German things


I recently returned from a week-long vacation in Germany, in the Frankfurt/Darmstadt area. This is a list of cultural observances I wrote down while I was there.

  • Doors overlap their frames on one side, creating a very solid seal when they are closed.
  • Light switches are often OUTSIDE the room.
  • Trees are planted everywhere, even in private parking lots, etc. Urban spaces are pleasant and well-maintained.
  • The new Euro currency is confusing. Some coins can’t be told apart without close scrutiny.
  • Though German is the official language, you are likely to find an English label on many products, and you hear many other languages spoken in public (true of a lot of Europe).
  • Trains go nearly everywhere. If not trains, then trams or buses.
  • Bicycles are extremely popular, and bike lanes can be found on many roads.
  • Many towns brew their own distinctive beer(s). In the Frankfurt region, Hefeweizen (highly alcoholic wheat beer) and Apfelwein (hard cider) are popular.
  • Measurement lines on the sides of glasses eliminate doubts about how much you’ve been served.
  • To flush toilets, look for buttons on the tank or the wall behind. The average toilet design in Germany is much more effective than in the U.S. — the water pours down forcefully from the entire circumference of the bowl, and the bowl is steeply inclined. No floaters!
  • General consideration for public facilities is clear, because extra paper in restrooms could be easily stolen, but it hardly ever is.
  • On the other hand, smoking is allowed in most public places apart from trains and buses. Non-smoking areas in restaurants and pubs are nearly unheard of.
  • The waitstaff makes up for it by figuring separate bills for everyone by default.
  • But unfortunately, very few restaurants accept credit cards. EU debit cards are welcome, though.
  • Hardly anyone owns an SUV.

About the author

Janice Dawley

Outdoorsy TV addict, artistic computer geek, loner who loves people.

Add comment


Blog Tools

Tag Cloud