Hard to believe it’s been 24 years since I traveled to Germany. While I’ve shared with my readers a number of my adventures in Deutschland, I still have many more despite having only been there for an all-too-short month.
Now, this isn’t me filling space with a phoned-in column. Consider me and my stories a cautionary tale. A lot of times it’s better to know what not to do. I’m the advice you won’t find in your travel guide.
Rule one: know and respect your cultural differences when traveling to a foreign country. This especially includes being the “ugly American.” Hand-in-hand with this advice is to be ready for slight shifts in what one would presume to be universal concepts. Example: my first day in Eschborn – a small town in the Taunus Region outside of Frankfurt – we visited a food stall serving pizza. Sigh, I know. Older, wiser me would’ve smacked 15-year-old me upside the back of the head. Pizza? You can get that at home! My food enlightenment didn’t come until later on the trip, so until then items like pizza were still part of my teenage food groups.
I ordered a pepperoni pizza. Except I forgot to specify Pepperoniwurst and was served a pie heaped with shredded jalapeno. Luckily, a new acquaintance had some chilled bottles of Römer Pils nearby. My molten mouth thanked him. Viel danke! A couple of weeks later, we re-visited the same stand. This time I ordered in the best 2nd year-student German I could muster Pepperoniwurst mit Dunkel Olive, bitte. Pepperoni sausage with black olive, please. The pizza looked perfect. I almost cracked a bicuspid in two as I bit down upon an olive stone. They were all non-pitted. WHY?! This serves absolutely no purpose to have to pluck piping hot olives off a slice and dig out the pits, so why use them when pitted olives are readily available?
I was informed, “Zis is how ve do zis here.” It didn’t make sense but I wasn’t going to be rude about it. It’s their country and their pizza customs, not mine. Stomach growling, I waited until the glowing embers had died down enough to remove their stones, put the eviscerated drupe back on the pizza and then eat.
Just keep in mind things will be different travelling abroad despite looking “normal.” Rules 2-29 to follow in future columns. In the meantime, how about a brewery that does Germany right the first time? And you don’t even have to travel to get some; St. Arnold Brewing brings it to us.
Their Summer Pils echoes the classic Bohemian style of Southern Germany. Bright, shimmery gold with a tall, rocky head of foam, Summer Pils has a nose of sweet grain and grassy hops. Peppery Noble hops bite the palate first followed by notes of hay and a touch of honey before the bitterness washes up again. Light and unfussy with a session-strength ABV of 4.9%, Summer Pils’ strengths lie in attenuated flavor, clean finish and low alcohol.
Looking forward to tapping their Boiler Room Berliner Weisse soon! In the meantime, let me tell you about how NOT to conduct yourself in a Turkish pub…