A few insights from my pickleball trip to Germany that have nothing to do with pickleball

Home sweet home! There’s nothing better than home, and the one you share it with. Traveling is so rewarding, especially meeting many nice people along the way, but nothing beats the peacefulness of being home.

There are some things that we as Americans are so accustomed to that I’m glad to have once again. Conversely, there are things we don’t see in the USA. First, a couple things I’m glad to get back to.

– Unlimited glasses of ice water and coffee at restaurants! Yes, we might be spoiled, but it seems so simple here. Over there, it’s nearly impossible to get a glass of tap water with ice. You have to buy these tiny bottles water (with or without gas) and you might get two ice cubes! And let’s talk about the size of those coffee cups in Europe! Come on! I can down one of those in three sips! Give me a mug, and fill er up…….several times! Ok, well maybe I have a coffee addiction, but it could be worse! I am on my 4th mug of coffee at home as I write this and going for my 5th!

– Prices of gasoline, or petrol, as they call it, are outrageous in Europe. I had a rental car and paid nearly 80€ to fill it up. The price was 1.69€ per liter. Converting that to US dollars and gallons, it cost just under $90 for 13 gallons, or about $6.50 per gallon! Who wouldn’t welcome US gas prices? As I drove home, I noticed my regular station had $2.55/gallon posted!

– American air is cleaner! Smoking in common areas is mostly forbidden in the USA, whereas it is permitted in restaurants and about anywhere in Europe. A non- smoking hotel room doesn’t necessarily shield you from the smoker next door, or from fumes coming in your open window from the downstairs restaurant! Since many hotels don’t have air conditioning, you sometimes have to keep your window open! Places that forbid inside smoking often place their cigarette butt disposal containers right outside the door, or even have tables there for smokers, but with the front door open it drifts into the breakfast area, or you have to walk through it when you leave.

Now, here’s a couple things that would be nice to have here in the US.

– Public toilets in Europe are head over heels better than US restrooms. They have gap-free doors to start with. In America, restroom doors and partitions always have gaps between them. Now, if someone wants to watch me pee they are welcome to, but it is very nice to have complete privacy. Also, they all have a toilet brush in each stall, and they are used (evident by the lack of…….well you get the picture if you’ve ever been in an American Walmart restroom). And lastly, European women either don’t sprinkle the seats, or they politely wipe them off for the next person. Believe me…..as someone who has seen a lot of public toilets, I prefer Europe for my toilet needs. (I might even be willing to pay a little more for my petrol for cleaner toilets.)

– I can’t return from Germany without talking about driving the autobahn! Whewwwwww! At 150km/h, (93mph) in the middle lane of the three lane highway, I was passed by cars likely driving in excess of 115mph (185km/hr) easily! You might say I was driving slow, but in the US I would have been ticketed for reckless driving at 93mph! Plus, I was in a small SUV equivalent to a Ford Edge, and that seemed fast enough! Now, if I had been in my former BMW 5 series, it would have been another story! The point I want to make is that everyone knows not to drive in the left lane if you aren’t passing another car. Sure, occasionally faster drivers have to slow down for someone passing a vehicle at a slower speed, but in general, there was harmony on the highway as everyone drove where they were most comfortable based on their speed. Funny, when I drove home from the airport last night, I found myself dreaming I was on the Autobahn and had to slow down a couple of times!

Lastly, thank you to Andreas Kopkau, for your incredible hard work in organizing the Bainbridge Cup and German Open tournaments. Only those who have taken on the challenge of hosting a tournament know how much you have done to make our time in Essen a memorable one. I can’t thank you enough.

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9 thoughts on “A few insights from my pickleball trip to Germany that have nothing to do with pickleball”

  1. May be late in posting,,,I do not know any of you but travel and always pack my Pickleball paddle. Most recently to Nice, France. Mostly indoor play but did play once outside at a old school tennis club. Players were very welcoming to this old yank. At 68 , male, 4.0 player, I was quite impressed with the level of play. As for the driving, fuel costs, coffee sizes,,, just the way it is. Visit France , Germany, Italy for a few,,, the wine, the food, the beer, and especially the service! We will take that any day to America. And this is as I sit in a Key West Fl cafe waiting on my greasy burger, warm flat beer all served by a tatted up server who wishes her daddy was wealthy, oh well,,, want good pickle? Come to key West , Higgs Beach area, ,6 courts, great play. At the end of my week stay here in Nov 21 and will return. Only drawback are the trade winds but Expected. Cheers. Pete


  2. I was surprised about the observation around smoking, I thought most of Europe was smoke free now – I must have just been lucky in Germany! Good to see you again Betsy. Hope to see you in November in Florida! Kxx


      1. Ron, you can find the results for the German Open on Pickleballtournamants.com. And the 2020 Bainbridge Cup will be in England. Date has not been set just yet.


    1. I’m an American who lived in Germany almost 14 years and I must say European coffee is sooo much better than most home/cafe coffee made in Bunn brewers. Therefore you need less. Regarding gasoline prices, when I see someone’s vehicle idling while they are shopping it makes me think how wasteful we are and maybe gas is too cheap if we can just waste it like that. I envy you. But for a series of family events I would have been at the cup also.


    2. You spoke my language! As a German living in the USA I love the German coffee but can’t afford a third or fourth cup. Love to drive fast too! As a pickleball player I would like to know where to play over there. I’m going to visit as soon as COVID19 allows us to get back to the homeland. I will bring ice cubes!!


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