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In Germany, lessons learned

November 10, 2013
By ANITA?HANABURGH , The Leader Herald

I was sitting next to my husband as zipped through emails, deleting as he went. My eyes glanced over and caught the scene flying away.

"Whoa, what's that?" I asked.

"Just a flier. The auto museum is running a trip to Germany." We are members of the Saratoga Auto Museum.

"Germany? When is it?" I asked, rummaging back to the deleted messages.

A quick answer, "October."

I studied the flier. "Maybe we should go. Cars and castles - what's not to love?" I asked.

"Oh, I don't know. I don't know if I can. Why go to Germany?" he responded.

I had to stop myself from explaining. Do I really need to explain to this caraholic with a clearly German surname why he might like this trip?

"I'll think about it," was the final word last summer.

We arrived in Germany on Oct. 6.

Oh busboy, Germany, a small country that is so big in many ways. It lost its last two wars, rebuilt itself and now has the fourth-highest gross national product in the world. It is very clean, efficient, historic and beautiful, and did I say it has great food? The food is recognizable - the bier, er, beer, perfection and the wine, sublime. What's not to love in Germany?

We visited car museums and ancient castles, race tracks and quaint villages, car factories and Cathedrals. Ten days weren't long enough. We had a lot of fun and I learn some very important things about Deutschland.

I learned that:

There are a lot of letters in German words.

Many words are similar to English.

Many Germans speak English.

I learned that:

It is possible to fit two single beds, a desk and chair in a hotel room that feels like 8 foot by 8 foot.

You can drink the water.

There are no drinking fountains in public places.

If you order water, it comes with carbonation.

I learned that:

In German, Munich is pronounced Munchen, like munchkin.

My ancestors are from northern Germany (we were visiting southern Germany).

The temperature was the same in Munich as it was in Johnstown.

I learned that:

A bus driver will leave you stranded once his or her work day is over

I never want to buy a dirndl dress

I learned that:

Beer is cheaper than Coca-Cola.

Beer is better than Coca-Cola.

If you raise your index finger you get two beers. The thumb is one.

A liter of beer requires two hands to lift.

You look like a tourist if you hold the mug by the handle. (I am a tourist!)

If you can't finish your beer, someone else at the table will oblige.

I learned that:

I like dark beer mixed with lemonade.

In Frankfort, beer mixed with apple juice is more popular than regular beer.

I learned that:

The main Oktoberfest in Munich is held mostly in September - bad for us.

The Oktoberfest in Stuttsgard is in October - good for us.

Oktoberfest tents can hold more than 5,000 singing and dancing people - good for us

I learned that:

Biergardens have no flowers.

Biergardens have no private tables.

Biergarden benches are for standing and singing, not sitting.

If you stand on one end of an empty bench, you end up on the floor!

I learned that:

If it ends in "wurst," I love it: Bratwurst, bockwurst, currywurst, milzwurst, weisswurst, leberwurst .

Sausages can be a half-inch or 2 yards long.

There were more than13 kinds of salami or sliced sausage on the breakfast buffet

I learned that:

Haus - meaning house - is the ending for most restaurants.

The bakery with the fabulous pastries in the window closes at 2 p.m.

Pretzels in Germany are crusty outside and soft and doughy inside.

German love salads that are fresh and organic from local ingredients.

Germans love meat and fatty foods.

There is no margarine, but lots of butter and cheese.

The cheese is fresh, organic and local.

I learned that:

Potatoes are plain, but cooked to perfection.

I don't really care for the vinegary ever-present potato salad.

German Sauerkraut isn't sour.

Everyone uses napkins.

Germans use knives and forks even for wursts in rolls.

Schweinshaxe is roasted pork knuckles - easier to say than to eat with a knife and fork!

The pepper chips that I coveted for 10 days are easily available in all U. S. grocery stores!

I learned that:

It is best that a wife doesn't know how fast 255 kilometers around the Nurburgring racetrack is.

It is wise to bring gum or Tums when someone surprisingly offers to take you for a spin around the Nurburgring track.

I learned that:

Germany makes a lot of cars.

German car museums are architecturally sophisticated and very educational.

German car factories are technologically advanced and cleaner than my house.

I learned that:

I shouldn't let my husband have the camera in a car museum

The restaurant at the Mercedes-Benz Museum serves cookies with the Mercedes Star.

The car museum for a premium car (Porsche) has a five-star restaurant on the top floor.

A woman tires of touring car factories. A man does not.

I learned that:

I want to return to Germany.

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