German Drinking Charm

A silver charm from Germany. If you’ve gotten behind as I relive my first trip to Europe, see the last paragraph in this post. Today we are in Germany and the charm I chose was fittingly a man in a costume holding a beer stein.

I lived in Germany for four years when I was dancing, so it’s difficult to pull out my first impressions. I remember noticing that the Germans don’t jay walk. Nor do they cross against the light, even if there isn’t a car in sight. That was very odd to me. (Parenthetically, my husband and I were once stopped by a cop for jay-walking in Burbank, CA. The only thing that saved us from a ticket was an emergency call on the cop’s radio.) And the stereotype is true – they do love their beer. When the ballet company traveled to other theaters to perform, there was always a locally brewed beer in the “kantine.” Also Schnapps, and Sekt, the German equivalent of Champagne. I once saw a soubrette down two shots of something before going on to sing!

So, the first trip. Two moments stay with me. One was visiting my cousin, Paul. I’ve alreayd mentioned him- he’s the one who carved the ladle on the home page. We were going to see him at his army base and eat in the canteen. Hamburgers — such a relief after all the unusual food. We fantasized about them for hours as we drove. “Will they have bread-and-butter pickles?” “Can I order two?” “Can we take some home for later?” Oh, we were such Americans!

The second moment was more serious, but probably said as much about being an American as the first. We were traveling with my Norwegian American Field Service sister and at dinner one night, sitting in a restaurant that overlooked a wide river, with picturesque little houses scattered up a mountain on the other side, we got on the topic of WWII. The Norwegians were (are still?) very bitter towards the Germans. The Luftwaffe’s first strike when bombing a Norwegian town would be the water supply. Because the houses were built with wood (surrounded by forests), the entire town would burn down. In our discussion that night, my sister got angrier and angrier; I think we, never having been bombed, couldn’t understand why she would paint an entire nation black. Finally my mother, always the peace-maker, said, “Let’s look at the scenery,” and the arguement was dropped. The saying has persisted in my family through the years – if a conversation turns ugly or stressful, we look at the scenery.

Next up, Austria. If you want to peruse my earlier stops from my first trip to Europe with my family: Scotland, England, The Netherlands, Belgium, and France.

Comments

  1. It seems like a lot of families could do with looking at more scenery? An interesting charm. What a nice way to remember European travels!

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