So, I have been gone almost for more than a year. I moved to Germany a year ago to pursue a Master’s Degree in International Business; however, that hasn’t stopped me surfing couches, meeting people from different cultures. There is a lot to share, therefore I’m going to start off with my experience of living in Germany and tackling the super organized “GERMANS”.
I landed in Frankfurt last September, and my goodness, one thing I couldn’t find that has always been a very essential part of my life. CHAOS. As the saying goes here “Alles in Ordnung”, meaning everything has to be in order. Born and raised in India, the statement “Alles in Ordnung” just sounds too alien; nonetheless, there I was trying to embark a new beginning. One thing you should know about Germany, it probably might be the country with the most complex regulations, and bureaucracy at its best. However; most of the people here like it that way. The establishment and execution of rules is almost pitch perfect. Now my journey began, a process of trying to Germanize myself. So, I had to get some basics right first. Some of the basics are always being punctual, this is like the 11th commandment. Always always always follow the traffic signals, and the most important of them all “You have to plan everything”. It was not that hard to adapt to this new culture, as I was prepared for it, after all the Germans I had hosted back in India. I knew what I had in store for me.
Now, let me shed some light on Germans. They are not the ones who indulge in small talks, and definitely won’t be your best friend in the first month. They have these walls built around them, which need to be cracked. Getting to know a German is almost like trying to climb Mount Everest. It’s a slow process with daunting challenges, but once you reach the summit. You have conquered yourself a true friend. They love their cars, a scratch on it and maybe they would face an hour of depression. There are some things you should and shouldn’t discuss with the Germans. It’s okay to go ahead and criticize their political system, it will end up on a good debate, strengthening your ties. However; bitte bitte bitte (bitte = please) never ever criticize their bread and beer. That’s like provoking a Lion, actually no. It’s like provoking a Dinosaur. They will die but never accept that their bread is bad. Brewing beer too is regulated in Germany, Natürlich! (of course). They have a law called the ‘The Reinheitsgebot’, sometimes called the “German Beer Purity Law” which states that beer may only contain water, barley, and hops. I gotta say I really like German beer, however, I still got a soft corner for Irish beer.
What about traveling in Germany? I have backpacked and couchsurfed across most of the major cities in Germany, except Hamburg. As of the now, Berlin is my favorite city followed by Freiburg, Heidelberg and Nürnberg. One thing everyone needs to know, that Germany is just not about the Oktoberfest, Rammstein or Bayern Munich. Half the Germans have never even been to the Oktoberfest (it’s more of a Bavarian thing), hate Rammstein and have no interest in Football. Actually, there is more to this marvelous country. All hidden and asking you to discover it. Go take a hike through the Black Forest, try the Nürnberger bratwurst, go to Cologne for Fasching (Carnival), try the Hefeweizen in Bayern, get lost in Berlin, check out the vineyards in Rhine-Hessen and there is much more. Every traveler out there, who is reading this. I suggest put this country on your travel list, you won’t be disappointed. Here are some impressions of my last 12 months.
A typical 3 liters German beer mug used at the Oktoberfest
The Berlin Wall
Brandenburger Tor (Berlin)
Bundesliga Match – Mainz 05 vs Werder Bremen
Roman Games at the university
Coming next – My backpacking trip in Switzerland and Spain.