I got the impression that Germans like things to be neat and tidy and after visiting Italy I really think it’s true. First, I have only been in one public restroom, so far, in Germany that was not so clean. It was a “city toilet,” you pay 0.50€ and the doors open to a toilet and sink, in an area apparently frequented by junkies. At least this was the information relayed to Sanjay by a stranger who was concerned about Karina finding a needle while she was running around waiting for Asha to finish using the bathroom. Given this info, and assuming it’s true, a kind of dirty bathroom is not surprising. Now in Italy it was a different story, public bathrooms were very hit and miss. Some didn’t even have toilet seats, I’m still not sure why. I have also noticed that many bathrooms in Germany have toilet seat cleaner next to them. I don’t recall seeing this at all in Italy.
The public transportation here is also very clean. I’m sure it’s germy, which is really unavoidable due to the number of people that come on board. I have yet to step in a train care that smelled like urine or had a seat with a stain of indiscernible origin, though most times ignorance in this case is bliss. The CTA has a no eating rule, but as most Chicagoans know this is often ignored. I once got on a train in which someone left a half eaten can of tuna fish. The same rule exists here in Germany, but as Germans are big rule followers, they actually adhere to this policy.
Another interesting thing is that servers here feel compelled to clean up after Karina while she is eating. We have eaten outside the majority of the time, but the handful of times we were indoors the server kept coming by to clean the floor under her. I realize she makes quite a mess, but it’s also pretty futile to clean up until she is totally finished. Maybe German kids aren’t messy or their parents just don’t take them to restaurants until they can eat with minimal droppage. I’m not really sure. We always try to clean up as much as we can before we leave a restaurant, even in the US because I feel bad that someone else has to clean all that up. However; it’s really a waste of time until the very end. Good thing so many places have outdoor patios. The constant during meal cleaning makes me a little uncomfortable.
Berlin itself is also pretty clean for a big city, especially compared to Rome. It is not very hard to find a garbage can while walking down the street. There are however, cigarette butts everywhere, but not much litter. They also seem to hide their dumpsters. I’m not really sure how, but I can’t remember seeing one since we’ve been here. In Rome I saw several. Now I’m very curious about where the Germans are hiding all their trash…
Here’s hoping this idea of cleanliness, particularly while eating, rubs off on our kids!