Things I like about Germany

by Michelle on February 27, 2014 · 12 comments

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Sometimes after living in a country for a while, the familiarity of everything makes the place more like a second home, rather than a distant exotic land you’ve chosen to reside in. I know when I see friends posting photos or statuses on Facebook about being in places like South Africa, Thailand, New Zealand or Argentina, I always feel a bit of travel envy… even though I myself am already living abroad in Germany.

After more than a year and a half of living in Germany, I have to say, it is starting to feel pretty homey even if I can’t understand a single word of Bavarian and I still don’t understand the big deal about Fasching (doesn’t Halloween seem so much more fun?)

With the never-ending snowstorms that seem to be happening back home in Toronto, German weather is (surprisingly!) one of the things I’m most happy with here at the moment. It’s February and people are sitting outside having ice cream at cafes! I haven’t worn my winter jacket in ages! There are people surfing in the English Gardens in Munich! (ok well kind of cheated on the last one since those crazy surfers are there all year round)

Inspired by my new liking for this suddenly amazing German weather, I’ve decided to create this post, about other things I like in this crazy (but in a rational, orderly way) country.

1. Public transportation

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Just in Munich alone, there are subways, trams, buses and regional trains to help you get from one part of the city to another. Coming from Toronto, the city of expensive barely there public transit, the thought of that is mind-blowing. The best part is that they’re all (relatively!) reliable and has got you covered, wherever you want to go. At 53 euros for a monthly pass, you definitely get your money’s worth.

Now that Deutsche Bahn no longer has monopoly over long distance travel within Germany, coach buses have also been popping up like crazy! Even the post office has a bus to take you places across Germany. With so much competition, it’s safe to say that you can pretty much go from one end of Germany to the other for no more than 25 euros.

2. Radler

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All my friends know that I hate the bitter taste of beer, so when they found out the first time that I’m moving to Germany, everyone wondered how I’m going to cope in a country that’s beer crazy…especially since back back home, the image of Germany is just a never-ending Oktoberfest (and also that other thing I’ll avoid mentioning on my list of things I like about Germany). So luckily for me, I discovered my love for Radler since I moved to Bavaria last fall. For those of you who haven’t tried it, it’s a drink that’s a mix of beer (normally Helles) and lemonade. You can get it at pretty much any bar in Bavaria, and despite being “watered-down beer,” it’s actually enjoyed by both men and women alike.

Interesting side note – my favourite Radler actually comes from Austria (shhh don’t tell the Bavarians!), by a company called Gösser.

3. German food

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When I lived in Mannheim for a year, the only times I ever had “German food” was at Oktoberfest and during the Christmas markets. Now that I live in Bavaria, the home of “German food” aka sausages (every type of “wurst” imaginable), schnitzel and sauerkraut, German food is pretty much unavoidable. Even my university cafeteria pretty much serves only German food, other than the questionable curry rice dish every now and then.

At this point, I think I’ve had more German food than any non-Bavarian German has had. Do I want German food every day? HELL NOO!!!! But I do love a good schnitzel or bratwurst every now and then.

4. Bakeries

photo cred: http://www.simply4friends.at/

photo cred: http://www.simply4friends.at/

It’s impossible to list things you love about Germany without a mention of German bakeries. Especially right now during Fasching season, despite my inability to really “get” Fasching, I do love all the pastries the carnival brings! My favourite is Krapfen (which is like the best doughnut you could ever have)…heavenly!

5. Phone plans

photo 4-5 copyComing from Canada, the country with the most expensive phone plans in the world, German phone plan prices all seem like they’re all missing an extra 0 on the end. For example, all data plans in Germany are pretty much unlimited and start from around 7 euros a month. In Canada, you’re likely to get that for $70 + 13 percent taxes. And on top of that, Canadian phone companies love to charge you random amounts of surcharges to your bill depending on how much they like you that month.

In December, I broke my old iPhone, which if I was in Canada, the price of a new one on a contract is enough to give anyone a heart attack (something like an initial payment of $200 + tax, and a 2 year monthly bill of $70 + taxes). In Germany, I pay 30 euros a month for my iPhone 5s. Take that corrupt Canadian telecommunications companies!

6. Soccer

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Now that Olympic hockey is over (TEAM CANADA ALL THE WAY!!! WE RULED IT AGAIN!!) and Team Canada’s victories have satisfied me for another 4 years, I’ll be turning my sometimes sports crazed self over to the World Cup this summer, where I will no doubt be watching it in Germany. The German national team have always come so close, and this year I expect the big win! C’mon Mannschaft!!

And of course there are things I still hate: impossible to open German doors, big square pillows, carbonated water and the scary precision of German punctuality.

 

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike February 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

For starters can you guys stop beating us in hockey? Sheesh! Those were awesome matches, huh? Congrats to Canada! I’m a beer drinker primarily, wine sometimes, whiskey rarely (love it but that whiskey eye lol) so I would definitely try some Radler. Oh btw…awesome pic at the header of the post. I made my first ever schnitzel from scratch last year and it turned out soooo good! Yummy x 10. I like knowing how great the public transportation is and for someone who has long contemplated being an expat in Germany it’s good know on the cell phone plans too. What about housing costs?? My aunt did some house shopping for me when she was there two summers ago and said there were so many affordable little places to purchase. Great post, Michelle!! :)

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Michelle Michelle February 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Haha…well to be honest, the Canada vs. US game was the only one I was afraid of! The US was doing so well, I was so shocked to hear when you guys lost to Finland 5-0!!! But yes, so happy for Canada to take home the gold again!! :D

You should post a schnitzel recipe on your blog! :D And thanks! I found that leaf and twig art when I was at the Neuschwanstein castle :P

Not too sure about housing costs since I’ve only rented apartments here. Not sure if I would want to settle down in Germany!

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Julika February 26, 2014 at 8:19 am

I love how excited you are about the weather here right now! I can’t believe it’s only February :)
Great post, Michelle! It’s always fun to read about what people like about your home country!

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Michelle Michelle February 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Thanks! Yes after the past few months of grey skies, the blue sky and sunny weather makes me so happy! :D Hopefully it stays this way and continues getting warmer for summer! :)

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Lars March 9, 2014 at 1:24 am

A couple of weeks ago I found this blog and from that time on I keep on reading your posts. As a German it’s quite interesting. Keep up your good work :)

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Michelle Michelle March 9, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Aww thanks Lars! :D Happy to hear that you like it! :)

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Lars March 11, 2014 at 7:55 am

btw when i moved to san diego i couldnt get used to uncarponated water and it was hard to find any sparkling water. guess its a german thing, isnt it? :)

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Michelle Michelle March 20, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Hahaha I guess know you know how I felt when I first moved to Germany (only with finding still water!) :P

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Dennis Kopp April 4, 2014 at 9:00 am

Michelle, I have to agree with you, Radler is the best! Although, you should also make sure to also try Alster (Bier mit Sprite) in northern Germany, Alt Schuss (Alt Bier mit Cola, oder Vitamalz) in the north-west and Gespritztes (Bier mit Fassbrause) in Berlin. Those are really the best drinks for the summertime! Thanks for voting for our team this year and what the punctuality is concerned, don’t tell anyone, but it’s actually a myth… :)

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Michelle Michelle April 4, 2014 at 11:18 am

Hi Dennis! No problem! :) I’ll keep those other options in mind when I’m in the North! When I was in Berlin last weekend I discovered this special beer they have with syrup (maybe it’s Gespritztes?)…it was so good! Can’t wait for summer! :)

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Stefania @The Italian Backpacker April 21, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Ahahah, “the scary precision of Germany punctuality”! I’m about to write a post on that, LOL! And I agree about carbonated water, it’s everywhere!

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Lars April 22, 2014 at 10:44 pm

its everywhere but still you are able to buy still water everywhere as well :)

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