I used to love driving. These days, I feel like I could happily live without ever driving again. (But I will do it.)
During my first year in Berlin, I missed driving a lot. Now it’s been over five years since I’ve driven regularly, so that feeling is long gone. My first few times in a car in Berlin, (and this is as a passenger and not the driver!) I really felt my blood pressure rising and my heart racing. Something about the city, the recklessness of the drivers, the bicycles everywhere and the people that just seem to appear out of nowhere, makes me definitely NOT want to drive in Berlin.
And jeez, parking (and finding parking!) is a nightmare in Berlin! I don’t know why anyone would choose to drive in the city over using public transport or a bike, or even walking.
I’ve also noticed that European (though I am basing this off what I’ve noticed in Germany and Poland) drivers drive differently to what I am used to in Australia. They don’t leave a nice gap between the car in front and they brake suddenly. Also they really don’t seem to care much about driving way over the speed limit. I’ve been in car shares where the driver has driven 140km/hr while using a mobile phone, in a 70km/hr zone.
This year in Sydney, I renewed my licence but didn’t drive at all during the month that I was there. It wasn’t the driving that I avoiding, but the parking. I feel like after such a long time of not doing it, I will just live up to the stereotype of asians (+ women) not being able to park. Though I was in a few cars with friends and was shocked that they all have this thing called park assist (!!). It made me feel like I was in the future. But really, I must be living in the past.
So my goal for this year is to convert my Aussie licence over to a German one, and also learn how to drive manual. (Europeans are shocked when I tell them I can only drive an automatic car.) Perhaps I will drive in Brandenburg but definitely not in Berlin. I think I’d probably give myself a heart attack.