Not embracing, but perhaps fist-bumping, German culture in Frankfurt

This morning, after hopefully not waking up all of Bornholmsgade, I caught the train to the airport and flew to Frankfurt. Anna had warned that the airport was tiny, but I was still impressed by the duty free shopping and less impressed by the Danes’ inability to queue in an orderly fashion for security, in shops, at the gate – people were just everywhere! Scandinavians just seem so organised in every other respect, how have they not got this?!

I admit I did add to the chaos in security after not removing my keyboard from my backpack (it’s not technically a laptop…) and only emptying one of my, it turns out, two bottles of water. Amateur, just amateur! *Shakes head in embarrassment*

Today was my first day in Germany, but I didn’t go very well at embracing German culture, I think perhaps we just awkwardly fist bumped… Frankfurt CBD just looks a bit like Perth, but the people are dressed more warmly and if you look really, really, really closely, you can see some historical remnants like this horse’s head decoration that was on the McDonalds building.

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In fact, a German lady who I spoke to this evening lamented that this seminar wasn’t in a more culturally significant place with less skyscrapers and more Oktoberfest.

I had 3 hours to wait until my hotel room was ready for checking in so I had intended to do some sightseeing, but got distracted by another H&M store and then went to Starbucks and used their free wi-fi to blog for an hour or so. I was disappointed in myself for travelling all the way to Germany to hang out at Starbucks, but I did make an attempt at a cultural experience by ordering a pretzel there (which was actually spelt bretzel).

The hotel is a square building with a courtyard in the middle and my room is at the end of three long corridors, the longest distance possible from the elevators. But, it is a good excuse to get some incidental exercise. The bed in my hotel room is incredibly comfortable, which is balanced by the internet charges which are incredibly expensive, and I have my own private Nespresso machine!

In the evening, I went to the reception for the Thales Axle Counter User Group, which is the reason I’m here. The food was amazing! It was a drinks and nibblies affair, but the nibblies were in courses – scallops and lentils for entree, soup and a hot buffet for main, and berry and dark chocolate mousse tarts for dessert. Everyone was too distracted by the main buffet to worry about the scallops and tarts but they were the best of all!

I found more evidence of the European obsession with meat when it became apparent that none of my German colleagues had ever seen lentils before and seemed confused about the explanation that you could use them in vegetarian dishes instead of meat. It seems I’m not the only one getting to experience new things in Frankfurt!

I was just proofreading the sentence about the dinner buffet above and added an Oxford comma to help with clarity. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, the Oxford style guide mandates the inclusion of a comma before the “and” which separates the last two items in a list. This is to avoid situations like, “I would like to thank my parents, Madonna and the Pope.” when your parents aren’t actually Mads and the leader of the Catholic Church, and what you actually meant to say was, “I would like to thank my parents, Madonna, and the Pope.”) This reminded me of what one of my Scottish colleagues remarked last week about the “Scottish Comma” where profanity is used to punctuate between words. That made me laugh, but perhaps it is only me that finds grammar jokes amusing.

Some other things that I find amusing in Europe are the different signs. Such as this one:

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Where you must hop down the stairs if chased by the ghost of a cactus… maybe.

2 thoughts on “Not embracing, but perhaps fist-bumping, German culture in Frankfurt

    • That would have been a good idea but it’s okay. For today and tomorrow, I will be at a seminar with limited sightseeing time, but on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I have booked myself on some very German tours of the Romantic Road, some castles, the Black Forest and Rhine Valley so I will have made up for my Starbucks experience soon.

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