Tag Archives: Beer

German-American Couple Falls in Love with the City of Bremen, Germany

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Remember that pointy bra Madonna used to wear?

At the beginning of November, my wife and I took the train from Hannover to Bremen, Germany. It was just a day trip, and I honestly wasn’t expecting much. The things I knew about Bremen could be counted on a high school shop teacher’s hand (because they’re always shy a couple digits):

  1. Bremen is where Beck’s beer comes from.
  2. Bremen is a city-state, like Hamburg and Berlin.
  3. Bremen is somewhere up north, like Winterfell.

That’s it! Nothing else! So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered Bremen absolutely rules. Here’s why…

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Imagine a giant person stepping on that thing. Prolly hurt worse than a Lego.

Unlike Hamburg or Berlin, the Allied Powers didn’t bomb the everloving shit out of Bremen during World War II. (And by this, I mean they did mess it up real good, but they didn’t flatten it completely.) The result is a massive medieval market square still intact today! There’s a beautiful town hall and an enormous cathedral, and you can hardly take a step without bumping into one famous sculpture or another. (Like the Bremen Town Musicians, named after the Brothers Grimm folktale involving a donkey, dog, cat and rooster, who stand on each others backs in order to scare the holy piss out of a bunch of felons during a home invasion.)

22-Bremen-Town-Musicians-Die-Bremer-Stadtmusikanten-folktale

“HEEHAW-WOOF-MEOW-COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO, MOTHERFUCKERS.”

The very oldest part of Bremen is called the Schnoorviertel, and it’s the neighborhood where all the medieval sailors and merchants used to live. I swear to Christ, I felt like I’d stumbled into Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series. Of course, instead of Ollivanders, the Leaky Cauldron and Gringotts Wizarding Bank, the Schnoorviertel of medieval times was probably more like a river of human waste and merkin-sporting prostitutes dying of The Consumption.

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“Bring out your dead!”

Much like OMSI in Portland, Oregon, Bremen has a kick-ass science museum called the Universum. My wife and I were there for its Universum bei Nacht event, where adults can enjoy the permanent exhibit with live music in their ears, cold brew-doggies in their hands and absolutely no screaming kids biting at their ankles. We also got to place little stickers on our favorite exhibit pieces, effectively voting for which ones would remain, and which would be replaced. My favorite was the shadow room, which featured a phosphorescent wall and a flashbulb. You hold a funny position against the wall until the flash goes off, then step back and laugh at your perfectly captured silhouette. (You can imagine how quickly this innocent little bit of scientific education descended into a porno horror show.)

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“Hang on a second, honey. I’m tripping balls.”

I can’t really do justice to the awesomeness that is Bremen, so I’ve put this little video together to summarize our trip. It’s only 95 seconds long, and it features videos my wife recorded herself! Check it out:

And as always, here’s the complete picture gallery with snarky captions. Please click one of the images below to begin the slideshow:

Thank you for reading our blog and have a wonderful day!

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Bachelor Week: American Man in Germany Left to His Own Devices for 7 Days

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Recently, my German wife went on a field trip with one of her Gymnasium classes to Poland. This allowed me a full week in which to eat, sleep, work and relax in exactly the manner I wished. No opinions. No objections. What followed were 7 days of ‘Me Time,’ and shit got weird fast.

Day 1

Woke up. Left the bed unmade and felt like a badass about it. (But still a little guilty.)

Tried to open the blinds and accidentally broke one.

broken-window-shade-blind

Went to the gym, worked out and showered. Decided not to shave my chin whiskers all week as a kind of repulsive welcome home gift for my wife. (The last time I did this, she stated flatly, “You look like a goat.”

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all ritualistically drowned in Sriracha hot sauce.

hot-sauce-sriracha-and-tapatio-bottles

Day 2

Woke up. Made half of the bed, because… fuck it, right?

Took a picture of myself with my wife’s pink panties on my head and my eyes peering out through the leg holes… kind of like the world’s fruitiest ninja. I then emailed the picture to her and decided I am the funniest man alive.

Ate all of my meals with a near-lethal dose of Tapatio hot sauce.

vietnamese-food-bowl-with-sriracha-hot-sauce

Finally returned that gigantic container full of empty beer bottles (Bierkasten) to Edeka. A clerk showed me how to slide the whole thing into the recycling machine, which felt uncomfortably like hand-feeding Optimus Prime.

Walked home and dropped a spicy deuce in the main bathroom downstairs with the window completely open, giving myself a panoramic view of our entire back yard. The old couple living in the house to my left — and the kindergarten full of children to my right — should have (theoretically) only been able to see my smiling face.

Day 3

Woke up. Drank coffee mixed with tea. (I call this “Super Tea.”)

coffee-and-tea-mixed-funny-bachelor-pad

Talked to myself for an hour and a half. My monologue ended abruptly when the mailman rang the bell, scaring me so badly I spilled Super Tea all down my front.

Examined my facial hair in the mirror. I’d been hoping for the “rugged cowboy” look, but things were headed more toward “dandy Englishman.”

Went to the store, bought supplies and made the largest, spiciest batch of chili ever. (The seasoning mix was courtesy of one of my favorite blog readers, whom I’ve actually met and befriended in real life. I call him, “Texas Hagrid.”) I wore my trusty onion goggles as I cut the onions, because if I don’t, my eyes sting and water uncontrollably. (Because I’m a huge pussy, you see.) Cooked the chili and then tasted it — still boiling hot — and seared the sweet holy Jesus out of my mouth.

D-L-Jardins-authentic-texas-chili-fixins making-chili-in-germany-home-made blanching-tomatoes-for-texas-chili-in-germany onion-goggles-tear-free chili-bowl-with-beans-non-texas

Watched the same 3 Best of Vine videos for the 10,000th time each and laughed merrily:

1: Baby Sitting Caucasian Kids
2: The moment I finally catch that mosquito, I feel like a NINJA!
3: Beautiful NBA Basketball Game Song (AKA: Best vine ever)

Day 4

Woke up in a terrible mood. The whole world could really just kiss my lumpy white ass, you know? I think it was due to the fact that I went to sleep pissed off because my internet connection would not allow me to Skype with my wife the night before. We tried everything, and it was terribly frustrating. Obviously this gave me license to be a complete cock to every single person I encountered, overreacting to every petty annoyance with volcanic rage:

Old person walking in the middle of the bike lane so I can’t pass him? “STEP ASIDE, SHORT-TIMER.”

Bike pedal slowly coming unscrewed and I know I don’t have the right wrench at home to tighten it? “I KNEW YOU’D FAIL ME, YOU SECOND-HAND PIECE OF DOG SHIT.”

Bike store closed from 1pm until 3pm, like this is some kind of siesta culture? “OH FUCK YOU, DIETER. I HOPE YOUR SLEEP APNEA PLAYS HELL WITH YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE.”

Day 5

Woke up, went to the gym, showered and then sent the following text message to my wife: “I just finished washing my pink nutsack and I am thinking of you!”

Worked all day, getting up from my desk only to use the bathroom or peer suspiciously out the window at the slightest noise from the outside world. My neighbor closed the door of his car and I was certain I’d heard a gunshot. The joyous laughter of the children in school next door hit my ears like nails on a chalkboard. I felt like everyone in the neighborhood was watching me, judging me for watching them, so I left all the lights off and stroked my chin hairs in the dark. Time to start writing my manifesto condemning industrial society!

Ate 5 scrambled eggs for dinner, cooked with a big slab of pig fat. What? I just greased the pan with the fat — I didn’t actually eat it. Okay, so I did. Then I washed it all down with a full liter of tap water and felt sick to my stomach. You’re not better than me.

scrambling-eggs-with-pork-fat-hot-stuff-spatula

Day 6

Woke up to find all of my upper body muscles so sore from the gym I could hardly move (though I managed to hit the snooze button on my alarm 3 times.)

Came home and — like every day since my wife’s departure — ate all of my meals drenched in hot sauce. This culminated in an intense burning sensation within every organ south of my nipples. Obviously I chose to ignore this warning sign and go about my day. At one point, I got up to urinate and, thinking I needed to pass some innocent gas, flexed a little. It was not gas. There was an incendiary round in the chamber, and it had gone off right in my undies. I jumped in the shower, put on a fresh set of clothing and accepted the fact that I am the most disgusting man on the planet.

hot-sauce-tapatio-and-sriracha-empty

Purchased a mini keg of beer. Oh yes! Five whole liters of sweet golden honey all to myself! And no one around to tell me, “You’ve had enough, Dear,” “It’s time to go home,” or, “Your right eye is starting to wander again.”

german-beer-grafenwalder-mini-keg-pils-fass

Wound up going to a party with my friend and took the mini keg with me as the greatest party gift ever. Everyone loved it, except the birthday girl, whom I accidentally sprayed across the tits because I had no idea how to open the keg properly.)

Day 7

Today… The Wife came home. Oh. Shit.

The house was a mess. All of the bathrooms qualified as biohazards and the kitchen should have been quarantined. This is exactly what happened the last time my wife went out of town! Why do I do this to myself!?

I swept the stairs with a brush and dustpan, wiped a sponge around the toilet seats and ran around the house with a broom like I was herding dust bunnies. I jammed all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and punched the ON button, grabbed the trash and tossed it into the bins outside, then sprinted with all of the empty glass bottles to the recycling bins down the street and Hulk-smashed the shit out of them. Ran back home, folded the laundry, threw the bed together and fluffed the pillows on the couch. If she didn’t look too closely, my wife might have been fooled by this facade into thinking the house was in order. Nope. She saw right through it. And you know what she said when I met her at the train station?

THE WIFE: “You grew out your beard! You’re my little wolfman, aren’t you…”

ME: *Blushing like a girl and trying to hide my smile* “… Yes ...”

Β polish-beer-debowe-mocne-and-zubr

When we got home, my wife presented me with several bottles of Polish beer to try. She is so awesome I could just cry. And I am, in fact, crying right now as I type this. (Which is probably due to the fact that the party last night left me deeply, profoundly, level 10, Red Alert hungover.)

I love you honey! *sniff* Please don’t ever leave me alone again!

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American Man Accidentally Buys 10 Liters of Beer in Germany

ratskrone-beer-case-container-germany

This is a “Bierkasten,” which translates to “beer box,” or “giant container full of wonderful things.”

My wife is a Gymnasium teacher here in Hannover, Germany, which means she gets 6 weeks off work each summer. So, to celebrate the beginning of her summer break this year — and also our recent move from a horrible apartment in the city into a wonderful new house in the suburbs — my German wife decided to host a small BBQ in our back yard. She invited 4 or 5 of her co-workers and promptly sent me to the local Edeka supermarket to buy beer.

She asked me to bring home exactly “3 six-packs of Ratskrone pilsner,” and she asked me to do this because one can buy Ratskrone (like most German beers) in half liter bottles. But unlike most German beers, you can score a sixer of this shit for like 2 euros. That’s cheap as balls, even by American standards. So I grabbed one of the trolley suitcases we use to carry groceries and shagged ass to the store.

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“I’m coming for you, my little golden children!”

Once there, I grabbed a shopping cart and beelined it for the hooch aisle. Of course there was only 1 six pack of Ratskrone left. How could a simple errand in Germany ever go wrong? Luckily, the clerk — a friendly young man wearing a beer-stained apron — was stocking the shelves nearby, so I approached and did my best to speak German with him:

ME: “Excuse me please. Do you have more of these things? These large… six bottles of Ratskrone beer?”

CLERK: “Uh, let me ask.” (He walked into the storage room and yelled a question to his boss, who then yelled something in return.)

CLERK: “Sorry, we’re all out, but we do have these…” (He said, pointing to a big plastic carton full of individual Ratskrone bottles. NOTE: These cartons hold 20 bottles of beer — 10 liters total — and in Germany, everyone knows who buys them: college students about to get obliterated.)

ME: “Oh. Have these bottles the exact same prices?”

At this point, the clerk walked back and forth between the six pack aisle and the carton aisle, explaining to me the price difference in lightspeed German. I nodded as if I’d understood a goddamn thing he said, thanked him for the help and proceeded to calculate the logistics on my own.

ratskrone-beer-with-kasten-germany

Pictured: “beer math.”

The Wife asked me to buy 3 six packs, I thought to myself. That’s 18 half liter bottles no matter how you count them. I’ll just get these loose sons of bitches instead.

So I put the six pack back on the shelf and placed 18 individual bottles in my shopping cart. Then, I remembered you can buy an entire plastic carton full — 20 half liter bottles — and you get a better deal, so I grabbed an extra two bottles to make it an even 20. That’s when I realized, Shit, the chick at the cash register will think I just want 20 loose beers and forget to give me the sweet carton discount, and there is no way in hell I’m going to be able to clarify my intentions in German.

So, I placed all 20 beers back in the carton, lifted the entire carton into my shopping cart, and went to the cash register. The cashier — a kind, nerdy little woman with glasses — scanned one of the beers and rang them all up. What follows is our conversation, if you were to translate everything directly into German:

CASHIER: “That will be 9.59 euros with refund, please.”

ME: “Okay. Must I take this plastic thing with me?” (I asked, pointing to the container.)

CASHIER: “Uh, no, you don’t have to… but you won’t get your carton refund back.”

ME: (Looking very confused.) “May I not, right now, this plastic thing give back?”

CASHIER: “Well, when you return the glass bottles, you will get your refund back on those, but if you don’t bring them back with the container, you will lose the container refund.”

ME: “I am very sorry, but I am, at this very moment, learning German.”

CASHIER: “Oh, no problem,” (she said, continuing to speak German, only now leaning forward and pointing to things on the receipt.) See, here is the bottle refund, and right here is the container refund…”

ME: “Right, but can I not, exactly now, return the container and get money?”

CASHIER: (Thinking for a moment…) “Oh, I understand. Let me ask my manager.”

The cashier hollered some German words over the PA system and then sat there, waiting, while the rest of the people in line glared at me. The manager appeared — a very thick, very bleach blonde woman — and listened as the cashier explained my intentions:

CASHIER: “This customer does not want the plastic container. Can we just ring everything up again and give him the container refund back?”

MANAGER: “No.” (Then, speaking directly to me…) “You must return the container with the bottles in order to receive the container refund.”

ME: “May I do this right now?”

MANAGER & CASHIER: (Speaking in unison–) “No.

ME: “I do not understand correctly. Must I first exit this food store, walk through this food store, and then give back the container?”

MANAGER: “The container must be filled with empty bottles of this exact type of beer. Otherwise, we cannot be sure you bought them here.”

ME: (About ready to cry…) “Should I just have purchased 20 bottles of beer without the container?”

MANAGER: “No no, this way is cheaper.”

Having recognized the word “cheaper,” I nodded my understanding vigorously, apologized to everyone like a repentant criminal, stuffed the receipt in my pocket and took off. Once outside, I placed the bottles inside the luggage trolley and walked home with the empty beer carton swinging in my hand, letting every single one of our new neighbors know my wife and I spend our Tuesday evenings consuming lethal amounts of beer.

“Hey there, GΓΌnter! How you doin’? Yep, the Missus and I are about to go on a real hellbender. You’ve still got that ambulance on speed dial, right? Har har! See you in church!”

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Score one for America.

To read more of my emotionally scarring adventures in Germany, please check out my other Culture Shock posts.