8 things I wish I’d known before moving to Frankfurt

1. Never get into an argument with Germans about whose sausages taste best. Germans love their sausages. And they have no shortage of varieties. I personally prefer English sausages and doubt you’ll find better in the whole of Deutschland, but it doesn’t matter how good your arguments and evidence, you will be combatting a fierce sense of pride and love of Wurst among the locals. Just don’t bother even going there…

2. The standard German apartment or house available for sale or let is one which has had all light and wall fittings completely removed. You will be presented with a clean ‘box’ of a room with a few wires protruding strategically from the walls and ceilings. Someone obviously decided it was a good idea to let newly arrived foreigners to play amateur electrician on their first evening. Get a plug in lamp immediately or expect to live in the dark 🙂

3. Germans will tell you they love the British sense of humour. Don’t mistake that for meaning they understand it or that they are asking for more of the same!

4. German is not an easy language. In fact, it can be insanely difficult to get the combination of gender and case correct. It was clearly invented as a system of punishment for unruly school children and as a way of identifying foreigners! And if this isn’t bad enough, the rules seem to change every decade, giving the older generation endless opportunities to bemoan the lack of grammatical accuracy of the younger generation.

5. Queueing is against German nature. A short fast moving queue is manageable and they can behave, but put them in a line for more than a few minutes and woe betide anyone who hesitates or leaves more than a few millimetres ahead of them…

6. Germany is well known for its lack of speed limit on the Autobahn. This is an important factor when buying a car and has been built into German cars accordingly. You can either do as the Germans do and get a BMW/Audi/Merc and happily sit at 180kmph in the left hand lane, or choose a foreign brand and be consigned to the right hand lane at 120kmph, fearful of being tailgated and harassed every time you overtake.

7. Talking of tailgating, there are some curious driving techniques here. Driving in Germany, and Frankfurt in particular I hear, is a true Darwinian experience – survival of the fittest at its best! I learnt the hard way, but don’t wait to be waved out, thanked, or given space. A safe distance from the car in front of you is no more than an invitation for someone to pull in between. And don’t ever drive with Swiss number plates, it seems this brings out the most aggressive driving habits of all!

8. And beer. Of course. We all knew about German beer. It’s world famous. And we’ve heard of Oktoberfest. But at what point did anyone think it a good idea to serve beer in litre glasses. No one with any level of self esteem would spend a whole evening nursing a single 1l glass. No, 2 is the minimum for any full-blooded male. And after a few traditional beer drinking songs, and a little stomping arm in arm on the benches, and you’ll feel like a third. Three litres! Just try walking home after that!

2 thoughts on “8 things I wish I’d known before moving to Frankfurt

  1. Hahaha all so true and well observed! The queueing etiquette (or lack thereof) especially gets my goat. That kindly old lady with a full cart behind you at the supermarket? The moment a cashier opens up the next register, she reveals preternatural speed and strength as she shoves past you to be first in the fresh queue.

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