So as I mentioned before Steadman is going to Germany soon for business. Most of her time will be spent in Hamburg which is in northern Germany. She asked me to do a post about stuff I remembered about it to give her some tips and an idea of what Germany is like. I lived in Germany for almost two years in the late 70s. I imagine it's changed some since then. Consequently I don't know how much light I can really shed on this subject. However, if the pictures (above) are anything to go by Hamburg is a pretty nice looking city.
The things I remember most? Germany was one of the cleanest places I've ever lived or visited. You'd see people and shop keepers washing down their sidewalks and store fronts every day. It seemed like everyone had lots of flowers too.
Also, the German people were very friendly at least that was my experience. Whether I was trying to find my way around or just asking for a suggestion for a good place to eat, the people were always kind and helpful. Almost every where I went in Germany people spoke English very well. Which begs the question why more Americans don't learn a second language. One friend of mine was fluent reading, writing and speaking German, French and English. With younger university students this wasn't at all unusual.
The pubs were great. Most serve food along with beer, wine and schnapps. Yeah, shots of schnapps and beer...don't do it. Not that I know anything about it first hand, 'cuz I don't. Really, I don't, but I had a boyfriend... Anyway, I don't remember any hard liquor in the pubs. There were some dance clubs I went to (yes, I was young once) and they served drinks, but I was there to dance so I don't know what's a popular mixed drink in Germany. BTW, the dance clubs were loud, bright, noisy, filled with people and a lot of fun. They loved disco in Germany and as far as I know, still do.
One other thing I remember from living in my little attic apartment in Sembach village is that most people shopped for their food daily in small neighborhood shops. This isn't unusual in Europe because when we were in Paris a few years ago people still seemed to do this.
The other thing that pops in my head is the brochen or brötchen. Yum! Crusty roll on the outside and soft bread on the inside. Breaks apart like a dream. I'd eat one for breakfast...just plain with coffee. Also they are so good with bratwurst. Everyone knows what bratwurst is. Cooked on an open grill on a street corner and slapped into a brötchen with some brown mustard, I could swoon thinking about it. There were white and red bratwurst. Spices and meat slightly different. Sometimes you can order a bratwurst in a restaurant with potatoes and sauerkraut. Lots of different kraut and wurst in Germany. I didn't meet any I didn't like.
I liked the beer. That's saying something because I'm not usually a beer drinker. But the German beer I liked. It's not served cold for one thing. Which makes it even more weird because on the rare occasion I do drink beer it's usually a swig of GG's and it is ALWAYS cold. So yeah, odd that I liked the beer.
Oh yeah, there is some great German wine. Some of it is a bit sweet for me, but to this day I love a good Riesling. I toured Alsace-Lorraine which is a part of France now I think but was once part of Germany. Great wines are made there. Now that was a great trip and I learned a lot about wine. Beautiful valley.
Stuff I remember about Germany like fasching which is the German equivalent of our Mardi Gras doesn't really apply for Steadman's trip. Not to mention where I lived, Sembach, is near Frankfurt in the south and not near Hamburg, so I don't even know if they celebrate fasching there. All of which is moot because Lent is over and that ship has sailed, but if you are ever in Germany on Fat Tuesday...well, The Big Easy isn't the only place that knows how to celebrate is all I'm sayin'.
Wow! I guess most of my German memories center around food, drink and making merry. Ummm...do you think that's significant in any way? Did I mention I was young? Could be worse. I could be talking about the totally depressing assortment of grunt jobs I had to support myself. All of which I'm grateful for, sucky as they were, because I got to live in freakin' Germany for crikeys sakes.
So, anybody else out there been to Germany? Better yet is there anyone reading this who lives in Germany or Hamburg specifically and can give Steadman some info? When I looked up places to see in Hamburg it only listed the port and warehouse district. Yeah, that doesn't sound too promising does it? However, I haven't a clue what's near there that might be fun or interesting. I know there's some beautiful green countryside just about every where in Germany so taking a drive is always an option. Just be careful on those speedy autobahns, okay?
So, auf Wiedersehen Steadman! Have a great trip and come home and tell us all about it. Oh, and don't forget the pictures.