There are so many things to take into account when you come to a new place from what to pack, visa requirements to exchange rates, etc. Of all the countries I’ve traveled to (over 20 at the time I write this), Germany is the most similar to America but it obviously has some big differences. When I talk about differences between the countries, I’m not talking about government or health plans or any of that… I’m talking about the little everyday things like the late hour people eat dinner, the style of clothing or the modes of transportation. We tend to take into account the obvious, but there’s so much more to consider.
The biggest difference about Germany is that it’s so safe. In fact, this is hands down the safest country I’ve ever set foot in. There’s no need to worry about pickpockets, guns being drawn in a fight or someone holding you up for your wallet. What city in America do you know of where you don’t need to worry about locking your doors? The thing I love about this the most is, as a female, I can walk or go for a run alone at night and not think twice about it. That’s pretty fabulous.
The very first difference I noticed upon arriving are the “traffic” rules for those on foot. For starters, on day one I noticed that no one jaywalks here. Ok, I can get that. You can’t jaywalk in LA either without getting a ticket. But then I started to notice that not only do people make a point to go crazy far out of their way to find a crosswalk, they wait until the light is green to cross. You mean I need permission from a robot to walk across the road? This happens even if there isn’t a car in sight. To this day, I’m still baffled by this. It’s hard enough for me to refrain from jaywalking. For the first month, I’d attempt to wait for the little green light but now, if there are no cars, I cross.
I know most countries start their evenings out much later than America but I didn’t realize just how late they can get started until I got to Germany. In America, you typically start around 10pm. You may even start with an 8pm dinner and the never failing, “last call for alcohol” is promptly at 2am. Each time I’ve been invited to go out in Hamburg, my friends tell me they probably won’t get out till midnight and I know instantly that I’ll be a pumpkin by then so I’ve politely declined. I skirted a girl’s night out with my flatmate this past weekend and was quite grateful when I heard them leave to get started at 1am, return at 10:30am and then bust open some more alcohol. I’m ok with letting the Germans have all the fun going out for evenings on the town!
Each country and city has it’s own wonder and charm and Germany is no different. As I write this, I’m sitting in the beautiful Alster Park munching on some delicious red sour berries (no clue what they are), it’s a warm sunny day and I’m surrounded by happy picnicking Hamburgers. 🙂
Can anyone tell me what these berries are? They’re so good!