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Smoky Mountains in Germany???

Just in case someone living in France near Germany is interested. Burger King is in Germany. When I am homesick and need to pretend I am back in America, the closest thing I have is McDonalds. Not anymore! I have found Burger King in Germany. It is about thirty minutes from Strasbourg. I am happy to report that we drove to Germany last week and had our fix of grease and carbohydrates.

I enjoyed every single bite of my huge juicy hamburger. It was delicious.

Fast food is less expensive in Germany than in France. In my opinion the food and coffee taste more “American” at the German McDonalds or Burger King. So, it is great…that is if you can find your way through all the smoke to make an order. That’s right. Lots of smoke in German public enclosed areas. Last summer, I opened the door to a cafè in Germany only to be hit in the face with smoke so thick I turned right back around and left.

There is no escaping it in Germany. I have no idea why this country is so far behind in non-smokers rights…and France is the one with the inconsiderate smokers reputation??? France may not be up to American standards but it is far advanced compared to Germany!

Go to any German indoor eating establishment and you will think it is Saturday night at the hottest bar in town the smoke is so thick. All that is missing is a juke box, loud music and flashing lights. Well, that depends. I have eaten at some German hamburger joints that have all of the above (which is fine minus the smoke).

I grew up around smokers and am one of the few that never really smoked in my family. My mother just quit over a year ago after smoking since she was thirteen. I am very proud of her. When she smoked we would argue because she thought I was just trying to bug her when I would roll down the window in the car while she smoked or ask her to wait the five minutes it would take to get where we were going before she lit one up.

Yeah, right. Like she should wait five minutes to smoke one cigarette when she could smoke that one and light up another when we stopped again. Not a chance in hell. She has since appologised and told me that she never realized how bad it smelled and hard it is to breath around smoke until she quit. She thought I was just nagging her. After all, it was her right to smoke.

It seems that most smokers concentrate on their right to not only kill themselves with their habit, but everyone around them.

It is their right to smoke.

I don’t know how many times I heard that growing up. Finally, I asked them…”When is it my right not to breath your smoke? I don’t smoke because it is bad for me and if you decide to smoke, fine. But, you should respect my health and my right to not be exposed to harmful second hand smoke.”

My family thought that was just nuts. Me…a non-smoker…having rights!!!! Ha, ha, ha.

I suspect my family is originally German and not English like I had thought.

What about non-smokers rights?
Just think about it.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • L'Amerloque February 24, 2006, 9:34 am

    Hi Pumpkin Pie !

    Burger King used to have outlets in France, but the company pulled out several years ago. Word is that it will be coming back, after its upcoming IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. (smile)

    Best,
    L’Amerloque

  • AnneCuisine February 24, 2006, 10:05 am

    I think it’s strange too. I have never been to Germany but I’ve heard that the smoking is really, really bad. Yet on one hand they are ultra modern and the streets are cleaner than any other European country. Wouldn’t a fellow German call you on littering?

    As a fellow American living in France, I understand that we grow a certain tolerance to smoking. I’m impressed that the French have been able to ‘interdire’ smoking sucessfully in the trains (major relief!) and at the airports. Nothing like arriving in Paris for the first time in your life at some uncivilized hour like 6.30 am and setp off the plane and be welcomed to a thick wave of stale smoke! But that is history!

    Last thought, smokers have the right to smoke and the non smokers have the right NOT to smoke THEIR smoke. If only the smokers would be considerate enough to do it outside! I know several very considerate smokers in France who always go outside to smoke. Now that’s progress!

  • Pumpkin Pie February 24, 2006, 10:53 am

    Hi, L’Amerloque,

    I like Burger King much better than McDonalds. So, I am happy to hear it may come back. My kids love wearing the little paper crowns they give out at BK and being princesses for the day.

    Annecuisine,
    That is exactly my reaction to the Germans smoking indoors like crazy because in every other was they are perfectly clean. Their streets and sidewalks are soo clean. I think France has made a lot of progress since I came to live here two years ago. I see less smoking indoors where it is not allowed. It reminds me of when my mother went to the mall shortly after they stopped allowing people to smoke in the mall…she lit one up anyway and I just about died of embarrasment (I was a teenager).  After about a year she stopped pushing it.

  • JennC February 24, 2006, 11:00 am

    My mom is a smoker and we have had many many arguments about it. She thinks I persecute her for her habit.

    Examples: What used to drive me crazy is when I would be eating something and she would light up. I would have to stop what I was doing and tell her to leave and she would take offense.

    She once sputtered her indignation at me when she was sitting in her car smoking, waiting to pay the parking fare in a lot and the attendant told her that it was a no smoking lot. She told him that she was in a “smoking” car and that she could smoke if she liked. He told her the car was in a no smoking lot and that she would have to extinguish her cigarette before he would let her pay to leave.

    Another time when she visited just after I had had my second child I asked her to give the baby a bottle and she said that she needed a cigarette first. The baby was screaming her head off but grandma’s cigarette came first. That made me steaming mad.

    Hmm… That still annoys me…

  • D February 24, 2006, 11:22 am

    I wish they had a Burger King in France. Maybe they do…somewhere in Paris. I am just happy that they have a Subway here in Lille. That’s my fave!

    I started smoking when I was 15, and quit when I was 23. When you smoke, it’s almost as if you are totally oblivious to the people around you. It was only after I had quit that I realizd what a bad and disgusting habit it was. Now I complain when I go into places where there is a lot of smoke!

  • Pumpkin Pie February 24, 2006, 1:43 pm

    JennC- you have brought memories back to me! My mother was exactly the same. When I was kid she had my brother and I hide her cigerettes so she would not smoke.  She told us that no matter what she said or did to not give them to her.  Why she didnt just throw them in the trash and had us hide them is a good question.  Well, we didnt tell her where they were after she screamed and threatened to spank us…she had to go and buy another pack at the store.

    D- I think smokers dont realize and that is why I wrote this.  It is really a thing that needs to change in Germany..it is bad there.  No, no BK’s in France at the moment.  But, maybe soon according to Amerloque!  :)

  • L'Amerloque February 24, 2006, 2:25 pm

    Hi Pumpkin Pie !

    /*/No, no BK’s in France at the moment. But, maybe soon according to Amerloque!/*/

    Amerloque remembers hearing that when BK pulled out of France, it was going to keep one “showplace” outlet. He called them to find out the address. They said “We’ll call you”, and, of course, never did. (sigh)

    It wouldn’t surprise Amerloque to find out that such a showplace outlet does indeed exist. If anyone reading these lines knows where … (smile)

    Some more info about BK can be found at:

    http://www.zarcolaw.com/CM/News/news23.asp
    http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/press/tel_30jul97.html
    http://www.humanite.presse.fr/journal/1997-08-04/1997-08-04-784531

    A quik look at Forbes reveals that “At Burger King’s Miami headquarters, nine chief executives have reigned in 13 years.” Sounds like the company has been through a rough patch. (smile)

    Best,
    L’Amerloque

  • Pumpkin Pie February 24, 2006, 3:21 pm

    I’d say quite a rough spot. ;)

    But, I still love the Whopper with cheese.
    I love BK second only to Wendy’s. I would love Wendy’s to come to France. I am dreaming of a Frosty (very thick chocolate shake).

  • RaleighRob February 24, 2006, 3:32 pm

    So I should avoid Germany I suppose…being the rabid anti-smoke guy that I am. ;-)

    During my trip to London, it drove me crazy…only a fraction of the restaurants we went to even had a nonsmoking section in it at all! I was surprised…I would’ve figured London to be at least as liberal as NYC, afterall. (Thank goodness for outdoor patio seating, or I’d never get any decent food!)

    Italy was perfect…they had just started their nationwide indoor smoking ban and it’s a good thing too. It was hot and sitting inside with A/C and cleaner air indoors than outdoors was fine with me.

    Wasn’t in France long enough to know how it is there. Only ate at one restaurant in Calais, it had 50/50 smoking/nonsmoking section. But from what I hear about France, that’s probably as good as it gets, right? Granted, it may be an american’s stereotype of the French smoking like chimneys. How accurate do you suppose that portrayal is, based on your time there??

  • Pumpkin Pie February 24, 2006, 4:44 pm

    They smoke sometimes where they shouldn’t but it has gotten better over the last few years. They have indoor smoking areas. However, the air is usually not circulated well and the smell of smoke is there. Which I hate. It is not everywhere, but in enough places to be annoying. Germany is so bad that the smoke can be seen and burns your eyes and my nose always runs.

    I have had many French ask me in French and English if I minded their smoking before they smoked. I think France is where America was in the early 90’s and soon it will be close to the American stardards (my opinion from what I have seen). It just takes time. I think they care and that is what is important.
    It is not so bad really in France now.

  • Anna February 24, 2006, 5:10 pm

    I am a German, living next to French border – and I am really surprised: I never realized that Germany is such a smoking-country! (Ok, I also never realized that Germany is clean….) Thinking about it, I have to admit that all of you are right: I hate coming home and smelling like hell because everybody around me is smoking. But I got used to it – sad.

    About BK: yeah, I love it too. But when I lived in Versailles, I loved Quick. :-) And moving to Strasbourg this year will bring me Quick back again!

  • Pumpkin Pie February 24, 2006, 5:52 pm

    We go to Quick sometimes too. We like it better than McDonalds (not as expensive) and the play equipement is great for our kids. Mom and Dad eat in peace. ;)

  • SP February 24, 2006, 7:07 pm

    One of my closest friends is German and lives in Germany. She is one of the most health conscious people I know. She takes yoga classes several days a week (including the classes dedicated to breathing- she claims that this is “SO” healthy for her), and also lifts weights and runs. She goes on yoga retreats (often lasting 2 weeks). When the weather is warmer she rides her bike 45 minutes to work. I don’t care all that much for yoga (and take a class only a few times a month), and she is always bugging me to take more yoga classes because it will be so good for me. She is almost irritating in her food consumption and control. She consumes no refined sugar (if she can help it) and eats primarily vegetables, only whole grains, chicken and fish. She takes a whole host of herbs and vitamins. She is always reading some book about staying healthy. For me (who is fairly fit and healthy), she is practically untouchable when it comes to healthy living. I say “practically”, because she is a smoker! This never ceases to amaze me. I ask her how she can justify smoking when she is so committed to a healthy lifestyle. No matter how many times we have had this discussion, I never get a straight answer out of her. I honestly think that smoking is so common and pervasive in Germany that most German smokers don’t even think about it as being unhealthy. It seems to be a cultural norm.

  • Pumpkin Pie February 24, 2006, 7:15 pm

    SP-
    There are still cigerette machines in Germany. I remember America had those way back when. But, not for a long time. France doesnt have them either.
    I am always amazed when I go to Germany and see those cigerette machines.

  • SP February 24, 2006, 7:55 pm

    Yes, I can’t but help thinking that those machines are just an invitation for kids to participate in what seems to be one of their national pastimes.

    Everytime I am in Germany and we go out, we have a routine when we get home- we first remove our clothing and hang them up in the bathroom from the shower curtain rod, then open the window in the bathroom (even in the middle of winter at 2:00am- freezing), spray the clothing with Febreze, quickly use the bathroom to get ready for bed, and close the door behind us so that the cold air and Febreze will “freshen” our clothing. I always try to launder my clothes before I leave Germany, so that I don’t bring the stink back with me. I have to wonder how healthy all that Febreze is to breath.

    Please note that this isn’t meant to be a complete bashing of Germans or Germany. I do have quite a few friends there, and aside from being subjected to all that smoke… I tend to enjoy visiting.

  • Pumpkin Pie February 24, 2006, 9:22 pm

    SP-
    I love Germany, too. We go there often and have found a favorite city, Freiburg. It is near the mountains and so unique. I would love to live there. It is fun to visit another country and culture even if it is only 20 minutes away. The only thing I don’t like is the smoke…like you said.

  • christina February 26, 2006, 5:38 pm

    The smoking is one of the things I despise about living in Germany. It’s disgusting and teen smoking, especially among girls, is totally out of control. It’s going to take Germany years to catch up to other European countries, unfortunately, because the pro-smoking lobby is just huge.

    I also find it very amusing that people think Germany is clean. It’s normally pretty filthy (to me, at least) and there’s been a garbage pick-up strike on now for three weeks so the streets are just piled high with trash.

  • Pumpkin Pie February 26, 2006, 7:57 pm

    Christina,
    I read about the strike on your blog. I know I would be afraid of rats, too.
    That is crazy that it is taking so long to resolve the problems and start getting the trash picked up. I would be frustrated to say the least.

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