And now, the top 10 differences between Germany and the United States.
10. Cold beer is everywhere. Here in Indiana, you can’t even buy cold beer at the grocery store. In theory, this forces alcoholics to wait approximately 20 minutes while their beer chills before they start drinking again, thus preventing countless accidents and deaths. (I mean, we all know alcoholics are too high-brow to drink warm beer, amirite?)
In Germany, you can buy cold beer at a gift shop and you can drink it outside of a police station (but you probably don’t want to hang around too long).
I know you think I’m about to segue into a discussion about how Europe’s a utopian society free of alcoholism, but I’m not. They have just as many sloppy drunks as America, they just don’t have any false notions about preventing it with stupid laws.
9. You can take your dog anywhere.
At first, I thought there were just a buttload of blind people in Germany until I realized they were all staring back.
We saw dogs in offices, dogs in restaurants, and even dogs at Saturn Electronics (Europe’s answer to Best Buy). I think in America there’s some kind of health code against that, but in Europe they’re fine with it. And so am I.
8. Everybody smokes. BUT it’s getting better — you can no longer smoke inside most restaurants (just bars), and the airports now have designated areas; Camel Zones, they call them in Munich (last time, you could just light up in the terminal).
But still, everybody smokes. Any time you walk into a building, you get to wade through a wall of smoke. And when you’re hungover at 7 a.m. and trying not to do voms all over the train station, that’s a pretty big deal.
7. They have castles.
Like, a lot of them.
6. FREE NEEDLE EXCHANGE!
5. Funky bathrooms. They might be smaller, but they’re so vogue. The toilet flushers are these big plastic buttons and the water whisks your turds away with only the finest in German engineering.
He had a urinal installed. How many of you can say that?! Almost makes me wish I was a dude.
In Munich however, that bathrooms were not so much vogue as just plain weird…
Nearly every toilet in Munich has this awkward ledge where your doody sits before you flush it away. The only thing we can figure is that the ledge is somehow a water-saving feature.
4. Beds. Each person in the bed gets their own comforter. Amazing.
Even our buddies Lars and Sonja (and also Sven “I have my own urinal” Wernicke), maintain a strict one-comforter-per-person policy, which works out rather well if your spouse is a “night thrasher.” I think this is why the divorce rate is lower in Europe*
3. They’re seriously lacking in the ice and water department. After eight hours on a plane, all you want is a nice, tall refreshing glass of water. You get? Mineral. No ice. Even in restaurants, if you order water you have to pay for it. Some really nice places will bring you a little water with your actual drink. But it’s like, a shot of water. A tease.
We’re told the reason for this is that when you got to a restaurant you should treat yourself to a real beverage and save the water-drinking for your home.
I can probably get on board with this as long as I’m still allowed to keep my bottle of tap water with me at all times.
2. NUTELLA EVERYTHING. Nutella ice cream. Nutella yogurt. The possibilities are endless. Come on, U.S.A., get your act together and start utilizing Nutella. I mean it.
1. Meat group! (20,000 points if you get that reference.)
I still haven’t been able to figure out why nobody is fat there, with all this tasty food and beer. Magic? Oh wait, it’s probably all the cigarettes and intravenous drugs…
Bonus item: Reeperbahn!
Where the Beatles got their start, prostitution is legal and the beer flows like…well, beer.
*I made up that divorce part but the rest is true.