24 hours in Munich – the perfect date

It was love at first sight. The moment I stepped out the metro station at Munich’s Marienplatz, walking up the stairs and looking at the building that hosts the “Toy Museum”, I was sold and in love! A feeling of being in the middle of a fairy tale town completely overwhelmed me. It wasn’t my first visit to Munich but I never realized its beauty before. A perfect sunny spring day, probably helped a lot. Continue reading “24 hours in Munich – the perfect date”

Hamburg meine Perle

I fell in love with Hamburg. Nope, it wasn’t love at first sight.. only several years after my first visit it clicked between us. Sort of like being good friends for a while, keeping in touch every now and then, never losing the connection even if not seeing each other for some time and then comes that one day, when time and place are just perfect – crash, boom, bang! Hooked. Continue reading “Hamburg meine Perle”

Landau – home sweet home

No matter where I currently live and what my favourite town is (which is definitely Cape Town), Landau was, is, and will be my so-called home town.

Although I have only lived directly in Landau for a couple of years it is at least the closest town to where I come from. It is where I went to school, where I started going out, where I return to when I live abroad. Landau is beautiful. It is a jewel in the south-western part of Germany. It is in the middle of the Südpfälzer winelands. It has a historic centre. It has charm. Continue reading “Landau – home sweet home”

Proudly German #3… Palatinate Wine Selection

Quite recently I was part of a dinner party when the topic turned to wines. As the dinner party was hosted in South Africa the conversation was mainly about South African wines, then a bit about Spanish reds and on to Californian blends. I kept quiet and just listened.. listened to want-to-be sommeliers and just-for-fun wine-lovers. Maybe because I didn’t really partake in the conversation someone just wanted to be polite and involve me, or whatever the reason might have been, I was asked which kind of wine I’d prefer. I would have probably answered something in the line of: “a Merlot, Kleine Zalze, 2006 was a pretty good year”… not really interested in the conversation anyway and happy to have given a sociably acceptable answer. BUT.. Continue reading “Proudly German #3… Palatinate Wine Selection”

Proudly German #2

Neuschwanstein Castle

My dear colleague pointed out an interesting article in the Business Travel Now magazine today. According to the magazine “German tourism is booming! The destination has announced a record-breaking 60,3 million overnight stays by international visitors last year and expects the upward trend to continue in 2011…Germany ranks 2nd amongst the world’s top 50 countries in terms of image

The article also suggests a couple of scenic self-drive routes. Amongst others, my home-route!!! The German Wineroute.

It is fascinating how you start to discover your country once you live abroad. It makes me want to go on a holiday to Germany!

More scenic routes:

Romantic Road (www.romantischestrasse.de)

Alpine Route (www.deutsche-alpenstrasse.de)

Castle Road (www.burgenstrasse.de)

Proudly German

With shame I admit that there was a time when I wasn’t proud to be German. For generations my family has been of German heritage. We come from the southwest of Germany, close to the French border. There might have been times when the region my family comes from belonged to France and then to Germany again, then France fought back for it and so on until it became permanently German after WW2.  The family history goes back to the 14thcentury, wow, we even have a family coat of arms (which hangs on a wall in my grandparents’ house and since we were kids my cousins and myself have asked ourselves why there is an elephant represented??? We haven’t figured it out yet!). 

I became more conscious of my heritage after the 2006 FIFA World Cup which was held in Germany and left  a rather positive image of Germans to the rest of the world. The more recent events of the Euro crisis and Germany being seen as the economic power house of Europe and possible saviour of the Euro made me even more proud of being able to call myself German. Also, my last few trips to Germany made me aware how beautiful this country actually is, how efficient everything works, how I identify myself with the social virtues and the values lived. Although I’d describe myself as a cosmopolitan, having lived in  a few countries, deep down I am carrying stereotypical German values and morals, like being on-time, hard-working, pragmatic, conscientious, etc…

Experiencing this new sense of patriotism, I was deeply touched by an article I read in the lasted edition of the Time Magazine (Volume 178, No 13):

In the article the question comes up why Germany is so reluctant to take the lead? “The answer is rooted in history. German leaders’ attempts to control the country’s neighbours haven’t ended well, and Germans are wary of being seen as trying to dominate Europe diplomatically or economically even today… Yet, if anyone likes it or not, Germany is dominating Europe.” says the journalist.

Is our historical background the reason why I wasn’t proud be German for  about half my life? Having lived in Saudi Arabia for 5 years where Nazi-Germany is still glorified, might explain why Germany’s history has always been very present to me. Something no sane German is proud of, I am certain. So, I am proud that my fellow countrymen and -women were able to revise the general perception of Germans during the 2006 World Cup.  I hope that I am able to portray a friendly, nice, generous, funny image of the Germans to all the people I have met and to the friends I have made across the globe.

I don’t know where my future will take me to – maybe I’ll move back to Germany, maybe I’ll get posted to another country first, maybe I’ll get married to a man with another nationality and follow him into his home country.. no matter where I’ll be, I will always be proud of my German heritage and culture and will take it out there into the world!