* Everyone, EVERYONE, smokes in Germany especially during meals. In fact, for maximum enjoyment it is imperative to have a cigarette between every course. (cough, cough)
* German beer is very fresh tasting compared to most American ones. Beer is the cheapest beverage on the menu. It is cheaper than Coke, lemonade (Sprite) or Fanta(!). It is even cheaper than water.
* Want a glass of ice water with your meal? Forgetaboutit. Maybe they will have a 7 euro bottle of fancy French spring water. They know you are an American because you prefer bottle water without gas.
* If you do get a drink with ice, there will never be more then three ice cubes in it.
* Germany has a curious love of “mixed drinks.” Spezi or Mezzo Mix is Coke and Fanta mixed together. They also drink beer and Coke (Cola-Weizen) or beer and lemonade (Sprite) which is also know as a Radler (Shandy in England).
* Bavarians love their beer but northern Germans (Hamburg & Berlin) drink more coffee than beer. Starbucks is everywhere.
* We choose not to eat pork, beef, deep fried food and anything covered in a cream or cheese sauce. It is our way to try to eat healthy. Unfortunately, it does cut out about 80% of the northern European diet. I did, however, try some wonderful dishes made from pheasant, rabbit, venison, trout, European perch and seafood from the North Sea. We also had good dishes with Knödel dumplings and Spätzle noodles.
* We ate a lot of Italian food. The personal size, thin crust pizzas are the best. You rarely see the same European style pizza here in the US. The American pizzas are too large, doughy and crusty. They use too much cheese and non-fresh, over-cooked ingredients. I also like the fact that European restaurants don’t cut the pizza into little slices.
* Breakfast (Frühstück) usually consisted of soft round bread rolls, hard-boiled eggs, jams, a plate of cheeses, and lots of fatty ham and other deli meats, salted meats and meat-based spreads. They also had healthier granola, muesli and other cereals.