Some early observations.

The west side / east side divide is alive. Particularly surprising is that I found this out from a man who was no more than thirty years old and laughed as he told us that East Germans are not real Germans. Ouch.

Jogging on the sidewalk is considered an American phenomenon. While Germans know it exists from movies, it seems silly to engage in such activity when forests and parks are so close.

If you begin speaking German to someone, he will often respond to you in English. Many people are excited for the opportunity to practice, so you must tell them that it is important for YOU to practice your Deutsch.

That said, it is NOT true that everyone speaks English. V and I experienced this during our visit in May and it has been confirmed over the past week. So, Americans, can we please stop saying that?

Spicy food is available here! Woo! It’s just that you can only find it at one of the many Döner kebab restaurants and it is a delicious red pepper spice blend that you can pour onto your pommes frites and gyro meat. Thank God for the large Turkish immigrant population!

Yes, there is a lot of beer drinking. Even during lunch time, V and I walk the pedestrian square and we see everyone from old couples to mother and daughter pairs sipping pints over their bistro meals.

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