Lisa's week: Germany through a visitor's eyes
My mum came to visit me last weekend and we had a fun weekend together. I don’t get as many visitors from the UK as I did when I first arrived as the family has extended and grown up, and it has become more difficult to get over here. Therefore, I enjoy the time with visitors all the more and try to plan lots of trips and things to see. This means that I still try to view Germany and where I live with an outsider’s eyes – in effect, a tourist in my own hometown and an observer of the cultural differences between us. I like to think that this keeps things fresh for me!
I talked before about how a little thing such as waiting for the green man to cross the road drives my English visitors crazy, (you can read that in Lisa’s Week 15 here), so I was on the lookout this time around for anything else.
There were a few things over the weekend that we talked about or experienced that I will no doubt talk about in future posts and a couple that come to mind are the deposit bottle system, the cash or EC card culture, tipping, catching the train and the outdoor lifestyle that is so prevalent here. Little things that we take for granted but when someone from outside experiences them, you realise that they can be quite different than in other places. I like to refer to these things as the unspoken cultural norms and some of these still catch me out – even after 17 years!
However, back to my visitor - we travelled south to visit some of Rheinhessen, which she thought was beautiful. This was her first time outside the immediate area here in NRW and it was great to show her the Rhine further up-river, the pretty vineyards that are found everywhere in that region, the glorious countryside and the pretty, historic towns and villages.
We visited Speyer, Worms, Heidelberg and a wine festival in the small local village of Deisdesheim. Even though Heidelberg was rather full of tourists, all these places were manageable, pleasant to walk around and fun to experience. We strolled through each of the centres, taking in the pretty churches, town halls, buildings and town squares, and of course stopped to see the cathedrals in Speyer and Worms as well as the Heidelberg castle ruins.
It was a full programme and I ended the weekend with blisters on my feet but we all had a great time. One of the things she said that surprised me so much was that she couldn’t imagine taking a visitor to towns in the UK in the same way. She has the feeling that anywhere with something to offer out-of-towners or tourists would be way too full and overcrowded. There are a huge number of beautiful places to visit in the UK but it would appear that everyone else has the same idea! I can’t vouch for that feeling as it’s been many years since I travelled around the country all that much, but it gave me an even greater appreciation for what we have on offer here in Germany.
I think the message I’d like to give you today is that we live somewhere with an enormous amount on offer and being a tourist right in our own backyard is a great place to be! A new word entered the English language some time ago – around the time of the last financial crisis – “a staycation” and my weekend experiences of showing people around reminds me of this. It’s a composite of the words “stay” and “vacation”, meaning a holiday at home, which is exactly what a weekend like this is all about.
As we reach the end of the summer holidays and get back into the work routine that this time of year brings, why not plan a few local visits and try to see places through the eyes of a tourist. There might be gems right on your doorstep that you don’t even know are there! Or treasures that you have forgotten all about over the years.
As for me, I’m already planning my next trip down to this area when I’ll take a guided tour around a local castle and take in another pretty wine festival. It doesn’t get much better than that!
What is Lisa's week?
"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"
Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday
Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?
Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?
Episode 4: The sound of London
Episode 5: Not just a last resort
Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise
Episode 7: Title talk
Episode 8: The Union Jack
Episode 9: Why Thursday?
Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?
Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!
Episode 13: Up in the Highlands
Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends
Episode 15: Pie in the sky
Episode 16: Through the tunnel
Episode 17: Keep left!
Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise
Episode 19: How do you say that?
Episode 20: Back to School!
Episode 21: Sweet cravings
Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?
Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"
Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)
Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?
Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.
Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!
Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot
Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?
Episode 30: Bless you!
Episode 31: What are you thankful for?
Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?
Episode 33: What's behind the door?
Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!
Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?
Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year
Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?
Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2
Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?
Episode 40: Sweet Valentine
Episode 41: A Reminder
Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!
Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils
Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question
Episode 45: The whole world's going green!
Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs
Episode 47: The joke's on you!
Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!
Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings
Episode 50: We use German words too
Episode 51: Celebrating St George
Episode 52: The perfect start to the day
Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)
Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)
Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)
Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!
Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1
Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2
Episode 59: Summer Solstice
Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20
Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live
Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside
Episode 63: I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!
Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge
Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ
Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)
Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)
Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland
Episode 70: The first day of school
Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!
Episode 72: Celebrating language
Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!
Episode 74: My favourite time of the year
Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading
Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat
Episode 77: Enjoying the downtime
Episode 78: Talking Tenners
Episode 79: Do you need anything from the Hight Street?
Episode 80: Just another few minutes!
Episode 81: Counting the cards on my shelf.
Episode 82: What sign are you?
Episode 83: Great if you have a sweet tooth
Episode 84: It's an acquired taste!
Episode 85: New Year's Resolutions
Episode 86: Quick Tip of the week - go/come & take/bring
Episode 87: My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose
Episode 88: Once in a blue moon
Episode 89: Learning by Listening - part 1
Episode 90: Learning by Listening - part 2
Episode 91: This is the travel news!
Episode 92: The "Beast from the East" hits Western Europe!
Episode 93: The flu hits Lisa's Week
Episode 94: Spring forward and fall back
Episode 95: Holy Week
Episode 96: Quick Tip of the Week - prepositons of time
Episode 97: Perfect for dunking!
Episode 98: Part of the family
Episode 99: It's a boy!
Episode 100: Happy Anniversary to me!
Episode 101: To all the mothers out there
Episode 102: Up, up and away
Episode 103: A very British affair!
Episode 104: Getting boarded!
Episode 105: How do you say that?
Episode 106: Ready for departure?
Episode 107: Happy Father's Day
Episode 108: I'm leaving... on a jet plane... (Part 4)
Episode 109: Can football really come home?
Episode 110: A right royal christening
Episode 111: Touch down!
Episode 112: 70 years of public healthcare
Episode 113: The same but different
Episode 114: A long hot summer