My madcap adventures in Germany during my year as a Fulbright Scholar.

30 May 2007

German sidewalks are infinitely superior.

There are some things the Germans are better at than other countries.

Decking their cities in pretty, not-at-all-tacky (and secular) Christmas decorations, for example.

Or lighting their buildings at night.

Or even putting up scaffolding.

They also have fabulous sidewalks.

Maybe you don’t tend to think much about sidewalks, but anyone who walks as much as I do will appreciate a country that doesn’t simply use big slabs of concrete that are cracked, uneven and a mess when it rains.

These photos allow you to see two men installing one of Berlin’s many cobblestone sidewalks:

Stones are laid on a bed of sand, covered in more sand and then hosed down. And that’s it.

They’re not as uneven as you might think (not at all uneven, actually), can easily expand and contract in extreme temperatures (meaning no ugly cracked and broken stones), and absorb water when it rains. They can be disassembled fairly easily when the city needs to install a sign or telephone booth or reach the water mains, meaning no jackhammers disturb you when the city does work right outside your window.

This is one more reason to love German sidewalks; it’s a project that memorializes victims of the Nazis by placing a stone with their name on it outside of their former residence.



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