After a childhood spent moving around in my fatherīs footsteps I decided staying in one place sounded a very good idea. A lifetime spent living and working in different European countries, much of it as a journalist in different mediums and the mother of two well traveled and very "European" sons, proves that this particular train of thought seems to have become lost somewhere in the mists of time.
An introspective few words on the trials and tribulations of always changing homes, and having to make new friends, was published in a local newspaper when I was six, was submitted by my mother and one way or another the scribbling away at any opportunity has never really stopped since.
Even in the relatively small land mass of Europe the differences in culture and tradition between the various European countries are fascinating, but after finding myself in Germany for what should have been three years, but ended up as rather longer, it was to discover a country of sixteen states which were until comparatively recently (1871) independent monarchies, principalities or dukedoms, and where all have retained many of their original, and different, traditions, history, food etc.
A truly unified country, nevertheless with distinct characteristics from its former nation states still in evidence.
Present day Germany remains an unknown quantity for many, and even within Europe, where it is a central player in many organizations not only the European Union, images and beliefs of the country and its people remain which are often influenced more by the past than the present.
Few countries can offer as much, culturally, historically and in natural beauty, together with every type of sporting activity and countless ways of passing time, but for those without some type of German ancestry, or a spell spent in the country on military service, Germany is nevertheless not somewhere that pops first into the mind when vacations are being planned.
There is so much about it that simply is not known, and as a country it is not only somewhere that is interesting, although sometimes complex, to live in, it is enjoyable, and I really hope you will join me on my journey of discovery through some of the many real, fascinating, and often surprising sides of German life and the German way of living. Which covers not only Germany itself but its neighbors, German speaking countries.
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My Thanks, Francine.
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