Friday, January 9, 2015

My Top 10 Loves of Germany for 2014!

Oh herro everyone! Welcome to the ending of the first full week of January 2015! With that comes my first list of Top 10 Loves and Gripes of what I've seen, eaten, experienced and have confirmed since being here! I hope I can keep this Top 10 list going over the years to see how it changes. Some of this may seem a little weird, but I'll explain each one. So here we go!

Top 10 Loves!
1. The beer!!!! Amazing, can't get enough of it, so delish that it kicks some sweet WI craft brews out the door! Even IF it makes me get a booty, it's still tastes amazing.

2. The Festivals! So I say this without having attended an official Oktoberfest yet but I have been to Christmas Festivals or Weihnachfest. They are EVERYWHERE here and are so beautiful with all of the Christmas lights in the trees, buildings and tents! There are vendors all over the place, the people are all happy and drinking either Gluhwien or a beer! So until I get to report back next year with my first Oktoberfest under my belt, I'm giving 2 thumbs up to the festivals!
3. The Scenery! It's funny, when we first got here, I thought Ansbach was beautiful! (Totally laughing as I write that now) However, just being here for 3 months (that's it?!) I have seen some beautiful views! So far, Switzerland tops the chart. I mean, every village you drive through, whatever country you're in over here, we have been to seems as though you're in a fairy tale! Can't make this stuff up!
Ansbach's downtown area
At the top of Mannlichen, near Wengen, Switzerland
Sachsenhausen-just an alley of some bars!

4. The ability to travel SUPER cheap!! By this I mean, you can easily hop a train and/or a plane for extremely low prices. There are so many different options of buying train passes, it's almost confusing. Using RyanAir out of Nuremburg looks like it's going to awesome as well. I mean Dick and I hopped a train to Frankfurt for weekend after Christmas, for 44Euro round trip for the both of us! (

Looking at RyanAir, we can fly to London with 3 of us (my sister is coming over for our day of birth celebration!) for around $210 Euro! Again, that's round trip too! Let's not forget the Autobahn....

5. The Autobahn! It ties right into the cheap ways to travel but not only is it cheap (it costs nothing to get onto it) but it's FAST! I think the typical speed is 120 km's which equals to 74.5 mph. However, once you see one of these on!!! 
Also, you DO have to pay to pee. No joke. It's typically a .50-.70 euro to use the restrooms. You put the coinage in, out pops what we call the "poopin' coupin'" LOL! You pay and get a .50 euro coupon to use in the restaurant/store! And majority of these rest stops have phenomenal food, espresso, bakery's, etc. The bathrooms are spotless too! It's our understanding that the euro you spend goes into keeping them nice and clean so I really can't complain except for the moment when you REALLY have to go and I'm not carrying ANY cash on me! Brutal!

6. The Food! We had heard about the German food prior to coming, and it actually is quite good! Here's what you can expect on the menu at every German restaurant: Schnitzel, potato salad (kartoffelsalat,) Cordon Bleu (a big favorite in our group!,) the good ole traditional Bratwurst with sauerkraut and may other options. There are also some phenomenal ethnic restaurants in our area. There are awesome Greek and Italian restaurants too-the Greek restaurant we frequent automatically sits a shot of Ouzo out at the table and they love the American soldiers! They take good care of us and us of them!

Caprese salads....hands down my favorite thing over here! The Schnitzel is great but way too fattening to continue eating that often. Oh, one more thing and I can't believe I almost forgot to mention one of my all time favorite new foods! The doner box, sandwich or wrap. It's essentially just like a gyro, except with turkey meat. It's on a spit and they shave it off into a sandwich or whatever. The sauces are where it's at! You can have it spicy (yes please!) or not spicy and it comes with cheese, lettuce/cabbage, and onion. Which ever way to you like it, it's always awesome! There's a doner stand on post that we used to go to ALL the time, but now, it's back to reality and time to watch the waste line but it's good to treat yourself every once in a while right?!
A doner spit!
And a doner sammy! Delish!

7. Dogs in Germany! So dogs are literally allowed in German restaurants, pretty much everywhere! It's nuts! And I love it! I honestly think that American dogs are born with ADHD and wouldn't handle this well in the states if we did allow it. You don't even notice that they are even there. They come in on a leash (usually) and just lay down at the feet of their owner and viola! that's it. Well, unless you're this guy....then you would probably get noticed! He was so cool. 

8. Activities available to us now that we're here, like skiing and snowboarding, even the ability to go up on top of the Alps is amazing! It's on an entirely different level in Europe! For example, the train in Switzerland that we took to go up and ski/snowboard, it wasn't just for that! You could buy a pass to travel the mountain all day and sight see, stop at the little villages and shop! That's just not something you'd see in the states. I can't wait to see everything else as we continue with our travels!
9. Ok, I have to throw this one on in there because if I don't, I feel that it would be just bad karma. Our Slingbox has been a lifesaver over here! Well, maybe not a "lifesaver" but it definitely helps with catching the NFL and Collegiate games so far this season. My Packer loving husband is super appreciative, I'll live to see another year! Bring on baseball season!! #gocubsgo We do love it though and it's great to be able to DVR any show we would like via our box connected to my parents DirecTv back in Wisconsin. Definitley worth the money and thank you M & D for allowing us to hijack your tv downstairs! I will share a funny story though. If we're watching off the Slingbox over here (we're 7 hours ahead) and someone back home goes downstairs and changes the channel, we see what they changed it to. So sometimes on the weekends when it's say 4p German time it's 9a at home. Dad will go workout in the basement and all of a sudden the Golf Channel comes on! LOL We messed with each other a few time but all in all, it's awesome!

10. Last but certainly not least, I want to give a huge high five (high funf....wait for it....there ya go!) to the German culture! It's definitely something to get used to but even to just sit down, take a breath and live it is awesome! They definitely do things differently over here but I think there is something to be said in a positive light. The top 2 differences that come to mind is how "slow" paced they are over here. Extremely slow paced. It's so hard to go from how fast paced America is and it's just "go go go" atmosphere to Germany where a normal dinner will take no less than 2 hours! Not kidding The servers at the restaurants will NOT bug you, they barely come to the table. You have to flag them down! I think they do ok with noticing you're empty drink but that's possibly it. They will NEVER set a tab/bill down on your table. You must ask for it! (Tipping over here is also completely a different beast-it's offensive to tip them more than a few euro. Like, do not tip our usual 20% tip. Ever.)

The other culturally different thing we've noticed is how "green" they are over here! You'll see wind powered mills all over the place as well as solar panels! I think it's great except for when i have to separate EVERYTHING for my garbage, which we don't have a lot of space for to begin with (that's coming in my next section on the "gripes" about Germany!) But they do have you separate your garbage-food garbage, paper, glass, and cans/aluminum. You have to do. No exceptions. But overall, makes for a better Germany!

Ok, so that tops my list of LOVES that we've come across since being here for 3 months and the end of the year! There are a ton more loves that would just take too much time to write down but I'm feelin' pretty good about these ones to start! Stay tuned for the Top 10 should be a good read! Ciao!

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