A hole in the A20 motorway

Travelling to the island of Rügen took a little longer than usual this year as part of the A20 motorway near Tribsees starting sinking into the marshland underneath at the end of last year, with the road now impassable and traffic being diverted through nearby villages.

The damaged part of the motorway has now been cleared and work has begun on a temporary bridge to close the gap:

A hole in the A20 at Tribsees (Foto: S.Tappenden)
[Read more…]

Parking in Düsseldorf on a Sunday

Halteverbot mit 2 PfeilenI learnt a valuable lesson last weekend: you can’t park in Düsseldorf on a Sunday.

Well, maybe that’s not entirely true, but it’s definitely not easy.

Last Sunday I wanted to hear Cathy Dobson’s public reading from her book “Planet Germany“.  I left in plenty of time.  Driving to Düsseldorf is usually a matter of about 2½ hours.  A bit more if I hit Cologne around the rush hour, but not on a Sunday.  Not on a public holiday.

But I decided to allow myself plenty of time anyway, and left home 4 hours before the reading was due to start.

The only trouble was, that the motorway to the east of Cologne was closed to allow a bridge to be removed! [Read more…]

School Holidays in Germany

The Schulferien (summer holidays) in Germany can be a complicated matter, as they are staggered throughout the summer. So whilst some of the Länder will have broken up for the holidays in the middle of June and are now getting ready for the new school year, others start their holidays in August and only return at the end of September.

To make sure that this system is fairly and evenly shared out amongst the German states, there is a formula governed by the Hamburger Abkommen, which means that different states are either early, late, or in the middle from year to year.

This system can make things complicated, if you are trying to organise a larger event and have children attending from more than one state. But luckily the dates are agreed several years in advance, and it is common to find them on calendars and in diaries.

However even if you do not have children at school, or are just visiting Germany, it is worth knowing when the holidays start and finish, as there are a few weekends when the motorways should be avoided. That is because the early states are on their way home whilst the later states are just starting at the same time.

This weekend, for example, the northern states Bremen & Niedersachen are travelling home, and the southern states of Baden-Württemburg and Bavaria are going away.

Making it the perfect weekend to avoid the north/south motorways.

The A8 near Pforzheim - free-flowing eastbound, stau westbound

The A8 near Pforzheim - free-flowing eastbound, stau westbound

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