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TOPIC: Who has been to Germany?

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February 2, 2014 9:34 AM
I lived in Munich for 4 years and now live near Frankfurt part of the week. Feel free to ask anything, there is also a German board here - you can ask them whatever you want.

You'll be fine in Munich.
February 2, 2014 9:42 AM

Oh we won't be rude American tourists. I promise that. I'm nice to a fault. We were planning to learn a few phrases and such before we left. Thanks for the heads up on the plastic. I'd planned to bring my debit card. Our hotel is right by the train station so we planned to use the train for transport. I also bought some good walking shoes (not tennis shoes). I've heard Europeans don't wear tennis shoes for daily wear, so I don't want to totally stick out as Ms. American tourist!

We're only there for a week, so I'm not sure how much we can squeeze in. I do want to find some cool souvenirs to buy for my mom, sister (and her hubby and babies), coworkers and pet sitters. We've already spent so much on this trip!

So if I do bring my debit card... I'll have it stored in my theft protected bag I'm carrying. I'm hoping I will be ok? Or should we stick to strictly carrying Euros?

If your debit card is set up to work at ATMs abroad you'll be fine. It isn't that there is rampant identity theft (this is incorrect) it that a lot of shops in Germany accept EC cards and not Credit Cards. But you can always use them in an ATM. Btw, it is generally not a good idea to carry a lot of cash when traveling but Germany, especially Munich, is a particularly safe area. Living here, I always try to use my visa first, then EC then cash. It's rare to be in a place that doesn't take at least an EC card, but since you won't have that, carry some cash as backup. Do not exchange cash at hotels unless you are willing to get worst rates.

Don't worry about sticking out. You will and it doesn't matter.
February 2, 2014 9:44 AM
I went to Frankfurt in 2008, but was only there for a few days before heading to France for the bulk of my trip. The food was awesome; even the free breakfast in our hotel blew away anything we have here in the states.

Eta: we never encountered any rudeness in Germany. Everyone we came into contact with was friendly and helpful.
Edited by Mia_RagazzaTosta On February 2, 2014 9:47 AM
February 2, 2014 9:48 AM
My bank is for military members so cards work around the world. It's a mastercard tho.. so hoping that works too? I can use an ATM to withdraw Euros.

I don't plan to carry a lot of money on me at any given time. And again, my purse is an anti theft bag.

I'm so excited to go!!
February 2, 2014 9:54 AM

My bank is for military members so cards work around the world. It's a mastercard tho.. so hoping that works too? I can use an ATM to withdraw Euros.

I don't plan to carry a lot of money on me at any given time. And again, my purse is an anti theft bag.

I'm so excited to go!!

MasterCard, where credit cards are accepted, is fine. If you need a good supermarket in Munich the Rewe there accepts it. DM, a type of drug/health store will be cash only, if you use it. Speaking of, if you have prescriptions or OTC drugs that you use, bring them, you can basically forget getting them without a visit to a doctor or jumping through hoops while lit on fire.
February 2, 2014 10:49 AM

Germans think Americans are insincere with our constant smiles... don't let it stop you. Be friendly.

I felt safe traveling there - in general, forget the anti-theft purse and wear a money belt.

Most Germans speak some English. And they will apologize for their "bad English" even though you understand them perfectly; most Americans don't even attempt to learn their language. They pronounce "v" like a "w". So Vampire sounds like Wampire - try not to giggle.

Don't be surprised if you strike up a conversation with a German when they jump right into politics. They will express their opinion in no uncertain terms. I like the bluntness in their conversation. Make sure you brush up on news a little if you're not in the habit - nothing worse than an American who doesn't know who Merkel or Putin is, what's going on in the Ukraine or Thailand, and so on. Europeans in general are so much more informed than we are.

Keep a couple of Euros in your pocket. There are no free public restrooms. You pay the attendant one Euro - as a result you get really clean pubic restrooms. The stalls have no openings or gaps like American stalls - they are like little closets with a door that fully closes.

Try the bratwurst on the street and the doner already mentioned. Also try the currywurst fries - ketchup mixed with spicy curry. Yum!

I went to Buchenwald - you will need time to emotionally process the experience afterwards- talk with your family and just have some down time if needed.

Germany will make you slow down and relax - spending a few hours for dinner or hanging in a biergarten will be some of your best memories.


I wouldn't agree about the smiling thing. I've rarely met a German who didn't smile all the time. Maybe it's where I lived, or maybe the Germans I know, but smiling is almost constant.

Get a German-English Dictionary and a phrase book. Study it before you go. You should at the very least know how to ask where a restroom is in the polite form, order a beer, understand simple directional words like north, south, east, west, right, left, straight, behind. Learn some counting for using currency, and how cities are pronounced when you're in train depots.

Tour guides are fantastic, but make sure you have time to see the areas without a guide. Taking the time to stroll alone or with your traveling companion is something I highly recommend.

And never let language barriers hinder you. As an example, I went to Bali, and through a mistake made by the travel agent, our guide spoke Japanese, Balinese, and Javanese. His English was terrible, and our Japanese was limited, but that was the closest common language we had. Despite communications between us being in broken Japanese and only some simple English words, we were able to see some of the most unique sites in Bali, sites away from touristy areas, were invited into a Balinese home, and got to see some rather interesting religious rituals at a temple that are typically not seen by foreigners.

Point is, just go, relax and enjoy everything.
February 2, 2014 10:51 AM
Lived there for 4 years, loved it.
February 2, 2014 10:57 AM
Phrases to learn:

Ein altebierbowle bitte.

Ein berliner bitte.

You should be good tongue

Of course, that could just be me, but I miss both of those terribly.
February 2, 2014 2:10 PM
To all - anyone know what the weather is like in March? I've looked it up online but can't seem to get a good idea. How should I dress? Looks like it's in the 40s and 50s possibly?

I live in San Antonio Texas and don't have a lot of cooler weather clothing. (Used to live in Illinois but got rid of the cold weather stuff!)
February 2, 2014 4:24 PM
March weather varies enormously in Munich. Can be sunny and warm but you can easily also get a snow storm. Bring layers.
February 2, 2014 4:27 PM

March weather varies enormously in Munich. Can be sunny and warm but you can easily also get a snow storm. Bring layers.

That was my plan. Just afraid I'll over pack. I tend to do that...
February 2, 2014 10:52 PM
If you get a chance, go see Neuschwenstein Castle. It's absolutely gorgeous! I did a 9 day Trafalgar tour through Austria and Germany and one of my highlights was the castle they based the Disney castle on (Neuschwenstein).

The only thing is you can't take photos inside (but plenty of photos outside). You can also stand on a rickety bridge to get a spectacular view of the castle as well.

Oh, don't forget the Hofbrauhaus in Munich! Go for the litre stein! Ohhh..... I love me some German beer. *droooool*

If you like science-y stuff, check out the very large Science Museum. I spent 4 hours in that museum, it was awesome.

Buy some Birkenstocks shoes as well, they're quite cheap in Munich (50-60 euros) which is very reasonable compared to internationally.

Go on a walking tour as well, they're great fun. Got to see Mozart's place!

Berchtesgarden (Hitler's holiday resort area) is quite pretty too, if you can get a bus to there.
June 7, 2014 5:09 PM

March weather varies enormously in Munich. Can be sunny and warm but you can easily also get a snow storm. Bring layers.

Weather in Munich rides a roller coaster any month of the year LOL
Layers, definitely wear layers!
June 7, 2014 5:56 PM
Neuschwanstein and Linderhof (please Google these two!) are both uniquely beautiful castles.

I also enjoyed going to Kloster Andechs for some fantastic beer, bread, and cheese.

Spent the rest of my time in the mountains. Zugspitze (borders Austria) has a nice beer garden on top.

If you make it to Austria, you may want to break out in your best Julie Andrews voice singing, "The hills are alive, with the sound of music..." wink

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