2016-07-27 / Here's the Scoop

Here's The Scoop

Time to go

Every once in awhile, it’s a good idea to “get out of town.” Way out of town. By choice, of course.

That’s why I was happy to recently travel to the “old country” of Germany. I had visited my grandparents’ homeland with my family at the age of five, but memories of that trip are scarce — kind of like recollections of most things lately.

Anyhow, my wife and I have been talking for years about a vacation in Germany, since she’s also that special mix of German-Irish descent. Oddly enough, she lived in Germany with her family at the same time I made my initial visit there — I think we saw each other back then, but that memory has not been verified.

Reunited. Again.

To be certain we could prove we were both there together this time around, we made sure to take lots of photos — of everything. Especially wildflowers. We took a bunch of pictures of ourselves, too, but somehow many of the dining shots were a bit obscured by beer and wine glasses in the foreground. Weird.

Being philosophically and financially opposed to “shopping” vacations, we opted for a trip that involved lots of hiking — amidst “impossibly picturesque scenery,” to quote one travel writer. The description was no exaggeration, either. Despite what I just wrote, there were a few post-hike stops at the occasional “authentic” gift shop. That was OK, though, it’s important to support the local economy. It’s called tourism and without it, the world would have far fewer tacky Tshirts.

For us, though, the adventure was mostly an opportunity to get a bit closer to one’s roots — and to finally put to use the tutorial recordings that my German-speaking grandparents used to occasionally ask my siblings and I to participate in during their visits to our home. Unfortunately, the bulk of those teachings fall into the foggy memory department.

Sure, I remembered the swear words that weren’t part of the recordings, but I didn’t have much call for those during the trip. I guess that’s a good thing.

On the bright side, my wife had better recollections of her formal German classes from high school and put those teachings to good use during our trip. My communications was largely limited to saying thank you in the native tongue — usually for the delivery of the other word I became quite skilled at saying “bier” (thankfully, pronounced identically to the American version “beer”). Hey, it was vacation. And “bier” money is welcome from tourists, too. I think they even sell Tshirts advertising German beer. But, I didn’t get one.

A different world

Our trip to Germany involved a lot of travel time, but was still much quicker than the ocean liner my family took those many years ago. It was well worth the effort, too. The scenery was, indeed, breathtaking and the environment was remarkably clean. If you wanted to see litter, you had to bring your own.

Plus, the people we met were all very welcoming — many spoke English, but they appreciated our attempts at communicating in German.

It’s still hard to comprehend the vastly different world one can enter by hopping on a plane and jetting 4,000 or so miles. It’s a trip I’ll long remember — I hope! — Brian Sweeney

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