Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Germany, Cultural Shock

Flag of Bavaria

As a lead back into the trip to Germany, Austria, and Italy that Christine and I were lucky enough to take back in September, another "Here's your sign" story is in order.

We were traveling in a tour group so that means that your itinerary, lodging, and food are mostly planned for you. The first day, we had lunch at Hofbrauhaus (where some may remember I embarrassed myself trying to locate the rest room) and we were served wienerschnitzel and some soft potato dumplings (very gooey).

That night we were to eat out on our own, so Christine and I went to a nice quiet German restrauant. Surprise, surprise, the menu was in German. I saw something I recognized and ordered wienerschnitzel. The wienerschnitzel was served with fried potato wedges.

The next day at lunch, we ate at a restraunt with a tour-arranged meal of wienerschnitzel. 
The wienerschnitzel was served with scalloped potatoes.

That evening we had another arranged meal. 
The wienerschitzel was served with french fries.

The next day's lunch was at another great restrauant.
The wienerschnitzel was served with whole baby potatoes. 

The next meal was on our own. It can't be said of me that I don't learn fast. I ordered SALMON. So what if it came with potatoes. I had a wide variety of potatoes so they were hard to get tired of.

And speaking of a fast learner, I have not eaten wienerschnitzel since, even when we went to the Fredericksburg, TX, German community several weeks ago on a bike ride.
I had some kind of brat and red strings.

And, I learned that I am not the only one who can commit a gaffe. After one of our tour-arranged dinners in a Monastery Brewery in Munich (that should give you a clue), a lady jumped up from her coach bus seat and ran down the aisle exclaining with alarm that she left her purse in the lady's bathroom. Later she came back to the bus huffing and puffing. She was asked if she found her purse (it wasn't with her but that is the polite thing to ask) and she replied angrily, "They can't understand plain English". At a German Monastery? Here's your sign.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Christine, hi Roy,
    it's really interesting for me - as a native German - to read about your experiences in my home country. And I like your style of writing a lot.
    Let me add here a few remarks.
    Wherever I go to eat, be it here in the US or back in Germany, I avoid Wiener Schnitzel. That may partly be due to childhood memories. Back in the olden days, in the 1950s, that mixture of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs around the Schnitzel was often used - to my experience - to one the one hand cover deficiencies in the meat and to on the other hand make the Schnitzel look much thicker than the meat actually was. In addition to that, I also try to get different dishes as often as I can. So I'm wondering why you weren't more adventurous, especially when I'm thinking of the wonderful Hax'n you can get in Bavaria, or the Sauerbraten, e.g. Well, at least you got your variety with the different ways the potatoes were prepared. That's something else: I'd say dumplings should not come with Wiener Schnitzel, and neither should some other sides you mention. To my mind, Wiener Schnitzel should either come with French Fries or Salzkartoffeln [boiled potaties]. I must admit that, even if I order them sometimes and make them here myself, potato dumplings can tend to be gooey. If you get the choice, try bread dumplings instead. What you never seemed to have got, though, is fried potatoes. And they usually are very good.
    Re Fredericksburg [one of our favourite towns for a (short) holiday: I qwould never ever have Wiener Schnitzel there as there are many better German dishes around. I can only recommend Kasseler or Pork roast at the Lindenbaum or Rouladen at the Auslaender, to name but a few.
    Something else: what I am really astonished about is that the people at the monastery didn't seem to be able to understand and sopeak English. That's quite unusual in Germany and has nothing to do with the location being a monastery.
    Looking forward to reading more of your postings, and safe bicycling,