February 1. Happy to say our transatlantic trip went smoothly. We are ensconced in our little flat on the metro-university campus a stone's throw from the palace at the center of Karlsruhe, and we are conquering jetlag. Karlsruhe is not a large city (about 300,000) but we were still pretty freaked out driving in and coping with signs in German!
I just love the windows in this apartment. Not only are they large (they form entire walls of the two largest rooms), but they have all the features I love about German windows. When you turn the handle of these windows upward, the window tilts open from the top to allow a freshening breeze, but not a gale wind. When you turn the handle 45 degrees downward, the window can be opened as wide as a door. Those windows which aren’t also doors onto our teeny-tiny balconies also have the built-in room-darkening blinds which can be cranked up and down. You see these windows all over Germany (and many other parts of Europe, too) and I wish I could stuff a few into my suitcase to bring home.
We are a short walk from a tram stop, and have decided not to buy a car as we did when we lived in Stuttgart and Cambridge. We have purchased discount cards for the Deutsche Bahn and are excited about taking trains instead of driving around Germany. Well, also, driving on the Autobahn is pretty scary. We’ve done it, and we’ve survived, but why risk it? In any case, the wealth and frequency of public transport in Germany makes owning a car pointless. And even better, the trains run on time. (That’s something else I’d like to bring home with me.)