Back in the 1980s I did my gap year in Germany, in a spa town called Bad Wildungen, and then spent another year teaching English in a school not far from Stuttgart. I love Germany and would love to be able to spend more time there, but given my life at the moment, that's unlikely.

A few weeks ago I found a lot of old files in my parents' attic and came across a list - yes, I loved a list even in those days - that I must have compiled in 1983 or so.

I've slightly updated it as some of the original points wouldn't be relevant today. Anyway, hope you find it amusing...


  1. Television programmes only exist to fill gaps between the news.
  2. Traffic lights occur every 50 yards in cities
  3. Cliff Barnes has a very odd voice in Dallas
  4. In Germany 'Maggie' is a kind of soup
  5. German Autobahns are actually dual carriageways
  6. Germans are fascinated if they see an English car with a steering wheel on the right
  7. In Germany alles ist verboten. Especially on Sundays.
  8. All German DJs should be on Radio Zwei
  9. Germans do not like jokes about Germans
  10. German women don't feel it necessary to shave under their armpits
  11. German washing up liquid is too foamy
  12. It is impolite to have fewer than three verbs at the end of a German sentence
  13. German teachers believe they speak better English than we do
  14. German TV plays Land of Hope and Glory in adverts for Persil
  15. German newsreaders read from paper. They don't use autocue.
  16. Germans call 500g a 'Pfund' or Pound. Just to confuse us.
  17. If a German starts a sentence with 'Unser Freund aus England', it means he hates you.
  18. Never argue with a German policeman. He has a gun.
  19. Curtain's don't twitch in Germany. They are fully open.
  20. Every third word in a German sentence is an English one.
  21. Germans do not find it amusing to learn that there are more strikes in Germany than in Britain
  22. Germans try to convince themselves they are fit by going on a lot of walks. Most are very fat
  23. Get used to complete strangers saying 'Guten Tag' to you in the street.
  24. German teen magazines use porno stories to explain the facts of life to teenagers
  25. There seem to be very few war films on German TV for some strange reason
  26. Germans know more about our royal family than we do
  27. Never try to explain cricket to a German. It won't end well
  28. If you drive a car and show any sign of emotion, you can be fined for it
  29. Contrary to popular opinion, Germans are just as lazy as the British
  30. Ausfahrt is a motorway sign, not an instruction