So far, almost everything has been going our way (yay!), but more recently, we’re starting to experience facets of real life in Germany (doh!).

Soon after we got our apartment, Torsten started looking into getting Internet access. The German equivalent of the Consumer Reports did a test on how long it takes people to get their Internet set up, and it was demoralizing.

The standard wait was about six weeks, with some people not having a working connection after more than three months. Not encouraging for two people who make their living on the Internet.

A local cable company promised a turn-around of a week, so we went with them. And in fact, they did send out their technician within a few days, well before we lost access from our Airbnb. Unfortunately, getting the cable to where it needed to go meant either:

  1. laying cable on top of the walls square through the apartment, or
  2. laying the cable in the basement and drilling through a thick concrete ceiling.

As renters, we didn’t feel like we could OK those changes, so we had to go with one of the slow-to-start services. According to our new company, we still have about three weeks to wait, during which time we’ll get very familiar with the local libraries.

Apropos libraries . . .

Compared to the libraries in the Twin Cities, any city library we’ve been to in Munich is packed with people. There are the students using the work spaces, which by around 1pm are booked solid, the retirees who read their favorite magazines or newspapers, and then after school, you have the school kids who stop by for a game of soccer — yes, there are gaming consoles in the library, albeit without sound.

It’s a nice cross-section of society, and you get the occasional, awkward exchange between students and retirees, who have different opinions on what is acceptable behavior in a library. When students told an older gentleman they were saving a seat for another student, who would stop by in the next hour, he sat down anyway with a dismissive, “Well, if it’s in an hour, you can’t hold that seat that long.”

On our trips using rental cars, we’ve seen how hard it can be to get around by car. We’re glad to rely on the excellent public transit.

Today, however, there were major disruptions in the main line of the S-Bahn through Munich. When Torsten went home from the library, there was an announcement that the train would not be stopping at Munich’s main train station because “the fire department had been engaged.”

On the way back out to a tech meetup, he noticed that every tram, U-Bahn and bus was slammed with people. The fire department had ordered an immediate shutdown of electricity to the main S-Bahn line, so some trains got stuck in tunnels and people had to walk out through the evacuation stairs and find their way home some other way.


Wonder how often that happens . . .

Finally, here’s the geek alert: Torsten is amazed at the technology scene in this town. He was aware that Microsoft, Amazon, Google and a bunch of other high-tech companies all have offices here. However, at the tech meetup, he listened to a presentation by a Googler who works on V8, the JavaScript engine used by Google’s Chrome browser. It’s one thing to know what people here work on, quite another to go to a local event and have access to the people who make the web work.

At another tech meetup a while ago, he talked to the person from a company called JetBrains who is developing the software he uses to write his software. It’s a bit surreal to chat over pizza with all these people who create the stuff he’s building on.