Germany's reputation as one of the world's best kept countries is well earned, and the universal and regular cleaning of everything in sight even has a name, Putzanfall. So much a passion it's "enjoyable", leading to anxiety attacks when everything doesn't "sparkle" as it should.
Every change of season is makeover time for Germany's flower boxes. A bizarre mixture sometimes, the carefully tended colorful plant filled containers are everywhere, a wonderful sight on door stoops, window ledges, trailing from apartment balconies and down ancient farmhouse walls.
It wouldn't be summer in Germany without a cold beer enjoyed under a leafy chestnut tree. Originally a way of using shaded areas covering underground beer storage cellars in 19th century Bavaria, visits to a Biergärten soon became a popular pastime, and a German tradition that traveled the world.
German Beer Gardens and Oktoberfest would not be the same without "Steckerlfisch". A Bavarian specialty for anyone who likes fish and has hunger pangs, it's a well seasoned grilled fish, complete with head, tail and a stick running through it. And ideal for a BBQ.
Many Summer Solstice and Midsummer Eve festivities in German speaking countries were mystic Pagan and pre-Christian festivals, symbolic of renewal, fertility and harvest,and fire still plays a major role in celebrating sun and light's triumph over cold and darkness.
Rumtopf, for centuries a delicious way of preserving summer fruit. Beginning in early summer, with strawberries, cherries and rum of course, fruit is added as it comes into season until early autumn to make a taste of summer in winter. Easy to make, hard to mess up and so good...