At times it may appear Americans have a peculiar relationship with alcohol, but I have come to believe we ain't got nothing on Berlin baby!
The recycling here is amazing but has led to some strange sights around town. It is more economical to buy a case of 20 beers each time because you pay a deposit on each beer to be refunded upon return. You buy your case of .5 L 20 beers + case and when you bring it back get 3 Euro to spend at the store next time! however, there is the ordeal of taking the case back to your home. One person on each side with people on bikes whizzing by, kids running away from their moms....it is tempting to use the case like a battering ram & just take people out.
When shopping for beer, woe be to those that do not check alcohol content. You may be sipping on your first beer of the evening thinking "Gee, I feel a little funny" only to later find that beer you were sipping on was 9% and you are waking up with a killer hangover the next morning.
And if this were not all strange enough, there is the alcohol aisle. Ah yes- an entire aisle of Hard A in just about every mini-mart, grocery store, or mom & pop shop. The varieties of Vodka, Rum, and variations of Jaegermeister Oh My! We walked in to a grocery store, innocently checking out the vegetables when we stumbled upon a free sample- of vodka. "Oh yes sir", I would like to sample that vodka. A word you learn quick in Germany is "probiert", it means to try & is often followed by free goodies.
The last little oddity I will talk about here is the drinking on the streets. Ian has adapted to it quite quickly, but I still feel a little scandalous taking a swig out in the open air. Gone are the ways of concealing alcohol that we see in the States: no paper bags, backpacks, or mislabled pop bottles. People drink proudly- it is fierabend all week for some. My eyes have been opened, for better or worse, that drinking in Germany is a whole different sport.
(p.s. Why is there a picture of strange guys in ledehosen? This group of teens dropped their crate of beer in Marienplatz, Munich on their way to Oktoberfest- and they were laughing! That's how you know they were drunk)
On a completely different note- we are off to Austria on Friday! A family friend is going to show us around her town of Ebreichsdorf as well as Eisenstadt, Baden, and of course Vienna. To the Alps!