The transition to living in a foreign country is always an interesting one. Big R and I are constantly amazed at the things that are different and those seemingly simple things that are ridiculously complicated here. Truth is, life here is pretty easy once you figure it out, it's just the "figuring out" part that takes some initial work.
The environmentalist in me never wants to leave Germany. I am continuously in awe at how much the Germans respect the environment and all the laws and policies in place to ensure our future generations will have a beautiful place to call home. One of the many restrictions is that it is forbidden to wash your car. That doesn't mean everyone drives around Germany in a filth-wagon, but instead you just can't do it on your own. To get your auto machine looking fine, you have to take it to a car wash in town.
We made a fantastic mess of the car on our trip to Italy last weekend - between little r and the pup, we needed a hazmat team to clean it up. Getting our beloved race car back in beautious shape was one of our projects yesterday. My task today was to find the car wash in town and shine up the outside. I have to preface this with saying I am notoriously lost, and that is probably an understatement. So finding the car wash was an adventure in and of itself even though it was exactly where it was supposed to be and precisely where Big R said I would find it. The important thing is that we did find it, and I now have more knowledge of downtown than I had a few hours ago.
It could be that this particular car wash is not the norm, but it was pretty cool, so I'd like to think this is the way it's done here. You pull up to a friendly man and pick your car wash package. I fumbled through my German well enough that I don't believe the man ever knew I had no clue what I was doing. You don't get out of your car, but you do turn the car off. The law here also mandates that your engine must be turned off if you are idle for more than 30 seconds. (Basically anything longer than a stop light.) The friendly man uses a power washer to get all the gooey bugs off the windshield, and then directs you to a track to take you through the giant washing machine. It looked very similar to one you'd see in the USA. Difference was, your car is turned off and your tires are lifted up into this track where the car is pulled through the wash. I was impressed, but then I'm easily entertained, and little r had his mouth wide open the entire time. The end of the wash is a drying system with air and these hanging towels. Pretty ingenious.
From start to finish, the car never has to be turned on, saving gas, and the environment in the process. I think that's neat-o.