We here at Uproxx Life, we want you to travel. If you can just make it happen, we believe your life will be better for it. Some adventures are death-defying exercises, others are just getaways to escape everyday life. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of world traveler, we hope to help.
With our new series of Uproxx Pocket Guides, we hope to provide the encouragement needed for you to go out and explore. Whether you only have a weekend to play with or are planning a year-long trek around the globe, our goal is to shine a light on places that deserve a visit. These aren’t meant to be comprehensive guides, more like movie trailers that will grab your attention and convince you to dig deeper.
Germany is one of those places that most Americans have a very similar mind’s-eye image of. Lederhosen. Huge beer mugs. Yodeling. A blue and white checkered flag. Fairytale castles. Buxom blondes falling out of dirndls. Most of those associations are more or less aligned with Bavarian culture, and stereotypes to boot. In reality, Germany is far more diverse and nuanced than people realize. Only unified for the last 150-odd years (and a lot of those years were disastrous), Germany is more a collection of unique states and people all living under one black, red, and gold banner.
With landscapes stretching from high alpine peaks, through massive forests, into low grassland, then sweeping down to coastlines on both the Baltic and North Seas, the country is shockingly varied — both geographically and culturally. Naturally, the cuisine and dialects also change. Translation: There’s a lot to explore.
Germany thrives on seasonal and local food. It’s one of the easiest places to eat seasonally. In fact, you might be unnerved at first. No asparagus outside of spring time. No pumpkins before September or after January. Spinach and kale appear when they’re in season, not year round. Farm stands pop up all over the country in the cities and on rural lanes selling local strawberries, asparagus, pumpkins, and other freshly harvested food. It’s a pleasant surprise to still have a close connection to agriculture in a very post-industrial society.
Restaurants reflect this trend. Daily menus are seasonal, and often cheaper than the standard menu items they have to import from abroad. If you’re ordering off the chalkboard menu, you’re almost certainly eating local and seasonally fresh food from that region. The white wursts and pretzels of the south give way to smoked salmon and eel in the north. The further west you go, the more and more French and Belgian cuisine deepens the menu. As you head east towards Berlin, the döner kebab and currywurst reign supreme.