Over the years, in travelling through many countries either on professional assignments or for personal pleasure, we learnt a great many things about human culture, civilisation and the beauty of their differences across the globe.
Whilst we do not profess to know or understand everything about each country's culture, the pages here reflect what we saw and understood. We truly hope you enjoy the contents of this website - both the text and graphics - and do not forget, comments are most welcomed in our guestbook.
Most intercontinental flights arrive in Germany via Frankfurt International Airport or Munich's Frank Josef Strauss International Airport. Although this is the case, you are also able to take an intra-continental flight to a European Union or neighbouring country before taking your intercontinental flight out of Europe. Such countries are England (British Airways and the One World Alliance), Austria (Austrian Airways), France (Air France), The Netherlands (KLM), Switzerland (Swiss Air), Italy (Alitalia) or Spain (Iberia). Berlin although the capital city of Germany, is not blessed with a modern airport as yet. Interstate travel, as well as travel in Euroland has become affordable in recent times thanks to competition from low cost carriers such as Berlin Air. Lufthansa, Germany's national carrier is offering return tickets to anywhere within Europe for 99 plus tax (approximately 110 after tax) on selected off-peak flights.
As Germany is part of the European Union, Euro is the currency used. Euro is pronounced "Oy roh" in German and bears the currency symbol. The notes are in the denomination of 10, 20, 50 and 100 although I have seen denominations of 200 and 500 Euro on television. Coins are in the denomination of 2 Euro, 1 Euro, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent pieces. Cash is generally used and is the only means of payment in many supermarkets, corner grocery stores, restaurants and for public transport. Having said this, the Electronic Cash card (known as the EC karte) is also widely used. On some EC cards, a chip memory is available to store value available for small purchases like public transport tickets, newspapers and milk at the local grocery stores etc.. Germany is quite credit card unfriendly when it comes to small purchases although most large restaurants, all hotels and petrol stations accept them.
The cost of living in Germany is high compared to Australia and Singapore, astronomical compared to Malaysia but mildly expensive compared to Korea. For example, the average price of a meal (a pork knuckle (schweinehaxe) costs 8.50 and apple juice mineral water mix (apfelschorle) around 4.00) is around 12.50, which converts to AUD$20.50, MYR56.00 and 16,000 KRW. Average meals in the countries mentioned cost AUD$12.00, MYR8.00 and 15,000 KRW. Again, this is subjected to what you decide to eat and where.. If you are thinking of visiting Germany, here's a breakdown of costs which may be incurred ... for informational and planning purposes.
Our story in Berlin was written in July 2004 when we were there for about 4 days. We found that things have changed a lot when we last visited Berlin again in March 2007. Many old buildings were torn down, Potsdamer Platz grew in size to now include newer boulevards, more entertainment and shopping areas. In fact, we watched the Blue Man Group right there at the Bluemax Theather, which is the site of the former IMAX Theater in Berlin. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures in this city.
Jeanette and Raymond Han