During the first two weeks of this month, my husband and I traveled to Germany. It was a trip to celebrate both of us turning 50 in 2012. We also wanted to take a special trip before our first grandson is born since we don’t know when we might get the chance to do a big trip in the next couple of years.
Traveling is fun. I love to learn about the area I am traveling in and try local foods and visit museums. Traveling overseas grows those adventures exponentially. Below is a list of things I learned while traveling in Germany. Things that are different than here in the USA. Things that are all a part of traveling abroad.
- “Lemonade” on a menu is Sprite. If you want something similar to lemonade here, order “bitter lemon.”
- Drinks do not come with ice. Only in Frankfurt did we get ice in drinks or have an ice machine in the hotel.
- Cold drinks are not so cold, even out of a refrigerated unit in a grocery store.
- Hotels do not provide wash cloths. Only one out of 10 for us did. One had disposable cloths, but they were rough. We knew this ahead of time and took our own and then left them at each hotel.
- “Diet” sodas are called “light.” Fanta is popular in Germany.
- It is potatoes in the north and noodles (spaetzle) in the south.
- Hotel walls seem to be thicker. We rarely heard our neighbors or people in the halls.
- Wi-Fi is not as widely available in hotels. If it is available, it costs something. Internet cafes are everywhere.
- Public toilets have a charge. If they are free, you don’t want to use them! At comfort stops on the highways (rest stops), the charge is 70c Euro, but you receive a 50c Euro voucher to use when purchasing something. If there is an attendant, 50c Euro is the common amount given and if you don’t drop your coin in the dish, the attendant will let you know that you should!
- Pork is the meat of choice in Germany. Chicken is second. Only once did we see beef on a menu.
- Most everyone speaks English so the language barrier is slight. But, we had fun learning German and trying to use it. The Germans seemed to enjoy it when we did.
- A “light” beer is light in color not calories. Low-calorie beer does NOT exist in Germany. If you want dark beer, it is “dunkel.”
- The pretzels are wonderful and large. They are between a soft and hard pretzel.
- Each region has its own sausage (bratwurst) and we tried them all!
- Castles and ruins of castles are abundant. You don’t have to wait long to see one.
- What we think of as old here is new there. For example, in one town, the “new” town hall was 400 years old!
- Reusable energy is popular in Germany. There are rows and rows of solar panels in fields that provide the electricity for the nearest village. Solar panels also cover the roofs of barns. Wind mills can be seen all over, too.
- Churches are open to visitors and are free to look around in. They just ask you to be quiet if there is a service.
- Construction is happening everywhere — road and building. The Germans are doing a great job of rehabbing their older buildings. It was easy to see that Germany has a thriving economy.
- Germans are finally starting to have some national pride. Though many of them still have guilty feelings over the past.
Overall, our trip was wonderful and I would highly recommend a visit to Germany to anyone looking for a beautiful and welcoming country in Europe.
Those are my thoughts for today.