Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Germany I Saw

hi! for more of my recent European travels and experiences, here and here are come examples. For posts on all of Europe, see: here.

Phoenix was sadly devoid of any red pins. I rectified that. 

I recently spent three weeks in northern Germany, a town just south of Hamburg. Some family friends were nice enough to give me a home while I was there, and I quickly became part of their little family. It was a fabulous experience, there's no better way to understand a culture than to be shoved into it, right? 

As a born-and-raised American, I spent a good deal of the time laughing, either to myself, or aloud, at some of the things that I saw, or things I heard. I will always wonder why Europeans find it necessary to sell juice in a container that contains maybe three full glasses. Also mysterious to me, why you must pay to use a public restroom. Good news, now that I'm back in the land of the free, I may frequent public restrooms as often as I so desire. 


So, here is the version of Germany I saw in pictures. (And a few words, because some of the pictures aren't 

My way to ignore the fact that I had journeyed to the library only to find it shut: photograph the lake across from said building.
Due to the town's proximity to water, it was cloudy a lot. And then it would rain, and an hour later, be sunny and hot. But, I suppose not everywhere can enjoy 330+ days of sunshine a year. 

Spaghetti Eis (Spaghetti Ice Cream).
Apparently something popular in all of Europe, it's not as revolting as one might think. Vanilla ice cream is put through a Play-Doh-like like machine, to create long noodley shapes. Then, strawberry sauce poured on top creates the illusion of spaghetti sauce, and white chocolate shavings are on top for Parmesan cheese. It's a little alarming, eating ice cream that looks nothing like ice cream. Like when you think it's ranch dressing, but instead it's blue cheese. 

A school in downtown Hamburg.
I was unsure of the rules of walking on to a school campus while school was in session, but if the school's policy is anything like Germany's policy for everything, no one would have cared. I was very excited about the facade of this school, and immediately wished I had ever attended such a prestigious establishment. Now that I review this photo, I realize its similarities to an insane asylum.

Planten un Blomen:  park and botanical garden in the center of Hamburg.
Quite a peaceful place, and giant! I spent the better part of the morning there, on a day it was almost guaranteed to rain, and I froze. (Someone should have warned me that, though it was the end of June, temperatures would be in the 50s. I'm sorry, I thought it was summer.) But, it just went on and on, included a Japanese garden, rose garden, playgrounds, chairs on a hill home to hundreds of artists all painting, drawing, coloring the same scene, and water institutions. I only left the park by walking through the entire thing, and then was out of things to do. It had the air of an outdoor library, but a grocery store on Tuesdays. Everyone was quite, and there were a lot of old women wearing sweaters. Quite a lovely day to spend a day, I recommend it.

"Byte FM: Internet radio for good music."
Lost in translation, but not at all. This is one of those moments where I can't help but be appalled at the advertising in this world. I'll let you know when I start my own internet radio, but for bad music.

"Fresh Californian Cooking" said the wall. 
Only because I walked by and decided it looked clean enough to nourish me. Turned out to be a mix of Rubio's and Baja Fresh. Quite a surprise, I never would have thought of northern Germany as a place to get good neo-Mexican food. In other news, the server told me the sauce to be seen in the top let of the photo was spicy. I didn't have the vocabulary to tell him it had the spice-factor of sour cream.

Bunker in Hamburg.
Built during World War II, for obvious reasons. Still stands in 2011 because it was built well enough that they can't figure out a way to destroy it. Saw it at the observation deck of a tall church, but was surprised to be in a school cafeteria to look out the window and see the giant bunker standing there. Most of Hamburg was obliterated during WWII, so many of the churches and monuments are no longer there, making it hard to imagine 1000+ years ago. To me, that bunker says more about Hamburg's history than any of the churches or old buildings do.

I believe it was meant to be a frame for people to pose behind.
Landscapes like this just aren't things you see in the southwest US. I was amazed.

You'd think this would be some sort of foot treatment, you know, deliberate and thought through. But no, it's just three layers of mud.
I would like to meet he who came up with a Barfusspark (barefoot park). I would also like to award him with  an award for Most Original Park Idea, and Weirdest Park Award. Having said that, I enjoyed myself a lot. We spent a day at the Barfusspark in Egestorf, Germany. The entire park was based on the fact that visitors would be "naked from the knee down" and walk through all sorts of things that one might not normally walk through. Such as: glass, corks, and ice-cold water. And, several trenches of mud, hence the photo. Refer to said photograph to see the three layers of mud plastered on my feet, it seemed as soon as one dried, I had to got the opportunity to walk through another vat of numbing mud. Upside: walking 9+ km in woods, fields, and hills. Quite beautiful, complete with a teepee.

I'm not sure that anyone can eat anything with powdered sugar in a clean manner. 
A crepe at a Flohmarkt located at the IKEA parking lot in Hamburg, Germany. I didn't get the German version of this, which would be filled with Nutella, but instead I had it filled with raspberry. I wondered if anyone knew I was enjoying it as I ate it, and then realized the appearance of powdered sugar on more than half of one's face probably implies an affirmative.


  1. Loved the pictures! Spaghetti Eis sounds oddly delicious...

    And congrats! This article is going to be included in the 7th Byteful Travel Blog Carnival! It goes live July 26th at, and I’ll be sure to tweet about it. If you could retweet and help spread the word, it would mean a lot. :)


  2. Thanks so much! I loved the carnival, great to see other blogs!