A slightly ambiguous photo of a park sign... "Please BBQ dogs" (Flickr: bleicher)
If I said to you barbeque, you’d say to me: America! After all, it is the land of BBQ sauce, rib and steak cook-outs and, oddly enough, a variety of grilled “dogs” – which, I have to confess, I always had the Koreans down for, but whaddya know?
Anyway, I’m not the only one who’s a little limited in his range of associative thinking when it comes to barbequed food: after all, how many of you would instantly think of Germany when you smell charcoal and singed sausages?
This is a preview of Germans could win the World Grill Cup.
Frohes Neues Jahr! Happy New Year! (Flickr: uniquefrequency)
In January last year, I wrote the popular theory that, in the twentieth century, important things tended to happen to Germany in years ending in 9 – i.e. the 1919 Versailles Peace Treaty, the 1939 start of the Second World War, the 1949 founding of the Federal Republic and, most recently, the 1989 fall of the wall. My aim, however, was to prove that years ending in 0 were actually the truly momentous years – or at least of comparable importance.
This is a preview of Looking for momentous anniversaries in 2011.
Rathausmarkt at Christmas: stunning (Flickr: mawel)
The British pub crawl is a much maligned thing. Probably because the word “crawl” implies that the participants are unable to walk between pubs, the pub crawl is generally interpreted by British people as an excuse to get absolutely hammered, and is therefore associated by our European neighbors with nothing more than drunkenness and debauchery of the worse, most British kind.
Yet as Brit living in Germany, I can point to a shining example of how the British Pub Crawl can actually contribute to rather than irreparably damage relations between my fair home country and our long-suffering continental neighbors. How do I manage this amazing feat of social integration? What glue do I use to make this diametrically opposed… er, thing stick? Well, it’s a mixture of mulled wine, cinnamon-flavored goodies and the Spirit of Yuletide itself.
This is a preview of Get Weihnachtsmarkted, mate!.
After last week’s excursion into the pitfalls of using du and Sie, it quickly became clear from the number of comments that this is a topic of no small interest both to Germans and learners of the language alike. So I thought I’d give you a bit more on the same theme this week. Don’t say, oh dearest Young Germany readers, that I never do anything for you.
Now, last week I wrote that there is considerable comedic promise in the fact that German has two forms of second-person address: so let’s look at precisely what is so funny about Siezen and Duzen.
The center of Hamburg in the summer sun (Flickr photo: Mark Max Henckel)
Apart from its reputation for beautiful blond Nordic girls and debauched nightlife, one of the main reasons I moved to Hamburg is the fact that it is, in my view, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. And I’m not alone in holding that opinion, as any visitor to Hamburg will soon realize simply by turning on the radio: all local radio stations greet listeners with something akin to the following phrase: “Wir senden live aus Hamburg, schönster Stadt der Welt!” – We’re broadcasting live from Hamburg, the most beautiful city in the world!”
Now, I think you probably have to actually have been born in Hamburg to go quite as far as to claim it is the most attractive urban settlement on the entire planet. I mean, come on guys, ever heard of St. Petersburg? Stockholm? Venice?
This is a preview of Could you be the most beautiful city in the world?.
As any of you reading from north of an imaginary line drawn between Cologne and Berlin will agree, Germany is often remarkably flat. The northern half of it is essentially part of a pancake that geographers call “The North European Plain.” To the likes of you and me, this essentially means that, between Holland and Russia, you can get a great view just by climbing up the average drainpipe. On a bungalow. With a low roof.
This is a preview of Enjoying Germany on two wheels.
Lederhosen and football - can't get more German than that! (Flickr: lembagg)
If there’s one thing that those of us who’ve lived in Germany for a while know, it’s that Germans do not do things by halves: Keine halbe Sachen! Germany is kind of like the America of Europe, the country where big is beautiful and where everything is balls to the walls: take the Oktoberfest, for example, which is based on the conspicuous consumption of comedically oversized tankards of beer and heart-attack-inducing quantities of grilled meat. And because just eating and drinking excessively would be a bit half-baked, Germans dress up in Lederhosen und Dirndl to do it and, badabingbadaboom, it’s an event of culturally monolithic proportions.
This is a preview of I’m a Fußball-Muffel: Get Me Out of Here!.