I was on the Autobahn to Köln this morning when I was overtaken by what appeared to be a pretty ancient police vehicle. Still in the old green livery, although most of the police vehicles around us have been converted to blue.
Left over from the 1980s?
It’s hard to believe that an old banger like this is still in service for the police – although the licence plate looks real enough. Maybe there’s a veterans’ reunion taking place? A secret policemen’s ball? Or was it a film shoot for a retro episode of Tatort?
Best guesses in the comments please!
I was out and about in Düsseldorf this week when I spotted a rather funky little vehicle parked in the multi-storey car-park on the Carlsplatz.
From the nation which brought you the Porsche 911….
Now obviously Germans are usually a bit picky about their cars. Brands like Audi, Mercedes, Daimler-Benz, Porsche… all tend to head into the territory which marketers like to call “aspirational.”
So I was a bit flummoxed by the appearance of what looked like a complete Noddy-car in the midst of all the serious looking black prestige vehicles. A three-wheel one-seater, designed to look more like a grasshopper than a limousine.
On closer inspection, all became clear. This was a green car. It runs on electricity rather than fossil fuel. This little chap was docked into the re-charging station, getting its batteries ready for its next trip.
Electro-car recharging station
There are a handful of these docking stations scattered around Düsseldorf these days. With petrol prices where they are, maybe we’ll start to see people swapping the Mercedes for one of these little bobby-cars.
I was out and about in Duisburg today and I spotted these two beauties.
First up, a red BMW motorbike with sidecar – not the newest but definitely oozing with retro-charm. Getting in and out of it might be a challenge… but who needs to wear a pencil skirt anyway?
Must-have transport for the aging hippy...
Second, the door-to-door grocer was out and about with his yellow deli-van. One half is a greengrocer, the other a butcher and vendor of fine condiments. Dairy in the cool box in the middle. A very fine selection of home-produced sausages, hanging up at the back. Much more fun than queueing up at Aldi!
Stop me and buy one!
The people of Duisburg are obviously quite inventive actually. For instance, instead of the ubiquitous Internet-café they can offer you the Internet-hairdresser.
Surf and blow-dry?
There was also a lego-man down near the harbour. I suspect he’s German. It’s the socks and sandals that give it away…
Fashion faux pas
School started again in Northrhine Westphalia this week – and as usual the local papers are exhorting parents not to drive their children to school by car.
Doing the school run by car exposes children to multiple dangers in Germany it seems. Not only will your child miss out on vital daily exercise, which would be incurred by walking or cycling, but also their social development will be impaired. Making your way to school independently is a first key step in developing independence and responsibility.
But more than this, the sheer volume of traffic around the school gates when parents insist on using the car, means that other children are endangered by having to negotiate busy roads and distracted drivers.
How different this is from the UK where many primary school children are not allowed to cycle to school or even make the journey on their own because of parental fears of abduction or bullying.