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Three Things We Loved About Germany

December 12, 2014

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After our stints in Norway and Sweden, we headed over to Koln, Germany. We had a lot of time between our event in Sweden and Germany, and so we spent a lot of our free time recouperating from travel, finally getting over our jet lag, and finally doing a bit more adventuring. Though, we got really comfortable to an awesome place close by, and we didn’t venture too far out most nights :D

We ate and drank at the Braustelle Bar here every day of the week except for one. On the last day, we met one of the owners of the bar. Well, we started off by meeting his wife, who walked up to Martina and asked her if she was the Tooth Fairy. Martina was wearing the white Bunny Beany at the time and it looked like a tooth. We can now not unsee this.

Anyhow, we chatted with her and her husband, Sebastian, about beer in Germany, about the German Beer Purity law, how kraft beer isn’t allowed to be called beer, and how things are starting to change now. They were both cool people. I’d love to have shot an Anthony Bourdaine-like video with them, as we’d drink all his beer and eat all of his food. That Spatzle! Hot damn that Spatzle with some Goulash was just divine. And the Pink Panther was our favourite beer. Oh man. I miss this place so much now. It’s definitely got the strongest nostalgia factor for us when we think about our European trip. Yes, we arguably spent more time there than any other place combined, but, whoa, it was great. Here are some pics!

Otherwise, we had another really kick-ass place for our AirBNB. This place was owned by a guy, and ultra minimalistic. I LIKED IT! Soo Zee, Leigh, and Martina liked the place in Sweden more, but I preferred this place. It was roomier. It was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows that opened up and let fresh air flow throughout the apartment. The sunset was gorgeous. I remember sitting down on the balcony right around the gloaming hour. Martina was sick and asleep. Leigh and Soo Zee were out. The place was perfectly still and quiet. The clouds in Germany moved faster than any I’ve seen in Europe. And I sat there, staring at the sky as the sun took forever to set, and for a second I had one of those pure moments of tranquility, where I didn’t think about any due dates or projects, and I felt like I did when I was a child on a summer morning. I don’t get moments like that often. I was shocked, in fact. I then started thinking “holy crap how did I do that” and spent the rest of my time trying to catch that moment again, but I couldn’t.

Yes, that was a weird moment I just shared, but it was special to me, alright?! Alright! I just really liked staying at our place. If you’re heading to Koln, you can go to the same place here. If it’s your first time using AirBNB, sign up here for 28,000 won off your first stay. We’ve got some pics from it as well, including our favourite coffee shop which was really closeby.

We spent tons of time at Schamong Cafe as well. They were lovely! It was odd, because when we first went to their coffee shop, we were all wearing our Eatyourkimchi Crew hoodies. Those were our regular scrubbies that we’d wear when we didn’t want to dress up in public. Ha! The owner was very bemused by our sweaters. What is this crew we speak of? So, we explained as non-awkwardly as possible that we’re a YouTube video making studio. Is that what we’d call ourselves? How do you explain it to people who probably aren’t deep in YouTube culture? He was impressed, though, and offered us free coffee, which WE’RE ALL ABOUT. I’ll plug your free, delicious coffee, Schamong Cafe!

Ok more pics:

We went to the Dome. It was pretty! We spent more time in the shopping area, though. In fact, we had discovered something about ourselves and how we travel, and I’d like to know where you stand on this. Here’s what I think: if I’m hungry, I’d like to just walk around, find a restaurant that looks interesting, and eat there. Martina, on the other hand, would rather look it up online, find a good restaurant, and then get directions to that place. My reason for not liking that way: it takes too long. Why not stumble upon something awesome, like we did the Braustelle and Schamong? It feels more special if you discover something on your own, I think. Martina’s reason for not liking that way: what if we walk for 40 minutes and not find anything interesting? We’ll be hungrier and angrier. And more tired. And then what? How long do we walk until we give up? What’s your take?

Anyhow, the place we ate at was one that Martina found on her app. We walked around for half an hour until we gave up and then decided to find something online. When we found this one and walked to it, hilariously, it was right beside the shopping street that we were on to begin with, and we could have saved a lot of time just by crossing the street when we first got hungry. AH! Side note, we’ve got an Open the Happy video from this place coming tomorrow. Woot!

Otherwise, we’ve got some extra scenes from our video as well:

And, lastly, we’ve got one more bonus scene on our app. So many different videos on so many different places! So, even though we were supposed to chill in Germany, we still got loads of videos and pictures and stories from our stay. AND THUS ENDS OUR SUPERPOST. Damn this was big. One more next week. Woohoo!

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Three Things We Loved About Germany

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  1. Glad you liked it in Köln!
    I’ve been terribly homesick lately so this came at just the right time <3
    Luckily I'm going home on Thursday to stay with family for the holidays.
    I'm coming for you, Cologne, you will always be my number one!

    There is a song in Colognian that has a line "Cologne is a feeling" and that's pretty much it. I always say "Cologne is a way of life, not a town". It seems you've found some of the spots to understand some of that even in such a short time.
    The little places which usually have their own regular clientele and community but always welcome newcomers anyway.
    Imo it's the easiest city to make new friends in. A friend of mine recently had to move away for work after living there for some years. She's still terribly homesick, not for her actual home, up north, but for Cologne, she asked me if it gets better since I've been away for over 10 years now, but it doesn't.
    But maybe I'll be moving back there for work soon, ha!

    Anyway, I think it's awesome you made an effort to try out all the typical, local, things, wherever you went. Seems most of it suited you in Cologne too :)
    And glad you still got to sit outside to eat. We love sitting outside, from the first warm rays in spring till the last not completely freezing days in fall, you shall find us out in the streets.

    On behalf of my home town, thanks for liking us <3

    5 years ago
    • That’s really lovely of you to say. Thank you! Yes, trying the local stuff, rather than the touristy stuff, is always the most important to us. We’re not really fond of visiting a place; we try our best to live in a place, and to get a small glimpse of what that would be like :D

      5 years ago
  2. oh man… i really wanna eat bread and cheese now… maybe it is possible to find cheese in Japan, but bread? nope. *sigh*

    5 years ago
  3. !!!i love how its always fun to watch your vids!! in here (argentina) we allways have grilled blood sausage.

    5 years ago
  4. Wow! You all looked like you had an “ausgezeichnet” time in Köln. I got to see the Dom only briefly on a train trip from Amsterdam to Lucerne, Switzerland. I love German food and shopping for German food at markets in Germany or any German-speaking country. Oh, a butcher shop is called eine Metzgerei (Metz-ger-eye).

    5 years ago
  5. Super jealous of you guys. I want to travel *everywhere*, but Germany holds a special place in my heart and I studied German in HS and college. Quick translation in case you/anyone didn’t know: Der Dom = the cathedral. Think of the French Notre Dame or Disney’s Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Even the German pronunciation is close to the French in that it sounds like you shortened the name Dominick to just Dom. Thanks for the great videos!

    5 years ago
  6. GEMA sucks monkey ass balls! That is all.

    5 years ago
  7. Ahhh! You’re in Germany? I live there! You should come up north to Hamburg — a huge European shipping dock! We are having lots of Christmas markets now! Also, Cologne is beautiful. I was there last month!

    5 years ago
  8. All these comments and no one has pointed out that this would be Wonderful Adventure Now Germany

    W.A.N.G.

    5 years ago
  9. I don’t know what Gema is but from the sounds of it it’s horrifying! D8 Germany, u so nasty!

    5 years ago
  10. I’m with you, Simon, about the floor-to-window ceilings. They are amazing adsfkl; Dream house/apartment feature right there.

    5 years ago
    • The amount of natural light in that place was glorious. Our home in Seoul now has some windows, but a lot of the place is so dark, especially the kitchen. I really loved the lighting in this place :)

      5 years ago
      • Yes, I love good natural lighting! My apartment doesn’t have a center ceiling light or anything, so whenever I come back from classes, I have to march around and turn on all the desk lamps around the place just to get it suitably lit.

        5 years ago
  11. Ok I’m all for trying new things to eat but when u said blood sausage that mad me kinda do the :-\ face followed by eeewww! And nasty! But the others sounded ok.

    5 years ago
  12. once i read about the gema that if you want your own music in their catalogue so you get money when others play it then you have to give up your rights and pay the fee to play YOUR OWN music at YOUR OWN events
    i remember when i went to poland to see ledapple, on the way back i was watching videos on my phone (the bus had free wifi) and we crossed the border and i swear no 10 seconds later i got the “this video is not available in your country” message

    5 years ago
    • This is true. Artists have to pay money to play their own music in Germany (which is why Germany sees so little concerts of international popstars overall)

      5 years ago
  13. I’ve been enjoying all your artsy-fartsy shots as of late–especially the ones of your delicious feast. *graphic design nerds all over herself*

    As for Simon’s question: I’m more like you–I tend to enjoy stumbling on something awesome, although there is indeed that risk of not actually finding anything decent/affordable and everyone being hungry-grumpy. Thus compromise might be key? Make sure no one is really against wandering around at the time.

    My boyfriend and I actually did that when we went to Toronto last year to see you guys! He’s from Niagara Falls, USA (and I’m from the Washington DC area and was visiting him), so neither of us had spent a lot of time in Toronto previously. After the meetup we were both really hungry and were making our way out of the city when we saw this restaurant…we couldn’t even see the name (we drove past it pretty fast), but it was really crowded inside (and literally steamy, which was appealing at time due to how cold it was) for it being so late at night. We took that as a sign that it must have good food, and oh man, did it have good food.

    It was called Celebrity Hot Pot, by the way. Yummy stuff~

    5 years ago
  14. OMG those food shots!

    Something that I’ve noticed since moving to Korea, is how obsessed with food I’ve become. I was actually a very picky eater growing up, but I got better once I was older. However, even just 2 years ago when living in Australia I wouldn’t have bothered trying different types of cheeses and meat. But after having such a restricted diet in Korea I look at that and think, “I WANT TO TRY ALL THE FOOD!”

    5 years ago
  15. Speaking of Gema, when we were doing our meetup at a club in Germany, I suggested that we play some music when we go on stage. They told us that it’s illegal, or we’d have to pay a lot of money for the rights to do so. Who were we supposed to pay, I asked? Gema, the organizer said. Well, why don’t we just play music here and screw Gema? Well, because someone could snitch, and then they’d get fined. Who would snitch, I asked? Let’s all form a brother/sisterhood. Make a blood oath. Lock the doors, shutter the windows, and play our Kpop songs in our secret society. We’d have to poison the bartender first, though, but there was just one of him and a hundred or so of us. WE SHOULD HAVE DONE IT.

    5 years ago
    • The GEMA is a pretty good representation of what’s wrong with Germany (the GEZ as well. They’re like the British TV licences but the GEZ doesn’t do shit compared to the BBC). It’s an old organisation stuck in old times that does things the old way.

      The reason why YouTube videos are blocked is basically because the GEMA went crazy and YouTube refused to actually deal with them (YouTube isn’t innocent either but the GEMA is the one that just fucked it up in the first place). They demanded an unbelievable amount of money for every view on a copy right protected video in Germany. Like, “Google can’t afford that” sort of money. And then the GEMA was not willing to go down to a realistic price so Google just blocked all the videos that the GEMA could have a problem with. That’s also why we can’t see live streams. Somebody might play music. Then Google would have to pay the GEMA. So we can’t see it live but we can see the VoD because then Google could just block it for Germany.

      And a lot of things work like this. The GEMA once said that they can’t actually check if you only play royalty free music. So instead of changing the system, a court ruled that the GEMA can just demand money from you if you play music in public to an audience. They don’t have to check anymore.

      And in general a lot of stuff in Germany is just in the way. I have to write every exam on paper. I study computer science. I don’t get my degree for knowing stuff that the professor him/herself got from the Microsoft website and that is always available to me. I get my degree because I know what to do with that stuff. But nope! Because I have to write that stuff on paper I have to learn that stuff by heart just so that I can write it down. Most of my exams about databases were about learning the syntax and documentation by heart so I can actually write working code on paper (for the non-CS people: you usually have software for that that works like a spell checker. It just tells you if the syntax is wrong).

      A lot of things require you to be there in person. I needed a new ID cart a while ago. I had to go to the town hall, sign a damn paper, give them my photo, then wait a few weeks, go to another town hall in my city, get my new ID cart, sign for it. You could just upload a photo to a website, tell them if you want stuff like NFC authentication on that website, get your ID cart via mail and then unlock it on the same website. Nobody would have to leave the house. But because “that’s how it’s always been Q.Q”, I can’t. I have to get 2 different appointments at 2 different places for nothing.

      It’s so stupid. Everything official is stuck in the past. Everything our government touches that has to do with computer stuff goes to shit.

      In Denmark, there are supermarkets that only exist on the internet. It’s like a delivery service for groceries. In Germany? Only one or two big chains do that. Another one tried to do that but they thought it wasn’t worth it. And the chains that do it want you to at least buy for 40€. My weekly shopping is around 20-30€ for one person.

      Websites for shops? HOLY SHIT WHAT A MESS. There’s a Japanese bookstore in my city. On their website, they’ve only got stuff that they could import. But not everything. Then you’ve got to call them or write an e-mail and ask if they’ve got certain products. Then you’ve got to mail them your order AND THEN you’ve got to FAX (yes, fax. I’ve never seen a faxing machine in my life) them your credit card information. Or just transfer the money to their account.

      There’s no real online shop on their website. It’s a bad version of a catalogue. And in general, a lot of small businesses don’t see the point in websites. People just “ask friends that know computer things!” and pay them shit money for a shit website that is, again, not really doing much.

      The only reason why Amazon is crushing their competitors in Germany is because Amazon gives me a proper service. For years no other book store could offer something similar. Bookstores were still in their little shops hoping to get more customers just because “hurp durp our bookstore is 100 years old! Come to us instead of amazon!”. There’s a bookstore in Paris that also started like that. They’ve got a beautiful website much better than amazon with French classics for very little money. Delivering to all of France. They adapted and survived. Our bookstores didn’t. So They die. Now they’re kind of popping up but Amazon is still beating them.

      Tl;DR: Germany is a culturally conservative mess and the GEMA is only a prime example.

      5 years ago
      • Very informative, thanks! I hope enough Germans will protest against the evil that is GEMA…

        5 years ago
      • When I started reading this I was expecting controversial stuff but it isn’t at all that bad!
        I mean I feel you, though I think most of these things aren’t “German” per se. The ID thing, the grocery shopping we also have here in Holland. (die Nachbarn, we are just as behind in technology! XD) Plus you can’t blame small companies for not having a good website, it’s the business’ choice, not the government’s, though I see how this is way annoying. (but for me a (bad) website always shows me the quality of the company, and if it’s not good I’ll just find a better one)

        5 years ago
      • Holy shit that got longer than I expected. I haven’t ranted about that for a while so I guess I got kind of carried away :o

        5 years ago
    • Even to play your own music? Because walking in to “I’m the Spudgy” would have been awesome :D

      5 years ago
    • This makes me wonder how they manage discos/dance clubs. They’d have to drown in fees every night.

      Kind of reminds of the text on (legal) DVDs that says something along the lines of that you’re not allowed to show it to audiences larger than your living room. Only for “private usage”. And then there’s people showing it for audiences larger dan 200 people. Like.. do they ever follow through on that stuff?

      5 years ago
      • This dance club/disco thing has been a huge controversial topic as well, because of the shitload of money they charge, smaller clubs & bars are literally dying out. Some years ago they even increased the monthly fees by 150%-300% which just fueled that problem even more

        5 years ago
      • You just pay once for the licence for one month. You don’t have to pay for every song or something but for a one time event that is basically free for everybody, it’s really expensive.

        5 years ago
  16. Yay Köln! I love Köln! I was there 2 summers ago. I tried to take a selfie with the Dom (Dome? xD) but it just wouldn’t fit inside the frame.. Instead I took a picture of my dog (who is no longer with us :( ) and the Dom. It’s one of the cutest pictures everrrr!

    Back then I stayed in a little town near the border of Germany (in the Netherlands) but it had German wifi for some reason. I didn’t know this and I didn’t bring any music besides my youtube playlist and everything was blocked. ._. Damn Gema forced me to listen to some church music throughout my vacation. (because the radio reception was especially bad as well, and it was the only channel which sounded acceptable)

    5 years ago
  17. I never quite liked the Dome of Cologne. It’s ugly, yet impressive. Walking past it with all the shady people, the never stopping demos the homeless looking for charitable people and the tourists it’s kind of weird. Next to it the incredibly dirty main trainstation. – But looking at the pictures of the Dome you posted it became all clear: This massive, dark, dirty building piercing the sky with all kinds of creatures sitting on it is actually the gate to hell and the religious man in there is preaching “you shall not pass for your soul won’t return”.

    5 years ago
  18. fun fact: the Cologne Cathedral (or Kölner Dom) used to be completely white

    5 years ago
  19. I am so excited you were here Germany aaaaaahhhhhh

    But about this GEMA thing: The GEMA is the Federal Asociation for music artists in Germany. They collect fees for music being played all around Germany (clubs, radio, cafés, cinemas, concerts etc.) However, they are known to not pay a fair share of money to the actual artists in general (unless you have close relations to the GEMA executives) while charging artists or nightclub owners for playing their own music at tremendously high rates. Most of the money they make goes into the executives pockets and lawsuits to keep their federal monopoly. So YouTube shut down all the music they could find, so they wouldn’t have to pay the excessive amount of money they charge other people. FYI: The GEMA wants rougly 0,01 cent for every video stream on YouTube. Not just from Germany, but from around the world. They argue that due to proxy servers and foreign servers people in Germany could be connected to the internet by any IP address, so just tracking down German IPs watching videos would not be an accurate way to track down German streams, so they just went for worldwide streams. At that rate Gangnam Style alone would cost YouTube more than 2,000,000€. But it’s not just music videos itself, videos with background music are blocked as well. They also demand a base charge of 11,400,000€ per month. Also they want YouTube to be held accountable for Copyright issues when its users illegally upload music videos, or use music without the GEMA’s permission, which could be a 100,000,00€+ claim in copyright damages. It’s all about the money. Also some of the older videos of you are blocked in Germany because of music copyright claims (Idk if you knew that). The GEMA is a really shady organisation, I just get shivers whenever I think about them

    But yaaaassss @ Spätzle. Spätzle are life. German food is life, lord help me.

    5 years ago
    • Just to clarify a bit, the GEMA is not Federal in the sense that it is a government agency, it is not. Most of their power comes from the fact that they are currently the only Verwertungsgesellschaft in Germany, which will hopefully change when C3S launches next year.

      https://www.c3s.cc/en/

      5 years ago
    • I once had a brainchild of an idea for a dystopian society fuelled on copyright protection. Basically, if you make any video with copyrighted music, it’s automatically unviewable and blockable, all in the name of protecting the artist, but that can also be used as a way to stifle free speech. Want to make a public demonstration in the streets? Any organization just has to play Bieber in the background and, boom, your video isn’t viewable in the rest of the world. Want to talk about the corruption of the government while at school? Speakers around campus would play Batoost and, boom, anything unsavoury you say can be blocked by the government.

      Now, I’m not saying this is happening now. It was just an idea I once had for a story/novel/movie/whatever.

      5 years ago
    • very well explained!

      5 years ago
  20. I love these long blog posts, most times I can’t watch the videos during my workday, but I can read the blog posts chunks at a time between tasks, then watch the video after work.
    I was reading the blog post that went with the Kimchi making video on Tuesday and my friend was here and we were both reading it on my TV before watching dramas. She said something funny, that reminded me why I love your blog posts: “I don’t even need to watch the video, I understand everything.” I’ve made her watch some of your videos from to research our trip to Korea, but this was her first time reading one of your blog posts.

    Anyhoo, thanks for all the details about these places in Germany, I need to check out some of these places you’ve talked about. Can’t wait to watch the video after I finish work :)

    5 years ago
    • I’m glad you like our posts! We spend quite a while on them, and I wasn’t sure if people were that into them and if it was worth the effort. Thank you for the encouragement :)

      5 years ago
  21. great videos. Do you guise cook at home?Spatzle isn’t that hard to make.I could show you.

    5 years ago
  22. somehow seeing you guys standing in front of sights that I have also been to– makes you seem more real :) only seeing you on a screen, sometimes i don’t think i fully realize that you guys aren’t just my fav characters in a show I am watching, but living, breathing humans :)

    5 years ago
  23. Yeeees, f**k Gema!

    5 years ago
  24. Glad you enjoyed your visit! :) still sad i couldn’t come but i think i saw a friend of mine who attended hahaha
    did you eat “Döner” you should have! It’s the only turkish food which tastes the best in germany rather than in turkey lol! >.<

    5 years ago
    • Martin had it one night, but I didn’t. I wanted to go for as much authentic German food as possible :)

      5 years ago
      • Yeah i thought you would like to eat more german food :D but just said it because germany has the best one :)

        5 years ago
      • Döner is part of our culture now tbh. I don’t know any German knowing what life would be like wihout Döner

        5 years ago