A quick look back on what I’ve observed so far in Erlangen (or Germany for that matter):
1. Signs everywhere – though completely in German, if you happen to have a map and know where you want to go, there is no chance for you to lose your way. This might not be applicable in country side though!
2. Lane rules rule! This I observed right from the moment I came in. No matter whatever the hurry they are in, people simply wait for the green signals. No breaking of this rule even by most pedestrians. And there is this beautiful concept of walking lanes that is so important. Ample space is provided for people who walk or cycle apart from catering to the busy motorists.
3. Excellent connectivity: From what I know, Erlangen is a very small town in Germany and even here buses ply almost every ten minutes, even to the remote hotel I stay in. Charts are put up in every bus stop to indicate bus timings. Speaking of bus service, one should check their excellent bus website.
4. Quick taxi service: I think this is a norm in both developing and developed nations nowadays. Taxi arrives in two minutes of making a call.
5. Safety first: Be it the person who rides a self-styled motor bike in protective gears or engineers who make sure to indicate danger signs clearly and cage out construction areas, safety always seems to come first.
6. Trees all around: While keeping up with the pace of a modern society I could see that there were trees and small parks in all places. And yes, no motor vehicles inside these parks 🙂
7. Informal dressing: I was told in advance that wearing any formals would make me look the odd man out in this place and I now see why. People are much more accustomed to dressing up in jeans and casuals. In these two days I haven’t seen one formal shirt (not even the hotel staff)!
8. Helpful people: Almost all people whom I’ve approached for help did it with a smiling face. In fact one old man who had no idea of whom I was gave me shelter in his garage when he saw me caught in a big rain and even took the pain of dropping me at my office in his car with “absolutely” no expectations! Be ready to be greeted by a friendly “Hello” or a handshake in any shopping mall or store even though they’ve no idea who you are.
9. Restaurants and Bars: I think this is the culture trend here. Every street has its own specialty restaurant and they’re the only shops that you can find open during Sundays! They’re very helpful too – though they seem to know very little English; in fact one guy at a pizza restaurant went up to the extent of bringing and showing different variety of vegetable toppings to make sure I get what I wanted.
10. Cars: Germany without cars? No way! I’ve seen taxis of Benz and Volkswagen. Every person seems to care for his/ her custom made motorbike and car – mostly BMWs and Audis! In case you hear loud music from a car wait for it and see, it’ll be one of those high class convertible BMWs or Audi or perhaps a Ferrari. These guys know to show off while they ride!
11. Cycles: I think German cycles share the honor along with their motored counterparts. In fact I’ve seen more cycles than cars and each one is different in its own way!
12. Kids: That’s yet another lovely thing about this place. To see a mom and dad walking with their toddler is such a common sight. Kids running amok always bring a smile on your face.
13. Smokers galore: Perhaps one sight which I don’t have too much liking for. But this place throngs with smokers. That despite the fact that every smoking advertisement clearly comes with biggest “SMOKING KILLS” tag line that I’ve ever seen (probably keeping in line with Safety point that I’ve mentioned above)!