Cars, cooking, cash – differences between Germany and the US

First things first: Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US! I hope you’ll have a wonderful day with family, friends or whoever you choose to spend it with.

It’s been a hot minute since I previously joined Amanda on her venture of leisurely letting thoughts wander aka Thinking out loud. I’m not entirely sure how much of the blog world will really be around today so I opted for a non-heavy topic fitting whichever day you read it: Differences between the US and Germany. While I’ve yet to visit the US myself being part of the blog world for a long time – far longer than I’ve been blogging for myself – I did notice things here and there all the time.

Ready, set,: thoughts out loud!




Going places

Say hi to Deutsche Bahn!
A lot of Germans travel via train evidence of which can be found multiple times on my blog. It’s convenient, cheaper and more accessible than flying. And if you like surprises  [beware of upcoming sarcasm] Deutsche Bahn – the main trailway company – regularly has you in for those with delays, broken air conditioning in the summer heat and else. We make it sound more awful than it is, obviously. Well, unless we remember that time your connecting train on a long distance journey was cancelled, you spent an hour standing on a crowded platform in cold wind and seriously questioning if we were going to make it home that day still, all while being sick. Thanks for nothing, Deutsche Bahn.
But hey, we accept that for long distance travels because …


Gas is way more expensive than in the US
Last time I checked the gas my dad’s car needs was 1,35 € [around $1,42] – and that’s per litre, not gallon. That’s why won’t see any trucks or similarly big cars on the streets often here. Big hooray for public transport.

Restaurants, supermarkets and home

Running to the store on Sunday? No way.
You guessed that right: stores are closed on Sundays. Exception to this rules can be found in some bigger cities, usually stores located in central stations. And if you run out of snacks at night you might be out of luck, too. Most supermarkets close at 8 PM. Again, cities can be the exception with certain ones not closing until 10 or at the very latest – and I’ve only seen this twice before – midnight.

Just like your car you’d better not be super thirsty.

Because there are no free refills in Germany. In fact, some restaurant owners make the majority of their profit through beverages,  not food. The only exception being IKEA – thank you for introducing me to this novelty as a child, Sweden – where you can drink to your heart’s content.

Got cash?

If you plan on visiting Germany: a) let me know [duh!] and b) bring some cash. Well, you might have to do that in anyway because of the different currency but really: we like to pay in cash. Sure, I keep my bank card in my wallet at all times but only really use it to pay if I’m making big purchases. Some stores even have a minimum amount of spendings you need to reach before they let you use your debit card. And once you’ve paid …

Hurry up!

Because cashiers want you out as soon as possible. This is one thing that seriously annoys me. At best, you’d have your purchases stashed away and be on your way out right after you finished paying. I’m not entirely sure of the situation in the US but a friend from the UK told me you could take a lot more time to pack over there. There’s also no employee to help you bag up your stuff because hey, that could make you feel entirely too welcome at the checkout.

Take your shoes off, please
… and grab a pair of slippers. We do not wear shoes other than the latter in the house. I was surprised to hear people apparently walk around in their outdoor shoes at home in the US. Is that true? Sexier than the Birkenstock-like sandals I’m wearing as I type this for sure ;).

Cooking and baking

Let’s do the math!
… or just break out the kitchen scales. You might have already known that we do not measure in cups over here. Honestly, cup measurements used to seriously confuse me when I started reading blogs and trying US recipes. How many potatoes are you supposed to buy when a dish calls for two cups, diced? By now, I’m way better at this yet still prefer using scales. So much more accurate. [Completely subjective opinon of course]


You’re putting what into your dessert pie?!

Seasonal fact:pumpkin is not eaten the sweet way in Germany. We go savoury. Actually, you won’t find canned pumpkin on the shelves of any store, either. It’s only through social media and also very very slowly that some people – usually inspired by Instagram – start making their own pumpkin puree to use in sweet dishes.

Wrapping it up here even though I could come up with way more examples. But over to you and your experiences in other countries  – let me know about them in the comments!

Happiness-inducing today: More of that glorious autumn sunshine I mentioned in my previous post.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living


Did you know about any of these differences between Germany and the US?

What are some differences between other countries you visited and your homecountry?

… and whichever random thoughts come to your mind here.






9 thoughts on “Cars, cooking, cash – differences between Germany and the US

  1. Emily Swanson says:

    Love seeing the differences between different countries. ❤ I did notice that cashiers in Europe were a bit more in a hurry than cashiers here? Ireland was totally different; they seemed to really want to chat (which I'm kind of a chatter.) And that's so interesting that you don't do sweet with pumpkin. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I'm thankful that God made so many different people in this world.

  2. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar says:

    Lol on your Deutsche Bahn frustrations. But frankly, I think it’s pretty neat that there’s so much public transportation available. So much better for the environment!
    I don’t mind no free refills on soda, but I did not particularly like how most restaurants don’t give you a free glass of water, and if you pay for water, you get a little tiny class. Big glasses of ice water are the norm here, for sure.

  3. Ellie says:

    I saw a video about the grocery store check out on Youtube a while back. That is crazy! What about moms with kids? Or TONS of groceries?! I don’t think I would have a problem, but I don’t think that would fly here. Do you have self-checkout?

  4. chasetheredgrape says:

    This is brilliant – most of them apply to scotland too and at least half of them apply to Australia… It’s the cups one that gets me the most! Baking requires accuracy and that means scales!

  5. Kristy from Southern In Law says:

    Yep! No free refills in Australia either and pumpkin is mostly eaten savory here too!

    The first thing I always have to remember in the US is tipping! EVERYONE expects a tip because their wages are so low, however, in Australia tipping is optional and you only really ever leave a tip at a restaurant – and that’s only if you want to!

  6. mylittletablespoon says:

    You did it!! Yay I love this post! I’d love to continue learning more about your country and your way of day to day living. The grocery check out thing was a total new one to me. Though I don’t think I did any actual shopping of that sort when I was in Scotland this summer so never got a chance to see any difference. You’d hate me there. I take my sweet ass time packing my grocery bags. We have double bag-up conveyer belts for people just like me.
    I love European travel. I totally understand how it may be a headache for you – but for me riding a train is a total novelty. What I’ve noticed most are a) the coffee (do you guys have brewed coffee there or only Americanos??) b) tipping (do you guys tip?) and c) the recipe conversions. I have no idea how to read ounce or pounds….

  7. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets says:

    People do walk around in their outdoor shoes here indoors. It makes me nuts, and I prefer people ditch their footwear at the door.

    I love the train system over there. I took the slow train from Brussels to Amsterdam a few years back and it was one of the highlights of my trip.

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