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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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germany visit

Got home yesterday afternoon. Germany was great, though we weren't there nearly long enough (it seemed like by the time I adjusted to the time difference, we had to go home!).

Main Things I Learned On The Trip:

1. Most German tourist books say that everyone in Germany speaks English. This is a Lie.

2. "Sprech sie Englisch?" should be one of the phrases you learn first. If the person answers "a little", this is the equivalent to saying "no". :-)

3. In some public restroom areas, a woman sits outside the doors beside a table with a bowl of change. This is the cleaning woman, and she expects to be tipped 20-50 pfennigs. If you don't tip her, she gives you a dirty look.

4. The bread in Germany is to die for.

5. So is the Goslar jagar schnitzel and Nuremberg bratwurst.

6. Don't jaywalk. (My friend Scott jaywalked in Mainz once, and an old man followed him all the way to the train station just to ream him out about it, calling out "For shame! For shame!")

7. The word for chocolate is "schokolade".

We ended up not going to Zurich, opting instead to stay in Germany and spend a little longer checking out scenic villages and towns. The cathedrals were amazing; it's a wonder my neck didn't get sore from all the gawking up at lofty ceilings and soaring pillars. The language barrier was a fairly big one; if Scott hadn't been with us to translate, it would have been much more difficult to do straightforward things (like order from a menu, for instance). I wish I had done some more language prep before the trip. In just the week we spent in Germany, however, Jeff and I both picked up quite a bit in terms of learning essential phrases (distinguishing between "Men" and "Women" on restroom doors, for instance! Also stuff like "exit", "entry", "one way", "entry forbidden", "old town", "town center", "good morning", "thank you", "please", "I speak no German", that sort of thing) The first part of the trip was spent in smaller villages, where very few people spoke English and there were few foreigners...I didn't see a single non-white person until we went to larger (and more touristy) cities like Nuremberg and Mainz.

Everyone we met was very friendly and helpful with our bumbling about with trying to pronounce things from my phrasebook.
I'll probably go on more about our Germany trip in future blatherings. Came home to 1788 email messages, mostly work-related. Catching up is going to be quite the challenge, I think.

Today's Site: Spam Filter Page. If your email software has filtering capabilities, this might be a solution for you...uses only fifteen filters. I'm going to try this and will report on any noticeable difference.

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