Tag Archives: Germany

Name that ball

I discovered this fountain during my trip to Germany last week.

I found it to be very relaxing and somewhat mesmerizing.  But I can’t say I know what it is supposed to be.

Do you?

Crossing the cultural divide

I have taught students many concepts in my years as a trainer, but today’s lesson was one of my favorites:

“Shut up!”

shut up and trainNot the traditional ‘shut your mouth’ usage of the phrase — but the ‘you’ve got to be kidding, tell me more’ meaning.  My class of primarily native German speakers were not aware of this slang term, and they left my course very excited to try it out on their colleagues.

I’m sure it will be a big hit.

I just wish I could remember where the usage originated.  On TV?  In a movie?  Does anyone out there remember?  If you do,

Shut up!  (keep talking)

Bribes accepted here

I flew home from Frankfurt today, and the fine folks at Delta upgraded me to Business Class — a first for me on an international flight.

I hope it’s not the last.

Sure, the attendants are friendlier, and the food is fresher and more readily available.  But the real selling point?

business classSPACE

When you have a nine hour flight, being able to stretch out your legs — and even lie down if you want — is the greatest luxury of all.

Thanks again, Delta, for showing me some love.

How ’bout we keep our relationship at this level…hmmmm?

Royalty in residence

When I shared yesterday’s post on Chateauform Schloss Löwenstein — my castle-hotel near Frankfurt that evokes Downton Abbey — my sister asked,  “Have you seen a Matthew look-a-like?”

Sadly, no.

But there is a prince living here.

prince germanyAlois Konstantin is the ninth Prince of Löwenstein. He and his wife Anastasia, Princess of Prussia, occupy one wing of the castle.

The Prince works in the financial services industry in Frankfurt and manages the family’s assets.

And while I have not seen him during my stay, I must say —

Doesn’t he look a bit like Mr. Carson?

Can you say spin-off?

When I travel for business, I often go from the airport to the hotel and back again, which doesn’t guarantee much of a view.

Of course, my hotels don’t often look like this —


This is where I’m staying today:  the Chateauform Schloss Löwenstein, located 45 minutes from the center of Frankfurt, Germany.

It’s part of a chain, if you can believe it — one of a collection of properties set in a private parkland well outside the city.  The castle has been fully renovated, somehow maintaining its period details while being outfitted with all the bells and whistles you need at a conference center.

It has its own winery and spa.  Two serve-yourself-anytime bars.  Archery.  There’s even a resident chocolate lab in the lounge named Easy.

It’s all so…Downton Abbey, don’t you think?

Cultural confusion

Soft, warm pretzels with a side of spicy mustard.

german pretzelsI love ’em.

And I’ve always attributed my taste for them to my German heritage.

But while working with some colleagues from Germany this past week, I learned a disturbing fact —

Germans don’t put mustard on their pretzels.

In fact, the big soft pretzels that we know and love are typically only served in the morning.  With butter.  If they do venture onto the lunch or dinner menu, they are paired with cheese or meat.

No mustard in sight.

And here I thought I was enjoying an offering from my homeland.  But the majority of mustard, as it turns out, comes from Canada.

What’s that about?

Films in-flight

I have two movie recommendations for you tonight.

They are both foreign films — one French, the other Israeli — so I suppose it is fitting that I watched them both on my plane home from Germany.

The first, The Intouchables, was recommended to me on the flight to Germany by the passenger in the seat next to me — a policeman on his way home from holiday.

I took his advice today and loved the film so much, I want to pay it forward.  The Intouchables tells the story of Phillipe, a quadriplegic — he was injured hang gliding — who needs a new caregiver.  Driss only applies for the job so that he will get turned down and be able to continue to live on public assistance. His careless attitude tweaks Phillipe’s interest, and he hires him.  Watching their friendship grow and change them both is perfection.

It is a feel good movie made one better because it is based on a true story.

The second movie, Footnote, centers on a father-son relationship that it is far more distant and troubled. The two are Talmud scholars who work and compete in the same very narrow field of study…and the son is winning the war.

How do his achievements impact his relationship with his father?  And how far will he go to make things right? This little film makes you think.

And I think you will enjoy them both.

Deutsch Taxifahrer, Teil zwei

As you may recall, last night’s German taxi driver was a conspiracy theorist.

And tonight’s?

He put his hands over his ears when I said hello.

Now, I know I don’t speak German, but seriously — does the very sound of an American voice offend?

I think it scared this guy.

He quickly walked back to his cab and said, “I’m old man. No English.” To which I brilliantly responded,


That was our entire conversation…until we arrived at the hotel, where he pointed to the meter, and said “Marriott.”

I considered putting my hands over my ears, but I’m pretty sure the humor wouldn’t translate.

Pixelated, man

My German taxi driver shared an interesting theory today.

He has stopped watching TV because there are subliminal messages between the pixels that hypnotize you.

His concerns were based on the work of a Russian scientist (so you know it’s true).

The conversation took me back to my advertising classes in college.  Of course, back then we were discussing subliminal imagery — ways to get people to buy without realizing they had been manipulated — so his theory isn’t that far afield.

He also posits that the longer you sit there, the more hypnotized you become and the more open to the message.

I’ll give him the hypnotized part…but could the producers of some of these really dumb reality shows be smart enough to embed messaging that would, say, overturn the government?

(Come to think of it, it would explain the Tea Party….)

People — step away from your flat screens!

7th day tourist

Word on the street was Old Town was the place to be as soon as I got to Heidelberg.

So off I went.

And I didn’t have to walk far to feel right at home.


But as I strolled past the shops, both quaint and chain — yes, there is a Starbucks and an H&M — a disturbing trend darkened my day.

They were all CLOSED.

Apparently my people don’t work on Sundays.  Only the cafes — and a Subway, which was doing a rousing business — were open to the throngs of tourists wandering the streets.

So the teapots that tempted me will have to sit and gather dust.  The leather goods store, the card shop, the art store — all missed out, yes they did.  I hope their day of rest was worth the purchases that me and folks just like me would have made.

And I’m gonna tell them all exactly that…when I go back tomorrow.