Across the borders on Motorcycle

Recently I’ve watched a video, called ‘what can you do with 40 000 RMB’ (6,278.15 US dollar). It talks about a newly married couple, a Chinese girl and a German boy who spent almost 4 months travelling by motorcycle from Shanghai to Hamburg, Germany. I can hardly imagine that someone would give up his job and spent almost all his money to travel in such a crazy way.

Of course, for most Chinese people this is totally crazy. But for Germans, it seems it’s kind of normal. When I was in China, I met an old lady from Germany who was giving a photograph show in our university. In her show, she presented the photo she has taken while crossing countries from Europe to Asia on her motorcycle.

Source:http://www.unterwegens.de

So I did a little research on motorcycle traveling of Germans. Then I found a website, Entdecke dein Abenteuer. This guy successfully travelled around the world with his motorcycle and he published a book about his trip. If anyone is interested in such a way of travelling, you can definitely find lots of useful information on his blog.

Source: http://www.motorcycle.com/

Every time I saw those people in leather jacket and leather pants driving Harleys on the highway, I thought they were so cool. Riding a motorcycle is absolutely a total different experience than driving a car. And it’s a good method to relieve stress. Someone even wrote an article about it Motorrad-Reisen als Therapie für gestresste Manager.

Although I think travelling by motorcycle is kind of cool, but there are still lots of problems. If it is raining, what can you do? Riding through the rain, would that be too cold? I do admire those people taking adventure in such an abnormal way. But for me, a person who always thinks too much, well, I’d rather take a train.

Meet the future of Germany’s renewable energy

The 20 "Green Talents" via BMBF Research for Sustainable Development

As part of Germany’s annual “Green Talents” competition, 20 young, talented scientists from around the world are being given the opportunity to tour and get hands-on experience at the country’s energy research facilities.

The participants won this chance to participate in three-month research projects through a €2 billion ($2.6 billion) government research fund for research and development of renewable technology.

As mentioned in a previous Eurokulture post by Li Tang, Germany has pledged to get at least 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.

Through a massive grant, the 80 percent by 2050 renewable energy benchmark and gathering smart young minds as well as instilling an interest in research in said field, Germany is clearly taking a proactive approach when it comes to renewable energy.

Learn more about Germany’s shift away from nuclear to renewable:

Andrew March, 25, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, won a grant in a 2010 and is now in Berlin working on his project that explores ways for companies to reduce resource use and greenhouse gas emissions. In a story by the Washington Post, March shared how he feels the U.S. and Germany differ on their views of renewable energy:

“Public reception is so important. I don’t think there is that mentality in the U.S. yet.”

Unfortunately, the U.S. lags behind in renewable energy goals and standards. The public perception in the U.S. has energy on the back burner compared to a few of our European counterparts. We simply either don’t care, or we have other issues we feel are more important at this moment.

I’m undecided if the U.S. should move away from Nuclear energy the way Germany has, but I hope that the culture can change soon in terms of our burning of fossil fuels.

Sources: The Washington Post, Bloomberg Business Week, The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Mitfahrgelegenheit-rideshare an alternative way to travel

Source: http://www.amazon.com

… if you wanna travel to somewhere. But it’s too boring to drive all by yourself, so maybe you want to think about joining a carpool. The first time I got to know this alternative way of travelling was several years ago, when I watched the German movie “Im Juli“. I have never heard of or knew anything about this before; it was like a culture shock for me back then. Juli decided to travel without planing. She just waited on the roadside for the first car which stopped. The car’s destination is her destination of the trip. Is that romantic? I think so!

Source; http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/

Actually, Mizzou has also such a thing called ride share, I’ve read about this several times while reading Mizzou Info emails. But it seems it is not very popular here. According to my knowledge, this kind of travel experiences can be seen more often in European movies than in American movies. So I’m wondering if Americans are interested in this or not?  Then I did a little research on this, and I found this article How To: Ride Share With Strangers.

My German friend told me that she likes ride share / Mitfahrgelegenheit a lot. So I guess ride share is more popular in Germany than in the U.S.

But  I would never try to ride share with strangers or like Juli did in the film, waiting randomly for someone who can give her a ride. Of course, ride share with strangers is fun, romantic and cheap, because you’ll meet lots of different people. But I’m always worried about the safety problems, especially for a single woman who travels alone.


Reise mit dem Zug!

Source: http://listofairlinesintheworld.com/

If you ask me what’s my first choice of transportation while traveling in China. My answer would be a train. We have various trains at different speeds and prices. And the coverage of railways is very broad. Normally you can take a train any place you want.

A train is not just the first option for me but also for my German friends. The great thing about traveling by train is that you have spacious room compared to cars or busses. You can stand, you can sit, and you can even go to the bathroom. However, it seems that trains are not the top choice for Americans. Americans prefer planes and cars. If an American decides to travel by train in the U.S., he must be a unique independent traveler. If you’re interested, you can read the following article, Riding the train across the USA: An antiquated mode of travel?

Source: http://www.sunset.com/

In the U.S, trains are operated by Amtrak which is a government-owned corporation. I’m not sure, wether there are other private companies doing railroad business in the U.S. In Germany, however, they do have both private and public tracks. The biggest is the government-owned Deutsche Bahn. There are about 300 other private rail companies, such as Abellio or Connex. You can find more about it under “Liste deutscher Eisenbahngesellschaften.”

Source: http://www.air-net.de/

There are debates about privatization of „Deutsche Bahn, and some say Private Bahn – bessere Bahn. Of course, if it goes private that will cause more competition, which would encourage companies providing better services to the clients. But for me, I can hardly imagine that. Nevertheless, the train is an important public transportation means and if it goes private it might cause national security problems and puts private interests before the common good. Maybe I’m just paranoid.

Amy Sings to Us From Heaven

Amy Winehouse, Lioness: Hidden Treasures

When Amy Winehouse first landed in the US with her Neo Soul, Jazz and Blues inspired vocals, we were taken by surprise. Here she was, a Jewish born, UK native with a voice like Billie Holiday circa 1945 and a splash of Erykah Badu.

Her music career came to a tragic end after Winehouse died  at the young age of 27 earlier this year. Her unfinished work had been unheard– until now.

Island Def Jam and producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi released her first post-humous album earlier this week titled “Lioness: Hidden Treasures” and it is indeed one of the best albums of the year.

It re-debuts her duet with Tony Bennett, Body & Soul, from his album “Duets”,  as well as a collection of Motown Inspired classics.  The album also features  1968 classic “Valerie”, recorded back in 2006 and later sung as a tribute to her by pop star and fan, Bruno Mars at the MTV VMA’s.

The album is literally music to my ears. Its smooth vocals paired with an amazing set of musicians makes for one of the best jazz EP’s I’ve ever heard. More than that, it reflects the softer side of Amy, a side that was somewhat distorted in the years leading up to her untimely demise.

As Newsweek’s Chris Lee comments in his most recent column titled

“Amy Winehouse’s Soul-Searing Final Album, ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’

“Consecutive listens to Lioness beget a central question: where would fellow Brit retro-revisionists such as Duffy or Adele be without Winehouse’s renovation of the genre?”

and quite honestly, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

The album is available at Target as a deluxe EP and everywhere else you buy music.

Download it here on iTunes.

Changing Politics-European Drug Laws and You.

There have been many events in the recent past where there has been cause for questioning our ideologies on what rules to impose on information, but now we are looking at censorship not on a media level, but on a chemical informational level. For example, why is it illegal to imbibe a safe and even health promoting amount of the therapeutic drug MDMA, but it is not illegal for people to be put through a rape scene in a movie?  Furthermore, why are people allowed to put limitations on what people metabolize in their bodies?

Questions need to be answered and in order to set the scene for these questions and answers here is a slight bit of information regarding recent UK troubles in this area…A British Professor (David Nutt) and neuropsychopharmacologist dedicated to the study of Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics was recently fired from his lofty position of adviser on a UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for what this writer will consider a strange reason. He was fired for essentially publishing a pamphlet where he espoused ideas that the UK’s drug laws, are from a moral standpoint, wrong. The kicker must have been his suggestion that the drugs class system (the levels of scheduled drugs) be changed to reflect the dangers of drugs as opposed to political motivations. For more information on the position of the ex-professor Nutt kindly click this interview link. EX-NUTTSPEAKS!

These advisories function as the epitome-consider-er of substances which are being misused and  appears to be capable of having harmful effects sufficient to cause a social problem.  As such, there are a couple primary factors pushing the consideration to change present drug laws. For the UK, there is a vested interest in the relationship between drug and alcohol abuse. Reformers are calling for this consideration due to the fact that they know drugs and alcohol abuse stem from the root of something. Why are people taking drugs, what kind of lives push the use and abuse of drugs, and does prohibition actually help this political and economic equation are the kinds of questions being asked at the moment.

Some Current Drug prohibition thoughts-

“Drug prohibition is a blessing for organized crime”, said Dennis de Jong, Dutch Member of the European Parliament. “My own government unfortunately is now moving towards more repression on the coffee shops. Instead of the more reasonable approach towards regulation, the authorities now want to ban foreign visitors by installing membership cards, which will only increase the illegal market”– Via 420 Magazine

In the recent events involving an essential recreating of drug laws there is a clear focus on …

…the harms of prohibition and the law reform debate – obviously directly reinforced by a number of the other questions.” –Via Transform-Drugs.blogspot.com

UK drug laws

Another important idea to consider is the actual comparative harm of legal and illegal drugs and the cost of them. To help set the scene here are some current working definitions of drug prohibition law. For example, in the US a schedule 1 drug is considered a drug with no medical value and high potential for abuse. On the list of Schedule 1 drugs is marijuana. This writer is struck by the idea that the working definition for scheduled drugs has to do with medical and abuse potential and in fact, marijuana has high medical value and low abuse potential. This combined with the fact that Methamphetamine, a highly toxic and abusive drug, is only listed as schedule 2…making it politically less harmful than marijuana. There is a certain strangeness to the idea that the government doesn’t want more harmful things to be illegal while less harmful things, or even things with a perceivable medical value would be at the top of an illegal list.

Considering prohibition also brings up the dual opposite notion of decriminalization of drug use. People used to follow the ideology that less lenient drug laws would provide for a more drug abusing culture. Currently, countries such as the Netherlands and Portugal have shown that decriminalization does NOT lead to increased use, but in fact provides….

…safer conditions for drug consumers, and more efficient approaches in law enforcement. The same goes for Spain: “In the Basque country, the Cannabis Social Club model, a form of collective cultivation of cannabis for personal use, has been recognized by authorities and proves to be a very successful approach that is not questioned”, explained Martín Barriuso.

To see who is leading the way in drug policy—>Netherlands drug policy

So I leave you with these kernels of information.  It is your duty as a citizen of this world to safeguard your freedoms and to be the amalgamation of all the information you come in contact with.  I hope that this information is used and dispersed, and it has been a joy to share with all of you.

-new announcement regarding new UK drug laws and the factors involved…..>>>>>….click here….

“Verte” Mountains & “Limpide” Lakes

Switzerland has more to offer than the montagnes that surround the country. There’s chocolate, plenty of history and lots of lakes. The Swiss have recently taken a big effort to preserve their country by becoming more “verte” or eco-friendly.

Swiss Alps. Courtesy of Google Images.

Switzerland has passed a lot of legislation recently  to help prevent waste. One bill I found interesting charges people for trash pick up; trash can only be picked up if there is a sticker saying they have paid for pick up on the trash bin. Recycling, however, is free! This obviously encourages people to recycle and as a result, Switzerland is one of the top recyclers in the world.

Other organizations are also on board for the green movement. Some hotels such as Badrutt’s Palace offer discounts for customers driving hybrid vehicles. They also derive all of their energy from a nearby lake, reducing their carbon output by 80%. C’est chouette! Another way to travel is by train. Switzerland has an extensive rail system and busing options are also available. Both are more eco-friendly than driving cars. If you are driving a car, you’re encouraged to shut off your engine if you are waiting for a short period of time. Recent Swiss legislation proposed to abolish taxes on fuels that are produced from natural resources and lower taxes on fuels that produce fewer harmful emissions.

Several Igloo villages are making the effort to be carbon neutral, or have a zero net carbon output. The igloos are made of dome shaped pods

Some igloo pods overlooking the alps. Courtesy of Google Images.

that are designed to blend in with the environment. Some igloos, called Iglu Dorfeu, are made out of snow. How do you get to the villages? Put on your snowshoes or skis! Because they are in the alps and that’s the only way to get there! If you’re visiting Switzerland, you can stay in an igloo. At first that didn’t sound too appealing to me, but watch this video – it makes these pods seem like five star hotels!

Pourquoi? Why is it so important for the Swiss to be green? Well, they are surrounded by mountains and home to many glaciers. Global warming threatens Switzerland with landslides, flooding, and damage to the economy including a loss of tourism, damage to agriculture and ruining communities. It also has an impact on health, water quality and forests.

Global warming is a problem that not only Switzerland faces. It’s something that effects the whole world. I found myself asking: why doesn’t the U.S. borrow some of these Swiss ideas and initiate them in the U.S.? But would people be happy if the government only charged for trash pick up? Probably not. Also, the U.S. doesn’t have as big of an impact with melting glaciers or landslides ruining communities. That doesn’t mean it should be ignored though, because the U.S. will see effects of global warming eventually including worldwide climate change and rising water levels. I’m not saying we should all live in igloos, but reducing taxes on fuel from natural resources doesn’t sound so bad. If action isn’t taken soon, it might be too late, and we’ll be losing more than just the Alps.

Finding Love Online

If you’ve seen television recently, then you probably have seen the Match.Com commercial that states, “1 in 5 couples meet through an online dating service.”  Well, they weren’t kidding and it holds true in Europe, too.

Europeans have even taken to mobile dating, finding people via your cell phone based on current GPS location.  Meetic and Vodafone are at the forefront of European mobile dating and are watching as this phenomenon expands. Because of Americans busy schedules, I cannot see mobile dating exploding in America

How do Europeans make themselves stand out when actively pursuing someone on an Internet dating website?  Well, one blogger turned book publisher, Zoe Margolis, has some pointers for those looking for love.  She suggests that you make sure you’re grammatically correct.  She explains that your grammar shows your attention to detail and that you are actually intelligent.  She also suggests not to portray yourself as too picky, too desperate or too arrogant. She differentiates wanting a legitimate relationship from a purely sexual encounter.  Are the majority of people on these sites seeking Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now?  Well, it appears, after some investigating, that these sites are quite similar to a bar.  Each person wants something different.

Oddly enough, economic recessions throughout Europe have made the amount of online daters skyrocket.  Why?  Well, my guess is when you don’t have a job, you have more time on your hands and people use that time to find love.  But most of these sites do require some kind of monthly membership fee, so, you should hope you find someone quickly.

Isn’t it funny, online dating was originally thought to be only for Americans because Americans are presumed to be too busy to find love, a basic human need.  Online dating was even frowned down upon by both Europeans and Americans.  Years ago, it had the connotation of being either desperate or possibly, dangerous (who knows who you could meet…). Now though, a single mother, for example, may have to be selective, in the interest of her children, about the people she takes the time to date or perhaps a busy professional may not have time to go out and meet other singles.

In a world that embraces technology, it appears that online dating around the world is here to stay and possibly, change the way people meet. While I have never used an online dating service and it is currently not my desired method of meeting people, one day it may be the norm. Have you ever used an online dating service?  If so, what did you think about it?

Detective Conan in German and foreign movies in German

Source: www.buch.cn

Have you seen “Detektive Conan”,a famous Japanese cartoon series? Maybe you haven’t seen it but you might have heard of it. It’s is one of my favorite cartoons and I keep following it. Since it’s a Japanese cartoon, of course the lead character Conan speaks Japanese. However, if one day Conan speaks German, what would it be like? Below is a video of “Detektiv Conan  Folge 286 Kampf Im Gericht” .

It is strange for me to see Conan speaking German, however, it’s really good material for me to learn German. So I did some research and found out, in Germany this cartoon series was actually broadcasted by RTL II since 10 April 2002. So far 333 episodes of German translation are available. However, since 2006, no more new episodes were broadcasted. Still, it is very crazy, 333 episodes of Conan in German! If you’re a fan of Conan and German, please check this out “Detektive Conan“.

The German Conan reminded me of a Chinese movie with German dubbing, “Internal affairs”. I’ve seen the Mandarin and German version and was so amazed that the voices in 2 versions are so alike, except the languages are different.

It seems that the Germans have imported lots of foreign movies and TV series, especially those come from the US. The only thing they altered in these imported things is the voices. I rarely see the Germans making their own version of these series/movies, as opposed to how often the US makes original movies and series.  For example, the Americans made their own “Internal affairs” rather than giving English dubbing to the original movie. I was wondering why would this happen. Maybe it’s because that the Germans don’t have a big movie industry and making another film would cost lots of money and it just so happens that the demands on movies and TV-series are so huge that they have to develop the dubbing industry to balance this. In the contrary, Americans have a highly developed TV and movie industry, so they don’t have to do this like the Germans.

Here is some supplementary information regarding German dubbing speaker : “Meine Top 10 der deutschen Synchronsprecher“.

WHAT? NO MORE NUDE HIKING?

I know you all have been super anxious to take your nude hiking trips in Switzerland.  That is a trip that requires a great deal of planning and packing…oh wait.  Unfortunately, you will have to change your plans, because nude hiking is no longer legal in the Swiss canton of Appenzell.

Back in May of 2010, a 47 year old man (who has hiked nude in Switzerland for two years now), was charged with indecent behavior due to hiking nude in sight of a barbecuing area.  Other eyewitnesses say he also hiked by a Christian rehabilitation center.  For the incidents, he was fined 70 Euros (about $93).

Photo Courtesy of BBC.

Appenzell, Switzerland, where the incident took place, is well known as a popular nude hiking destination and Switzerland has no law stating that public nudity is a crime.  They do have a law against public indecency.  Because those who witnessed the nude hiker, felt uncomfortable, he was taken to court.

Now, let’s fast forward to November 17th of this year.  The Swiss court has since thrown out the appeal made by the accused nude hiker and judges determined that Appenzell can uphold a law on public decency.  The judges also stated that the ban on nude hiking “was only a marginal infringement on personal freedom.”

The ruling in Appenzell applies to the entire country.  So, the next time you plan a nude hiking trip, make sure you don’t go to Switzerland.

For more information on the subject, click here.

Image courtesy of Google.

Naked Rugby Grows in Europe

Like many other countries, Germany enjoys indulging itself in the excitement and action of sports.  Everyone knows Europe is famous for its wild affection for soccer.  How could you possibly beat the fun of a such a classic recreational activity?  Just like with America’s obsession with football though, some people are getting bored with the normal and turning to something, let’s say, a bit more untraditional.

In the last couple of years, sports that take certain aspects down a twisted and beaten path, have gained a cult following.  Since about the 1980’s, people all over the globe have been searching for something strange and different to grab and keep their attention.  Most of these abnormal sports stem from somewhere in America and slowly gain popularity across the ocean after their foundation.

Sports like Sheep Rodeo, “Octopush,” Naked Rugby, Segway Polo, and Cardboard Tube Fighting have all made their way around Western Europe in the past two decades.  Sheep rodeo is a sport for young “mutton busters” (generally ages 2-6 or so) in which kids get on top of sheep and try to hold on as long as possible until they absolutely can’t anymore.  It’s a sport strictly for children (riders must be under 60 pounds) and it has caused a bit of a stir within socially liberal circles, claiming that it is bad for both the rider and animal.  However, the spectacle of it all continues to draw attention.

Octopush is a game founded in 1945 by Alan Blake for his Southsea diving club to stay entertained during the winter.  It is a team sport in which eight members use a small stick to get a puck into a goal.  In so many ways, it is nearly exactly like underwater hockey.  It is most often played in Britain and areas in northern Europe.  The rule-book is long and extensive, leaving no ends left untied.

Naked Rugby, by nature of being so… naked, is a sport originating, not in the United States, but instead in New Zealand. It has become such a widely watched and played sport that there are even World Master Games between, for example,  The UK and Spain.

The first game of Segway polo was played in 2004 on July 11th during halftime of a Minnesota Vikings game.  It founded the Bay Area segway polo club, which continued to grow in strength across America and into Europe.  The sport was deemed official and rules were created.  Once the sport had gained enough teams, the WOZ bowl was founded, named after Steve Wozniak, an avid segway polo player and Apple founder.  Outside of the USA, teams exist in New Zealand, Germany, Barbados, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

Reminiscent of the Gladiator ages, Cardboard Tube Fighting is another strange sport that has caught on among young children, primarily boys, reminiscing about the history of weapons in one of the most untraditional ways possible. Many children have picked up a cardboard tube from a paper towel roll some time in their life and bonked a friend or sibling on the head.  Some people have taken this to the next level, creating a Cardboard Tube Fighting League.  The league sets distinct rules and offers set competitions for all people interested.  Having started in Washington, USA, the sport has spread out across the states and has started to catch interest of children and adults abroad in Europe and Japan.

The future of strange sports is open to the imagination!  What could catch on next?

If you want a job in Estonia, don’t speak Russian

As Latvia works to make Russian its second language, Estonia is now enforcing a different belief. According to RT, a Russian news source, Estonia is forcing citizens to speak Estonian or face consequences.

To help fight the use of Russian in Estonia, a group was formed to police language called the Language Inspectorate. They go to official meetings and make sure proceedings are occurring in the native language.

“The language inspection has the legal right to conduct spontaneous checks on anyone working in any sphere,” writes RT. “And should a person fail the Estonian exam, the body then may initiate the sacking of this employee. Human rights activists say this has turned the language inspection into a punitive body.”

We have also struggled with this issue, as the United States has no official language.

English may be used for all government affairs, but in personal lives, America remains a melting pot of languages and ideas. This has prompted some in congress to want to pass laws similar to those in Estonia, but they usually act as more political sideshows than addressing real issues.

In Estonia, citizens now have to fear for their job if they speak Russian. This can be a major issue, as some regions of Estonia have high pockets of Russian speaking residents.

Latvia is in much the same situation. Nearly 80% of the country speaks Russian, with 37% of the country speaking it natively. Instead of disallowing it like Estonia, Latvia is working to adopt it as a second official language, which is causing the opposite effect, causing some citizens to fear the country is loosing its identity.

PUNK Kultur-East Germany’s Rebellion

Der Spiegel, 1978

DER SPIEGEL 23.1.1978

Punk: a rally call for revolution, candid emotion, and often a violent expression of anger and frustration. This is the face of punk, and it has been often and understandably met with fear and bewilderment. When the punk scene emerged in the late 1970s, it exploded throughout western culture and punk bands like the Sex Pistols achieved wild popularity in West Germany. But even communist East Germany felt the waves of the punk movement, and punk culture took on a special meaning for its disillusioned youth. By the time of Germany’s reunification, punk had made an impact that still endures today, more than 30 years later. Germany still celebrates punk culture in many concerts and festivals held throughout the year, including the annual Punk & Disorderly Festival.

Although the punk scene has come in slightly different forms over time and across geography, a common theme of rebellion, against an authority seen as oppressive or corrupt, has persisted. This is apparent in lyrics from punk-rock band across the board that criticize war, materialism, and political oppression in sometimes metaphoric and often explicit terms.

"The Clash" CD collection. Photo courtesy of _gee_ on Flickr.


“Forces have been looting
My humanity
Curfews have been curbing
The end of liberty”

-“This is Radio Clash” by The Clash

In 1979 in East Germany, young, teen-aged punks began to sprout up across the state with their pierced faces and ripped jeans, inspired by the Sex Pistols and their anger with their oppressive state. It was different there, in the East; to be punk was to face the real danger of a truly oppressive government with spies and stiff jail-time penalties or even exile for rebels. And the tone was a little different, too; as Jane Paulick put it in Deutsche Welle, “Broadly dismissed in the west as nihilistic, punk in the GDR (The German Democratic Republic, or just East Germany) was fueled by optimism and a desire to change society.” Under a regime that required musicians to apply for permission and audition for the state to perform, punk bands naturally refused to comply. And as the movement grew out of control, “punks in the GDR were no longer seen as disaffected teenagers — they were denounced as enemies of the state.”

East German punk teens, photo displayed in the exhibition on punk in the GDR. Image courtesy of theexplosivegeneration.com

Michael Böhlke (aka Pankow), who in 1979 began his punk-music endeavors in East Germany, has vivid memories of the GDR punk scene. “Punk was a cross-cultural phenomenon in the east,” Pankow said, “The ‘tristesse’ of the GDR unleashed a huge creative potential, and the minute you were on the margins of society you tapped into a network of other artistic activity.” In 2005, Pankow sought to memorialize the phenomenon in a first-of-its-kind exhibition of punk in the GDR. The show featured paintings, collages, photography, and rare pop-culture memorabilia that paints a fascinating picture of punk culture in East Germany.

If you are interested in reading more about the early German punk movement, read this fascinating piece from Der Spiegel, written in 1978 in the midst of its beginnings.

Weihnachtsmarkt

Image from Google Images

So guess what time of year it is? That’s right, it’s Christmas time, and with Christmas fastly approaching, if you’re in Germany, then you will notice several Weihnachtmärkt (Christmas Markets) popping up.  The average American is probably asking; “what is a Christmas Market?” Simply put, Christmas markets are what they sound like. The markets have always opened at the beginning of German Advent. They are places where traditionally the town or the village would meet and set up stands to sell christmas based arts, food and drinks.

Traditionally the vendors sell carved nut crackers, roasted almonds, gingerbread, bratwursts and, of course Glühwein. Glühwein is basically wine that is served hot and sometimes served with a shot of Brandy, to add some more holiday warmth to the mixture. If you want more information on Glühwein, read Astrid’s post. Along with the food and drinks the vendors sell, they also sell hand crafted Christmas ornaments, nativity scenes and nut crackers.

Image from Sebastian K.

Weihnachtsärkte first appeared in Dresden, Germany in 1434. Since then Weihnachtsmarkt’s have popped up all over the world including markets in London, Chicago, Brazil, Romania and even in Hermann Mo. However, the largest and most successful markets are still in Germany. While looking around, I found this blog about multiple Weihnachtsmärkte in Germany. They also talk about the experiences they’ve had with Glühwein, and other German Wiehnachtsmarkt traditions.

I personally haven’t ever been to a true German Weihnachtsmarkt but I did ask a friend from Germany about them. His family is traditionally from northern Berlin, and in their little “village” they always held a giant Weihnachtmarkt in the center square. Every year his family was in charge of making the Glühwein for the festival. “It was always a fun time with family and friends and when it got too cold outside Glühwein always helped warm everyone’s spirits'” Sebastian K. I think that if Weihnachtmarkts were closer to me, I would happily attend them, however driving an hour to Hermann kind of ruins the holiday mood for me.

For more on Weihnachtmarkt watch this Video.