From Germany : "Has he ever heard about Hitler?"

Michael Wagener (Köln) - Corrections Nuria Ortiz (Edimbourg) - 
Deutschland, Oh Deutschland! During a bus trip via Egypt a policeman asked me for my passport. As he recognized that I was German, he shouted Bayern Munich and mentioned that BMWs are the best cars in the world. Everything is good in Germany!“ Has he ever heard about Hitler?

Photos ©Michael Wagener

Kanzler Merkel and Bayer Munich are words that seem to be known everywhere in the world. During a bus trip via Egypt a policeman asked me for my passport.  As he recognized that I was German, he shouted Bayern Munich and mentioned that  BMWs are the best cars in the world. Everything is good in Germany!“ Has he ever heard about Hitler?

And still now it seems that Germany has the best economy and is one of the most efficient countries in Europe, if you ask the newspapers. But, is it the case?

I have travelled a lot around my own country because I have a distance relationship with a woman who lives 350 kilometers away. In addition,  whenever I have the time to travel, I try to avoid the same routes and explore new and small places  of my country.

“The Black Forest, Cologne Cathedral, the Brandenburg Gate—we’ve selected the most iconic sights and incredible places so you can enjoy the real Germany with the minimum of fuss”.  Says the introduction of the lonely planet Germany.

But Germany is more than leather trousers, Bavarian veal sausages and  beautiful medieval landscapes. It is also a country with many issues.

Of course during the days of the Carnival celebrations, it is a land where people seem to have the right mood to solve all the problems of the world.

Moreover, there are still marks of the confrontation between East and West Germany and another issue is that the gap between rich and poor people is growing.

During a short trip to Hamburg I had the possibility to meet the  refugees of Lampedusa, whose shelter is a small church in the middle of Hamburg, St.Pauli. I (1) was shocked about the long and hard way of the refugees through whole Europe to find this place in Germany. They are still fighting for their right to remain in this country. But I was not sure, if they expect the circumstances as they escaped from their poor life in Africa. I was also impressed by the great support of thousands of people and the demonstrations held in their support.

But, is it worthy to live in Germany?. A few hundred kilometers southeast, I stayed in a small town in eastern Germany for a week. I was impressed by the landscapes and old buildings. But I realized that every house had a  barking dog and there were high fences and walls everywhere. It seemed like everybody was trying to protect their own small house and yard. I talked to an old man and he explained me the story: there was a conflict between the neighbours a few years ago and they still hate each other in the whole town.

And in the last few days, I experienced again the easy and funny life during the days of carnival in Cologne. Yes, this small city with a big church. During five days it seems normal to talk to a speaking strawberry or meet pirates in the streets.

If you want to explore Germany, you have to put aside advice from guide books. And if you want to travel slow like Dan Kieran you will be better travelling by  train in Germany... but you  have to have nerves of steel.

Michael Wagener (Köln)- Corrections Nuria Ortiz (Edimbourg)

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