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Deutschland über . . .

August 4, 2013

Well, maybe not über Alles, but über quite a lot.
People tended to be surprised when we said that we were going to Germany on holiday. Less surprised when we mentioned Hockenheim and the Mercedes Museum and engine plant tour in Stuttgart, after all Boy Wonder does have a bit of a thing about cars. But still, a holiday in Germany?
The language is a bit of an issue. My French (our other regular holiday destination) isn’t brilliant but it serves to book us into campsites, and get our shopping done. My German was a decent O level, but two thirds of my life ago and it has been left to languish quite a bit since then. Still, here’s the thing: when I speak French in France I feel judged upon my linguistic skills, and I know that it isn’t just my feelings of inadequacy and paranoia because when I speak (much more halting) German in Germany people take it as entirely reasonable that we should be rubbish at their language, take it for granted that dealings will have to be in English if they want us to actually understand what is going on. Which is embarrassing, but makes life relatively easy.
When we were by the lake the other day a couple of young German women asked us the way to the restaurant (I think, we’ll I’m pretty sure) and I had to explain haltingly that we didn’t know as we were just English people on holiday (probably). Anywhere else we would have been dismissed as useless, but here Young German Woman no. 1 announced that that was excellent, was very pleased that we had chosen to holiday in Germany and congratulated us on the recent birth of Prince George. All, in impeccable English, of course.
Who wouldn’t want to holiday somewhere like that? It was a beautiful lake too.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2013 1:28 pm

    I have had the same exact experience with France/Germany! In Paris, the desk clerk corrected my French, but didn’t answer my question, which annoyed me, as I figured if he understood what I meant enough to correct me, he understood me enough to answer me. In Germany, we had 2 separate occasions where we dealt with people who spoke no English, and they worked really hard to have a conversation. In one store, we passed our German English-English German dictionary back and forth with much laughing and nodding and shaking of heads. A much more pleasant experience. And In Austria, we had a young woman approach us and ask if we would please talk to her so she could practice. I never met a French shop person willing to do that! So I COMPLETELY get why you would like it better in Germany. (Don’t get me wrong, though, I do love France!, and would vacation there in a heart beat if I could. But I might bring a translator. )

    • pictfamily permalink*
      August 4, 2013 3:11 pm

      Nice to know it’s not just me. It’s frustrating when my French is actually considerably better than my German! Love both countries for holidays but don’t know many Brits who holiday here.

      • August 4, 2013 11:33 pm

        Interesting – so where do Brits holiday? I figured you all went over to the continent all the time, since it is so close and easy to access.

      • pictfamily permalink*
        August 7, 2013 8:04 am

        Italy and Spain (especially the Balearics) are popular choices but I’d say that the vast majority who drive go to France. We’ve visited some great places there ourselves, but once you cross into Germany there are hardly any British car registrations.
        The Dutch are absolutely everywhere though. Holland must look like the Mary Celeste.

      • August 7, 2013 2:11 pm

        🙂 We even get lots of Dutch over here. 🙂 Not too many French, and a few Brits, lots of Germans. We also get lots of kiwis and aussies.

        It seems so odd to me that you can just drive there, but the world gets smaller with every chunnel and bridge, I guess.

      • pictfamily permalink*
        August 14, 2013 9:25 am

        Whereabouts are you based?

      • August 14, 2013 10:26 pm

        In Maine, USA – Northeast, near the Canadian border.

      • pictfamily permalink*
        August 15, 2013 8:37 am

        Sounds like a lovely area although I must admit have never been there, too far to take Moomin!

      • August 15, 2013 11:39 am

        It is far, I agree! And not the first place people think of visiting when they come to the US, but if you ever get here, we would love to see you. 🙂

      • pictfamily permalink*
        August 27, 2013 9:39 am

        definitely something to go on my “to do” list!

      • August 27, 2013 4:03 pm

        🙂

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