January 2023
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Submitted by Ken Yeager (ACS)

I haven’t posted anything of importance/interest in a long time, if ever, but thought I would share my days with those of you who are interested, if any.

We are still living in Grosshansdorf, Germany which is still a small community of about 9000+ individuals according to Wikipedia. It is pretty much a community of retired folks (hence the Yeager’s) and a bedroom community for those who work in Hamburg which is the 2nd largest city in Germany. Three U-Bahn (subway) stations serve the village, one of which is a 10 minute walk from our abode. In addition to Hamburg, we generally do our shopping in the towns of Volksdorf (actually a suburb of Hamburg) and Ahrensburg. Fortunately, German towns and cities are still make up of lots of little “mom and pop” stores and yes, we have the big box stores too but Gisela and I prefer to shop locally and keep the small businesses going. Services are better and a great example is that I recently had a problem with my coffee machine, one of those “multi-type coffee makers” and so having had it for 12 years, thought to replace it. Went to one of our local shops and bought a machine for, well, more than €500, and as we were leaving the shop, the sales man suggested to do something to my old machine. I did just that after getting home and it worked and my old machine is now working perfectly and I have a new machine, so we called and asked to return the new machine and the shop said, no problem. Ok, so other places would have also accepted the return, but this is not the first time I’ve returned something but I think it shows that small privately owned businesses are more amenable to accommodate customers than the big box stores (which are often too big with too few knowledgeable employees).

Hamburg is hosting the G20 meeting this year (July) but we will be off on vacation during that period so we get to avoid the chaos that will be everywhere within 50 miles of Hamburg. The USA representative, whose name I will not mention, is being put up at the InterContinental in Berlin, not in Hamburg. Exactly why, I don’t know but that should help eliminate some of the chaos that accompanies him. It will still be a mess but hey, what do I care…I’ll be on the beach.
Did a one week trip away recently and spend three days in Alsace, France and some sightseeing in Strasburg and a town called Colmar. Interesting. Struggled trying to recall our French but we managed, especially since many people in the Alsace region speak German. What pretty much astonished me was the driving. I’ve been very critical of the French with their driving habits but the driving in France was so calm compared to Germany. The highway speed is maximum 130 KMs (ca. 81 MPH) while in Germany, much of the Auto Bahn is without a speed limit and with three lanes of traffic, each driver can decide for himself how fast to drive with a minimum of 80 KMS. I can be driving 100 MPH and be passed by a Porsche pushing 120 or 130 MPH or faster. Fortunately, one can only pass on the left so that is a real plus for Germany and slower traffic is SUPPOSED to drive to the right, but ha, that doesn’t always work. But getting from point A to point B is pretty easy in Germany giving the high speeds and I have to say, accidents do occur but highway deaths are pretty low, call things considered. But to end this paragraph, hats off to the French because I understand their traffic fines are pretty high and there is no 10%+ leeway in speeds.

Sighs of relieve were heard around the country when the Netherlands avoided a right-wing extremist in their elections a few months ago and the same for France. Poland and Hungary are watched carefully as their governments are moving to the right more and more every year. The Czech Republic is another to watch. While the Germany government (CDU) is center right, it is really more center and includes representatives of the SPD which is more center left. The party to watch here is the ADF which is a real collection of hard right folks. Questions abound about the departure of the UK from the European Union and I, for one, as a dual national (US/UK) am living in Germany on my UK/EU passport so what arrangements come out of the Briexit are important to me or I should say US as Gisela is an American citizen. I suspect that after 13 years here, we will be allowed to say should the UK/EU breakup affect Brits here and Germans in the UK. But time will tell.

OK, enough boring stuff so I will stop and besides, its after 1700 and a drink is in order. Have a nice weekend and stay safe.


  • Ken – Good to hear all is well with you and that you are enjoying life.


  • Suellen O Campbell

    Dear Ken~
    Always happy to read your articles from Germany, a country I have not yet visited. They read like a travelogue with personal flair, and I appreciate the time you take to write them in detail. I can almost envision the smaller towns with mom and pop shops. I’ll have to Google Grosshansdorf. We also prefer to support our local businesses in the Houston area, so I guess that is a trend in worldwide shopping philosophy. Avoiding the malls is a must, due to congestion and crime.
    Enjoy your week.

  • KK German

    Enjoyed your post. Would love to know why you decided to relocate to Germany.
    I support German NATO officers relocating for duty tours in Hampton Roads. The way they describe the little hamlets where you can walk to the grocery store yet still commute to the city seems charming.
    They try to replicate that here as far as a living situation goes but we have nothing comparable in the States. Everyone needs a car. Subdivisions are widely laid out. Commuting to work is a bear.

    • Kenneth R. Yeager

      Married a German who wanted to go home after following me around the world for 20+ years. And since I wanted to stay with my wife, we stayed here after my last assignment (Frankfurt).
      Some areas of Germany are really nice and picturesque but some are pretty awful. We are fortunate in that we are outside a major city surrounded by farms and in horse country but close enough to enjoy the offerings of a big urban area. The air is good, we are reasonable close to the North Atlantic coast as well as the Baltic Sea. I suppose there are things to complain about but I can’t think of any at the moment.

  • brooks kasson

    hi, ken…i do enjoy your writing of your everyday life. it’s interesting to me, and contrasts greatly in my case to what austin has become in the last five or ten years. this is certainly not a city of retirees. it’s become much less easy to be in, surrounded by rich know-everythings.
    keep on writing!
    best to you and gisela!

    • Kenneth R. Yeager

      Hi Brooks, glad you enjoy my efforts at writing. I’m afraid big cities in the US are just getting bigger, more polluted and chasing out small businesses because everyone wants things as cheap as possible which just doesn’t work. Big box stores are ruining so many small businesses and I, for one, hate chain restaurants. We have a few here in north Germany (Block House comes to mind and a really good place to eat) but we have nothing to do with McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and the like…thanks but no thanks. Hugs to you and take care.

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