Welcome to post number 101 on the drifting satellite 😀
From my misc-pics-box here is a photo from Frankfurt am Main, Germany’s financial capital and home to 18 out of 19 skyscrapers in the country. I live in Darmstadt, which is 20 minutes away and kind of comes in the greater Frankfurt area.
Bloganuary is a WordPress Challenge I am participating in this month, that provides a daily writing prompt throughout January.
Day 14 prompt is: What is your preferred mode of travel?
In the last decade or so I have seen my travel preferences change a lot. And then during the last 3 years even more so. When it comes to travelling for leisure, as in, visiting places to explore, I prefer to travel slow. A few years ago, I came across the concept of staycation, and I would think to myself, “Why would anyone do anything like this”. Well, post a few mini-staycations I happened to experience this bliss of not doing anything and came to embrace it. While I do still enjoy hiking and exploring unchartered territories, some days without an agenda are a welcome change in my vacation planning. I have realized that now I like travelling in a more relaxed way, instead of hurriedly ticking off places on a list.
Now coming to my normal life. I live in Darmstadt, a small city near Frankfurt Germany. My office is around 2 km away from my home and the city centre is around 4 km away. I bike to work every day and it takes around 10 minutes from door to door. There is a dedicated bike lane which makes things super safe, quick and comfortable. Sometimes when the clouds are showering us with their blessings, I decide to walk and that takes around 25 minutes. But most days, I am too late to check whether it’s raining or snowing outside, and therefore it’s too late to walk to work, so I end up taking my bike. Just a few weeks ago, Darmstadt was at -12 degC with some crazy black ice on the streets. Even walking was extremely scary so I deserve an award to reach office without slipping that day.
After it’s beer, one thing Germany is also world-renowned for is it’s cars. Think about it; Audi, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen are all German brands. I moved here in 2020 and in the last 3 years I have never felt the need to own a car because I use my bike to go everywhere. I live 10 seconds away from a bus stop but don’t really use it a lot. Germany announced the 9 Euro ticket last summer for June July and August, which we used extensively. The main train station of Darmstadt is also nearby and hardly 10 minutes by bike or 8 minutes by bus. To reach Frankfurt airport we take the bus from our home to the Darmstadt train station and then it’s a 15 min ride in the Airliner bus to the airport terminal. Some days while returning back home after a long trip, especially with luggage, the proximity of the bus station from my home feels like a blessing. The public transit system in Darmstadt and actually around all German cities is outstanding. Frankfurt, the nearest big city can be reached by regional train within 20 minutes. The Inter City Express (ICE) or fast trains are also terrific. I used them a lot in the first three months of 2020 when my husband and I were living in different cities. Deutsche Bahn (DB) is trolled a lot on social because of delayed or cancelled trains. But in all these years, it’s been kind to me, more or less.
We did get a German Driving License in 2021, which was an expensive and time-consuming process that deserves it’s own dedicated post. We use the option of car-sharing when required, for as little as an hour when we need to got for big grocery shopping that would be too heavy for the bikes or want to visit a place that’s not easily accessible by public transport. The car station is fully automated and literally 2 minutes by walk from our place. After registering online we can book, unlock and leave the car back at the station, all with an app. We love it and use it almost once a month. We can even book the car for a few days or maybe even longer. We have taken it on multiple out-station trips to France, Netherlands and Luxembourg. But most of the other trips we’ve taken in the last 3 years have been with the trains. The low frequency of usage reiterates our belief that we need not own a car yet.
In short, my preferred mode of transport is my bicycle.