Staring at a menu with glazed over eyes, we sneakily grabbed our yellow translating dictionaries due to our complete lack of knowledge in what the menu even said. Our worst fear was being pointed out as Americans, but I am sorry to tell you past Sarah, that is the inevitable. Having just arrived in Leipzig 24 hours beforehand, the language anxieties, well let’s be honest, all travel anxieties, were in full swing.
- Tip #1-Even if you don’t think you will be able to conquer these anxieties, I promise…you will.
The waitress nodded in my direction and I forced out words I thought went together. “Ich habe eine Bier,” I said with a shaky voice. (If you only knew everything that was wrong with that sentence) Holding in her laughter as best as possible, the waitress jotted something down. Someway…somehow we got our first dinner in Leipzig. It was complete with your German Beer, Schnitzel, and complete lack of free water and bread.
- Tip #2-I am sorry to break it to you but no matter where you go, your American expectation of free water and bread will not be fulfilled. There are times when ordering a beer is even cheaper then ordering water.
It can most definitely be said that food in Germany has been an adventure all on its own. From hole-in-the-wall coffee shops to Bratwurst in the street, lets Prost to our slightly tighter jeans, conquering the act of ordering in German, and the wonderful food here in Deutschland.
The Red-Awning Coffee House
Leipzig has the second oldest coffee shop in Europe and the oldest in Germany. And if you are at any corner of the city and are in a desperate need of a macchiato, I promise you, there will be a coffee shop. So, it is a bit of an understatement to say that coffee is an integral part of Germany’s culture. And we definitely caught on to that trend
The minute hand landed on the six indicating it was 10:30 a.m. Grabbing our wallets, we booked it to the hole-in-the-wall coffee shop covered with a red awning because 10:30 a.m. meant one thing…coffee break.
- Tip #3: Germany is a very cashed based economy. Most restaurants will not accept a credit card, and if they do it needs to be over 10 or 15 Euros. So make sure you always have a 1 and 2 Euro coins along with small bills.
Only three people could fit in the bakery itself, but once you were in, you were bombarded with the choice of which pastry you wanted.
Tip #4: Germany does not have many options when it comes to drinks. So do not expect the Starbucks menu walking in. But they do have many pastries.
Maybe it was the Leipzig specialty, the Leipziger Lerche: a shortbread pastry with Marzipan and strawberries. Or maybe it was a simple 20-cent brot or the 20 other options available to you. “Ich möchte eine Milch Caffee und Dobblebrot bitte.” See I was getting better.
Bucket List: A true German Brat
Growing up, my mom would always ask us what our favorite meal was and she would make it for our Birthday dinner. It was never a surprise what my meal consisted of: bratwurst and potatoes. My mother is first generation German, so I was raised with a very close knit to German culture. To have true German brats in our house, my mom would go to the lengths of ordering from GermanDeli.com. They are so good, but still there is just something about buying a brat off of a stand in the middle of the city center. So it can most definitely be said, a german brat…top of the bucket list. “Ich möchte ein Brat bitte,” Okay I got this. I was handed a very disproportional brat to the brot it was inside , but continued because I could not wait any longer.
- Tip #4: Be prepared to be judged heavily if you put ketchup on your brats.
“Nein. Nein. Senf!” said the elderly man grilling the brats next to me. I smiled the American smile and put both ketchup and mustard on. Either way, it was delicious
So yes my jeans may be a little tighter and I may have way to many “posed” food pictures on my phone, but the food along with the food culture is truly amazing so I do not regret it at all.