10 Reasons Why I Love Germany
Believe it or not, on this day last year I wrote my first blog post on this blog. And to celebrate, I thought I’d write about why I love the reason this blog was first ever made – Germany. I’ve read countless posts about how Germany fails in certain situations, such as queues and Deutsche Bahn, to name but a few, but I don’t seem to ever come across those which talk about the things Germany actually succeeds in. So here you have it: My 10 reasons why I love Germany (but there are many, many more!):
1. The Food
Yes, it’s an obvious one, but it’s still something worth mentioning. If there’s one thing I’m going to miss when I finally leave Germany in a few months’ time, it’ll be the food. Though British food is sadly lacking in my everyday life at the moment, the wonders of sausage, cheese and meat here is endless. I often have cravings for Currywurst (curried sausage), and it’s easy to always get it somewhere nearby – something which I will truly miss when I’m back in England. Schnitzel and Leberkäs’ are some other beauties I’ve had the delight to try before (on several occasions).
2. The Language
Sticking with the obvious points, I love the language and how much sense it actually makes. Despite the unfortunate reoccurring appearances of English words, there are so many German words which make so much more sense – a few of which I’ve mentioned in previous posts, such as ‘hippopotamus’ being ‘Flusspferd’ which literally means ‘river horse’, and ‘slug’ being ‘Nacktschnecke’ which literally means ‘naked snail’. I’m not saying German is the cleverest language out there, but I’m saying it’s a very clever language indeed. Whilst I was back home last weekend, I craved to speak German, despite nobody in my family being able to speak it. As over the top as it may seem, I’m actually dreading not being able to use it on a daily basis – at the moment, it’s my ‘safe’ language, in that I use it when somebody doesn’t understand what I’m saying in English. It just feels like ‘the’ language to talk if I want to actually speak some sense.
3. Cash Machines
As Millie would say, this is a curveball. Ignoring the fact the Germans can’t actually queue for cash machines, in Germany there’s the problem that you can only withdraw money from cash machines which belong to your own bank, unless you want to be charged extra. At first, I couldn’t stand this, and it made me happy every time I saw a Sparkasse. Now, I’ve realised it’s actually done me some good – it makes you think about your money more (or at least it’s made me do so), and not just make you depend on every single cash machine dotted around the city. You think more carefully about how much money you want to withdraw before you’re next going to be around a cash machine which your bank owns, and I honestly think it’s helped me save money – in England, I’d just withdraw a tenner at every possible moment when need be.
4. The Beauty of Germany
Now, this sounds tacky, but hear me out: I’ve gone through pretty much every one of the four seasons here in Germany now. And there hasn’t been a point yet where I’ve been to a certain place and genuinely thought ‘this place is ugly’. Sure, you get certain buildings (such as the disappointing Reutlingen Rathaus), but generally the seasons compliment Germany wonderfully.
Starting off with summer – it was absolutely boiling, and I didn’t catch a great deal of it, but from what I saw it was really lovely, and a wonderful start to my year abroad. The Hannover Zoo was a particular highlight in the scorching heat!
My favourite example is back in autumn when myself and Phoebe were travelling during our Herbstferien, and when in Düsseldorf we had this most amazing view over a river with rich brown colours coming from the trees running either side of it.
Not only that, the snow, albeit bloody annoying, did really look wonderful, and I’ve never seen such detailed snowflakes as I have done in Germany, which a few of you can agree with me on as I was with you when I discovered them. Hannover was especially stunning in the snow.
And to top it off, spring now is looking wonderful. The green on the trees and ground is beautiful, and I’ve now got a nice little 1-minute walk from the tram stop to my school every morning and afternoon along a path surrounded by the brightest green I’ve ever seen leaves and grass can be.
I’ll leave some pictures at the bottom of the four things mentioned above.
5. Ice Cream
Germans love their ice cream, and that’s what I enjoy – you can eat ice cream here whenever and wherever you want. If you see the smallest bit of sun during the day, you can bet there’ll be about 15 people queued up at every available Ice Cream Café. If you have the coldest day you’ve possibly ever experienced in your life, you can bet there will be people eating ice cream somewhere around, such as, I may have mentioned already, the wonderful old lady I saw in Hanover who was so cold on a very chilly day, that her nose was dripping. Yet, she was eating ice cream.
6. Semester Tickets
Why, oh, why haven’t England picked up on this? In Germany, it’s quite often that you get a Semester Ticket when you sign up to a university (even as a guest student like myself), which then gives you free travel around a certain area, and if you’re lucky (like I am), you get free travel all around the entire state you’re in. I would love to have a Semester Ticket for Devon. Imagine how many trips to the beach that’d result in! And the little bit of money it’d save when travelling home would be nice, as I’d be able to travel to the border of Devon before then having to have a purchased train ticket. It just gets you travelling more, and I’d definitely not have travelled as much as I have done if it wasn’t for my Semester Ticket. Of course you pay for it at the start of each term (I believe the one at Hanover is around 180€) but when that gets you to Hamburg and back and all the bits in between and around, nobody is left complaining. Take a hint, England!
7. Ease of Travelling
There’s the obvious point that being in Germany means you’re ‘on the continent’. Germany has a total of 9 countries bordering it (I still probably couldn’t list them all off the top of my head despite going over it countless times in classes). Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier to travel everywhere, but it definitely gives you the mentality that it is, meaning you do more of it.
This may sound quite random, but I enjoy how Germans greet each other. I don’t understand/can’t even remember how walking up to someone and saying ‘hey’ is a greeting in England – this may have just been me, however. Here, you either hug or shake the hand of somebody, even if you saw them just the day before. In England, as far as I’m concerned, a hug is something you’d do if you hadn’t seen the person in a long while, and a handshake is something you’d do only to someone you either just met (which they do do here) or to someone with a high status, such as your boss or something (which they do here, too). It’s just nice to have that minor physical greeting system compared to the quick ‘hey’ you normally get in England. I’m just hoping I remember this and don’t hug people who aren’t up for it when I return to England.
The Germans are well-known for how direct they are, and I’ve come across a fair few cases where I’ve been told about something directly. At first I found it cruel and mean with how honest they were being, and how much phrases such as ‘I don’t mean to be rude…’ and ‘That was absolutely brilliant, but…’ lacked in everyday language. Now, I’m used it. They say what they mean, and, at the end of the day, that’s how it should be. If you’re annoyed with someone, then tell them – don’t dampen it down with petty phrases, just tell them straight, and the more direct you are, the more chance they probably won’t do it again.
10. Double-Decker Trains
No explanation here. They are awesome. It’s always a massive downer on a journey if you can’t sit upstairs due to it being full (or, the worst, when you get on a carriage to then realise upstairs is first class and downstairs is second class).
So those are some of the reasons why I love Germany. You just have to take the annoying parts with a pinch of salt (e.g. queue jumpers, ‘trains on time’), and once you take a step back, you can see how much of a wonderful country it actually is.
And to finish this post, here are the wonderful pictures I mentioned above: