If you ever plan a trip to Deuchland, here are a few tips, tricks, and observations from the Bambi/Michael dynamic duo:

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  • Food
    • No hostess for you – almost every restaurant we went to expected you to seat yourself and it is very common to share a table with others. If all the tables in a restaurant/bar have people at them, slide on up to the closest pair of empty chairs and ask if you can join. 99.9% of the time, that is expected
    • Pretzels really are everywhere
    • Food portions are enormous and it seems to be pretty common (and acceptable) to share an entrée (though we were never that waist-line conscious….calories don’t count on vacation, right)
    • Spargle season (white asparagus) is bigger than Elvis
    • No sweet tea – you may see signs for iced tea, but Southerners beware….this is nothing more than a mirage as the stuff they called iced tea has all kinds fruit and berries in it – sacrilegious!
    • Beer is cheaper than water or any other beverage

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  • Bathrooms
    • Toilets are clean and all of them flush paper – if you’ve been to France or some other countries in Europe, you understand why this is needs to be called out
    • Toilet paper is like sand paper…..someone needs to introduce these people to some Charmin!
    • Toilets don’t flush with the same force as the ones back home – boys, if you do a #2, please respect your wives and verify the all clear….we don’t like those kinds of surprises!
    • You must pay to pee. Well, not everywhere, but if you ever need to “go”, make sure you keep some change on you

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  • Hotels
    • All hotels had tons and tons of electrical plugs – unlike the rest of Europe and many hotels in the States. Just make sure to bring multiple converters
    • No 24 hour front desk – most hotels do not have a 24 hour front desk, so they close at 10pm. If you are planning a late arrival, make sure your hotel can/will accommodate
    • Breakfast at hotels is usually 10-12 Euro and is not worth it. You can get a nice breakfast at a bakery or small café for half the price and it is much better
    • Most hotels offer free wi-fi
    • Separate comforter – double beds are simply two twin beds pushed together. Each person gets their own twin sized comforter and they do not use a top sheet

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  • Cities and Sights
    • Triberg – best prices on cuckoo clocks by far and the only place we saw handmade ones
    • The Black Forest can be done in 1-2 days max unless you plan to spend some extra time in nekkid relaxation at the spa town of Baden Baden (we decided to pass on this one)
    • Rothenberg – best place and widest variety of Christmas decorations
    • Garmish is amazing and is well worth 3-4 days. There are tons of hiking trails in the Alps and many attractions such as Neuschwanstein are close by

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  • Random Things
    • Dogs (as in the animal, not ugly people) are everywhere – we saw them in the park, in stores, inside and outside of restaurants, walking down cobblestone streets, in hotels, in castles (no lie), in bars, in museums….you name it, and they allow dogs. Personally, we thought this was great and, added bonus – we saw very, very, very few cats!
    • No matter where you stay, you will hear church bells ringing all night long – we were even provided ear plugs at one hotel to combat the jingle
    • Men really do wear lederhosen. A lot.
    • Everyone walks fast – even old people
    • Forget air conditioning – very few hotels have it and it is not common in many shops and restaurants either. Given this little nugget – I would avoid the hot season
    • Unless you are in a large city, everything closes early. Like at 6pm.  Unless it is a restaurant, and even those close pretty early compared to the States
    • Eco-friendly everything – people literally stand around to dig plastic bottles out of the trash and cars shut themselves off at red lights
    • Nekkid is normal – Germans are nekkid in the park, nekkid in the pool, and nekkid in the sauna. While the nekkid sauna seems to be a hard national rule, we found the nekkid people in parks and other public areas to be of the OMG-please-cover-that-up variety
    • Bikes, bike lanes, and bike trails are everywhere but the bikers don’t necessarily stick to their lanes and trails….they seem to feel as though they rule the world. I found this annoying and, in some cases, dangerous for pedestrians and folks driving cars
    • Pack light – not all hotels have parking close by, so you may have to lug your bags a few blocks to your hotel. Though we did not partake, most of the hotels we stayed in would do a bag of laundry for about 10 Euro (small bag, not a college sized bag)
    • Get off the beaten path – don’t be afraid to just stop by a town or drive down a random road…..you never know what you might find
    • No ice, ice baby – ice is not normally put in drinks and most hotels don’t have an ice machine
    • Shipping – if you ship to the US, you save 19% on VAT tax and often get a discount on your purchase. For purchases over 80 Euro, it is often cheaper to have it shipped than to buy it in Germany and bring it back on the plane.  You will have to pay a small cash on delivery fee when it is delivered to your home for customs purposes, but it is still cheaper.  Beware of some of the smaller shops as they charge crazy high prices for shipping….most places are far more reasonable
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