German engineering, incomprehensible bells

 

As you might have heard, I am in Germany. I like it a lot. The people here are helpful. And tolerant of my ignorance. I appreciate all of this. For the most part, German Engineering is everything I had heard and more. The trains and trams are on time and easy to navigate. The dorm room in which I am staying is nicely equipped and clearly designed to be very easy to clean – one could practically hose it out if need be. This is entirely unlike the dorm rooms I cut my teeth on in the states.

Those hexagonal beasts had so many nooks an crannies it was nearly impossible to get them clean. It was ridiculous. And two people in there! Three in some cases! Unbelievable. And expensive! almost three times the price of this little place I have rented for the month, even after the terrible exchange rate.

Yes, I will be here through August, but I’ll update as best I can.

Some fun lapses in German Engineering Sense: hotel shower faucet with a long metal handle (think kitchen faucet). It’s at elbow level, so is almost impossible to bump it when showering. Then try to reposition it quickly and brace yourself! You’re about to be scalded or frozen. Same hotel: both the room and building doors open inward and require a key to exit. The fire hazard is terrifying!

The other thing I’m not so fond of here is the bells. There’s a bell tower across the square form my room, and at totally random times (as best I can tell) it rings continuously for several minutes at a time. It’s like somebody just tells Quasimodo, “3:47? Sure, kid, knock yourself out. Good a time as any.”

I like bells as much as the next guy, but I’m thinking maybe ring it 4 times at 4 o’clock? That’s nice. Ring it off the hook for 5 min at 3:47? I don’t know. I thought that maybe it was a special occasion. Glockel√§utentag or something. But no, it’s just how it works here.

-Peter

Addendum: today, the noon bell actually corresponded to noon, amazingly. What was great was that a dog down in the square below my window started to howl and didn’t stop until the bells did. It pretty much summed up my feelings.