mardi 29 novembre 2011



So since I’ve been in Germany, I’ve noticed some things that are different than what we are usually used to in Canada. Here are some random observations

-       There are not really any Supermarkets here. You know how you can walk in a Loblaws, or Maxi, or Metro and find EVRYTHING you would ever need. So many choices. Well here, the stores are tiny compared to back home. And there is only one of everything. In Canada, you could find 10 different kinds of cans of corn: small, big, 5 different brands. Here, there is one. If you want corn, you buy the one there is.

-       I’ve never seen so many people with leg problems here. Everyday, you see at least 5 people with crutches, or canes or people that limp or have weird feet. I don’t know why, but there are so many.

-       The bikes are probably more dangerous than the cars. Bikers do whatever they want. Don’t get in their way cause they won’t stop for you. And almost no one wears a helmut. You also have to have a light on your bike, if not, you can get a ticket from the polizei. Most of the lights work when you pedal.

-       People in the buses, s-bahn or u-bahn don’t give up their seat for older people.

-       When I was visiting apartments, I noticed that most german apartments don’t have living rooms. You come into a hall surrounded by closed rooms. Even the kitchen is in a closed area.

-       Most people have washers, but no dryers.

-       This is more of a European thing, but you have to pay to use most public toilets. Usually 50 cents.

-       People almost never bring lunch to work. Everyone goes out for lunch and has a big proper meal. Some companies (including mine), give you pay for lunches. When I am at the office, I get 3 euros a day in the form of coupons that I can then use in restaurants or grocery stores.

-       People usually don’t drink water or something when they eat (unless it’s a beer). So people will go an entire lunch without drinking.

-       When you order water in a Restaurant, unless you specify, they will bring you sparkling water. They drink sparkling everything here. Even if you say without, there is usually a bit of bubbles in it.

-       Most men do not lose their hair. I haven’t seen a lot of people with bold spots.

If I see any other interesting differences, I might have to make a part 2 to this post.

mardi 1 novembre 2011

Munich vs Berlin

I just got back form a long weekend in Berlin with Lauren and Leah. While we were there, we made a list of pros and cons of each city to see which one wins in the end. Here we go, in no specific order:

  • The men: there are more beautiful men in Munich than Berlin. Don’t know why. You just see them everywhere in Munich. I think it’s a requirement to live in this city. Munich wins.
  • The smell: Berlin has this weird smell in certain parts of the city. Some, not to say a lot of places smell like crap and pee. Munich wins.
  • Little ample man: Berlin has this cool green man to tell you when you can cross the street. It’s probably the best I’ve seen in any city in the world. Berlin wins, although I should count as half a point as this man is only in half f the city. The other half has just a regular little man.
  • Cell phone coverage: When we arrived, we noticed that the data was pretty fast in Berlin. But after a few hours, mine seemed to be the one working the best. So we’ll give the point to Berlin since we had initially given it to it, but it may be a tie. Berlin wins.
  • S-bahn stations: The s-bahn stations in Berlin are messy (garbage all over the ground), dodgy (some I would not want to be alone at night) and are not really that pretty to look at. Munich is clean, safe and fairly nice for train stations. Munich wins.
  • Escalators in the s-bahn / u-bahn: We were so tired from walking everywhere, we just wanted to take a nice escalator up from the platforms in the stations, but most stations we were not able to find any escalators to take us up. Munich has them everywhere and elevators as well. Munich wins.
  • Reversing escalators: On the occasions that we found escalators in Berlin, some of them would only go in one direction. So if you wanted the other, too bad for you. Munich has a lot of reversing escalators. So when no one is on it, you can change the direction and go the way you want. Munich wins.
  • Frequency of s-bahns: We never waited more than 2 minutes for an s-bahn or u-bahn in Berlin. Wherever we went, there seemed to always be a train waiting for us. Berlin wins.
  • Seeing outside the windows of the u-bahn: The windows of the u-bahns in Berlin are covered with pictures of the Brandenburg tor, which makes it really hard to see out the window the name of the stop you are at. Munich has nice clear windows. Munich wins.
  • City symbols: Although lions are cool, the Berlin bear is really cool and there are statues of it everywhere in the city, all decorated in different ways. Berlin wins.
  • Sewer system: For those who don’t know, part of Berlins sewer system is in pipes out of the ground around the city. When you walk around and see pink tubes around, just know they are carrying, no other way to put this, s**t. Munich wins.
  • Dogs: Germany is a very dog friendly country. You can bring your dogs everywhere. So you get to see a lot of dogs. Both cities have beautiful dogs. tie.
  • Finding doners: The doner kebab is probably one of the best fast food meals you can get in Germany. We had heard that Berlin made good kebabs, so we decided to have some for lunch. Well, contrary to Munich, you can not just go anywhere and find kebabs. It took us a day and a half to find our first kebab shop. I think you can find one every few blocks in Munich. Munich wins.
  • Taste of doners: Once we actually found one, we had a nice lunch It was delicious, but they are delicious in Munich as well. tie.
  • Crazies: There aren’t many homeless people in Munich that bother you. When we were waiting for the s-bahn in Berlin, this man came up to us and started coughing on us and when he left, he burped. A little bit weird. Munich wins.
  • Catholic holidays: We went up to Berlin cause we had Tuesday off. We thought it was a national holiday (none of us actually checked what the holiday was, we just accepted the day off). Well, turns out it’s all saints day, which is a catholic holiday and in Berlin, people are mostly protestant, so they did not get the day off. Munich wins.
  • Bike safety: In Munich, there is a special way of locking your bike, you just tie the front wheel to the centre part of your bike. You don’t really have to attach it to a post or a bike stand. And your bike is usually there when you come back. I’d say 50% of the bikes are just anywhere in the city attached to itself. All the bikes I saw in Berlin were locked to a post. Munich wins.
  • Lederhosen: Berlin has none, Munich has a lot. What else is there to say. Munich wins.
  • Speaking german: In Berlin, when you speak german to people, they will, 90% of the time, answer in english. This does not help you improve. In Munich, you ask something in german, they answer in german. Munich wins.

Well I think it’s safe to say that Munich wins hands down. This does not take anything away form Berlin. I love the city, but my city is Munich.