Wandering for distraction, traveling for fulfillment.

Two weeks in Germany (almost) down, and I’ve noticed a few differences between America and Germany.

Of course, any amateur Sherlock Holmes would pick up on the contrast in language, landscape and lifestyle.

But me?

I pride myself on (beyond my great modesty) my sharp powers of observation.

Here is just a brief list of my discoveries:

  1. It is ever-so important to make the distinction between mineral water and tap water. The alternative is to learn to appreciate the taste of beer–it is almost always the cheapest beverage option.
  2. Always use the restroom before leaving the house. Public restrooms are either blocked off with a gate, requiring 50 cents to access, or are guarded by an sweet looking old lady, who courtesy also requires you pay 50 cents to.
  3. There will be somethings lost in translation. For example, when I was explaining to my host family that I like to cook, it came out as “I like cake.” We figured it out and had a good laugh. Still, it is always more appreciated to try and speak the other language than to submit to frustration.
  4. Finally, everything costs money. The bathrooms are just the beginning of it. The “complimentary” bread on the table? Don’t touch it, unless you are hungry for an extra charge. Down the non-mineral water before the food arrives? Be willing to dish out another couple Euro for another drink. Have a blog and want to update the world on your on-goings? The two Euro per hour at Dunkin Doughnut’s Internet cafe only goes so far.

The good news, however, is that I am settled into my host family’s house. That means free restrooms, unlimited water and, best of all, wireless Internet.

More updates to come, but here are a few pictures to whet your appetite:

Die Kolner Dom.

Marketplatz in Bonn.

Marketplatz in Bonn.

Wein!

Die Berlin Holocaust Memorial.

Question: What do you find to be the most difficult part about traveling?

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