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  #1  
Old 04-14-2007, 03:09 PM
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Tech Help may not be the place for this, but I'd like to ask if anyone here has ever travelled to Germany? Are the denominations of the Euro similar to the U.S. dollar? One's, five's, ten's, etc? How about the coinage? Also, I'm told English is spoken by most Germans. Does anyone know how true this is? Lastly, is there anything an in-frequent flier should know about the airports in Frankfurt, Munich, or Stuttgart?

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  #2  
Old 04-14-2007, 04:05 PM
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i have not been to germany lately but was there in 1973. i was in italy in o1.

the euro is worth about $1.30 now aprox. it is like the dollar in coinage etc.

while a lot of germans do speak english i would not say most. in italy it seemed to be about 10%. in tourist areas the servers did speak it in high percentages. i suspect english may be spoken in higher percentages in germany.

get a german english dictionary and go for it if you have a spirit of adventure. if you are intimidated by the unfamiliar maybe take a prearranged tour.

i have been three times to europe. for the summer in 1970, for ten months in 1973 and for two weeks in the christmas holiday in 01/02. i had cars and drove everytime. finding restaurants and hotels is not that hard imho.

i am not fluent in anything (some would say not even english) but speak a little spanish and german. a smidge of italian and i can understand some french but really cant speak much.

the language barrier was seldom a problem.

tom w
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Old 04-14-2007, 04:17 PM
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I was in Germany for a couple of weeks two years ago. My German is pretty non-existent, but nearly everywhere I went, the natives knew enough English to allow me to communicate rather easily. Euros very much like US money, except the dollar coin is used quite a bit. ATM's pretty available and easy to figure out. Trains/subways not hard to figure out either.
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  #4  
Old 04-14-2007, 04:25 PM
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We took 9 people from our shop to the Frankfurt auto show for our tenth anniversary of being in business. My partner and his wife were both Germans and the way we traveled and slept around southern Germany for the next week could not have been done without a serious German speaking guide. We stayed in Guesthaus's (sp? more than one) that often didn't speak English. It wouldn't have mattered to our trips through the Porsche or MB factories or museums or probably regular Holiday Inn type accomodations, but to get a picture of the real country having a German guide is most necessary or was 17 years ago.

I found it so important that I'll probably never go back as the situation will likely never reoccur as my partner died last winter and as a purely English speaker I would find it very annoying and humbling to not speak the language.
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  #5  
Old 04-14-2007, 04:36 PM
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Just got back from there 1 month ago.
I visit about twice/year.
As stated above, the Euro is pretty much the same as the $.
Frankfurt, Munich & Stuttgart airports are no problem at all.
Frankfurt may look intimidating, but just follow the signs ( luggage, gate #'s, etc. ).
I would say you can get by with english pretty well.
( Easy for me to say, as I was born & raised ther & still speak german fluently).
Anything else you want to know, just ask.
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  #6  
Old 04-14-2007, 04:41 PM
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Easy trip ...

I took my wife and two teenage children in 1997 on the Mercedes European Delivery Program. We flew into Stuttgart non-stop from Atlanta (Delta still has the flight, I think). Easy cab rides into city and out to the factory/delivery center. Mercedes museum is not to be missed. Driving in larger cities requires concentration as street signs are hard to find and streets can change names for no apparent reason. I will try a GPS system if I ever have to drive there again.

I got German currency at a local bank before I left as the exchange rate was more favorable. Had no language troubles and we stayed in several different German locations.

I want to do it again - maybe with the MB Club of America this fall.

Country is beautiful down there and people were good to do business with.
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2007, 06:25 PM
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i didnt find the street signs a problem any more than here.

although i did wind up in a subterranian parking garage once by accident!

that was a story in itself! i seem to remmeber we were too tall in our nine passengeer van and had to back out!

tom w
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2007, 07:37 PM
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Hi there,
As a German, I go back there twice a year to visit my family and old friends. I fly into Munich and leave from Frankfurt, renting a car in between.
Coins are in 1,2,5,10,20 and 50 cts, 1 Euro and 2 Euros. Needed for subways, parking meters etc. Bills are in 5,10,20,50,100 and 500. I never had a thousand, although they might exist. You can exchange at the airport or at any bank. I use an extra wallet for Euros and put the Dollars away at the airport.
The bills are more colorful and easier to recognize than all the “green”backs.
Munich airport is the easiest, Frankfurt has two terminals and a skytrain in between. It is important to know which terminal your airline is at, otherwise you are in for a long walk. Luggage carts are free at the airports.
Children start learning english now in 4th grade, but my niece and nephew at 16 and 14 don’t impress me with their english when they speak to my wife. But overall your chances are probably better with the younger folks 20 to 40. Larger hotels and restaurants will have somebody who will speak english as in most “tourist” areas. Restaurants often have english menus.
Autobahn signs are good, street names are often very small at the intersections. GPS would probably make sense if you travel a lot to “new to you” destinations.
Many years ago, I travelled 2 weeks through France without speaking French and I survived it, although I ate a few things that I might not have eaten, had I known what it was when I ordered it. I think it is a lot easier now to travel in Europe and the lack of language should not stop you from going. Enjoy it.
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2007, 12:55 AM
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You must try the high speed trains ! My wife and I spent 3 weeks in Europe this fall. Germany was fantastic....the highlight of the journey was the Euro Train system....clean / fast / very affordable, and got us to the centre of the City quickly. Imagine sitting in a spotless extreemly quiet seat, having a great cup of coffee, and watching the country roll by at 183 mph !!! Yes we did go right by MB`s head office / and several factories. Enjoy your time there.

Last edited by Silver Streak; 04-15-2007 at 01:00 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2007, 08:42 AM
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We were there for a week and a half last May (2006). I have some very rusty German but my accent is northern, and English worked best in southern Germany. We did a large loop from Frankfurt up to Bacharach and Coblenz, through Stuttgart to the southern castle country, Garmisch, Oberammergau, Innsbruck, Munich and Rothenburg. Very rarely indeed did I need German, and what I do have worked better the farther north we went. Roads are easy but detailed maps are a must, and preplotting your route is important as navigation is more intense than you're used to, since essentially nothing anywhere is on the standard rectangular grid plan. The autobahns I find actually easier than US freeways as everyone stays to the right, passes on the left (remember when we did?:-), since it's legally required. The old habit of flashing your lights if you need someone to pull over is now illegal. The currency is easy. We had good guidebooks for the larger cities but stayed in places we found along the way otherwise and had universally delightful stays. All in all, we'd love to do it again as soon as possible!

PM if you wish for places we stayed, saw and ate.
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  #11  
Old 04-15-2007, 09:09 AM
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Most of the younger people speak a smattering of English, you should encounter only minor issues. In the rural areas it might get a little harder but not an issue. I can say they try harder with English than Americans do with German!
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  #12  
Old 04-15-2007, 09:29 AM
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And don't forget to sample the Beer.
I left you a little.
Btw. When you order a " Bier ", you pronounce it exactly the same.
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  #13  
Old 04-15-2007, 10:15 AM
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Thanks to everyone for the great advice. I'll be going on the MB Master Guild trip as a guest of MBUSA/DaimlerChrysler. The itinerary includes visits to the Sindelfingen production plant, the AMG plant at Affalterbach, the DC museum and test track at Unterturkheim, and the engine production facility at Cannstatt. At Kirchheim we'll tour the fuel cell development center. We'll also be taking a day trip to Switzerland for some sight-seeing, which I'm pretty excited about. There's also a few boat rides, castle tours, and some free time to do whatever I want. I'd like to get one of those Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks that I hear Germany is renowned for. Does anyone know of any clock shops in Heidelberg or Stuttgart?
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  #14  
Old 04-15-2007, 11:34 AM
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You can go into any bigger department store, or a watch/clock store in Stuttgart or Heidelberg, and find a large selection of Cockoo clocks.
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  #15  
Old 04-15-2007, 11:54 AM
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A few important things to know about Germany

1. There are no yellow pages. You can't find anything.

2. Elevator doors don't have the black floor-to-ceiling seals that you can push to stop them from closing--you have to break the light beam.

3. Folks obey laws--if you pass on right, jaywalk, or use foglights when there's no fog or rain, you'll hear about it.

4. Folks may not be wearing swimsuits (or anything) in your hotel's swimming pool.

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