Steel Avalanche

No cycling for me this morning. I am going soft. The temperature has plunged, it has rained heavily all day but more importantly Ariane doesn’t work on Fridays so I had nobody to “encourage” me to cycle in. It’s also been a very long week with a few late nights at work, so I talked myself into driving instead. I’m glad I did – it was horrible all day. The radio this morning was full of warnings about the traffic jams tomorrow, the first day of the Whitsun holidays. The schools are out for 2 weeks in the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg and traditionally lots of people head south to get some early sunshine. The Dutch and the Belgians also love driving long distances on the toll-free German Autobahns.

When I lived in the Allgäu in the very south of Germany, the approaching traffic-jams were collectively known as the “rollende Blechlawine” – rolling steel avalanche. Things will probably be even worse this year because of the new border controls in Austria. Lots of people head down over the Brenner pass into Italy. The traffic jams were terrible when there were no border controls. We are hopefully going to avoid the avalanche. We are staying here tomorrow and just heading down to see a friend in the Allgäu on Sunday and Monday.

I am looking forward to tomorrow. With lots of people either on holiday or preparing to go on holiday I should plenty of space to park in the recycling centre. The town will be quiet too and after I’ve taken the deposit bottles back and done some shopping, I can cheer myself up by listening to the traffic reports. Schadenfreude. Now there’s a word that every language should have.

Today has been very wet and cold with a heavy grey sky. Germans have a fairly short working week (the big employers often have 37-38 hours) and especially in the engineering industry people start early and leave early. When I walked out for lunch today the streets were already filling up with people finishing early in order to get away on holiday. You can sense that most people have switched out of work-mode and are just thinking about getting away. I have been infected, which is why I am writing this blog instead of working. My phone has stopped ringing and my e-mail inbox is quiet. Germany has stopped working – and so have I.

Bis morgen!

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