Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Few Reflections on Germany

Having returned to the US, I've had some time to reflect on my most recent trip to Germany. The German people are an interesting lot- they are both congenial and friendly, yet amazingly deliberate and precise as well. They never cease to impress me with their efficiency and exactness. At times it can be a bit startling, when they respond to a request or question with a very serious "Yes of course" or "No it is not possible". Being direct and frank is in their nature, and I must admit it is rather refreshing. At least one knows where one stands. Walking about, you can't help but notice their architecture is both serious and heavy; dark at times, yet modern buildings have the smooth, sleek glass, and lines designed with incredible detail. Their food is quite good, although rich and heavy- I've no idea how everyone isn't obese over there. Between all the varieties of bratwurst sausages, potato-everything, delicious breads, traditional schnitzels, refreshing beer, and tempting sweets, it was difficult to control myself with all the options while dining. As it was Spargel season, this white asparagus delicacy was available everywhere, as steamed with Hollandaise sauce and boiled potatoes to a rich and creamy soup. Indeed, it was a gastronomic feast!

Walking through the city of Nuremberg was equally stimulating, reminders of the past (good and bad) to more contemporary elements, Germany today is thriving place with genuinely nice people who seems to like Americans. Mind you, I don't speak a word of German, but whenever approaching a stranger for something, I would always first ask "Sprecken ze English?" which I pronounced as "shhpreckken zeee Engleesh?" Typically most would respond sheepishly with "a little bit" but then carry on a completely coherent conversation with me. Most Germans seem to speak English well enough to get by, but always appreciate the little effort (or courtesy) of asking first before assuming they do speak English.


It was scenes like these, where I found Germany to be serene, relaxing and quite peaceful. Quintessential Old Europe, meets new Europe. A perfect blend for me. I look forward to returning to Deutschland again in the future, where I hope to add a few new words to my vocabulary. If anyone has a few words to suggest, I'd be grateful indeed.
-Herr Rick Rockhill

7 comments:

"Lois Grebowski" said...

I've not taken any German language courses, but it seems to be an easy language to learn enough to get by. I have to stop and think, sometimes, when I get confused by one the huge compound words.

It's a beautiful, friendly country. I'd love to go back again.

Mags said...

I suppose I never thought about how they would be very precise, but in thinking about it now, I can see it. It looks so beautiful and somewhat mysterious to me.

Oh how I'd love to go eat sausages and drink beer in Germany! The closest I've gotten is at Epcot. :)

Very much enjoyed your taking us along again-and also the "Herr Rick Rockhill" at the end.

A Lewis said...

I'm a huge fan of that more direct, honest, approach of "Yes" or "No". I hate the flowery adjective-laden responses that we often use here in the US.

grace said...

I grew up in London, and it was a requirement to take German and French as a language, I don't remember very much. I can count to 10!!lol
I love the last photo.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I must admit, I have never wanted to go to Germany, ever. I know it has to do with feelings about WW2 and the treatment of the Jews, Gays, etc. And the fact that most of my mothers relatives---except one cousin, died in the concentration camps. I know it is not the same as back then...but....the feelings are still there inside me.
It is interesting to read your view of what you saw there Rick...And I thank you for that.

WAT said...

Oh Rick you SPOILED BRAT! GERMANY! I got German blood! I would love to go there, but I need to learn some German, which I frankly think is a cool language, despite its negative Nazi past.

Love the pics, they have wonderful interesting architecture.

Desert Songbird said...

The one time I was fortunate enough to visit my family in The Netherlands, I had to laugh because even in the tiniest of villages, the locals spoke English! My Dutch is sparse; I can understand most of it, but I never learned to speak it fluently. Whenever I tried to use my Dutch, I was also answered in English.

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