Monday, November 21, 2016

What you should know before arrival

Before heading over I took a moment and looked at some Do's and Don'ts. When teaching World Geography class I often asked students to research the different places we were going to visit to find out anything important that would make their visit safe and fun. Used a number of sources - one was USA Today newspaper. So here are a few items we've learned about Germany and Italy. 

First, let's look at some do's and don'ts for Germany

  • The fact we will be traveling to Germany in December we need to consider the weather. Germany tends to be cold in the winter so we need to take some warm clothes and coats. 
  • Germans like people on time. Now, we will be meeting up with our son and daughter in-law so time shouldn't be an issue. 
  • I'm sure we will eat out so it's important that we say "Guten Appetit" which in English means "have a good meal". "Danke Gleichfalls" means "thank you". Don't put your elbows on the table. When done place the fork and knife on the same side of the plate. Tipping in Germany is not required or expected but if you tip it's 10%. Also, if there is space at the table in a restaurant don't be surprise they want to sit a stranger with you. Don't eat with your fingers.
  • The following image outlines dining in Germany.

  • Carrying cash will be important because using Credit Cards may not be available. 
  • No Jaywalking in Germany.
  • Recycling is a must!
  • Shake hands with people you meet and say. "Guetn Tag" (good day). Make sure to keep eye contact while shaking hands and do not have the other hand in your pocket. Introduce yourself by your last name. 

Now, let's take a look at our trip to Italy

  • Cash is king - most businesses are not a fan of the credit card.
  • There is NO Italian food -- just food.
  • If we ride a train we can expect that the train will run late. For that matter most things will run late - so be patient. 
  • Once you order don't expect the waiter to come back and check on you. You will most likely have to request your bill. They want to give you as much time as you want to eat. 
  • Taking a Gondolier ride can be expense. Upwards of $65.00 a person. It's much cheaper to take the water taxi if we want to experience the water. 
  • Best foods for Rome where we will be - spaghetti Alta carbonara, spaghetti all'amatriciana and lamb. Gnocchi, bresaola, polenta dishes, and the ultra-popular Italian dessert tiramis├╣.
  • Tipping is not required and only consider tipping if the service is good.
  • Do ont put parmesan cheese on any type of seafood. 
  • Salads will have olive oil or vinegar but no salad dressing.
  • If we want the best pizza it said that we need to go to Naples
  • Pickpockets are common - take extra care.
  • Found this photo that provides some guidelines as well

General thoughts
  • Be prepared to surrender your passport at the hotel. It is common for the hotel to collect your passport.
  • Plan on turning your key in at the desk each time you leave instead of keeping in your pocket like you do here in the states. 
  • Many of the older hotels will have smaller rooms and that includes the bathroom. I don't believe we will actual be in a hotel. Our German stay has us at our kids house and in Rome, if I understand correct, we rented a house. 
  • Driving etiquette varies from country to country. For example while in Germany you only use the fast lane to pass. You don't use it to cruise in. 
Ok that gives us some insight to our venture. My plan for the next post will be around packing for the trip. 

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