. It’s that simple (I can’t believe how many times it’s someone I know doing this).
And just in case you think it’s not that simple, that it’s somehow more complicated than that…Go to Germany, and drive on the Autobahn. These guys have it figured out. Here people drive on highways, sometimes only two lanes each direction, with vehicles driving at speeds ranging from approximately 65 to 150 mph and more (not kph!) and it works. And after a week of driving, as far as I can tell, it works flawlessly. Why? Because people change lanes. Constantly. They look in their mirrors, and stay in the left lane, until they need to pass someone. Then they pass, and move to the right. And unless you’re driving in the 140+ range, you’re pretty much always going to have to move over. And everyone does.
I spent the week driving a crappy little 4 cylinder. I kept it around 160k (100mph), and was passed just as much as I passed others. It was great. Not so much because of the speed, but because of the freedom…the freedom for everyone to drive atthe speed that they wanted, without being hindered by the agenda of others.
And isn’t freedom what we’re supposed to be about? (I know, it’s just propaganda).