Everyday life in Germany: 14 weird things

Let’s face it,  expat life can be exciting, new place, new surroundings,  and definitely so many new routines, but full of mind-boggling  experience as well! Especially if you see a different culture that’s totally non-existent from the way you used to live before.Living here in Germany for the past months has been really great, but many times, I see things that totally cracks me up. But no matter how weird it may seem, I can’t deny that I am starting to love the German lifestyle. As an Asian Expat, here are some ” weird” things  I found here.

The quaint view  from above  of my town in Germany

Have a laugh, or comment if you want, and yes, enjoy some time of awkwardness!

P.S. As disclaimer, these are all my OPINIONS and based on my personal experience. So, here we go!

1.German water comes from the Alps, they say it’s the best water in the world, how about the massivee Kalk?

I swear our kettle is a living testament for this! It has massive, hardened, irritating, Kalk inside. Tap water is super safe to drink but I find it so annoying to see the shiny stuff that floats on the surface of tea. Kalk is the reason why the pits of  shirts never get quite white, the grit on your wine glasses after using the dishwasher, the white stuff that clogs your clothes iron, the white stuff that remains after you boil water, the reason why you have to use 50% more detergent when doing laundry and the spots it creates after every shower is driving me mad. No wonder there’s an aisle in the supermarket dedicated for all the anti-calc problems!

Germans love to drink Sparkling water and nobody likes water from the tap (Leitungswasser).

2. Sparkling water

Germans have a serious love-affair with ‘fizzy’ water ( or sparkling water). Water here is gold,you certainly CANNOT have a free water in the restaurant. Here, you pay for water and most of the times, they serve you with sparkling water unless you insist on getting the ‘still‘ water.The only water you can get at a restaurant will be bottled water with carbonation, or bottled water without carbonation.

3. Sprechen Sie Englisch? “A little” (or Ein bischenn)

I have this habit of asking Germans if they speak English, Always! But I always have the same response: Ein bischenn ( or a little bit ) . I observed that Germans are not boastful, or the bragger type. A country who has a very high standard of education and thousands of Ausbildungs and to think that most European speaks 2-3 language, and yet, seemed to be reluctant to speak in English, or shy in a way. Maybe they just want to appear silly. So now, every time someone says ‘a little‘, I  just assume they speak perfect English. I find this strange, but OK, they are Germans!

Bitte drucken -germany
No JAYWALKING in Germany.

4.Germans loves Rules and Order–Everytime!

Nobody EVER  jaywalks in Germany. Everyone obeys the rules! They have a thing with Ordnung    ( or order) most especially traffic rules and Recycling. So from someone who came from a traffic congested Manila and chaotic driving maniacs from the Gulf road in Kuwait, observing traffic and driving behaviour in Germany is something fascinating. From my experience, drivers are  super polite, nobody shouts in the road, I have never seen road rage as often I saw in Kuwait and  the one thing that you will never find in the Gulf countries– they always gives way to pedestrians. There are many zebra crossing and people with disability are always given proper consideration. Just don’t walk in their cycling lanes or else, you’ll get angry stares and the bell will absolutely ring twice!


5. It’s a bad luck to wish someone “happy Birthday “in advance.

I didn’t know that greeting someone when it’s not yet their birthday is considered as bad luck for Germans! Never ever greet in advance to a German or you will receive angry stare, probably a long silence.There’s a saying that sums up the German mentality nicely: “Du sollst den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben,” or, “You shouldn’t praise the day before the night.” It means don’t be sure of something until it happens, because then it won’t happen. So wishing someone a happy birthday early could mean they won’t have one, or more precisely, that they’ll die.

Big flat buttn for a job well done!

6.The thing about German Toilets

No hose.No Bidet. For ladies you know what I mean. Back home and while  I was still living in Kuwait, we have water hose beside the toilet bowl. But here,not a single one. Germany loves everything that is energy-saving, water saving, and environment-friendly. If you want to live in Germany, get use to toilet papers.More funny thing is, in our apartment,our toilet (Bad) is facing a major busy road, so when you do your business, you have a view! Imagine that!

Another thing, all German toilets have big square or rectangular buttons. A big button for a job well done!My daughter loves to push this because it’s so easy, totally different from toilet bowl designs I grew up with a push valve that you pull to release water.

7. Big Light Switches and Kid-friendly outlets.

Apparently the little light switches that flick on and off in Kuwait and from Philippines just don’t cut it in size for the Germans. Here, they have these massive buttons  that allows for an easy on and off. Have you ever tried to turn on the light in the dark feeling the entire wall before finding the switch? Not in Germany! In our basement where the laundry area is located, there are lights in the corridor which switch off automatically after 1 minute. I was feeling creepy the first time I experience this because I was waiting for the light to be out, no matter how I push, it’s still ON.

Roller shutters
Roller shutters in windows  Germany

8.Jail Blinds and every windows with Roller shutters 

We have large windows that also serves as doors in our living room and bedrooms.Talk about functionality, here in Germany, most homes have this type of windows. The light flooded our house on a sunny day and I love that. All our windows have roller shutters and many German homes have the same blinds. Though it offers a guaranteed sleep in the pitch black, I find it rather spooky at first. Around 6pm when it’s starts to get dark, you can hear all the shutters being put down. If you walk in the streets at night, it can really be so silent. So totally different from Philippines. In Germany it is not always so easy to know what your neighbors are doing.

9. Wide Open Windows and sometimes, curtain-less!

This is possibly the best window there is! I feel so free when I wake up, open the window wide and hang half of my body outside for some crisp, clean, fresh morning air. The levers on these windows don’t only open sideways but from the top too! You can decide to tilt it to let some air come in, or open it fully sideways.the best thing is, everything looks so modern with clear windows and no squeaking hinges.

10. They Have Style When it Comes to Buying Groceries

Perhaps not every German, but when here in Bavaria, almost all the locals I see are shopping with wooden baskets. Here in Bavaria, in the old town during weekend market, the sight of people shopping with wooden baskets is so idyllic. I see so may of these little wicker baskets or little canvas bags, some are even attached to their bikes. Way to take the reins on eco-friendly shopping Germany! There is also the trolley that the old people use to get groceries. I have never seen something like this in Kuwait or in Philippines.

And yes, you need to bring your own bag when you buy groceries and you pack your own goods!

Life in Germany : Two duvets in 2 separate beds, Two is better than ONE!

11. Square Pillows and Double duvets in two separate beds

Yes,Germany is one of the countries here in Europe and in Scandinavia that uses two beds, two duvets for a couple’s bed.This was a total shock to me when I first saw it. I love the idea of comfort, more sound sleep idea that you get from it, but I am never fan of this square ( 80 x 80cm )  pillows. I don’t like it and it’s a pain in the neck.

12. Sunday is really a Quiet Day.

On Sundays, ( or Ruhetag )  it is illegal to mow your lawn so don’t ever think about it. Your neighbor would probably won’t approve. It is considered rude to ride your loud motorcycle. Basically, you shouldn’t use any mechanical or electronic device that makes noise. If the walls are thin between you and your neighbors, they might ask that you don’t do laundry on Sundays (which is when I do laundry). German’s like their quiet time so they just keep on cycling all through out the day especially on a bright, sunny day!

Walking on a dreary winter, on a frozen lake!!

13. They love the Outdoor life.To the max!

Okay this one is no- brainer. Back then in Kuwait, people also flock outside especially when the weather is cooler and mild. But here, what surprises me is how Germans love outdoors no matter what the season is. People are cycling in winter. Walking their dogs every single day. Sunbathing in the parks in summer, and get a ‘tan’ sitting on cafes with strollers and everything on bright sunny days on weekends. On Saturdays, people flock in the wet markets to get fresh produce, at the same time eating weisswurst and beer at 10 am! Old people are super edgy, hiking and do nordic walks. Even young people walk with the “magic stick”.Children live half of their day in the parks and playgrounds. For Germans : There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!

14. Remember that Eis is not Ice

I am used to having ice cubes in my beverages. I am never a fan of drinks without the chill, unless its coffee. But in Germany, putting ice cubes in drinks is not common, and if you want ice for a drink, you may want to ask for “Eiswürfeln” (ice cubes) instead of simply “ice” to avoid confusion. Also, Eis means ‘ice cream’ so be careful when ordering. In Germany, eating an ice cream on a cold days is also very typical!


There you have it!  Do you also find any ‘strange’things in your country now compared from what you’ve used to?Feel free to share in the comments!

Stay tuned for more stories like this on my next post about Everyday Expat Life here in Germany.

Any thoughts? If  you enjoyed this post,  you might like to read more stories like this, here are further reading;

Bavaria in 100 Days!

25 Surprising facts about living in Germany

Why is it more Fun to be a kid in Germany

Servus ! How to say Hello in Bavaria

Tschüss !







19 thoughts on “Everyday life in Germany: 14 weird things

  1. Here in my town we get the water from own springs in nature reservats. However we also got too much kalk… in order not to ruin all the time our water boiler, coffee machine etc/ clean them every week, we use these days a small water filter (brita water filter). Sure it works only for small things, not for washing machine etc but at least we get rid of some of the kalk/ hard water

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes,we are doing that.But I was really surprised to see the mess from the kalk,imagine cleaning the bathroom everyday!!!
    Still, I am glad that tap water is potable enough to drink.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well Germany is known for its potable water, the only issue is really the kalk. I am glad that we have in our apartment block a swimming pool with sauna and showers so we do not need to shower (and clean it later) at home!


  4. Very interesting read! Thank you for sharing 🙂 It’s always interesting to read such accounts by expats/foreigners, as I can relate to them well! I don’t understand the deal with sparkling water, it;s quite popular here in Poland too, hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That was a fun read 🙂 so many things are the same as in Denmark where i come from!! If you don’t like ‘kalk’ you should try the uk!!! It’s horrendous…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow this is interesting! What a change from Kuwait!
    What exactly is kalk?
    Carbonated water… gross!
    I love the idea of taking your basket shopping and the whole concept of following the rules. I really miss that here in Kuwait.
    My husband would hate the idea of two single beds but I can see the benefits… oh and I LOVE those huge light switches.
    Inshallah, one day I will visit Germany!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well water here in Germany comes from the Alps and its hardness is high compared to other countries resulting to too much calcium. The residue after boiling the water/heated water results in this massive “white, hard stuff”. It’s really annoying and needs to be treated. Other than this, I find all things tolerable!
    Thanks Panda!
    Absolutely, wooden baskets are so cute! Don’t you have enough plastic bags now from Lulu or City center LOL??
    Go go go get that Schengen !


  8. Hello Julz, how’s life? Happy April fools!
    Well, I know that each country has something to rant about..I am not complaining, I just found these things totally “unknown”from my past life so they are worthy to mention for the record.
    What’s the strangest thing you need to get used to there in Mauritius?


  9. I didn’t post a photo cuz I find it gross 😦 I swear I clean the bath every single day not because I’m a clean freak but I just don’t like to see it!
    Don’t sell those plastic bags , you will need it for packing your things when you move soon ! 😀 : D

    Liked by 1 person

  10. All good here!! And you? I didnt mean it s you were complaining 😋 But seriously water in the uk is so hard it’s a joke – i don’t like it either!! It’s super gross. Luckily here it’s ok. Our problem comes more from the lack of water… like the communal water supply isnonly open a couple of hours everyday… i might do a post like yours 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey Julz! all is well over here.
    Reminds me when I was living in Kuwait,there were also a time we had short of water!!! and when the power was cut off and we desperately need an AC.
    Yes do it,I am curious to see your list!😍


  12. Very nice post! Indeed you nailed all the points here. But I can add one more thing: You shouldn’t call any German after 20:15, on Sunday. If you do, it must be very urgent. Because at that time, most German (90% of those I know) will watch their favorite (and longest) TV series Tatort 🙂


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