mercredi, août 23, 2006

06.08.23: Visit to Grandma's

So, I went to Germany for a week, and I have only have four things to say about it:

  • Benefiziumsgässlein (19 letters, ~7 syllables)
  • Exclusivherstellung (19 letters, ~6 syllables)
  • Riemenschneideraltar (20 letters, ~6 syllables)
  • Motivschachtabdeckungen (23 letters, ~7 syllables)

I have no idea what any of that means. But, what the hell kind of language / culture would willingly torture themselves with these kinds of words? Maybe Saxons?

And these were just the easy pickens from one day's touring along the 'Romantische Strasse'. Somehow, these little signs don't have the same romantic caché as, say: "Tu veut rencontrer à Paris?" (5 words, 22 l, 8 syl)

Nevertheless (1 word, 12 l, 3 syl), there are other things to discuss ...

The food ... all right, I really tried.

Everywhere I went, I tried to ask about local specialities and recommended items to try. Maybe I was just in too touristy or too non-touristy of places. Or maybe the germans just don't celebrate food in any way resembling the french-y local terroir thing. Anyway, I never found a resto that was very excited about sharing some local specialty, in the way that it is insisted upon in France. So, I had some brats, had some beer, had some sauerkraut ... I'm not coming up with anything particularly memorable here. I should go back and give it another try. Or not.

The culture ... I share just one memorable observation...

I had a really scary experience.

Sunday afternoon, I needed to go to Julia's grandparents' house to return some clothing articles as a favor. So, drove out to the 'burbs in a little german town outside of Braunschweiger, turn left and right a few times thru a residential neighborhood, houses all seemingly built in the last 60 years (consult history of western europe 101), pull in the driveway, and regard grandma's house, grandma's neighborhood.

I thought I was right back in the neighborhood where I grew up on the west side of Cincinnati (consult 45248, google earthers). Small yellow-red brick ranch house, neatly maintained yard and gardens, little picket fences between the neighbors' driveways. Went inside. Think I have rolled the clock back a few years ... same furniture styles, same floor plan layout as every house I can remember from the days on the west side. Sat down. Grandma offered me everything from coffee to champagne, and chocolate to chicken sandwiches. Just like everybody's grandma I always knew. We chatted. Skiing, football, hunting, taxes, ... The coffee was damn good. The chocolate was quite nice, but she admitted that I could buy some richer chocolates, at a good price, closer to the Swiss border. I was just stunned and amazed at how this home, these people, this visit, felt just like thousands of home visits with grandmas and parents and friends that I have spent in one little neighborhood on the west side of Cinti, 5000 miles away.

When I first arrived in France, people referred to me as an Anglo-Saxon. I had never heard this before, and it sounded a bit odd to me. My family's ancestry is Irish-Italian. So, Anglo ... no, we're Irish, dammit! Saxon ... prego .. I'm Italian. But I guess the few non-germans who migrated to western Cincy do not a culture dictate.

The Braunschweigerians are Saxons ... how was I to know?

I felt so at home, I had to leave.