Editors note: Neighborhood News Correspondent MaryAlice Coelho will be overseas in Europe until the end of July and has agreed to chime in every week to tell us about her travels. -I Gonzalez 

Hallo!! Greetings from Munich, Germany! I have a three week journey ahead of me and I am excited to share my travels with you.  Germany is a beautiful country full of gorgeous buildings in the city and rolling green hills in the country.

Germans are well-known for there cleanliness, efficiency, incentives and green thumb. For instance, as I ride through the countryside, to meet my cousin outside the city center, I notice small, gated pieces of land. The chunk of property usually consist of a small garden, a small hunt with running water, a barbecue and outdoor toys for children. What are these cute little things? Come to find out it is very expensive to live in the city, usually a small flat. Therefore people will buy small chunks of land outside the city center which are essentially their “backyard”. It is such a creative concept because you can have your vegetable garden and  a private place for your children to play while still live in the city. It is a home away from home! In fact, some city folks will escape the city for the weekend and head to their small country property.
As I mentioned, Germans are extremely efficient. For instance when taking a shower, the water will not drain out for the first ten minutes to indicate to the user when they should be done. So, once the water starts to drain you know it time to get out!
The escalators were efficient another thing I found interesting. The escalators stop running once they have not been used for an certain amount of time. So, instead of an escalator continuously running and using unnecessary energy, it will turn off until the next user walks up. I thought this in genius! Why burn all the extra energy if you don’t have to?
Germany also gives incentives to improve the community and the environment. For instance, you can find a plethora of solar panels within the city but  even more in the country. People are encouraged to switch to solar because it cheaper way of living. Whereas, in the states it is difficult to switch to solar because big companies like SMUD and PG&E would lose money; deteriorating the incentive.
Recycling is a whole different ball game as well. For instance, when you buy a plastic, glass or aluminum product there is an environmental tax. However, if you return the empty bottle to the place of purchase they will give you back the environmental tax you previously paid, which is a good amount of money. In fact, the recycling process differs from the United States. For example, thin plastic bottles are melted down and made into new bottles. Whereas, thicker plastic bottles undergo a steam process and are simply reused again.
I have learned a lot about Germany but the show must go on. More fun stuff to come, stay tuned!