Archive for July, 2009

Visiting Germany – Tage I.

July 2nd, 2009 No comments

I was supposed to do an FMTouch Demo for some user group near Frankfurt, but since they decided to not chip in my plane ticket, I decided to not do it. So now, I’m officially on vacation… first time in countless years. Well, you know, going to Hungary to visit friends and family doesn’t count as a vacation. 🙂 I’m visiting a dear friend whom I met back in New York, well Jersey to be quite exact. He’s an opera singer, currently working for the National Theater in Mannheim, Germany.

The flight was eventless not taking the 2-hour delay to take off into consideration. No screaming children or annoying Hungarians whining their way through. What a bliss. The plane was fairly new: every seat’s headrest had a built-in screen with entertainment, so you could chose from a variety of movies to television shows to games. It became very useful, since I, again managed to sleep 0 minutes.

Landed in Frankfurt, where, unlike other large airports, we had to walk our way to the baggage pickup area. Got to the car rental and I was told that unfortunately, they ran out of small cars, so they have to give me an Audi A4. What a pity! Navigation worked, drove downtown to look around a bit, or maybe that wasn’t downtown but strangely no stores: none. I was going to go to a drug store to pick up some stuff, but not a chance. So then I rerouted myself to Mannheim and off I was. The Autobahn provides a nice driving experience, especially a 2.0 L Turbo Diesel Audi.

By the time I was halfway to Mannheim (aka 30 minutes later) I was starving, so I stopped at a gas station to get some food: “Wurst, Kartoffeln und Kraut” or something like that in German. Was quite yummie for a roadside stop. I was sitting outside under large umbrellas and it was surprisingly quiet. Cars were driving by and even and ambulance went by and I could barely notice. Same goes for Mannheim… well until this morning, when I had woken up for 6 fire trucks arriving to our building: no worries, they left without even seeing a fire.

Yesterday I drive around and walked around a bit. Took some photos with my iPhone 3GS. I will take some more photos today, especially if we’re going to see some castles.

I’m amazed by my friend, Wayne. Apparently, a year ago he didn’t speak any German and now he’s fluent. And his accent is nice, too. He’s a very sweet guy, too. I really appreciate him putting me up.

So, I had some initial findings here and I thought I’d quickly jot them down. I’m originally from Hungary; I’ve been living in the US for exactly 10 years this month. It’s nice to revisit differences. Keep in mind, though, you cannot compare NY to Mannheim: the population is around 300, 000 here.

  1. As I said it’s very quiet here, even though this is a city. I’m sitting here typing with the balcony door open. Even int he store people were quiet.
  2. The roads are much smaller. The Autobahn was continuously under construction and driving at high speed I even had trouble getting off quickly to the gas station. Now, try driving into a parking garage with an American car: I had to inch back and forth and the Audi A4 is not even a large car. I don’t know whom they built these places for. 🙂
  3. The city of Mannheim is very clean and neatly manicured.

I will add to this list later, but now it’s time for day two.

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