Located at the crossroads of Western and Central Europe, Germany exerts a significant influence not just on the continent but on the whole world as well. While a relative newcomer as a political entity, Germany is a veteran in a historical sense. It has been at the forefront of scientific and cultural advancements. This is, after all, the nation that gave us Einstein, Luther, Bach, Marx and MP3.

Today, the country’s an economic and technological powerhouse (Where else will you see modern Mercedes Benz models being used as taxis equipped with hi-tech GPS equipment?) with a people that takes everything – from football to recycling – rather seriously.

Yet past the veneer of rigidity are classical sights (Castles! Lots of ’em!) and picturesque villages etched into lush forests. Such scenes provide visitors to this splendid nation an aspect of Germany not much known by outsiders.

But perhaps the most surprising aspect we’ve learned of the oft-misunderstood country is the warmth of locals disproving the image of stiff and warmongering Germans. A simple question regarding a dog’s name quickly becomes a candid conversation on dog breeds, while a little misunderstanding on how to get around the country grows into an amusing game of charade with a tourism officer.

Wilkommen in Deutschland!

Heidelberg

Eisenach

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Cologne

From an entry published in TravelBlog on July 11, 2010.

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