German Autobahn Trivia and More

The Local Germany has gathered eight interesting facts about the Autobahn. In turn, I have a few of my own to add.

  • Back in 1847, they’d already had speed limits. Based on an archived newsletter from the town of Regensburg dated April of that same year, four people were charged a fine because of speeding in a horse-drawn carriage.
  • In 2015, the car maker VW sold 7.2 million sausages to its employees from its factory-owned sausage production. Those same employees sold 5.82 million cars that same year.
  • When you google Autobahn Germany, you get 535.000 results, whereas for Autobahn Deutschland you get 6.300.000 results
  • How much is a kilometer of Autobahn? The average cost per kilometer runs between 6 million and 20 million euro. Some parts of the Autobahn construction costs can reach astronomical heights, when it comes to adding tunnels and viaducts. Take Berlin, e.g. the extension of the A100 in Berlin by 3.2 km is so far the most expensive stretch of Autobahn: 470 million euro for 3.2 km.
  • German mini-lesson: der Geisterfahrer (literal translation: ghost driver) This is someone driving down the wrong side of the road. You might hear this on the radio: “Attention all drivers on the A xx, there’s a car heading in the wrong direction, please stay on the right-hand lane and do not overtake.” or “An alle Autofahrer, auf der A xx  ist ein Geisterfahrer unterwegs. Bitte fahren Sie auf der rechten Spur.”
Autobahn Deutschland

Autobahn Deutschland

 

Summer Course at St. Andrews University

Our 10th grade son will be leaving for a three-week summer course at St. Andrews University next week. We are doing our last bit of shopping from a seemingly never-ending list of things he needed. As he had signed up for the courses debate and golfing, we realized he needed a dinner jacket, dress shirts, pants (other than jeans), ties, a laptop (all for debate) as well as golfing shoes and chinos for the latter one.

Well, he needed clothing anyway and we hope to send him off in two years’ time (class of 2012) to embark on his career to become a future man of business. I will see this extra expense as an investment. Not to mention the tuition fee and flight expense. Should I include the new glasses he had to get and his allowance while being there? I think, not.

His choice of debate and golfing as subjects has left him with remarks from friends such as  Thinking about becoming a lawyer? His classes do sound like the prerequisite for law.

Nevertheless, St. Andrews would probably be only a little university town without its much acclaimed golfing capital. For more about St. Andrews and its (golf) history, read The New York Times recent article Storied Past Lives On at St. Andrews.

Visit The International Summer School of Scotland St. Andrews for more information about its summer programmes.

And yes, I plan on reporting about his educational experience.

German Drivers License Requires a Savings Fund

Our son will be 17 soon and every once in a while he gets the typical German statement: Na, da wirst Du ja bald Deinen Führerschein machen! Reaching the legal age of 18 includes getting the driver’s license. Oh ja, das deutsche Fahrvergnügen! Well, wanting the license seems universal, but…

Germans generally do not ask about what college one intends to attend as the rate of university graduates is rather low at 14%. But most Germans hold a driver’s license, which is costly. So costly that some parents or grandparents start saving for the driver’s license as of birth –  in the same way some international parents set up a college fund for the newborn.

In Germany, the cost of a driver’s license ranges from euro 1200 – 1800, based on 18 minimum hours of attending the Fahrschule. In some cases it takes much longer, such as more lessons, another testing fee (in general, one out of three fail the driver’s license test), etc. The base price given usually applies to young and quick learners only. Older applicants usually end up taking more lessons, the rate of failing is higher and then the cost is usually between euro 2200 – 3000.

The German ADAC  offers the following savings plan:

ADAC driver’s license savings plan – a gift for the future. Why not present this on the child’s first day in first grade? You can start saving as low as euro 10 a month. Earn 4.3% interest.

(4.3 % only apply to savings plans which run 17 – 18 years. For example, on a 10-year savings plan, the rate of interest is 4.0%)

As parents of international children, we believe our children will get their driver’s license whenever they are ready. This is not a top priority. We have a college fund for them – not a driver’s license savings plan.

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