der Donau

Time for a bit of geography. The Donau River flows between the cities of Ulm and Neu-Ulm (New Ulm) and makes up part of the border between the states of Baden-Württemberg and Bayern (Bavaria). In English (and French) the Donau is known as the Danube, something which confused Chad & I initially and is a rant for another post (Germany vs Deutschland? Munich vs München?). As it turns out, this river, which flows through ten countries and 2,860 km (1,777 miles) on its way to the Black Sea originates in Germany, in the Black Forest, not all that far from Ulm.

In Ulm, the river is used more as a border for the excellent running & cycling paths in both cities, as well as a means for the solar-panel-run ferries to make a living. Right now however, the river is being celebrated as part of Donau-Fest. From what we’ve gathered, Hungary is the theme for the festival, with plenty of Hungarian food (delicious) and wine (meh) being served.

As is typical in Germany, there is also plenty of beer available as well. What isn’t as prolific at these weekend festivals? Trash bins. There are no bins overflowing with plastic cups and food wrappers anywhere. And why? Because everything is served on real plates with real flatware and in real glasses. Seriously. (No photos for proof though). But what that means is that you’d better have twice the amount of cash available for dinner! For while it may cost 12 Euro for food, the plate deposits will be another 12 Euro (refundable when returned). While it was a bit startling initially, the difference is amazing. No trying to cut with a flimsy plastic knife. No pile of waste resulting from one meal and drink. And a refill on either food or drink will not result in any additional garbage. It may be a little more hassle having to receive used dishes and refund deposits, but I bet at the end of the night, cleanup in the park is much easier. Plus if you love the dishware, you can always take it home! Overall, not a bad way to celebrate an impressive waterway…

*Donau data from Wikipedia

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