This country really is the pits. Seriously. Whenever you discover that one of the major advertisers on the idiot box is the Government, something is amiss. And it is sent into a very sharp relief when you leave, even for a week, and come back.

We went to the heart of Bavaria. Now, you would think, given it is Germany, that it would be the height of EU-loving authoritarianism. Well now. Aside from the under-16 curfew at 10pm, it most certainly is not. There is not the nannying we get in this country (believe it or not), there is the European scant regard for the regulation that Europe spews out. Not in anyway what I was expecting.

Consider this. You land back in the UK (oh, and Air Berlin are fantastic. Laidback, friendly, a far, far better way to travel. I had forgotten. I have hated SleazyJet for an age now, but even more so I will try my utmost to avoid using them ever again) and what is the first thing you see? I mean, the very first, down off the plane onto the runway? Signs. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. On into the transit tram in Stansted, signs cover the windows, doors, roof, floor. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Out into passport control (grrrrr), more signs. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Out into the car park, signs again. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. On to the roads and signs every bloody twenty yards. On the roundabouts, on the fences, on the left, on the right. Take the A120. With one hundred yards I saw a national speed limit sign, followed by am urban clearway sign, followed by some odd sign with numbers and letters indicating something to someone, a where-this-exit sign goes, and all this between the two markers for three hundred and two hundred yards to exit. This within the first mile of the airport. And it was repeated over and over again. All the way up the M11. All the way down the country roads home. All the way into work the next day. Signs. Everywhere. Treated like imbeciles every step of the way. This really is a shithole of a country.

Germany is a fantastic mix of the old and the new. Their supermarkets really, really suck, and the whole place closes on a Sunday (which is no bad thing at all). It is very quiet, and I couldn’t work out why until I realised that very few people were shouting into their mobile phones in the street. (On the trams, yes, but not on the street.) You couldn’t buy electronics (nor the old Chuck Taylors) there, far too expensive, but otherwise the prices are comparable. And all the flavours of Fisherman’s Friends you get. Awesome! Watch out for the geese with teeth on their tongues, though. Feel free to peruse some photographs from the trip.

A special mention for the swimming complexes. I didn’t expect to like them, but I did. Heated outdoor salinated pool, steam rooms and ice cold showers, slides and currents. A family ticket costs the price of one cinema ticket here, and you can stay all day. Pop out to the cafe for a bite to eat, back in to the jacuzzi. Strident late 30s chicks with sturdy thighs in bikinis everywhere. (Note to them: Yes, the steam in the steam room is thick at points, but if you want to get your baps out, go up to the neekid one. As having to flick it back on every time the steam thins is funny.) I can’t help thinking on of those would be great here, and then I think it would be filled with people from here, and I retract my thinking.

Cassandra and I lead supremely chaordic lives. It may look like mayhem, but it is, in actual fact, an intricate ballet of sound and fury. And so it needs to be. See, I amn’t the only one who resorts to counting primes when things fall beyond our comfort zone.

I still don’t like Munich, though. A soulless industrial wasteland. But at least it wasn’t the UK.

  1. The truth of traffic signs is thus - if we haven’t signed it properly we cant prosecute, therefore we sign!
    It’s getting ridiculous, it’s not enough for something to be law now, but if it’s not written somewhere where you can see it when you are breaking it you’ll get off. Ignorance is no defence but lack of proper signing is. Like the ugle no moking signs everywhere. There was a huge fuss when the law changed, so everyone knew, but still it’s spelt out in every building. Ugh, I hate this countries obsession with trying to get off because it wasn’t announced clearly enough. hmm, you may have hit a nerve.

    Thu 03 Apr, 8:09PM

  2. I truly hate those hideous non-smoking signs which everyone must display.

    Never in my life, whilst in a Repository, have I seen anyone smoking a fag as they perused the beads and mass cards - yet they must as every business must by law, display those vile signs.

    Sun 06 Apr, 12:16AM

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