Battle of the Culture Bulge

Living in a foreign country means getting used to a new lifestyle. Everything is different- the culture, the weather, the language. Some are capable of learning the new language, but sadly on my Erasmus in Germany, I wasn’t. Instead, I put my energy (and my stomach) to good use, and explored the different food.

I heard about Bratwurst and Sauerkraut, but oh, I didn’t hear of the endless supply of bakeries filled with sweet pastries and treats galore. Of course I had to try everything. It would be a sin to come all the way here and not try the local sweets, again and again. Stollen, looks better than it tastes, but try Bienenstich, I actually found one with chocolate Bavarian cream, divine! Of course, as my cultural palate increased, as did my jeans’ size.

Along came Christmas, and so did the Weihnachtsmärkte. Christmas spirit filled the air, bringing even the greyest of cities to life. The smell of mulled wine and cinnamon wafted through the chilly winter air. Drinking mulled wine whilst enjoying Kartoffelpuffer with some warm apple sauce is definitely a must-do. All this eating out was not only unkind to my waistline, but also to my pocket. (Hey Germany, you don’t have to deep-fry and put mayonnaise on everything!). Living alone is expensive enough as it is, I didn’t need the added expenses that constantly eating out brought I started preparing my own food at home and taking it out with me on my adventures, and carrying healthy snacks with me. A few clever choices later and sometimes skipping dessert and I’m back to my normal size, with a few extra pennies put towards my travel fund.

After 5 months I’ve learnt that all the new food available can be overwhelming and fun, but not worth the hefty price tag. I am, after all, just beginning my travels. Having said this, I won’t be saying no to a freshly baked croissant whilst in Paris!

Photo: Bratwurst, Riesling Sauerkraut, horseradish, mustard, Photo: angermann, License: Creative Commons by-sa/2.0

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