Sure everyone told us about the ability to travel, the great transportation options, the friendly people, how clean and safe it is in Germany….
…but it has been those other things that have been so interesting:
Driving is quite a bit different: White lines divide the traffic lanes, there are NO shoulders on back roads, people drive very fast on those back roads, and the best of all is who needs stop signs?? All you need to remember is right-before-left and follow-leave-enter. Right-before-left means just yield to the person on your right at an intersection IF neither road is a priority road and the vehicles in question are motor vehicles, bicycles, or animal towed wagons (Yes, you read that correctly). People towing wagons do not fall under the same laws and are treated like other pedestrians. The right of way rules are so different from the US that the stop sign is used way less than in the states. In Germany, a stop is really a stop, usually a dangerous intersection. After three weeks it is become second nature to me, but still takes lots of concentration especially when traveling through small towns (which will appear and disappear quickly as you buzz right through them). The priority road (indicated by yellow diamond) trumps everything and other traffic must yield to you. There are also priority road intersections when, upon approaching one, you have the right of way and do not need to yield to the person on your right. Here is a picture of the sign just outside our hotel, and also the site of numerous honks and near accidents! Probably due to the thousands of americans in this area who do not know the right of way laws.
Ground coffee: is vacuum sealed in bags, making the appearance there is no ground coffee, or that it is some sort of solid clump like substance that requires a special machine to brew, when in reality it is staring you in the face!
Some things are pretty darn cheap: All I heard was how expensive it was in europe, etc, etc, when in reality many products at the local grocery stores are cheaper than in american cities. Chocolate, cheese, yogurt, produce, and baked goods to name a few. The quality is also excellent because everything is fresh.
Knowing some german and how to pronounce words properly can get you a long way, and smart phone translate apps are very helpful! Not everyone in Kaiserslautern speaks English, and especially older people and those in the countryside speak little to any english.
Finally, I never thought in a million years I would be able to see sheep from our balcony. They come out early and late and then scamper back up their hill back to the farm. Here is a picture from the other evening: