We’ve spent just over two month in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a small town in southern Germany, and have had such an amazing time. We weren’t quite sure what to expect as we had never been in this part of Germany before, but we were curious to find out, especially since everyone we spoke to during our travels in Germany were very opinionated about Garmisch and Bavaria – the region it is located in. One girl we met in Stuttgart said that there was too much forest for her liking, and a guy we met in Berlin broke into a big smile and started reminiscing about the huge pints of beer we would get. But whatever their thoughts on Bavaria were, they all agreed on one thing – Bavarian people are different from other Germans.
Bavarian people are known to be very proud of their heritage, and tend to see themselves first and foremost as Bavarians, and secondly as Germans – something we noticed very often, but in a different way than we had expected. The people in Garmisch do talk about themselves as Bavarians, but always with a sparkle in the eye and never seem to take themselves very seriously at all.
When something isn’t quite right, they joke and say that it’s ”Bavarian”; a Bavarian bill (one that is wrong or doesn’t make any sense), Bavarian time or Bavarian English are things we often hear from people here.
Most people we’ve met are very friendly and many start random conversations with you on the street – this has made us more determined to improve our German so that we can actually hold a proper conversation. Our stay here in Garmisch has really made us realize how many opportunities you miss out on by not speaking the language well. There are small things with the language here that is different from the rest of Germany, and if you don’t know about them – you could accidentally rub people the wrong way. For example, it’s considered prim and distant to say ”Guten Tag” (Good day) – here instead most people say ”Grüß Got” (Greet God).
In some sense, life here is a bit like living in a bubble, no matter what goes on in the rest of the world, little happens here, and many things remain the way they always have, especially traditions. Everywhere you go you will be sure to pass a man wearing the traditional Bavarian alpine hat on his head. It’s fascinating how such a small and flimsy hat can stay on someone’s head, and I’m surprised that they are so determined to wear them even though they can’t do much good in the winter weather, giving no warmth or protection from the sun – it just…sits there. Even in -16 degrees Celsius you’ll see men in their 60’s going for walks in their knee-high lederhosen and knee socks – pretty impressive..!
I guess the life we live here in Garmisch is very different from most people who have a normal 9/5 job, just the ability to get up in the morning and be skiing down a mountain an hour later is a winter-lifestyle-heaven for us. (Skiing In Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany VIDEO) It takes some time to get used to the slower pace, but for us it has been like taking a refreshing break from life. I absolutely love how you can walk into a dairy shop and buy fresh, unpasteurized milk that comes straight from their own farm in the back of the house.