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Germany Journey Weblog | Vacationer is a Soiled Phrase

12 Surprises On Your First Trip to Germany
#1 Smoking is Nonetheless Prevalent

It strikes me each time I land in Germany and stroll via the Frankfurt Airport to get my suitcase: Extra individuals smoke in Germany than in america. There are even smoking lounges alongside the gates within the Frankfurt Airport. Principally a glass-enclosed room filled with people who smoke with an automated door, that closes as quickly as somebody enters or leaves. The odd factor is that I can by no means odor the smoke when passing by a smoking lounge. They will need to have highly effective suction methods in there. Nonetheless, when you step out of the airport right into a public area, you’ll both must get used to the smoking round you or stroll a number of toes away from the person who is smoking. If you wish to partake within the out of doors cafe environment, know going into the expertise that the possibilities of somebody lighting up a cigarette close by are very excessive.

#2 Consuming in Public is A-OK!

When you attain the age of 16, you’re allowed to eat beer and wine, and at 18 or older you possibly can drink any distilled spirit you want – even in public. Meet your folks at a park and convey a six-pack to share, no paper bag required. Cozy beer gardens are crammed with individuals on heat summer time days, having fun with a cool beer and good meals with mates or household. Nobody in Germany thinks twice when seeing somebody in a pedestrian space with a bottle of beer.

#3 Money is King

Germans have a debit and a bank card of their pockets, however most transactions in Germany are nonetheless carried out in money. The EHI buying and selling institute studies, that greater than half of the transactions in Germany are nonetheless paid for in money – 51.3% to be precise. The following closest transaction sort can be the debit card (Girocard) with 24.6% utilization (supply).

To search out the the reason why money continues to be king in Germany we’ve got to journey into the previous. Germany was hit twice by a dramatic financial depreciation. The primary one occurred throughout the hyperinflation of 1923 within the Weimar Republic and the following one after WWII, throughout the financial reform and introduction of the German “Mark” foreign money in 1948. On the trade charge of 10 Reichsmark to 1 German Mark, roughly 90% of the financial savings have been devalued in a single day. These two historic occasion have burned themselves deeply into the minds of the German individuals and subsequently shaken confidence within the state, banks and “new” digital fee methods. Have slightly persistence whereas ready on the check-out register, when a German in entrance of you rummages via their pockets with the intention to discover the right coin change for his or her money transaction.

Plum Cake is an Excellent Choice for Kaffee und Kuchen in Germany
#4 Espresso and Cake Custom

Denise and I had been married for a number of years earlier than she realized that Kaffee und Kuchen was a German custom. She merely thought my household had a critical espresso and cake behavior, one among many the reason why she loves my household.

Kaffee & Kuchen is an informal get-together within the afternoon, often round 3:30pm, both at a espresso home or in a non-public dwelling. It is so simple as it sounds, everybody eats cake, and most drink espresso or tea. Kaffee und Kuchen can also be known as a Zwis for Kaffee und Kuchen to occur is Sunday. Most Germans are off work, sleep lengthy, have a late breakfast and browse the newspaper. After a stroll via a park or the town, within the afternoon it’s time for Kaffee und Kuchen. Germans can even have espresso and cake for somebody’s birthday or different household celebration.

The abundance of bakeries and cafes in German cities provide many types of cake for individuals who don’t need to bake and like to choose up a cake to share with the remainder of the group. There isn’t one particular sort of cake for Kaffee und Kuchen, it could actually vary from an elaborate adorned cake made by a bakery to a easy grocery store-bought sponge cake topped with seasonal fruit like strawberries or cherries. As a toddler I all the time regarded ahead to Kaffee und Kuchen, despite the fact that I by no means appreciated espresso. The totally different kinds of cake have been proper up my alley, and I might eat as a lot cake as I might in file time. It was an important deal with for me. I used to be all the time fearful one among my favourite desserts (plum pictured above or strawberry, adopted by cheesecake with tangerine items) can be gone earlier than I would had a chunk.

#5 No Purchasing on Sundays

Each Sunday virtually all shops are closed, together with grocery shops, which primarily forces you to calm down and chill, and possibly have kaffee und kuchen with household or mates. The wonderful thing about that is, that the majority Germans really do get time without work on a Sunday in order that households can have time collectively or meet for a stroll within the park. There are exceptions with occasional “Purchasing Sundays” when shops are legally allowed to open, which fluctuate from metropolis to metropolis.

If it’s essential get groceries on a Sunday in Germany, you might have two choices: Go to a gasoline station close by to browse their restricted choice or discover a grocery store in an airport or practice station, with a higher choice and (often) increased value tags.

What will surprise you on your first trip to Germany? How the toilets are designed and how to flush will definitely surprise you.
#6 Bathroom Design and The way to Flush

The shelf bathroom, recognized in Germany as Flachspüler (flat flusher) has a ledge the place the American design, Tiefspüler (deep flusher) has standing water. The shelf bathroom will prominently current your #1 or #2 earlier than you flush them, which is able to take some getting used to if you first encounter this bathroom type. Denise thought at first the bogs have been clogged since there was no standing water. There’s a YouTube video for all the things, and that is the primary one I discovered whereas making an attempt to clarify the distinction. Not solely do you get to see the bathroom, but in addition a German sausage that will get flushed as an example the method.

Over time I had the pleasure of utilizing each methods and might provide the benefits and drawbacks of the shelf bathroom on your journey to Germany.


• Vitality prices in Germany are a lot increased than in america, which incorporates the price of water. Due to this fact, the shelf bogs have been designed to make use of a lot much less water than their American counterparts – therefore the shelf.

• Your butt is not going to get moist, since there may be little to no water sitting on the shelf

• In case you are sick, you possibly can have a look at your prized matter earlier than flushing it and even take a stool pattern on your physician. Not that you will want this usually, however it is a bonus, despite the fact that an odd one.


• What you are promoting will certainly stink up the room, which is why plenty of German loos have a bottle of air freshener close to the bathroom or at the least a window close by which you can open.

• With a #2 being flushed off the ledge, it’d go away skid marks and also you may need to flush a second time (a lot for the side of saving water). If the skid marks are nonetheless round after the second flush, look for a bathroom brush close by and get to work.

In case you are nonetheless studying, you may be happy to listen to, that German households are merging increasingly to the American bathroom design, which has develop into extra environment friendly over the previous many years and makes use of much less water with each flush. However, there are nonetheless two extra oddities you may encounter in a contemporary German restroom, that are two buttons on a wall and no seen bathroom tank.

How to Flush a German Toilet
How To Flush a German Bathroom

Fashionable loos in Germany have hid flush, or wall-hung bogs, the place you might have the tank and water pipes in a wall enclosure hidden from plain view. This works particularly effectively for small loos, saving area by having a smaller bathroom that doesn’t protrude into the room as a lot as a floor-mounted conventional bathroom. Moreover, cleansing beneath the bathroom is way simpler and the hidden tank offers the lavatory a clear, organized look.

Proper above the hid flush bogs you’ll discover two buttons, often a small one and a big one. The “dual-flush functionality” goes again to the thought of saving water, the place you push the small button on your #1 enterprise with solely half of the water within the tank getting used and the bigger button on your #2 enterprise with the entire water within the tank getting used.

What will surprise you on your first trip to Germany? Punctuality is expected.
#7 Punctuality is Anticipated

There isn’t a translation from German to English for the phrase ‘fashionably late.’ In Germany, or when assembly somebody German, you’re merely late. Germans are usually very punctual, and likewise anticipate this advantage from others. Principally, don’t be various minutes early and don’t be various minutes late. In my household you get quarter-hour of Karenzzeit, which interprets to grace interval. If I’ve to attend quarter-hour or longer previous the scheduled time and I don’t hear from you, I’ll almost certainly go away. So if for some cause you end up late to an appointment or a get-together, name to let the individual know that you’re working late and if you’ll be there.

The exception can be informal events at a mates home. The extra company there are invited, the broader the window of time is inside which it’s nonetheless applicable to point out up. If the invitation reads that the celebration begins at 8pm, there are all the time individuals that don’t present up till later that evening. In the event you occur to be very early for a get-together, take a stroll via the neighborhood or a close-by park. No person needs to point out up too early and catch the host whereas they’re making an attempt to get the final gadgets for the celebration collectively or take a bathe earlier than the large evening. This can even provide you with some further time to get one thing to carry for the host.

#8 Reward Giving

When you find yourself invited to a non-public home or dwelling in Germany, be it for a elaborate dinner or for informal afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen, it is a all the time a good suggestion to carry a small present for the host or hostess. The simplest are flowers with an odd variety of buds, as a good quantity is alleged to carry dangerous luck. Additionally, take any plastic masking or wrapping off the flowers earlier than arriving. When choosing flowers, attempt to keep away from pink roses, which symbolize love, or lilies and carnations, that are frequent for German funerals. If you don’t want to carry flowers, sweet or wine can also be applicable. Principally, don’t present up empty handed and anticipate them to cater to you.

#9 Greetings

Germans may be bizarre with regards to greetings. We alter our greetings relying on how effectively we all know the opposite individual. In case you are being launched to an individual for the primary time, anticipate a handshake. Make sure that your hand is dry, look them within the eyes and have a agency handshake. Don’t break their hand, but in addition don’t simply lay your hand onto theirs. Germans like agency handshakes. When becoming a member of a bunch, it is vitally frequent for an individual to shake fingers with each single particular person.

As soon as you understand the individual higher (and you’re in a non-business setting), Germans will take the greeting up a notch and substitute the handshake with kissing on the cheeks, one on the left and one on the suitable. That is usually surprising for People, who anticipate that it will be a hug trade and find yourself with a kiss on the cheek, however then upon releasing People anticipate the greeting is over, solely to be pulled in for a second spherical on the opposite facet. If you find yourself in Switzerland, three cheek kisses are customary. Yesterday it was handshakes. In the present day its cheek kisses.

If doubtful, let the German make the primary transfer and be ready for each. Nothing is worse than leaning in for a cheek kiss and working into their hand that’s out for a proper handshake.

#10 Eye Contact Throughout Toasts

While you toast and clink glasses in Germany, say Zum Wohl (good well being) or Prost (cheers) earlier than consuming. Additionally, be certain to look the individual you’re toasting into his or her eyes. In any other case each of you should have seven years of poor intimacy, if you understand what I imply. Guten Appetit is alleged earlier than consuming and means take pleasure in your meal. Wait till everybody has their meal in entrance of them earlier than you begin and reply to the host’s Guten Appetit by repeating the identical greeting or answering, Danke, ebenfalls (Thanks, you too).

Did you know its rude to order tap water in restaurants in Germany?
#11 It is Impolite to Order Faucet Water at a Restaurant

Within the U.S., you order water and with out additional instruction you’ll get a glass at the least 1/4 filled with ice, after which water both straight out of the faucet, maybe via a filter first, or not. Over time I’ve discovered totally different U.S. cities’ water tastes totally different. However, regardless of the town, water is free, and it is the identical water that comes out of the sink that you simply wash the dishes with, the identical water that you simply bathe in.

It is secure to say most Germans choose water with some type of carbonation. In the event you order water, you’re going to be instantly questioned how a lot gasoline, or how bubbly would you want your water. I positively recommend that you simply strive it, however it’s a very totally different water expertise. Regardless of the quantity of gasoline, Denise can’t carry herself to take greater than a sip.

Why Is Faucet Water Inconceivable in a German Restaurant?

This tradition shock for People is a sophisticated custom. I guarantee you that German faucet water is completely, completely secure. We’re speaking German engineering and plumbing right here. It is secure, and sure higher for you if you happen to’re involved how lengthy the water has been sitting in plastic. So, might it’s the verbiage itself? In English, the phrase ‘faucet’ is expounded to a number of different optimistic issues resembling beer and soda that’s ‘on faucet’. In German, the phrase for faucet water is Leitungswasser, which accurately means pipe water. I’m sorry, however I wouldn’t need that both. They want a greater phrase! However, it is possibly not all in a reputation. Restaurant house owners financial institution on their company ordering drinks the place they’ll make a better revenue margin. While you order faucet water, it seems as if you’re a horrible penny-pincher, and the restaurant can be fortunate to interrupt even along with your order.

If You Really feel the Similar About Bubbly Water, Right here’s What I Do

Denise has discovered to be weary of even no-gas water, as usually the added minerals tastes equally as dangerous to her very Americanized water palate. Nonetheless, she’s had good luck with the French bottled water manufacturers Vittel and Volvic. We’ve gotten within the behavior of ordering Vittel outright in eating places, that manner in the event that they don’t have it the server will often inform you what the options are, giving the chance to modify to soda if you need to. In any other case, if you happen to order simply nonetheless water you might find yourself with one of many mineral water manufacturers which have the mineral style.

Whereas exploring cities, I pack my S’effectively water bottle within the morning, crammed with refrigerated faucet water. The bottle retains water chilly for twenty-four hours and I take advantage of my S’effectively bottle all 12 months at dwelling, too. In Florida I can go away the bottle within the automotive, the place the temperatures get to be over 100 levels inside on a scorching day, and after I get again, even whereas the outside of the bottle is scorching, the water continues to be fridge chilly. Earlier than I found S’effectively, we have been going via plastic bottles like loopy, after which carrying the empty ones round all day with the intention to get our pfand returned.

Germans are Experts at Recycling

#12 Germans are Specialists at Recycling

To advertise recycling, in 2003 the ever-clever, thrifty Germans carried out a container deposit laws, often known as Pfand [pronounced pf‿ant]. In the event you purchase a single-use container in type of a can of soda or a water in a plastic bottle, you’ll pay a €0.25 deposit, which can be refunded if you carry the container again to a grocery store or store.

While you throw that bottle away, you are additionally throwing away your €0.25. The deposit laws doesn’t cowl containers for juice, milk-products, wine, spirits, or liqueurs. Search for the black and white image of the bottle and might with the arrow, see the picture above for an instance.

Cashing in Your Containers

In smaller retailers, go to the clerk on the counter to return your bottle and acquire your deposit. Cautious although, small retailers solely settle for the bottles of distributors and sizes of bottles that are carried at that store. When returning at large-chain retailers search for reverse merchandising machines that print a receipt. The receipt may be exchanged for money or used in opposition to a purchase order.

So the following time you see somebody toting a group of empty plastic bottles of their e book bag you’ll know they don’t have a hoarding downside, they simply need their deposit again!

Are we lacking something? Did one thing else shock you in your first journey to Germany? Tell us within the feedback under, or by e-mail.

Comply with Alongside

In the event you loved this text, or these matters sound attention-grabbing to you, you will love our weekly publication. You may obtain the latest posts every week and unique entry to free planning assets like ‘Packing Listing & Suggestions for two Weeks in Germany’ and ‘All the pieces You Must Hire a Automobile in Germany’.

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