After weeks traveling in Europe, we finally reached the last leg of our journey, Berlin, Germany. As I stated in earlier posts (I don’t blame you if you haven’t read it) I had never been out of the country before, and one of the places I have always wanted to visit was Germany. Aside from all of the many historical and cultural draws of Germany, I was excited to visit the country my family (Schneider) was from. Going into the trip Germany was probably the country I was most excited about visiting, and Germany did not disappoint.
I found the overall cultural atmosphere of Germany to be quite agreeable (that’s the fancy way of saying enjoyed it). To begin with, the people in Germany came across as friendlier and certainly more willing to speak in English. The people were very frank and easy to talk to and I personally had a much greater number of enjoyable conversations with natives in Berlin than I did in Paris of Normandy. Again, the willingness to speak English cannot be overstressed. Not only were most of the people in Berlin able to speak English, they never appeared to be upset by having to speak English when talking to me.
The German people are also very orderly. The thing that best exemplified this for me was the German public transportation system. There are no turn styles in the German subway system. The entire time I was there, I also did not once have anyone ask me for my ticket. Essentially, this means I could have rode the underground for free my entire time there (I’ve been told that people do occasionally check for tickets, but I never I never personally saw it happen). The whole time I couldn’t help but think, “There’s no way you could do this in America.” I felt that it would take no time at all for that system to be abused in America. But the fact that that system is still used shows that the Germans must not abuse it. I think this speaks volumes as to the German culture, it shows a very deeply engrained sense of order.
The German culture also appeared to be one of the best nations at remembering the Second World War. Were as other nations narratives of the Second World War were aimed at stirring national pride and presenting that nation in the best possible light, Germany makes no attempt at this. The German culture includes a very frank and upfront view of the Second World War. Try do not appear to excuse or reason away the events of the war, they accept what happened and tell the whole story just as it happened. The German museums were very upfront and honest about the events of the Second Word War.
The German culture was very interesting to experience. It was culture that was at the same time very forward thinking and orderly while still possessing a great deal of respect for and observation of the past. I greatly enjoyed my time spent I Germany and my time spent experiencing the German culture.