Visiting the Opel Zoo

The Opel Zoo is one of those places that I have passed so many times in the past 25 years, but until recently had never actually visited.

Located between Kronberg and Königstein on the B455, I used to drive past it every day on the way to work, later on the way to client appointments, and any time that we travel by car towards Cologne.

Actually what I was driving past was the main entrance and part of the car park.  In fact the car park is not only much bigger, there is an overflow car park located deep into the woods as well.

The main entrance to the Opel Zoo next to the B455The main entrance to the Opel Zoo

The zoo itself is not cheap to visit. [Read more…]

Vilm Island

Rügen may be the largest of the German islands, but there are several interesting smaller islands dotted around it. One of these islands is called Vilm, and it is part of the South-Eastern Biosphere. As such, the island has special protection. Boats are not allowed within 100m without permission. Swimming is not allowed in that area either.

The eastern side of Vilm, once the place where the GDR leadership bathed.The eastern side of Vilm, once the place where the GDR leadership bathed.

One part of the island is completely out of bounds to visitors, the other is used by a national government agency for nature conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz). Visitors here are limited to 30 at any one time, only in organised groups and only along a set path. Even the number of tours each year is limited, so when the Biosphere held a press tour on the island, they had to get special permission to exceed that number! [Read more…]

Is it the same in Germany?

A popular question to be asked when talking to someone who does not live in Germany, is “is it the same”?

“Is it the same where you live?”

“Is it the same in Germany?”

Sometimes it is the assumption, that something that happens in one country or is defined by laws there must be the same or at least similarly defined in another, and people are often surprised when this is not the case.

SwansOne of the stranger questions recently was “is it illegal to kill a swan in Germany?”  from @johnusher.  Quite why you might want to do this to such a beautiful bird is beyond me, and I am sure that even if you did you would need permission and – this being Germany – pay tax for it.

But how did the question come about?  Quite simply, it’s one of those bits of general knowledge about life in the United Kingdom that people know – wild swans belong to the Crown and it’s illegal to kill them.

So the assumption I guess it that they must belong to someone in Germany too.

Well I’m not aware that they do, and I’m not aware of any similar tradition here.  Unless someone else knows otherwise?

If you do, please leave a comment!

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