German words have a reputation for being long, and at times very expressive. Two of my descriptive favorites are Zahnfleisch (literally ‘tooth meat’ or ‘gums’) and Schneebesen (which literally translates to ‘snow broom’ but means ‘whisk.’)
“Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit. Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit.” – A traditional German beer drinking song wishing good health and cheer to companions.
I was first exposed to Germany’s Oktoberfest culture when I was eight years old. During a whirlwind trip to Munich, my parents’ German friends whisked us away to what seemed like every famous city landmark.
First, there was Munich’s Rathaus (city hall), where we watched the Glockenspiel figurines on the intricate tower twirl upon the hour. We then headed to the splendid two-domed church called the Frauenkirche. And since a visit to Munich is not complete without stopping by the famous Hofbräuhaus, we ventured there for a hearty meal as well. Once inside the legendary brewery, which dates back to 1589, I recall hearing polka music emanating from shiny brass instruments. Committing a German faux pas, we upset a Lederhosen-clad local when we mistakenly sat at his Stammtisch (a table reserved for regulars).