How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

So you’re probably either thinking, at last!

Or, what the darn diddly?

I cannot under-estimate how much I love living in Germany.

BMW Munich – Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

I mean, I shout about it loud enough and it was just four (4) years ago that I introduced myself to you on this blog, when I wrote a cheeky article which most people didn’t seem to get. And the title? Germany is Boring.

Oops!

Ah well, either way, it’s going to be interesting.

At the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It – 2015
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

As The British Berliner, I have been living in Germany for more than fifteen (15) years, so I’m more than qualified to tell you how things are done the German Way! 

I mean, what is the big deal?

The Berlin Wall – 28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

I’ll tell you what the big deal is my good man.

It’s the fact that Germany.

Otherwise known as Deutschland!

Has been together in peace and harmony for 28 years.

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

That’s right.

28 years!

How I went on the radio for the BBC & was featured in Germany’s biggest Sunday newspaper!

Some people might think that by coming to Berlin or Munich for a lost weekend, they know everything they need to know about the German people.

Not so my friends.

It’s a little more complicated than that, so I’m going to help you!

HOW TO BE A GERMAN – 10 WAYS TO DO IT!

Beer for everyone in Germany ‘cos the drinks are on meeeee!

Just so that you know what mean, here’s a 2004 MTV commercial called Günther, otherwise known as Mum, Dad, I’m German…

It’s totally ridiculous but absolutely hilarious, and very tongue-in-cheek. Watch the video below!

1.  LOOK THE PART AND WEAR SANDALS AND CLOGS. INDOORS!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!
Man wearing sandals & socks. But why?! ©Rex

When I first came to Germany, I was amazed at the number of men who wore sandals.

With socks!

Why people? Why?

Keeping it real in Germany. With sandals and socks!
©REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

The last time I wore leather sandals was when I was a school girl, and they were a sensible pair of Clarks!

However, in order to be as German as the next person, I wear Birkenstocks at home. With socks!

I even wore Birkenstocks at my wedding!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!
I even wore Birkenstocks at my wedding!

But without socks!

And in my defence, I had been wearing killer high heels all day which I had changed three (3) times!

I know!

2.  HAVE LUNCH FOR BREAKFAST!

German and French bread!
Luxembourg: A smart guide to the Grand Duchy of one of Europe’s smallest countries!

Germans aren’t known for the minimal look as far as food is concerned. They’re not French you know!

During the week, a typical German breakfast is a bun known as a brötchen. It’s usually covered with cold cuts and cheese with mustard, and a variety of other sauces.

At the weekend, it’s a feast!

At the weekend, it’s a feast, fit for a king!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Many German families, including my own, would queue for hours in order to get the freshest amount of bread straight from the bakery. And yes, many people still go to the bakery!

In fact, just five (5) minutes from my home is the family-owned and oldest bakery in Berlin – Bäckerei Siebert – and is still going strong after 111 years!

A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home!

Then they arrange their tables so that there’s a wide variety of cold cuts, sausages, cheese, seafood, eggs, fruit, and a wide assortment of bread!

The first time, I had breakfast with my German family, it was such a mish-mash of food that halfway through the meal, I left the table and was sick in the bathroom! It was too much you see, so get ready to gird your loins, as there’s no escaping!

3.  SAUSAGES!

White sausages. I’ve tried it every which way, but I still don’t like it!
©TakeAway – Wikipedia

All hail the almighty S!

The very highlight of a typical German day is the sausage, so if you want to be a German, learn how to like it!

Germany has loads of different sausages and each comes with its own unique taste.

I find the white sausage with sweet mustard or Weißwürst quite disgusting personally, even though I’ve tried it every which way.

Ah well!

Delicious grilled pork sausages, otherwise known as bratwurst. Yum!

The grilled pork sausages with mustard, ketchup or both, otherwise known as Bratwurst can be decisively delicious.

My favourite German sausage however, is the currywurst. The currywurst is Berlin’s most famous sausage.

Best German meals to try out in Berlin – Currywurst!

Currywurst!

Yummy! Yummy!

Currywurst is beef or pork sausage grilled and chopped up, then smothered with a spicy ketchup and curry powder. It’s eaten with a pile of chips and a slice of bread or a bun.

It’s such a famous icon that it even has its own Currywurst Museum where you can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, watch a film about it, attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips. You can sometimes even have chocolate and curry ice-cream!

If you’re vegan or a vegetarian however, you’re done for!

4.  RECYCLING!

Collecting poo!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

I’m happy to say that Germany is the leading country as far as going green is concerned, and they’ve been doing it for years!

I remember when I first came to Germany, and I casually put a piece of paper into the dustbin, my German boyfriend at the time, literally freaked out.

It was the wrong dustbin!

Germans have a dustbin for everything.

Germans have a dustbin for everything!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

There’s a dustbin for paper.

A dustbin for plastic.

A dustbin for glass.

A dustbin for metal.

A dustbin for organic stuff.

A dustbin for dog poo.

A charity bin for clothes with a different compartment for shoes. Of course.

There’s even a dustbin for batteries!

If you want to be a German, don’t do this!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

And every supermarket will encourage you to leave your cardboards boxes and plastic packaging behind, if you so wish.

Oh, and most people have recycling bags that they take with them for shopping.

And don’t think you can sneak your large items into the backyard, as the dustbin men won’t take them, and you’ll be charge for “littering!”

We even have our own organic compost “bin” in the garden!

If you want to be a German keep your rubbish, and take it home!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

If you want to be a German keep your rubbish, and take it home!

5.  PUNCTUALITY!

If you want to be a German, don’t be late!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

If you want to be a German, if your appointment is at 09:00, make sure you arrive there on the dot, or better still, a few minutes before. However, if you arrive twenty (20) seconds later, you’re late!

Mind you, don’t be like the strange fellow that I invited to a Christmas dinner party I was organising. He arrived at 17:00, and the invitation was for 20:00!

I sent him away!

6.  SMALL TALK ISN’T A THING!

No need to worry. I’ll do the talking!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

I live in Germany.

I have quite a knack for small talk.

Most Germans haven’t.

They don’t seems to understand what I mean by “small” talk. They think we British people are trying to evade the subject.

Don’t be shy. Speak plainly if you like her hair!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Germans believe in speaking plainly and clearly, about what is on their minds!

I once had some random stranger who stopped me on the street, and told me that he didn’t like my hair style!

See.  Plain and true. No beating around the bush here!

Oh, and talking about the private issue of how much you earn, could get you fired!

If you want to be a German, forget about it.

Let it go!

It’s against the law!

7.  LONG CONVERSATIONS!

If you want to be a German, ask more questions! How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

If you want to be a German, learn the art of a long conversation and long meetings. There’s no need to say something in one (1) minute, that could better be said in ten (10)!

What’s the hurry?

Slow down.

Don’t make your mind up too quickly.

Sleep on it.

Discuss it a bit more over lunch, and a few pints of beer.

Then let’s talk about it again next week!

8.  DOCUMENTATION!

Bring along all your documentation!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

For the laymen among you, that means paperwork and certification!

If you want to settle into German life, and you don’t have any certificates, you won’t get very far. After all, how would they know that you’ve “done it,” if they can’t record it, and file it away somewhere!

Germany is a high-technology country, but as far as paperwork and bureaucracy is concerned, it might as well be back in the Dark Ages!

Put the kettle on. We’re going to be here all day!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!
Put the kettle on. We’re going to be here all day!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

So bring along document A, as well as three copies of document B, signed by the Head of Department, who gave you document C, then send them all by post with a verified stamp, and document D!

And don’t smile!

9.  OKTOBERFEST AND DRINKING BEER!

Beer in Germany isn’t a joke.
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Ha! If there’s one other thing that Germans do well, it’s drink beer!

Beer in Germany isn’t a joke.

And neither is Oktoberfest!

Are Bavarians really Germans? How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Some people would have you believe that Oktoberfest is only known in Bavaria.

And that the Bavarians aren’t really Germans!

But it isn’t true.

And I should know ‘cos I’m more German than the Germans. So there!

And for goodness sake. Whatever you do, please don’t order water at the bar.

It’s weird!

10.  BE INFORMED ABOUT GERMAN HISTORY!

Learning how to be a German is lots of fun, but if you want to be a real German, you’ll have to know and understand your history.

All of the history. Including the horrible bits.

That’s it for now.

Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

See you next week!

HOW TO BE A GERMAN – 10 WAYS TO DO IT!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yay!

October & November is going to be thrilling!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!
Claudia Schiffer – Paris 1989 – ©2017 Herb Ritts Foundation.

Watch this space!

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Thanks a million!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Are you German? Do you have any German roots? Would you like to be a German? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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Going Carnival in Cologne.

Butterfly lady.
Butterfly lady.

Last weekend, we went to the birthplace of the lovely Eau de Cologne – known in Germany as Köln or in English – Cologne.

Miss Eau de Cologne.
Miss Eau de Cologne.

Cologne is one of Germany’s most beautiful cities, of which there are many. It’s a city packed with medieval architecture and Romanesque churches dominated by the Gothic spire of the 13th century cathedral known by the locals as the “Köln Dom.”

The Cologne Cathedral.
The Cologne Cathedral.

As intriguing as Cologne was, we were there for the purpose of celebrating the 10th year wedding anniversary of a family friend and as a result, a deep look into what makes Cologne tick will have to wait for another visit.

It has been at least 9 years since I’ve been to Cologne and my memories are hazy as the last thing I remember doing there was going from one bar to another, with an entourage of other managers from all around the country.

Going out together.
Going out together.

This time around, “The Music Producer” and “The Tall Young Gentleman” were in tow and the city of Cologne was in the throng of caaaaaaarnival fever. Not a carnival as is known in Anglo-American countries but “Carnival” – German style. Whoever says Germans don’t know how to enjoy themselves and let loose, has never been to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Munich or Berlin!

Caaaaarnival!
Caaaaarnival!

But what is this Carnival?

The Cologne Carnival is an important traditional festival that takes place every year, and is known as the “fifth season.” Every 12 months there are 3 people known as the “Dreigestirn who are granted the titles of The Virgin – Jungfrau, the Prince – Prinz, and The Farmer –  Bauer.

The Cologne Carnival prince is deemed to be the highest representative of the festivities, leading the main parades throughout the week. Traditionally, The Virgin – Jungfrau, is always a man in drag!

The Prince, The Virgin and The Farmer 2014 - Cologne Carnival.
The Prince, The Virgin and The Farmer 2014 – Cologne Carnival.

The Prince also known as His Madness or “Seine Tollität” symbolizes the carnival itself and usually wears some form of a crown with a peacock tail, a golden chain, a girdle with precious stones, white breeches, and a jacket. He also carries a sceptre in one hand and slapstick (the symbol of the fool) in the other hand.

The Prince - Cologne Carnival, 2014.
The Prince – Cologne Carnival, 2014.

The Virgin also known as Her Loveliness or “Ihre Lieblichkeit” symbolizes the patronizing mother Colonia and is traditionally played by a man who has no facial hair. The Cologne Virgin usually wears a mural crown and has a hand mirror (the symbol of vanity), and is normally dressed in Roman clothing representing the Roman empress Agrippina, who was born in the Roman city of Colonia.

The Virgin - Cologne Carnival 2014.
The Virgin – Cologne Carnival 2014.

The Farmer also known as His Heftiness or “Seine Deftigkeit” must be a man of stature. He expresses the boldness of the old privileged imperial city of Cologne and has a sword and a hand tool used for threshing grain (the symbol of loyalty and truth). He is also the keeper of the city and wears the city keys on his girdle (the symbol of the city militia).

The Farmer - Cologne Carnival 2014
The Farmer – Cologne Carnival 2014

The Cologne Carnival is first and foremost a festival of fancy dress.

Fancy dress. Who am I? Am I the fool or are you? Cologne Carnival, 2014
Fancy dress. Who am I? Am I the fool or are you?
Cologne Carnival, 2014

Custom demands that the carnival season is declared opened at 11 minutes past 11 on the 11th day of the 11th month (November). During Advent and the Christmas period the carnival is temporarily put on hold until January 6th but the real merry-making takes place on the Thursday before the beginning of Lent. During this time, there are many balls, street festivals, celebrations, “crazy days,” wild parties on the streets, and parties in the public squares. During this period, closing times for restaurants, pubs, and clubs are ignored and establishments are allowed to open 24 hours a day!

This wonderful time all ends on Ash Wednesday.

The Jumpers.
The Jumpers.

However, the biggest highlight of the Cologne Carnival is Rose Monday or Rosenmontag which takes place two days before Ash Wednesday.

Rosenmontag is tomorrow!

Ready to attack!
Ready to attack!

Everybody makes an effort and is garbed in fancy dress costume and themed attire, or is masked, and you can pretty much wear whatever you like. When I attended 14 years ago, I went as some sort of cow. I had black and white make-up on, lots of glitter, a tail and a furry hat!

Making an effort. Cologne Carnival 2014.
Making an effort. Cologne Carnival 2014.

On Rosenmontag, there is a kilometre long procession that takes the Prince, the Farmer and the Virgin through the city. There is also the large official parade with elaborate colourful floats, and sweets are thrown from the floats to the public. These sweets are called “Kamelle.” Little bouquets of flowers are also given out – “Stüßjer”, and lots of little pecks of kisses are also given to one and all – Bützje.

Here! No. Here!!
Here! No. Here!!

In order to get the sweets, bon-bons and candy, you have to shout out “Kamelle” and “Kölle Alaaf!” which means “Long Live Cologne!” If you’re lucky, chocolate boxes, and bottles of Eau de Cologne are also thrown from the floats! We had a brilliant time.

Long Live Cologne!
Long Live Cologne!

This year there will be:

  • 10,096 performing participants.
  • 350 horse riders.
  • 117 bands.
  • 140 tonnes of sweets, bon-bons and candy.
  • 700,000 bars of chocolate.
  • 220,000 boxes of chocolate.
  • 300,000 bunches of flowers.
  • 74 decorated floats.
  • 67 tractors.
  • 50 trucks.
  • 3,600 kg of paint used.
  • 10 kg of glue.
  • 500 sq meters of chipboard and plywood.
  • 10 sq meters of plastic foam.
  • €2.3 million or $3.1 million spent for the official parade ceremony.

Right now, the beautiful Cologne is the place to be.

Princes giving out gifts at the Cologne Carnival, 2014.
Princes giving out gifts at the Cologne Carnival, 2014.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my absolute own.

For more information please contact:

Have you been to Cologne? When was the last time you went to a Carnival? Do you like dressing up? Share your comments.

Scream and Shout! At the Cologne Cathedral, 2014.
Scream and Shout!
At the Cologne Cathedral, 2014.

See you next week at the world’s biggest International Tourism Exchange platform – the ITB in my home, Berlin.

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