Last night I ordered lemonade at a restaurant and I was surprised when I was given a glass with ice in it. It was kinda funny honestly that I was already so accustomed to chilled or lukewarm beverages. Having lived in Germany for over a month now I figured it would be interesting to comment on a few differences between Germany and the United States, or at least the things that struck me during my time here. Full disclaimer, I’m not saying these are negatives or bad things, I’m just saying that they’re different from my experience growing up in the U.S.
Firstly, in this summer heat, NOTHING IS COLD.
Ok, yeah, that’s hyperbole. Seriously though, Germany is an incredibly eco-friendly country (more on that later) and I’m blaming this for the lack of cold things. A/C is very uncommon, most of the houses are built with thick walls to keep energy costs down. When there is A/C, it’s weak. Not that weak, but almost nonexistent when compared to the overkill A/C you find in Oklahoma. You know that blast of cold air you feel when you walk into a store? You really won’t find that here. Furthermore, I’ve been pretty hard pressed to find fans. I expected there to be ceiling fans to move the air around or something but I honestly haven’t seen that many.
Circling back to the drinks though, ice isn’t popular. I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve consumed ice on this trip. Unless you’re going for an iced latte, it’s best not to count on it. On a similar point, I didn’t realize how often I drank water for free. Not only do you have to pay for water in restaurants, there aren’t water fountains. When you do order water, you have to be very clear so that you don’t get sparkling water, although to be honest, even then you still get carbonated water half the time. The soda has a very different taste as well. Fanta, which is a German brand, is actually flavored with real orange juice and is far less sweet than the cloying taste of the U.S. version. Most of the soda I’ve tried has been made with real sugar and is far less intense than the bolstered fake flavors I’m used to. I quite like it to be honest. Oh, and have I mentioned the coffee? Rather than the drip coffee you find everywhere in the U.S., lungo is very popular here. It is actually impossible to make drip coffee with the coffee machines at my host family’s house and in the student lounge at school. I really don’t know what I’m going to do without it.