#59: No Fireworks!

Fireworks in the Street

Buying fireworks in Germany is largely impossible except for 4 days of the year.

In Britain from mid-October onward you can basically buy fireworks from a raft of sketchy looking stores, who have imported container loads of explosives from China for the local youth to buy and throw at each other.

In Germany however, fireworks are only sold at new years from December 28th to Jan 1st and it is not permitted to fire them on any other day than New Year’s. This excludes large festivals and professional displays of course.

In Britain you will begin hearing fireworks from mid-October onwards, because we have 2 main celebrations involving fireworks – Guy Fawkes night on November 5th and New Year’s eve. Stores however, will be open weeks in advance of this and as there are no laws protecting the peace and quiet like in Germany, so you have to spend much of October and November listening to a recreation of down town Baghdad circa 2003.

In Germany, this means a quiet year all round particularly for pets, but this prohibition means that come New Year’s eve, every man woman and child is expected to blow something up, meaning fireworks will be going for HOURS AND HOURS, a quick word of advice… since you can’t beat them, join them.

#60: Drinking with Breakfast

A tasty Sekt to go with breakfast is the best way to start a day.

The breakfast table is set, Ham? Check! Cheese? Check! Fresh Bread? Check! 2 bottles of sparkling wine? Check! wait… really?

Drinking with breakfast has a terrible connotation attached to it in Britain, wino’s and drunks will routinely frequent less, shall we say, classy establishments at 9am for a cheap breakfast and a pint of ale, but it’s not a certainly not a family affair.

Germans love to drink alcohol, but they do so in a far more responsible manner than Brits and maybe even Americans – yes, despite the fact Germans drink with breakfast. In Germany it is very popular to indulge with Sekt for breakfast it is a staple of many family events like Easter and Christmas, yet it doesn’t turn families into raging day/binge drinking alcoholics, as would certainly be the case in the UK.

Whilst a “Sekty” breakfast is the thing I am most familiar with, it is certainly not limited to this. Visit Munich at any time of the year and all over the city restaurants are serving a nice glass of Weizen (Yeast Beer) with peoples eggs at 7am.

I tend to join in this tradition whenever possible, before falling asleep in my soup at lunch time and waking up with a 2pm hangover.

#62: Opening a Beer with Anything.

Beer Bottles
Delicious German Beer

You have probably been there – hot summers day, nice picnic spread and a couple of bottles of beer, but then, uh oh, no beer opener! 

This will normally lead to you trying to open the beer on trees, walls, or anything else hard within reach, resulting in you chipping the bottle and risking death or serious injury from consuming your cold, refreshing beer with added glass shards… or you might just give up altogether.

Well, this is literally never going to be a problem if you are with a German. You see Germans can open bottles of beer with ANYTHING. I have seen beers opened with lighters, keys, credit cards, coins, horns, back scratchers, saws, hammers and even ANOTHER BEER. I think this was the pinnacle of my German integration, the day I successfully learned how to open a bottle of beer, with another bottle of beer and it’s now my party trick.

For the curious, – here’s how it is done:

  1. Grasp the beer you want open around the neck, with your knuckle right up near to the bottle cap
  2. Take the other beer and hold it in your right hand around the middle and turn it upside down
  3. Place the beer caps together and using your left index finger hold the bottle tops together
  4. Squeeze tightly and lever the beer in your right hand down, using your knuckle as a fulcrum
  5. If you are holding it tightly enough, the lever action will pop open the beer in your left hand, leaving the lid of the beer in your right hand intact
  6. Enjoy the feeling of being ALL MAN
  7. Consume delicious beer

You’re welcome!