I’ve been in Tübingen for roughly a week now. The road to get here was long and grueling but, with a little luck and a lot of help, somehow this Mississippi boy made it.
Germany threw me for a bit of a spin when I first arrived. Everyone always says that, but it’s never in the ways that you think. It’s the small things. Credit Cards? Useless plastic. The toilets? Weird. Gas stations? Rare. Water fountains? Do they even exist in this country? I’ve yet to see one.
We imagine Germans, and Europeans in general, to be so much different than ourselves. In some ways I suppose they are; however, at the end of the day they still enjoy the same things we enjoy. Struggle the same way we struggle. Love the same way we love. It’s eye-opening and endearing, truly.
What’s worthy of note, though, is the humility of these people. A nation which has lost two world wars in the last century, with the memories still fresh in the minds of some of the older generation, stands as a reminder to them of how bad things can get. Germans have a unique opportunity of reflection afforded to them, which we do not. Americans have no such humility, having never been occupied by a foreign invader or had our national spirit crushed before our eyes. It will be interesting to see how these two different paths will play out in our lifetimes.
They’re also very environmentally conscious. Drying machines? Nearly non-existent. I’m sure if they could get away with it they’d rid themselves of washing machines as well, but ain’t nobody got time for that. The air is very fresh, even in the center of the city. Greenery is quite literally everywhere you look. It’s almost strange seeing such vibrant wild life in areas so densely populated by humans. It’s almost like the first thing we do in the States is clear all the trees out and replace everything with concrete. I’ve seen quite a few solar panels on houses as well, including that of my host family. It’s not a very big imposition on their daily lives, and if it helps the Umwelt, or environment, then why not?
The Altstadt, or old city, is what most people come to Tübingen to see. These buildings are many hundreds of years old, and yet people still live in them! Although, it’ll cost you a pretty penny. The churches are, in my opinion, probably the most spectacular to look at. The Stiftskirche (College Church) was commissioned to be built in 1470 A.D. by the same man, Count Eberhard, who founded the Universität, equally as old, which bears his name. The sheer amount of history here is astonishing, but I guess it’s to be expected from a place that’s been around twice as long as our nation has existed.
There’s still so much yet to be explored in this town, and I’ll certainly keep it coming. So, until next time, auf wiedersehen!