Germany: Unlocked

Be in the know before you go! Our series, “Unlocked” will help you live like a local at your next destination. Next up: Germany, courtesy of HomeExchange.com team member, Bernhard.

How to say hello:

Hallo or Guten tag

How to say goodbye:

Auf wiedersehen or Tschüss (informal)

How to say thank you:

Danke

Currency used:

Euro

15234296222_771f2db273_z(1)Photo by Heribert Pohl via Flicrk

Favorite national foods

It depends on the region:

  • South: Pork with dumplings
  • North: Fish with potatoes
  • Berlin: Sausage with curry

Best months to visit Germany

From June to September: all regions. From December to February: For the skiing in the south of Germany

Best way to get around

The train network system in Germany is extensive and has high-speed lines linking many cities. Before you travel by train, you need to buy a ticket. Public transport in Germany is efficient, safe, comfortable and comprehensive. In the last year, a vast network of bus services now connects many cities and can be a cheaper alternative to the train.

Local customs

When you are introduced to a German, you should address him or her as Mr. (Herr) or Mrs. (Frau) followed by his or her family name. It is customary to say “Good day” (“Guten tag”) or “Good morning” (“Guten morgen”) on entering a small shop or arriving at places. Don’t arrive late for an invitation, and don’t overstay your welcome. Also, it is considered bad luck to wish someone a happy birthday before the actual date.

4036789689_a18be6c56f_bPhoto by Werner Kunz, CC via Flickr

A novel to read or a film to watch or a song to listen to learn more about Germany

Movies:

  • Die Mannschaft – It is about the World Cup Victory in 2014.
  • Run Lola Run – If you want to travel to Berlin and get a taste of the Berlinerisch dialect, this film might be the right one for you.
  • Goodbye Lenin – A much-liked film that cleverly tackles the issues surrounding German unification.

Music:

Local websites for discounts in restaurants, theatre, cinema, etc.

For restaurant delivery: Groupon: groupon.de
For coupons and discounts on restaurants, shopping and much more: undsparen.de and dailydeal.de

3663051845_6328a4a155_zPhoto by Werner Kunz, CC  via Flickr

Towns or villages in Germany which are worth a visit

  1. The Romantic Road – Based (very) loosely on the old Roman route between the participating towns and adding in some stunning medieval locations to the north,.
  2. Usedom, Baltic Sea Island in Pomerania – With over 1,906 sunshine hours each year, Usedom has earned its nickname, Sunny Island (German: Sonneninsel).
  3. Castle of Quedlinburg – North of the Harz Mountains, in the district of Harz, Quedlinburg showcases a medieval court and old town. In 1994, UNESCO added this picturesque town to its World Heritage List.
  4. Leipzig – In 1989, Leipzig played a significant role in instigating the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. The St. Nicholas Church, in Leipzig, became the center of the peaceful revolt against communist rule. Today, Leipzig has revolutionized itself by restoring historic buildings, demolishing others and developing a modern transport infrastructure. All of this has lead Leipzig to become one of the most livable cities in Germany with a prominent opera house and one of the most modern zoos in Europe.
  5. Bamberg – Bamberg is a town in Bavaria, Germany located in Upper Franconia, and its historic city center is also listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The best kept secret about Germany

Sand Beaches in the northern part of Germany is one of the best-kept secrets. Walking, cycling, sailing, and kite sailing are favorite pastimes here. A brisk walk in the salty sea air cleanses your lungs of city grime.

The most unique thing about Germany

There are over 300 kinds of bread in Germany. Enjoy them all.

288999709_f2e9ecc469_zPhoto by Yisris , CC via Flickr

Common misconceptions about this country

1. One German Culture:

There is only one uniform German culture is a common misconception. When many people think of German culture, they picture beer, sausage, pretzels, and lederhosen. However, this isn’t German culture; it’s Bavarian culture. As with many European countries, there isn’t one culture in Germany. Food, traditional styles of dress and attitudes vary from region to region. There are some similarities, but there are a lot of differences – in particular, between the north and south. For example, the south is predominantly Catholic, and the north is traditionally protestant.

2. The Autobahn Has No Speed Limit:

The German autobahn is famous around the world for not having a speed limit. However, this isn’t true. Autobahn simply means highway, and there are many highways in the country. Some of the biggest multi-lane freeways don’t have speed limits, but most highways do. There are relatively few stretches where you can drive at any speed.

3. Oktoberfest is a German Celebration:

Many people think that Oktoberfest is celebrated all over Germany. However, if you ask a Berlin resident if he will be celebrating this festival, he will likely tell you that he can’t make it to Munich this year. This is because Oktoberfest is limited to Munich.

4. Germans are Cold and Have no Sense of Humor:

Germans aren’t known for being particularly friendly or funny. However, that does not mean that they can’t be kind or make jokes. Their idea of friendliness and sense of humor is just different than that of other countries. Germans tend to be colder on the surface, but warm once you get to know them. A German is as likely to invite you to dinner or a night out as much as her American counterpart. However, she may not smile at you on the street or greet you when you walk into her shop. As for humor, Germans prefer subtlety, and their jokes are often dry and sarcastic.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Digital Cat , Cc via Flickr

Best (free) activities in Germany

  • Look for beer gardens during the summer, you’ll find plenty. Enjoy the good food and music.
  • Along the Rhine, visit the best places in Germany to celebrate Carnival (Karneval) Mainz, Cologne, Düssseldorf.
  • Visit Germany’s best Museums such as Pergamon Museum, Berlin
  • German Museum, Munich
  • Aquazoo and Löbbecke Museum, Düsseldorf
  • Grünes Gewölbe (Green vault), Dresden
  • Porsche-Museum, Stuttgart
  • Romano-Germanic Museum, Cologne
  • Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
  • Museumshafen Oevelgönne, Hamburg
  • Visit the Christmas markets, especially in the south of Germany and in Berlin. There are about 80 Christmas markets in Berlin.

3429127595_74aa894de5_zPhoto by Raging Wire, CC via Flickr

Anything else we should know about Germany?

Come to Germany. Enjoy excellent locations, history, and culture.

 

 

Featured image: by Luke Ma via Flickr CC

One Comment on “Germany: Unlocked

  1. Seems to be a beautiful place to explore.This post is really very informative and helpful to explore Germany. Love to share this.

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