I have decided that this blog is boring, whilst on holiday therefore I decided I would make digital entrepreneur more personal and am going to start with what I think we can learn from the Germans.
Whilst I prefer the luxury hotel experience as per Paul Carr whose book “The Upgrade” I am currently reading I have recently begun camping or “glamping” as our friends calls it. That’s right, along with my 2 children aged 8 and 5, my wife and I headed off to Germany on a 10 day camping trip a couple of weeks ago – and what an eye opener it was.
As is normal we filled up at the local petrol station before leaving – I am quite amazed, perhaps even staggered, at how quickly I can now spend £100 – this used to be a huge amount and when you take a look at average earnings it still is for most, but at petrol stations all across the country people are spending up to £100 in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea – is this right? Where is all this petrol money coming from?
We boarded the ferry at Hull (paying almost £660 for a return ticket) and arrived in Belgium the next day – I must say Belgium is much like the UK, standards are low, sorry UK, sorry Belgium – service stations are like mental hospitals, everyone serving you is behind glass, the buckets of water and wipers have all since been removed, the little widgets that keep your fuel flowing without you having to stand there tending the pump have gone but the prices are vast.
We drove the 6 hours down to Baden Baden stopping occasionally for the regimented loo break every 2 hours that 5 year olds get used to – I must admit, the motorway loos were horrific, I still can’t quite grasp why when you walk in to motorway service stations the first thing you spot is a cleaning rota displayed prominently explaining to all and sundry that this particular loo has been cleaned spotlessly every 30 minutes for the last 3 hours and yet it is completely trashed, the doors don’t lock, the urinals are blocked with what appears to be tissue paper, the water is running from at least 2 broken taps and the hand dryer that assures you of cyclone powered drying is dramatically useless.
However once you cross the German border things change, and they change in a big way! At our first loo stop we were greeted by what appeared to be a shiny new service station, something more typical of a childrens cartoon – whilst we were surprised that we had to pay to go to the loo we infact got a token back that we could redeem in the shop and I must say the loos were incredible – not just clean but stylish – and this was a motorway service station!
We filled up and immediately realised we were getting value for money – my fuel cost £70, not £100!!! How could this be? I broke the news to my wife and we both spent the next hour hammering at rip off britain whilst trundling through the near perfect German motorway network to our B&B.
And what a B&B, when I had called to book the English speaking lady (all Germans speak “School English” which is a hundred times better than my “School German”, in fact my “School German” is limited to about 40 words) informed us that a deposit was not necessary and that she would reserve the room for us – no terms and conditions to sign off, no credit card to deliver – just like the old days, I called to reserve and she reserved.
More later… 😉 Have to go back to work now…