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Day 34: Back to the Original


I’ve decided to go back to my original writing schedule of producing a post at the end of each day. Writing before bed has been a habit I didn’t expect to build, but it’s definitely one I want to keep around. I’m going to do my best to maintain it over the remainder of the trip.

Under the Weather

I caught a cold two days ago. At first, I thought I could make my way through it within the day. Unfortunately, it lingered and grew in intensity. I was in bed till noon, because I just didn’t have the energy to get out of bed. Thankfully, the extra sleep really helped, as I was able to get back into action post lunch. I didn’t have the biggest appetite for lunch today, so I went to Rewe to grab some ready-made sushi to-go boxes. I caught up on work for the rest of the afternoon.


After my final work call of the day, I made my way back to Rewe, but this time, I took a tote bag with me of all the bottles and cans I’ve collected on my trip so far. Today was the day I would finally use the Pfandsystem bottle machines. I’ve been looking forward to this day for some time.

In Germany, there is a tax that is added on to the purchase of any can or bottle (plastic or glass). The taxable amount can be reclaimed if you return the bottle at any grocery store using bottle deposit machines. These machines are available in the US, but I don’t think it is as widespread as it is in Germany, which operates at the federal level. Cities and counties are responsible for implementation in the US. Pfandsystem literally translates to deposit system.

Carrying my tote into Rewe, I headed straight to back. My heady was still foggy due to the ongoing congestion, so I didn’t stop to read the instructions thoroughly. I instinctively pushed a bottle into the “conveyer belt”. The belt rotated the bottle while a series of flashing lights went off. My only guess is that this is some kind of a computer vision-based system to register the official logo of the Pfandsystem printed on all bottles and cans that qualify for the program (it’s 2 bottles with a looping arrow).

My very first time in Germany, I thought these were trash receptacles. I needed to throw away a used napkin and I couldn’t find a bin anywhere. An elderly lady pushed past me with a huge bag of bottles and started placing the bottles into the machine one after the other. For each bottle, she gained some € cents back. I looked behind her, and saw a queue of people growing. I managed to find a trash can nearby (it was hiding around the corner). I told myself that one day I would try to use the Pfandsystem if I had the opportunity.

I’m a big fan of such programs, especially when implemented correctly and efficiently. Not only does it incentivize recycling, but it also serves as a somewhat stable cash source for those who are homeless or looking for extra money with bottles laying around outside. It's not uncommon to see people leaving their bottles around outside, knowing that someone will come to pick it up to deposit for some € cents.

17 bottles later I was proud of my day’s keep. I pushed a green button and a ticket was printed with the total amount earned (€4.25). 1 bottle (a big orange juice bottle) didn’t register for some reason, even though it had the Pfandsystem logo. I noticed another machine next to the machine I used that had a bigger “conveyor belt” opening, which might be the machine for larger-sized containers.

I treated myself to some scoops of ice-cream from the same store I visited on Monday. Returning back home, I jumped onto the last remaining calls of the day.


Feeling comparatively much better than earlier in the day, I decided to grab a beer at a nearby bar. When I entered, Stuttgart was up 1-0 against Frankfurt at the end of the first half. What happened next was painful to watch.

Frankfurt came roaring back, with the final score ending 3-2. Stuttgart struggled to finish passes, their energy seemed low, and their first-touch control was horrendous. Frankfurt capitalized on opportunities well. Granted, the referees were unbelievably inaccurate. Stuttgart players aired their frustrations.

A red card within the last few minutes of the game didn’t help their cause at all. An opportunity to equalize the game after an apparent hand ball against Frankfurt didn’t pan out, because the referee didn’t believe there was enough video evidence. I seriously don’t understand where refs draw the line with VAR.

While I’m not a big Stuttgart fan (go Bayern!), I would love to go to a game while I’m here. It’s something to add to my list.

Frieden und Liebe ❤️ (translation: peace and love)