There are certain things nobody tells you before coming to Germany, but you eventually find out they are extremely important and mostly curious. So here is a small list of what you should know before your next visit to the sausage country.
This is probably the most important tip I can give you. Pfand is the recycle system they have in Germany for most bottles made of soft or hard plastic, glass and cans. It is a tax that varies from 0,08 cents (glass) to 0,25 cents (soft plastic) that you pay extra from the value of the product. So the price that you see on the shelves is not the one you will pay.
NOT all bottles are included, but a good 80 to 90% of them are like beer, coca-cola branded products and so on. The ones that are not, have a sign excluding this tax.
The good news is you get your money back once you return the intact bottle in the machines or designated areas in all supermarkets.
So, always keep your bottles.
In case you are not feeling like taking the bottle with you, don´t throw it on the trash, just leave in on the side. Normally, people in need will collect them and have a little bit extra cash.
P.S. It is also a great way to save a some extra money for the end of the month, if you keep your bottles.
Don’t touch the dogs
Generally people in Germany are super nice, but conservative, so they usually don’t appreciate when you invade their personal space and that includes touching the dogs on the street.
Even if it looks like the cutest thing you have ever seen and you cannot help yourself to give it a cuddle, make sure you ask the owner first.
It is probably a cultural thing, but growing up in Brazil I was used to cold ass drinks, especially beer. Putting ice cubes on drinks we just got out of the fridge (not beer, of course, that would be a crime) it’s more than normal.
So you would think the also known as beer country would have amazing ice cold beer, right? No, wrong! Drinks here are served chilled, not cold. So if you want something extra cold, make sure to ask it with ice cubes.
Toilet paper on the toilet
Also another cultural issue. Up until I came to Europe, throwing used toilet paper on the trashcan next to it was normal. Now I realize how gross that is, but in my defense, the Brazilian water system is not the best and probably won’t manage to drain the paper through the pipes.
But, well, here we are, in good old Germany (and most European countries), and here we throw the used toilet paper in the toilet and make sure it drains properly. Most bathrooms don’t even have a trash can, which is particularly annoying for girls, but you can always manage to find a way to discard hygiene products somewhere.
The public transportation in German does not have any kind of barriers to enter the stations, which means you could technically enter any subway, train, bus and train without a ticket, but, that’s a mean of trust, and they have “secret” controllers everywhere without uniforms that are allowed to ask for a ticket and in case you haven’t bought one you will have to pay a fine in the value of 60 EUR, which is much more than the ticket would have costed.
Long story short: ALWAYS BUY A TICKET.
That are lots of types like single tickets that lasts for 2 hours, short distance tickets that can take you up to 3 stations, day tickets, group day tickets, weekly tickets and much more.
To select another language in the machine to find the perfect ticket for you just click on the small flags on the screen. Once you bought your ticket you might have to validate it (it will be written on the ticket).
Another curiosity is that you don’t need to sign for the bus to stop. Just make sure you are standing when it approaches. The buses always stop next to the board where you can see which buses go through, which stops they make and their timetable.
You can check the best connections to your destination through this website or the BVG app (you can also buy your tickets in the app), if you are in Berlin.
Have you ever been to Germany? Do you have any more tips?