Landscape of Germany

Landscape of Germany ()

Liebes Deutschland,

The two years spent in your German embrace were enlightening and magical. I’ll admit, my expectations were a bit lofty. You see, prior to our arrival, I had never stepped foot in Europe. Visions of fairytale castles, Bavarian houses and men bedecked in lederhosen crowded my brain. Honestly, you were a surprise. You are unabashedly hard-working, community-minded and unlike any other place I’ve ever been.

It was a rough start. Trying to figure out where to begin felt overwhelming and the nine-hour time difference with jet lag was particularly brutal, even on our dog. We quickly realized air conditioning is not a common convenience. That July (and each subsequent July) we sorely missed the cold blasts of air to help us stay cool. However, the roving gelato truck on base more than made up for it. The frozen deliciousness of “spaghettieis” quickly became a staple whenever we visited different cities.

I’ve always loved the autumn and living within your borders made me adore it even more. The vineyards along the Mosel and Rhine rivers turn fiery shades of crimson, gold and orange and the harvests begin. As the temperatures begin to cool and the wind has a definitive chill to it, the joviality of Oktoberfests kick into high gear. While the one in Munich is legendary and definitely worth a visit, even the ones in the local villages are just as fun. Dressed in the traditional Bavarian garb, it’s the perfect time to let loose (responsibly) and have fun. Loud, brass oompah bands and crowd sing-alongs fill enormous tents. Roast chicken, “kaesespaetzle” and rich, amber-hued brews are definitely some of my favorite highlights.

Festival season is just the precursor to the elaborate Christmas markets which begin to pop up mid-to-late November. Small, alpine huts line the sidewalks and streets of almost every town — usually in the “Altstadt” or old town. Soft, twinkling lights and the aroma of freshly baked gingerbread and candied almonds fill the air. Navigating through the narrow walkways with a steaming mug of glühwein gets even the grinchiest person into the holiday spirit.

It’s not just the festivals, markets, food and traveling I’m going to miss. The deeply engrained culture and amazing people are one-of-a-kind. The quiet, unassuming and hard-working ethos combined with a wry and witty sense of humor are ingredients of lasting bonds and friendships I will treasure. I’m so grateful for the two years we spent together. I’ve been able to see things and go on more adventures than I ever thought possible. You showed me sensibility, a strong sense of community and family, and how to properly recycle. Thank you for all of the incredible memories made possible.

Until we meet again,

A writer who will miss Deutschland dearly

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