Ever been to Germany?
I've been learning German with the dream to pay a visit someday, perhaps for school or a Faun concert (best band ever). Has anyone ever gone? I'd love to see pictures or hear your stories!
Yep, I've got friends in Germany, so I have an excellent excuse to visit every couple of years. Have been maybe five times now...? Seen Berlin and Munich in the summer, Christmas markets in Cologne and Hamburg, and this year I went to Das Fest in Karlsruhe with my friends. (They say the festival isn't as good as it used to be, but it was a pretty fun afternoon for me.)
Compared to a lot of parts of Europe, Germany is clean and orderly and safe, which is great for single female travellers like me. It's also quite affordable by Western European standards (compared to the UK and Ireland, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and parts of France and Italy). I recommend going in December - no one does Christmas quite as well as the Germans : )
Yes, three times! All three were fun. The first was in 1990, I was a kid, the wall had just come down...it was wild. We arrived in East Germany (it was before reunification, but they had started the process) on the day they were starting to exchange currencies. We also got to witness the craziness post-soccer-game, when we were in München.
The second time, in 1997, I was in high school, and it was a 3-week exchange. I stayed in a family in East Berlin and it was awesome and eye-opening. I lived in a big soviet-era high rise; the living accomodations were very tight but the family was super nice. Only their one son spoke any English. He was funny, he made fun of me because he thought I "looked German" and wondered why I didn't want to "look American". The dad was awesome and he talked to me at length about German culture and society, issues like racism against Turks, changes following reuninfication. I became aware of discrimination against East Germans...I met an East German trying to "pass" as West German with a fabricated story.
The third time was more recently, 2014. This trip was in fall, the others had been in summer. I went back to some of the same places I had been on my previous trip, in Berlin again.
I also, in the meanwhile, had become a birdwatcher, since my last visit to Europe! I saw lots of new birds, which was super fun. I went off alone walking in the woods and decided to challenge myself to improve my accent enough to see if I could talk to people I ran into without them guessing I was American and speaking back to me in English (a problem I had a lot in Berlin, most Germans there are excited about speaking English). After several unsuccessful tries I was ecstatic when someone asked me "Where are you from?" after a long conversation in German about woodpeckers.
I loved it and I hope to go back again! I especially love the former East German areas, which for some reason I found super awesome. (Less consumerist than West Germany). I went to Dresden, Görlitz (next to Poland) and then later to Regensburg on my most recent trip.
I visit every few years to see extended family. I'm currently planning a multi-day bike trip from St. Gallen (Switzerland) to Stuttgart for May of 2018. South German summers are my favorite, so all my pictures are taken in Baden-Württemberg. Here's a quick little landscape album I threw together from my last trip in 2015: https://imgur.com/a/443mn The last picture was taken in a "Mexican Cantina" we found in the basement of a bank in Stuttgart. Just had to try it out.