Tag Archives: the germans

Beware: Christian drivers on the German Autobahn…

One of the strangest things about travelling on the German motorways is that every now and then you will pass a sign which looks like this.

Germany, it seems, has an entire network of specialised churches for the use of drivers on the Autobahn.

Now, given the way that some Germans drive, there is an obvious logic here. Before setting off into the maelstrom of grannies and boy racers, Dutch caravans and Polish trucks… including substantial stretches where no speed limits apply, it might be prudent to have a quick word with the Almighty regarding the afterlife.

I do worry though,  that German road users on the vast high-speed Autobahn network might be putting a little too much faith in divine intervention.

Many years ago, I once accepted a lift from a German nun, who was a case in point. Her vehicle was a tiny light blue VW beetle with a rosary dangling from the rear view mirror and a small statue of the Holy Virgin on her dashboard. Before setting off, the good Sister uttered a cursory prayer to the Virgin to keep us safe on our journey. Having ensured our safety in this manner, she clearly saw no further purpose in using secular means to get us to our destination in one piece…. things like mirrors, brakes or indicators. No, at a speed which was clearly inspired by the angels rather than VW’s engineers, we hurtled along the Autobahn, swerving from one lane to the next with only an occasional Hail Mary to see us safely around the next forty tonner. Only the sheer strength of her faith got us to our destination in one piece… it was certainly nothing to do with any driving skills. My nerves have never recovered.

Recently I have noticed that many Germans put a discrete fish-shaped sticker on the back of their vehicle, which shows that they are practising Christians.  Clearly, this is intended as a warning to other drivers. A car with a fish-sticker will pull out without indicating because a higher power is protecting it. A fish-sticker car can travel at whatever speed it likes, because speed cameras will miraculously not blitz them. I have become very wary of fish-sticker cars.

So I am planning to develop a range of bumper stickers which say atheist. These will be used to denote that the car relies on the driver looking in the mirror, indicating, travelling at an appropriate speed for the traffic conditions and generally obeying the rules of the road.

Anyone want one?

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Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany

Terrifying German Toilets

Nothing when travelling in a foreign country, is ever as daunting as that first trip to the lavatory.

German toilets are among the scariest. You see, on first sight, German toilets masquerade as normal toilets. This creates a false sense of security in the unsuspecting foreign user, who then lifts the lid and finds…. the inspection shelf.

German toilets are modelled back-to-front. Anyone sitting normally on the device cannot aim last night’s digested curry squarely down the hole.  One option would be to straddle the toilet while facing the cistern, however this requires the user to divest all their lower clothing. Obviously the time taken to do this means that the queue of Germans outside the door becomes restless. People start banging and shouting: “Sind Sie immer noch nicht fertig?” in an increasingly hostile manner.

What the locals do is to sit on the seat as though it were a normal toilet … and emit their excrement straight onto the shelf. SPLAT.

The shelf, I am informed, plays a key role in the health of the German nation. The user, on rising from the throne, will inspect (I’m not sure whether with satisfaction, disgust or curiosity) the resting turds and make a note of the consistency, shape, colour and any abnormalities. Once the inspection is over, the toilet will be flushed… and the bowl cleaned as necessary using the brush provided.

The scatological information gleaned from the study of this morning’s dump can be passed on to a member of the medical profession if anything untoward were found (possibly with accompanying photo). Alternatively the experience will form part of the cheery response if any unsuspecting English person is silly enough to enquire after the Teuton’s state of health.

So when in Germany, remember to take your camera to the toilet… and never ever ask a German how they are. Especially when they’re just emerging from the bathroom.

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Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany