Tagged with culture

Germans Are Squares

Tucked-In Shirt

I feel ridiculous.

Alissa claims it looks better, but she’s a square too.

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Adventures in Schlossplatz

Schlossplatz is the center of the city, where all the subway lines merge. The Times Square of Stuttgart. And when it rains, and everyone crowds into the small overhangs of the store fronts, it feels like Times Square.

When we first arrived, we grabbed a pretzel. This was meant to be a challenge, since the word pretzel is “brezel”, and is pronounced “buweh-tzel”. And if you want butter on that, “boo-teh-buweh-tzel”. Luckily, I didn’t see any butter anywhere. I jumped right in.

“Brezel, bitte.”

“Eins?” she asked, holding up her thumb.

“Ja”.

She gave me a pretzel. “Danke schoen!”

“Tschüss!”

And then we ate the pretzel. It was pretty good, but that sparked a discussion. There really wasn’t anything specific that we could identify about the pretzel. It was fairly normal. It didn’t even have butter on it, like the Auntie Anne’s you buy in Penn Station, or your local mall. It just had the proper amount of salt on it, had some crunch on the shell, and a moist center. Success!

The train brought us somewhere near the Schloßplatz, or Palace Square. I didn’t recognize it. Why would I?

Schlossplatz Palace Square

Schlossplatz Palace Square

We walked on. This is a pretty typical area.

Stores Around Schlossplatz

Stores Around Schlossplatz

We walked on. Eventually, we got hungry. But instead of eating, we kept going.

Yarn Store

Yarn Store for my mom, who loves yarn stores

After near starvation, we stuffed some currywurst in our faces.

Currywurst

Currywurst

The only real redeeming feature of currywurst is the wurst itself. Delicious stuff. The actual curry used here wasn’t particularly amazing. Good enough for starving children, however. And the fries were good.

And then we walked right into this:

Schlossplatz Ball Fountain

Schlossplatz Ball Fountain

And something triggered in my head. I’ve seen this before! I was here for Cannstatter Volksfest (an Oktoberfest for Stuttgart) four years ago. I went with my brother and his friend John, and we threw an American football around in the square in front of the palace! That was a night that deserves a story all on it’s own. It was neat to see again.

In an effort to eat every popular German food in less than a week, we also got a doner kabab. This went significantly less smoothly than ordering the pretzel.

“Hallo. Eins, bitte,” I said, ordering Menu Item Number One. I forgot to add the word “nummer” to that sentence, but it worked out.

“Blarg blarg blarg” the cashier said. The only thing I caught was something that might have been roll, and since the kebabs were sold either on a roll or a wrap. I wanted a wrap, but the previous person ordered on a roll. So, assuming the cashier was asking which one I wanted, I pointed to the roll.

“Was ist das?” I said. Even though I am clearly a native German speaker, I had no idea what a “roll” was.

“Blarg.” said the cashier. He seemed to understand my situation, and pointed to the wrap. “Oder blarg.”

I pointed to the wrap. “Dies”.

He said some other things, but the only word I caught was “trink”, which means “drink”. Ha ha! I know what he’s asking!

“Nein, danke!”

That was not a proper response, because he paused, looked at me strangely, “blarg”ed a few times, and the order was complete. I handed him too much money, he made change, and I took my food to Alissa, who was waiting outside.

Doner Kebab

Doner Kebab

Neither of us was hungry enough to eat the whole thing.

On the way home, we picked up some absoutly disgusting looking meat product. I want to test the limits. It’s probably going to be delicious.

 

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New York City Friendliness

We were told the Germans were unfriendly. “It’s going to be hard to make friends!” they said. The people on the street don’t like to make eye contact, and they don’t wave or smile or say “Guten tag Herr Beck!” But we’re from New York City. I would not survive here if I had to smile at everyone, and offer up meaningless pleasantries.

When it comes down to it, the people here are very nice. Just like New York City. They’ll leave you alone until you stare helplessly at the sign posted at the bank. “Simon du fruilein Ich nueul baudsinger zof dailen” they’ll say, and when you respond, politely, with a blank stare, they will continue. “Deorth un farunatriger de suma tu defura sin die alles POROOF ameranger”.

Which is probably very nice.

“Danke!”

Everyone parts on happy terms.

Apparently, the bank was closed. That’s really all I need to know anyway. An American bank wouldn’t have attempted to post a sign in the first place.

 

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