On our vacation we spent about two weeks in Germany, one day in Austria, and two days in Switzerland. When in Germany we were mostly in Bavaria and Franconia (Southern Germany).
Germany is a very interesting country and we really enjoyed our time in Germany. I want to point out some of the things I noticed about Germany:
1. Very few Germans have air conditioning in their homes. Some German businesses have air conditioning; however, a majority of businesses do not have air conditioning.
2. People drive very fast on the Autobahn.
3. I saw a lot of windmills. They were small and all looked to be exactly the same.
4. There was very little trash laying around; however, there was a significant amount of graffitti.
5. A lot of Germans had a lot of flowers in their yards, many houses and businesses had wooden flower boxes beneath their exterior windows.
6. Germany has extremely strict zoning laws. Germans are not allowed to build houses wherever they wish. German homes are clustered together. This creates an environemnt much different then in the US.
7. Ice was not real common.
8. Bavaria and Franconia are beautiful; rolling hills with a lot of woods and fields.
9. Most things were significantly more expensive in Germany then in the US. The exchange rate is a large factor in this since the Euro is at a high vs the dollar. (The dollar has plunged in the last few years for many reasons)
10. Restaurants were very expensive. At most restaurants you have to pay a 40% tax.
11. Recycling is mandatory in the parts of Germany we were in. I think it is mandatory in the entire country.
12. Gas was between $5 and $6 a gallon while we were in Europe. The price varied based on the price of oil and the local tax rates.
13. Small cars are much more common in Germany then the US.
14. Parking lots are much smaller then in the US.
15. Most stores are much smaller then in the US.
16. Almost everything is closed on Sunday. In fact you are not allowed to do anything that makes a lot of noise on Sunday. You are not supposed to even mow your yard on Sunday in the town we stayed in...