Friday, 25 July 2008

European Harmony, We all agree the Germans are obsessional

Whilst waiting at Gdansk station I was able to earwig a conversation that was going on between two friends.

Based on the accents, she appeared to be Polish, and he was probably French. Together they were chatting away in their shared mutual language of English (it’s a hard life being a fluent speaker of the worlds Lingua Franca).

They were discussing the inevitable delay on his train out of Gdansk (his was even more delayed than mine). She was saying the effectively anything less than 15 minutes late was on time, and that they only normally announced delays to trains once it had passed this time, but you should only worry if your train hasn’t arrived within an hour of its scheduled time.

He mused on the decline of the French railways and how their trains were always running late, and then he mentioned the Germans.

They both agreed that the Germans were obsessional with time keeping, to the point of madness, and that Germans would go nuts if their train is more than a minute late.

Having been on a German train that was running late I am happy to say that the Germans don’t go mad, they like their English counterparts, just grumble about how bad the service is, and it never used to be like this.

But it was interesting to see that even in this time of European Union and Harmony the old divisions are still there. The Poles, French and Brits united in a conviction that the Germans are obsessed with time keeping. Now where did I leave my umbrella and cricket bat, it must be time for a cup of tea!

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