3 (More) Things I Love About Germany

After my post 2 weeks ago about the things I miss about Canada, I thought I’d share a few things I love about living in Germany. My first blog post, 4 things I love about Germany, was almost a year ago! Now, I’ve finally got 3 more that I love about Germany things to add to the list!

No More Power Outages!

This is the point that really inspired this post. A couple of weeks ago, it was very windy and stormy. The heat wave that we endured was finally over and Autumn was coming with full force! Thankfully, worrying about having your power go out during stormy weather is not an issue like it was where we lived in Canada.

goch, germany, pedestrian zone
The Rainy Season in Goch has arrived!

We when lived on Vancouver Island, whenever we knew a storm was coming we would prepare ourselves for power outages. It didn’t always happen, but at least a couple of times a year. Depending on the severity, the power could be out for only an hour or a couple of days. The Christmas after we left Vancouver Island, a lot of people didn’t have power for a whole week because of a bad storm. Normally, there is only one Electric company to choose from and they seem to only cut down excess branches over power lines after there has been a power outage. It’s very frustrating!

In Germany, there are 2 big differences compared to Canada regarding this topic. The first is that there are several electric companies to choose from, no monopolies. I wouldn’t say it’s less expensive, but the competition helps keep companies more reliable. Another key difference is that most power lines are underground, which makes so much more sense, in my opinion!

Online Shopping

I don’t know if this is really a ‘Culture Shock’, but online shopping in Germany is still something I’m getting used to… in a good way!

Before moving here, I would shop online occasionally, when I knew that I wouldn’t be able to find exactly what I was looking for in the store. While I understand the importance of supporting local businesses, being able to easily shop online has been a blessing.

Shipping is Fast and Free (most of the time…)

One of the biggest surprises as a Canadian, coming from such a large country, is how fast shipping can be. Not to mention the affordability of it with a lot of companies offering free or 99 cent shipping. Not always, of course, but in Canada shipping can be very expensive and not always worth the cost of the item.

One of the items I’ve taken to ordering regularly online is boxes of diapers. I can order on a Monday morning with free shipping and they’ll arrive within 2 days. It still blows my mind. Not only has this been helpful since the beginning of the pandemic, but also as someone who does most of the household shopping. I can order large or heavier things online fast without having to carry them through town.

Free Returns

This has been such an amazing thing that I’ve discovered in Germany. My husband always jokes about how I order so much just so that I can send it back. But again, with the pandemic, it’s been so nice not having to shop for clothes in an actual store. Not to mention how stressful clothes shopping can be with a child. But I can try on the clothes I ordered in the peacefulness of my home and whatever doesn’t fit I can just send back for free.

This has also been helpful as someone still trying to figure out the different size options that Germany has. Someone please explain in the comments why every country has to have different sizing systems!

Pedestrian Zones

This last point may be my favourite (though, I do enjoy online shopping so it may have to be a close second…..). One of the unique things you will find about Germany are their Pedestrian Zones. They are quiet, traffic-free streets lined with shops, cafĂ©’s and restaurants and actually a relatively new invention, considering the history of Europe!

Pedestrian Zone in the town of Weimar, Thuringia, Germany

I actually just assumed that pedestrian zones were just always there, but that’s actually not the case. Of course, before cars were invented, everywhere was a pedestrian zone. According to this article by Deutsche Welle, the pedestrian zone was designed for German towns after World War 2. So much of German was unfortunately destroyed, but it gave city planners the opportunity to redesign. And the pedestrian zones were a way to bring townspeople together in a quiet, relaxing environment. The first pedestrian zone in Germany was opened in Kassel in 1953.

The DW article mentions that pedestrian zones are becoming a thing of the past. For me personally, they’re the nicest part of any German town to walk through. With the popularity of shopping malls in Germany, however, they may be right.

What’s something you love about a different country, that you don’t have in your own? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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