The Insider’s Guide: 5 Ways to Get to Know the Real Germany
Germany is magical. The Germans are very nice people who speak English, keep their cities impeccably clean, and work and play very hard. Between northern Germany, southern Germany, and the eastern part of the country, you’ll see some pretty stark cultural differences, but the people will always be welcoming.
Really getting to know Germany is a fantastic experience, and checking out the different cities and areas of the country will be a trip you’ll never forget. There are so many ways to get to know the real Germany, but here are five that will make your experience unforgettable, all from a Germany pro.
Get on the Autobahn
It is famous for a reason, there is no other experience in a car like it. The Autobahn is the smoothest, most technologically advanced roadway in the world. Of course, it also has those famous sections with no speed limit.
It can be a genuinely harrowing experience for many tourists the first time they do 120mph with Porsche’s lights flashing for them to move over. Riding with a German accustomed to it is encouraged. If you do go for it, know that the rules are stringent and the tickets can be very large, so know proper Autobahn etiquette.
Eat German Food Everywhere
German food isn’t common in the U.S., but it is delicious. Just as the culture can be very different by geography, so is the food. Northern German food is tremendously different from Bavarian food, and more of the Polish/Slavic impact can be tasted in the east. It is fresh and tremendous, and there are over 360 types of incredible bread.
Shop on the Fussgangerzone
German cities have walking areas with no cars allowed. They are called Fussgangerzones and are surrounded by shops, restaurants, and cafes. You’ll see plenty of street performers and small boutiques. These are just fun areas to take a walk on cobblestone streets and take in the sites and sounds of the city.
Go midday for the most action as Germany has strict laws about how late shops can be open. Those laws are in place to protect small merchants from large chains that can afford to run all hours. Also, Germans like their evenings and Sundays reserved for family and entertainment.
Germans are famous for beer and drink more than other people. Beer is so important that it is classified as a life staple and therefore not taxable.
German beer doesn’t come in the insane varieties one will find in the U.S. due to ancient purity laws that strictly limit brewing to a few ingredients to ensure this sacred drink is made right. Regardless of the much-limited selection of types, it’s delicious.
These tips aren’t about where to go and the landmarks to visit so much as providing the little things that help you experience the real Germany. A visit to the great German cities and beautiful countryside will be one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life.