Monday, October 19, 2015

Paying for Tap Water in German Restaurants #travel #Germany

In the US, it is customary to tip from 15-20% in restaurants. Another American custom is that water is served liberally, for free. 

In Germany, we learned that the customary tip is from 5-10% in restaurants, and tap water is not free. Aside from ordering drinks, we have been asking for glasses of water, and waiters seemed puzzled at our request, although eventually they did give us our glasses of water. Last night, at the Sheraton where we stayed and had dinner, the waitress also appeared confused when we requested glasses of water . She did give us an entire pitcher of iced cold water and, to our surprise, charged us Eu 4 for “wasser.” We paid but I was planning on asking the hotel desk people about what I considered an unnecessary charge. Before I did, I fortunately checked the internet and stumbled upon a lot of discussion about the matter. 

That's how I learned that in Germany, people do not generally ask for tap water in restaurants, and if they do, they are charged for it. Eu 1 for a glass of water for instance, and in our case a pitcher of water for Eu 4.  (The other restaurants we’d been to had not charged us as the Sheraton did. Actually, for a big hoity-toity hotel the Sheraton also charged us for wi-fi, which in this day and age seems petty. The Maritim Hotel next door provided free wi-fi to their clients; I know because my laptop picked up their signal.)

There is also apparently the custom in Germany of charging customers for the bread and pretzels served on tables, although we have not noticed this practice as of yet. 

In Budapest, years ago, we were served a small serving of peanuts, which we didn’t really want but which we nibbled on.  We were charged for those niggardly number of peanuts.

In the Philippines, restaurants generally serve what they call “service water.” In small places, I avoid drinking those as the water might not be clean. In swanky restaurants, I double-check and ask the waiter to make sure the water has been filtered or purified.  When in doubt, I don’t drink.

As I write this, we are on a train from Nuremberg to Munich. I am impressed with how easy and affordable the train system is in Germany.  I had mentioned that taking the U2 train from the Nuremberg airport to the City Center was an easy matter and it only cost Eu5.20 for two. This train ride from Nuremberg to Munich cost the two of us Eu 30, a Bavaria Special when we bought the tickets. This particular train includes three stops and takes almost two hours to get to Munich. We could have taken a nonstop train or another one with more stops. We chose this one because it allows us to see some of the countryside. The really fast trains make me ill if I look out at the landscape – some kind of syndrome, the same sort of thing that happens if I watch a film that’s shaky.

Ah ---  we are approaching Munich, so this is all for now. Stay tuned for more on our visit to Germany.
The pictures are courtesy of Wikipedia.
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