First Week

To celebrate our first complete week in Germany I present to you a Top Ten list of things we learned. The good, the bad and the awkward.

  1. You have to pay to pee. If you are at a public location such as the park, train station, etc. then you better have some spare change if you have to tinkle. We had a heads up on this procedure from our adventures in England but it is still surprising to any American that you would have to pay to pee. As a pregnant woman, you better believe I have an entire change purse fully loaded and at the ready.
  2. The first German word I learned was Ausfahrt (insert giggles here). The word Ausfahrt means exit. It is absolutely everywhere. Follow the Ausfahrt signs to get out of the parking garage, exit the Autobahn, etc. Now maybe I have the humor of a junior high boy but come on! You know that word looks like a$$fart. I mean seriously! How can you not giggle a little every time you see a giant sign that says Ausfahrt. Hilarious and helpful word to know.
  3. Amusement Rides are dangerous (sort of). We ventured to a fair down by the river that was for younger children. They had the traditional fair food (cotton candy, giant pretzels, slushies, etc.) but when it came to the children’s ride everything changed. One of the rides was children riding in a crate down a track that looks like it was made to transfer boxes out of a truck. No guard rails in case they fell off the sides. I must say they all seemed very happy though. The bounce house was also there but there is no net or walls on the side. Instead parents kind of gather on all sides and its your duty to protect any child that may fall your way from making it to the ground. O LOVED this. IMG_0607And then the mother of all craziness: climbing beer crates. With this activity there is a harness and an automatic belay, so not super dangerous it just looks terrifying. They start standing on like 3 crates and then once the child gets their balance they are handed another crate and they must add it to the stack and then climb up. They get rather high. It looks very challenging and from a physical therapy perspective looks like a great high level balance activity. The overall goal is to get to the top and ring a bell. In all of these rides, no one got hurt it just was a little shocking to see because there is NO WAY any of this would happen in America. In the end though, everyone was having fun and that is all that matters.IMG_0613
  4. Eggs are not refrigerated. I looked all over the grocery store to find some eggs until I finally realized they are not in the refrigerated section. They are sitting on the regular shelves like a box of cereal. Still taste good!
  5. No such thing as a free bag. Europe has started an initiative to get rid of the plastic bags that you get everywhere you go. They started this recently (a year or so ago) so when you go to the grocery store you need to bring your own bags, purchase reusable bags or buy paper bags. I think its like 5 cents per paper bag. I saw a news article the other day that stated that England alone has dropped its use of plastic bags by 80% over the first year that this tax was in place. This is a country that was originally using 7.6 billion plastic bags per year so that is SUPER impressive. I think America should get on board with this idea. I think it is brilliant!
  6. No one drinks tap water. No one! When you go out to a restaurant no one will bring you a free glass of water. You can order water (still or bubbly) but you can’t get a glass of tap water. I looked into this a little bit and there seems to be no clear answer to why Germans do not drink tap water. Some people theorized that it is due to the poor water quality after World War II so there is a generation that grew up not being able to drink tap water and they passed that tradition down to their children. This is just one theory but doesn’t mean it is the answer. Tap water in Germany is perfectly safe to drink and is heavily regulated but the tradition continues. Either way you have to buy bottled water at the restaurant in order to drink water.   Which brings us to our next point…
  7. Beer is cheaper than water. No joke. At the restaurant the bottled water is typically 2.50-5.50 (euros) small to big sizes. A glass of beer is typically 2-4 euros. Beer is cheaper than water, which is a cruel, cruel twist of fate for this preggo lady but hubby doesn’t seem to mind one bit.
  8. Never leave home without an umbrella. Seriously though. Never!
  9. Google Translate is everything. When using Google Chrome as your Internet browser, a handy dandy tool called Google Translate will pop up and offer to translate pages from German to English. Yes! Yes! A million times yes! This has been extremely helpful. It has its own quirks but I don’t know what we would do without it.
  10. German Chocolate is amazing! But you already knew that. It is seriously super delicious and it makes everything better. It was worth the trip!