We were both excited for our extended stay in Germany, so we made sure to spend time in three major cities: Hanover, Berlin, and Frankfurt.
We noticed here that the military presence in Germany was much lower than other locations in Europe. It was the first time in months we’d stepped off a train without being greeted by fully armed, uniformed guards.
Although German people are generally warm and kind, they aren’t the most outgoing or outright friendly. People tend to keep to themselves. We spoke with a few expats along the way who called out the difficulty they’ve had making friends in the country.
However, we found that once we did strike up a conversation, and someone found out we were American, they become eager to chat about American politics, specifically the upcoming election. A bit of a source of embarrassment for us, but we welcomed the friendly conversation.
We did love this place, though, for being neat, tidy, and organized. The people we met along the way, primarily AirBnB hosts, were warm and friendly. A few tidbits about German politics/social policy that we learned from locals along the way and found interesting:
- There is a mandated church tax required of all German citizens; it is possible to opt out, but there are quite a few hoops to jump through in order to do so. Strange and archaic for a part of the world that isn’t all that religious!
- Parents are financially responsible for their offspring into their 20s. Conversely, adults are held financially responsible for their elderly parents later in life.
Hanover is cute, quiet, and picturesque. Not much to see here, we even felt as though the 3 days we spent were overkill. It was fun to see the markets just cropping up as we arrived on one of the first sunny days of the season.
In Berlin, we of course visited the wall and the Spy museum, which was near where we stayed.
Frankfurt was our last stop in Europe, and we were lucky enough to rent a room from a very sweet German couple who invited us to join them for a barbecue when we arrived. So perfect, because we were starving! We loved chatting with them, and they made some really yummy sausage!
They also let us try some kohlrabi from their garden – we need to grow this veggie asap! It’s a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. And it’s delicious.
Frankfurt was similar to Hanover, quiet and clean. We had fun exploring the mall and the old town in the city center.
Mall in Frankfurt.