Sunday 8 September 2013

Why Germans are airtight

Some final random thoughts about Germany, from a German-descended Australian who's visiting his German wife's family.


Every German home I've visited is essentially airtight.

The doors aren't just a rectangular slab like ours, they have a proper lip around the edge and they seal very well against the frame.

The windows are the same. They also have two ways of opening, depending on how you turn the handle.

If it points up, the window hinges on the bottom, opening along the top - this allows some air through without allowing rain or thieves into the house.

If the handle points down, the window hinges along one side, opening like a door.

It gives you total control of the airflow through the house. And in the cold winter, it keeps the warm air trapped very effectively inside.

Germans also make better use of their suburban space, as virtually every house is multi-storey with a basement underneath.

There's just something very cool about having a basement!  It's the shed you don't have to leave the house for.

With so many people in apartments, some people have a separate garden elsewhere. This one belongs to our friend Andrea in Hannover.

It's a lovely spot, with some lawn and loads of veggies, plus even a tiny house in the middle.


European wasps, known in Germany as "little Aussie bastards", are everywhere here.

At every BBQ and picnic, there were dozens of them hanging around.

But interestingly, nobody freaked. They just waved them away like we wave away flies.

Murderous gnomes

The interesting thing about this gnome is that it has a proper executioner's mask on.

Therefore, this was a state sanctioned killing. Some sort of gnome court sentenced the other gnome to death, for doing something terrible

Therefore, logically, the murderer in this picture is most probably the gnome head, not the one with the axe.

So next time you see a guy with a bloodied axe and a head, you remember this. Check If he has a proper hood on before you embarrass yourself with any foolish assumptions.

Street art

Took a walk with my son in Hannover and found this at the corner of a block. It's just a small bit of a much larger artwork.


Friendly fields

A local farmer tells us that the Government pays hem a little bonus to surround their corn fields with sunflowers. Just because it's pretty.

He also said he was recently married, which explains this.

It's a tradition amongst farmers. We saw several examples like it while we were here.

Exit / Not Exit

In Australia, we label our exits (ausgang) pretty clearly.

But in Germany, they also label the non exits, just to be sure. I just don't know how they stop - surely the roof is also not an exit, as is the sidewalk and the traffic light...

Got wood?

Germans arrange their firewood perfectly, so they never have to pick up an axe during the winter. I wrote a blog about it for the ABC.

Efficiency at work and at home

This is my brother in law Jurgen, who has a fussball table in his basement.

As you can see here, he is cleaning and lubricating the poles before we play. Can you tell he works at the VW factory?

Speaking of Volkswagon

They make their own ketchup, which is used at all of their sausage sizzles, etc.

It was so popular they started making it commercially.


German pillows are weird.

I hope my many German hosts take no offence at this, as I've been treated fantastically by everyone I've stayed with. They have my gratitude and respect.

But the truth is, their pillows are weird.

They're twice as wide as any Australian pillow, but rather flat. You can fold them in four.

Country Ladies

There seem to be a lot of caravans and campers parked in country lanes and public rest stops, rather than in proper caravan parks.

I thought perhaps that caravan parks were very expensive in Germany, but my wife explained that these vans parked out in the country were actually operated by prostitutes.

So there's no prostitution in the town, where the locals might be troubled by it. But if a gent feels like dallying with the oldest profession, he just drives out of town. Sooner or later, he'll see a lady standing by a caravan, ready to take his money.

Once this was explained to me, I saw a caravan parked every couple of miles. It seems there's a lot of demand for this service, even in the sleepy rural areas of Lower Saxony.

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