Germany is a big country with plenty of famous cities, a turbulent history, rich in natural and man-made beauty, and wonderful, friendly people. While traveling in Heidelberg, I almost convinced myself to stay, buy a small B&B, and start a new life. Then I realized I still had a few more countries on my Northern Europe trip and a job to get back to in Spain, but I still go back to that dream of living in Germany. Why? Read on!
When you think of Germany, the first few things to come to mind are probably beer or bratwurst. Germany is known for many, many things, but from an outsider’s point of view, German beer and German sausages are among the most prominent. And this reputation is well deserved! Germany does a great job producing beer and sausages. I don’t know if I could live on this food and drink, but I sure did enjoy it when I visited. Pretzels are also big in Germany (big has a double meaning here: popular and literally, large!) I sure could live off some German pretzels.
Self-explanatory, I think. Who doesn’t dream of driving a well-made German car with unlimited speed down a super highway? Girls and guys both! Although this is a slight misconception, since some parts of the Autobahn do have speed limits, and actually each lane has an unspoken speed limit. Also on the note of driving, Germany and other European countries have very few tolls. It feels like you’re getting away with something when you drive for 2000+ km and don’t pay a single toll; and the roads and landscaping are in perfect condition!
Cute Medieval Towns
Take a step back in time and enjoy beautiful 1263! Or somewhere around there. These towns haven’t changed much in the architecture. Well preserved buildings, clock towers, cobblestone streets, and city walls are all still very much intact and available for tourist photos! In fact, Rothenburg ob der Tauber doesn’t even allow overnight parking inside the village to really preserve it’s feel (plus, there are no parking lots, because who owned a car in the 13th century?) Some villages offer “night’s watch” tours, old-time puppet shows, museums, cathedrals and monasteries, and medieval recreations.
Naturally Beautiful Scenery
Rolling hills, green pastures, snow-capped mountains, lazy rivers, and ancient castles are just some of the beautiful scenery Germany can brag about. While I didn’t get to see as much of Germany as I would have liked, I did get to basque in the glory and beauty of Germany for a few days (and I hope to get back soon).
Not so surprisingly, almost everyone in Germany speaks English. In America, if a foreigner comes to visit, Americans respond with, “You’re in America, speak English!” and everyone does. Then, we go to Germany and I hear, “Don’t worry if you don’t speak German, everyone here speaks English.” Even though I don’t think it’s fair that English-speakers demand English be spoken everywhere, it’s true that English is the “international language,” which is what I try to stress to my Spanish students every day. Even my Spanish friends speak English (their second language) when they travel abroad!
Also interesting to note about German is that a lot of words sound very similar to English. I never studied German a day in my life (I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t even know how to say “hello” in German before traveling to Germany), but I picked up a few of the very basic words and greetings and even found myself understanding some of what the DJs were saying on the radio! The fact that I may have a head start on German just by knowing English makes me want to learn German now.