Early Bird Gets the…? My Lesson in German Bus Stop Etiquette

My textbooks said Germans were sticklers for order.

My first day at work in Hamburg? Well, let’s just say the bus stop experience was a shock! 

Determined not to be late, I arrived at the bus stop way too early. Feeling like a model of efficiency, I planted myself firmly behind the bus stop sign.

Now, this is where things got interesting. 

As more people trickled in, they completely ignored the imaginary queue in my head.

Some stood casually in front of the sign, others just chilled to the side. 

Panic started to bubble up inside me. Didn’t these Germans believe in queues?  Didn’t they see the responsible newcomer patiently waiting?

After what felt like an eternity, the bus finally showed up. Everyone, including the apparent line-ignoring rebels, surged forward in a frantic scramble. 

And guess who ended up shoved onto the bus last? Yes, me! 

Flustered and a tad embarrassed, I vowed never to be caught so unprepared again.

It was a valuable cultural lesson, learned the hard way. 

Today I know German bus queues are a bit more relaxed than the textbooks let on. 

But hey, at least it makes an unforgettable story for my very first day at work in Germany.  Many, many years ago.

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Foto Christine Sparks

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