Germany has been my home for three years now. I mean, England is still home, but Germany has been the place I lay my hat for long enough and happily enough that I don’t mind awarding it the home label. Last week I wrote a list celebrating all the things I love and miss about England. This week, I am going to celebrate Germany and all the things that, while not particularly important, make it a special place.
1. It is beautiful
Sundays are valued, shops are closed and people enjoy a day off. It doesn’t really matter that it’s Sunday, the fact that one day a week is valued as time for family, friends and relaxing is such a treat. Yes, it’s annoying if you forgot to buy milk at the supermarket on Saturday, but forget about it, head out and enjoy the town without being distracted by shops and spending.
3. Cafe culture, beer brewing and relaxed attitudes
You can go to the same place for breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake, dinner and a midnight beer. You can buy a beer and drink it peacefully by the river whilst having a picnic. You can take two hours over one cup of coffee and no one will ask you to move. Time for simple pleasures is never frowned upon, it’s encouraged 4. Brezels Or pretzels to you and me. Cost less than a Euro, are salty and delicious. The perfect snack.
There is a season for everything. Winefest season, Christmas markets, harvest festivals. Even asparagus! Spargelzeit tells you spring and summer are well on the way and makes a pound of white stalks and sauce sound like the best thing since sliced bread!
6. Christmas Markets Sweet smells, mulled wine and pretty things you don’t need all packaged in festive spirit and cold toes.
7. Bikes You can cycle everywhere and it is often faster than the car or public transport. I am the worst kind of person, admittedly – on my bike I hate all pedestrians and vice-versa. But I love getting to work in less than ten minutes and getting my own little lanes on pavements.
8. The Environment
You can recycle almost everything. Bottles have a deposit encouraging a culture of recycling and taking away your rubbish after picnics and festivals. Simple, effective, and simple just a good way of going things.
So Germany got 8 to England’s 7. Well at least it didn’t go to penalties. And Germany gets a minus point for not realising the worth of marmite. The conclusion? Having two great places to feel at home is lucky, enriching and something for which to always be grateful.