Trip to Germany Part 5
On The Road
by Ron Kitson
We rode in several tour busses in Europe and the nicest ones were in Germany and Austria. They were also the cleanest inside and out I might add.
I noticed the drivers manipulating a small lever whenever the traffic slowed down and I had to ask what it was. I was told it controlled the exhaust ports forcing the engine to slow down without all the loud noises of low gear or "engine" braking.
All the busses were stick shift with diesel engines but no black smoke. Same with the big rigs on the highways, no smoke stacks and no black smoke. All engines, gas or diesel, must be clean burning if they are to be used in Germany.
Part of the Haupt Bahnhof (or Main Station)
The big trucks are not allowed on the highways on Sundays and national holidays and during the summer months of July and August, the big rigs are parked for most of the day on Saturdays as well. Some deliveries of food or other essentials are exempt.
Trains are still a very popular means of travel in Europe and they stop in small towns as well as the large cities. Folks in the small towns will often take a train into the city to do their shopping.
Commuter train in Dellfeld
which is near Zweibrücken
Busses and street cars are also plentiful. Many of the street cars are more like small trains with multiple cars and are ultra modern.
In order to drive in Germany, you must be 18 years of age. You can start driver training while still 17 but you cannot get behind the wheel until you are 18. Professional training is required and it is quite extensive. A new driver is on probation so to speak and one slip up can cost you your license and may require that you take further training.
Drinking beer is not frowned upon in Germany in fact it is somewhat of a national pastime but drinking and driving is. So, if you've had a few, don't even think about driving, you walk, let someone else drive or you take a taxi.
Beer and wine are popular and plentiful here and while the drinking age is supposed to be 18, it doesn't appear to be enforced. However, drunkenness is not acceptable behavior and if someone gets a little tipsy, her* friends are expected to take her* home.
If you're in Germany and wish to have a glass of fine Champagne, you ask for Sekt. It's Champagne in France but it's Sekt if it's made in Germany. Likewise, Cognac in France, Schnapps in Germany.
And how about the food you ask? Wunderbar, simply Wunderbar.
I hope you have enjoyed our visit to beautiful Germany. We must go again because there is so much more to see there.
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