Friday, November 04, 2011

Difference in Travel (in Germany/Austria)

Traveling in Europe is different than traveling in the U.S. Some differences I have noted:
  • Most hotels are of the B&B style. These are small hotels with handfuls or dozens of rooms instead of hundreds.
  • These establishments usually do not have shampoo or conditioner for you to use (just soap -- often available in a dispenser on the wall by the sink and in the shower.)
  • Showers leak. Almost all of them. They have glass doors which don't close well. It's as if they are designed to not work perfectly. Towels by the shower help catch a majority of this water.
  • Showers are often small and the shower head is almost always removable.
  • Drinking the water in hotels varries by country, but in Germany, drinking the water is a-ok (and quite delicious!)
  • Public bathrooms are usually always requiring of a payment. This is either done via a coin slot on the door or by paying an attendant outside the bathroom or at a counter right inside the bathroom.
  • Sometimes there is a person sitting outside the bathroom with a small dish. I believe that these people are cleaning the restrooms for tips. These tips are optional. These are often found in establishments where you are paying to get in already (the zoo, a restaurant, etc.)
  • Cribs for children are shaped more rectangularly. (In comparison to those in the U.S. that are shaped more square.) Rectangular makes much more sense to me.
  • A thick down blanket with a cover is usually the only cover to sleep with. They are usually folded on top of the fitted sheet when you come into a room.
  • If you want regular water at a restaurant, you need to ask for "still water." Otherwise you will get water with bubbles. (I don't like it at all!)
  • Beer is usually cheaper than soft drinks and even rivals water for price.
  • Cars are WAY smaller than we have in the USA. Lanes are narrower. Parking lots are tighter. Just in general, you feel more cramped.
  • Dogs (at least in Germany) are welcome EVERYWHERE. At the zoo, in restaurants, on subways. The thing is, they are really, really well-behaved dogs. We even saw three dalmatians.
  • Dressing is quite different. There is definitely a European style. In addition, people are usually dressed "up" when they are out. You don't often see people in sweats or extremely casual when out and about like you would in the USA.
  • The women (at least in Germany) are also "normal" women. You don't see plastic surgery. You don't see fit super models. You just see women who walk everywhere they go for their exercise. You also see very few (if any!) obese people. Everyone looks like they weigh about what they should.
  • People don't smile at you when you pass by. In general, the German people keep to themselves. They don't frequently talk to the children or even "goo goo" over the babies. They just do their thing and they expect you to do the same.
  • The Germans don't seem to have much patience for our inability to understand their language. If you try talking to them in German, and they can tell you are an English speaker, they will switch to English and speak to you in that language. Now that I think about it, this is probably not a "difference." I imagine, we, in America, do the same for people who don't speak English. Two different times, someone was telling me something in German, and I did not understand what they were trying to say. One was saying "excuse me" (so I could move my stroller and they could get by) and another was telling me "be careful" when I was opening the bathroom door on her child. I had no idea they were talking to me, nonetheless telling me something I needed to know. One was very rude about it. The other way understanding. But in general, I think their patience for us "Americans" is low.


Casey (@ Chaos and Cardboard) said...

Exactly! Great observations.

TAV said...

I LOVE Germany, and Salzburg, actually (my favorite city on earth). I hear you, though... I did need to use some German at a train station in Leipzig, but other than that, their English is sooo good. We took a great trip on the Fairytale road. We are probably going to Italy in March, so it will be a change to travel in pricey Europe, but should be fun. P.S. We ate at a Mediterannean place on Friday, and though of you. We LOVED the gyros and falafel.