In Germany…

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

Even after being so used to my life here in Germany, I keep discovering new things and some of them still impress me, or should I say: the Germans never cease to amaze me?

Well, with my addiction to observing cultures and habits, I recently came up with a few observations about the German culture. Some things were new to me as of this year, others I already knew but never got the chance to share with you, until now. Of course that I would never be able to tell all my observations in one post, so if you are really interested in the topic, there are more posts written about it and some that will come in the future. In the meantime… have fun with these:

Packaged food really works!

I don’t know about your country, but here in Germany if you ever want to give a try to those cakes, cupcakes, muffins and so on, found in boxes, go ahead! You won’t regret! They all taste really good, and the chances they will work is probably 100%, unless you have no idea how to mix and wait.

In Brazil none of these things work, so I had a lot of prejudice with the ones here in Germany too. But after trying baking muffins using one of these packages, I started to believe that I could cook/bake something! Yup, they made me confident, and after that I started baking using real recipes. In any case, don’t be afraid to try them!

People plant flowers on the streets in the spring

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

In the past years living here in Munich when spring is approaching, I noticed that in my neighbourhood there are always tulips and other flowers planted on the streets’ corners. I always wondered if it is the city’s administration who does it, so this year I asked W about it and he told me that most of them are planted by the neighbours themselves. How nice of them!

However, in public places like parks, roundabouts, etc., it is the city’s administration who plants them. In both cases (and I say again) how nice of them!

You need to separate the garbage

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

I have previously mentioned here that in Germany one must separate the garbage. The thing is, you not only separate organic, paper, plastic and metal, you also need to separate glass bottles according to their colour: green, white/transparent and brown. The problem is when you can’t define if the glass is green or brown…. hmm.

There are containers for donating clothes and shoes

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

Speaking of separating the garbage, in some places there are also containers where you can put your old shoes and clothes for donation. They normally are found next to the garbage containers.

People leave donations in front of the door

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

There were countless times that I have seen people leaving a box full of books just outside their door for donation. The other day I also saw a couch, which was actually cool! They also tend to leave clothes too, every month the Red Cross stops by to pick up clothes for donation. Cool huh?

 In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

You can receive money back when returning bottles

In Germany there is something called pfand, which is the extra amount you pay for the bottled drink that . When a plastic or a glass bottle has pfand, this means you can return them and receive money back. There are bottles that can only be returned once (Einweg) and others many times (Mehrweg).

For the Einweg ones you receive more for each bottle (up to 0,25) the Mehrweg less (0,08). This system is pretty cool, since you can get money back and at the same time recycle. I hope one day this idea can work everywhere in the World.

Some people still prefer the little grocery shop around the corner

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

I often see in my neighbourhood that people still prefer going to those little grocery shops around the corner, than going to the supermarket, which is also just around the corner. Do you get what I mean?

In other words, they value going to the small vendor, where products are fresher and cultivated by local farmers, fruits arrive every day and they already know the owner for years. I find it sweet, and I can perfectly understand why they do that.

Efficiency really exists

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

At the end of March this year, I was driving in the countryside during the windstorm that happened in Germany. On this day many trees fell on the streets and highways, in fact, a huge one had fallen on the road I was in. I was late for an appointment and my first thought was: I will never make it there on time! It will take hours until someone gets this tree out of the way.

I was wrong! 5 minutes later the firefighters appeared and cleared everything in less than 10 minutes! Wow, way to go to the German efficiency that exists even in really bad weather and in the middle of nowhere!

People are honest to pay for the newspaper on the street

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

In almost every corner of Munich and other cities too, there are boxes filled with today’s newspaper. You can simply go there, open the box and take one, which means that you are not requested to pay for it previous to taking it. You take it, then pay, honestly. Though, I can imagine that some people might take and not pay… shame on you cheater!

There is someone to clean stickers!

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

The other day I was walking with Enzzo when I saw 4 men on both side of the street taking stickers off the public signs and the parking ticket machine! At first I didn’t understand what they were doing, but then it all made sense. I have never seen this before… but now I know why everything looks so neat around here. Thank you for cleaning up after other people’s mess.

People love Schorle

In Germany... by Packing my Suitcase.

Schorle is simply a drink mixed with gas/sparkling water. Let’s say, mango Schorle; it is mango juice mixed with gas water. The thing is that in every single place you go, they will have some kind of Schorle: strawberry, lemon, passion fruit, even wine… you name it! Germans love Schorle… and I learned how to love it too.

You cut the flowers yourself

It all starts during spring. If you are driving around the countryside, not far from the cities, you may see a lot of flower plantations with a sign SELBER SCHNEIDEN. This means you can go there, choose your flower, cut them yourself and leave the payment in a little box. There is no one controlling this, they plant the flowers for you, and expect that you leave a contribution for them. What an idea!

I could go on and on with my observations, but I am sure there will be more opportunities for me to share them with you. Meanwhile, I will keep observing…

Linking up this post to…

Travel Notes & Beyond

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • The flower stuff is fascinating. I would never guess that people planted them themselves, on their own initiative. Moscow has tons of tulips all around town in the spring – but it’s done by the city services. Though on second thought, I guess I really shouldnt be surprised – it IS Germany after all!
    (PS – getting my German visa invitation tomorrow 😉 )

    • It is really cool isn’t it?! This one I discovered recently, after 3 years living here 😀
      Ohhhh are you coming to Germany??? 😀

      • Strongly considering it, for the first 2 weeks in July 😉

        • That’s amazing!!!! Is Munich included on your itinerary? 😀

          • I dont really have an itinerary yet – I will most likely be staying near Frankfurt (w a friend) but will probably take some trips to Berlin (havent been before) and Munich (have been once for a day), and I really want to see Neuschwanstein castle :))))))

          • That sounds great!!!! You can start with Berlin and finish around here 😀
            And you really must visit the Neuschwanstein 😀

  • Where I lived Caritas came to collect the clothing from the street.

    I’ve never used one of the boxed cake mixes, but my colleague brought in a cake made with one and it was very tasty 😀

    • Here in Munich The Red Cross always comes to my building, but I think Caritas must also do this work here too. I find it so nice!!

      As for the cake mixes, It has been a while sine I dont use any, now I learned how to bake 😀 but I used to use them a lot, and tried many of them. All very good 😀

  • Places People Stories

    What I love the most about the Germans is how honest and efficient they are. Great post, Allane! 🙂

    • I think I agree with you… it is probably the same reasons why I like them so much 😀
      Thank you dear!!

  • Gin

    We had some fields where people can cut flowers by themselves and pay for them .There is a little box. I wonder if people really pay or not…. As for the Schorle, it sounds..; hmmm… interesting ? :p

    • I also wonder if people pay or not… but apparently they do 😀 at least around here.
      Schorle is great, they are popular all year round, but I always prefer them when is warmer 😀

      • Gin

        I’m sure Schorle must be refreshing when it’s hot outside 🙂

        • Yes it is!!! That’s the main reason why I started to like it! I was never a big fan of sparkling water, but I now like the idea of it mixed with juice 😀

  • Julia

    This is all so true! I’ve lived in Munich off and on for many years–more “full-time” recently! Lots of things that astound people from around the world, but are considered normal for most Germans.
    Oh … and how I LOVE the whole post about the dog hotel! That is the greatest!!

    • Hi Julia!! How nice that you lived in Munich!
      I totally agree with you, some things are very normal for the Germans, and for us sometimes they are impressive 😀
      Awnnn thank you so much! Happy that you liked the post about the dog hotel hahaha
      Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  • Mabel Kwong

    I know packaged stuff is not too good for you, but that package of muffins looks delicious! If I visit Germany you must take me grocery shopping so I can pick out the best foods 😀 Also, I have never heard of Schorle. It sounds like a refreshing drink in the warmer weather. It’s non-alcoholic? Would love to try the mango version.

    Haha! People in Germany must be honest if there are newspapers put out on the street like that. If that were to happen in Malaysia, no one would pay anything 😀

    • hahaha yes I will take to the grocery shop and you will be crazy with so many cool things 😀

      Schorle is non-alcoholic, its just juice mixed with sparkling water 😀 but people also do wine schorle 😀

      Yes, people here in Germany are very honest! In Brazil people surely aren’t and would never pay for anything hahaha Germany is very different than Brazil, sadly!

      • Mabel Kwong

        Hahaha. I actually like grocery shopping especially when it comes to shopping for sweet treats and junk food. And when shopping in a foreign country, I think I will be sweeping so many things in my trolley….try and stop me, Allane. You will have to carry all of them 😀

        • hahahahaha crazy girl!! I am just like you… just didn’t want to admit first! But in a foreign country I always like to try their junk food!! <3
          I will help you to carry all of them 😀

  • Suguna (unfinishedtravel)

    How neat that you can cut the flowers yourself and leave money! It’s great (and a little surprising) that people actually pay too!

    • It is such a nice idea right? 😀
      I have never done it myself, but often see it.
      Here in Germany people really do pay for them, they are very honest. This would never work out in my country 🙁

  • hahahaa Hi Valeria!!
    You are right… even living here I think the same as you. I am always impressed by the things I discover about the Germans. Imagine if everywhere in the World was like this? 😀
    Thank you for stopping by!!

  • Oh really? That’s nice 😀 where do you live?

  • hahaha you are right Anda! I couldn’t agree more with you 😀 I believe Germany is a great inspiration for other countries!

  • I love this idea too Vlad!! Once in a while I donate some stuff there.
    Yesss, the stickers situation here is not so bad because there are people who clean them up,, if not it would be pretty bad too 🙁 I don’t know why people do that!

  • Ohhh that’s great Victoria!! I hope you enjoy your trip… let me know if you need anything 😀