Country #14, Day 102-109, Germany
It is the biggest economy of Europe, accounting for a fifth of all EU GDP and yet it is a country which probably is the most humble. As much as the Germans are proud of their identity and its industrial juggernaut, there is almost this enhanced sense of righteousness and humility borne out for their past, specifically world war II, in their current approach to life. Admitting refugees from Syria and its strong advocacy to other EU member states can almost be understood as a country constantly trying to find the moral high ground that it once lost. As Indians, we found it pretty tough to understand as to why a country will open itself up to potential threats from extremist ideologies while wanting to take the moral high ground and solving a problem which it had no hand in creating. That probably is a good description of popular German mindset but mind you it is strongly opposed and increasingly so nowadays. Did you know that Hamburg was practically in flames during the G20 summit that was held there? Google it please!
Now for our experience here, Germany is a place where we had friends, and to have friends equals a riot of a time. We cycled around, socialised, visited a massive WW II submarine bunker named Valentin (Why would you give it that name?), cruised on the famous Autobahns with cars shattering our ego at over 200kmph (Next time we drive from India to Germany in an Aston Martin!).
We also sampled & morally supported beer being brewed, where we wished we could do more but then we were still learning the difference in brewing styles of a pale ale, pilsner and whit bier. Our severely bruised ego now needed a serious boost so we cooked Indian curry as an offering to the german taste buds (Back with a bang!!)
And in the end even though we wish not to be identified as tourists which we actually are, we visited landmarks like the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Cologne Cathedral, Brandenburg Gate and the town musicians of Bremen to name a few. We went to Neandertal as well, does that ring a bell? Neandertal is one of the first places where the Neanderthal man was discovered. For the not so anthropologically inclined people, Neanderthals are an extinct subspecies of the genus Homo, they died out about 40,000yrs ago, with whom we share 99.7% of our DNA.
For all Indians out there, do visit Germany, sample some beer and cruise the autobahns but please don’t do both together!