Munster's St. Lambert's church. Can you see the cages in which they murdered 3 Anabaptists by exposing and starving them? Thankfully, modern Munsterians have altered their alterity issues.Go to any beer house, order a beer, drink that beer, and watch it magically appear re-filled. You don’t have to ask but you can refuse. Nobody seems to care either way. And at said beer house, you’ll sit and eat “family-style.” One night, we ate with two guys on business from Romania who were revisiting the restaurant, intent on reordering their previous entre. With one “English menu” and one English-German dictionary among the four of us, it was clear that the Americans sought far more control over their ordering than the Romanians who repeatedly shrugged, laughed, and happily resigned themselves to whatever came to the table. We offered each other samples from our plates and swapped travel stories. We laughed, we drank, and we chatted for an hour or so. Although you might contend that this hardly supports my declaration that the Germans are an hospitable people, it sure seemed that way at the time as every other table I could see was having the same kind of light-hearted experience. Even in an Alsatian bistro, you’d likely not find such a jovial mood permeating a restaurant.
This is my husband's pork chop, roasted potatoes, and lima beans meal.Walk in a shop and you’ll be greeted with “Good Day.” You’ll be asked if you need help. You’ll be allowed to browse until you’re ready to buy or leave. No pressure. No hassle. Leave the shop and you’ll hear, “Good Day” again. You'll likely not see any smiles accompany these greetings. But you'll likely experience a pronounced sense of civility and courtesy. Many countries practice such a pair of shop greetings. However, often there's an erosion of hospitaity in the attitude. Who hasn't suffered the typical French practice of having their pronunciation corrected when you return their greeting?
At the university, my husband and I were both struck by the hospitality between students and professors. Each makes and grants requests with openness and respect. In one sense, their relationships seem more relaxed than their US counterparts; in another sense, their relationships seem more professional. They drink together but don’t joke together. They exhibit a reciprocity of duties and favors much like the fealty code but without the flyting. They seem less personal but more civil than most US professor-student relationships that I’ve experienced. They seem less friendly but more sincerely hospitable.This ends my tribute to German hospitality. Feel free to weigh in on your experiences.