The German Embassy to the United States publishes a newsletter called TWIG (as in „This Week in Germany“), mainly aimed at the American public, that more often than not features little known gems, news that’s news only in the eyes of true connaisseurs – like you my gentle reades.
Last Friday, TWIG published a story about Germany becoming an important destination for nascent Chinese mass tourism – as Germany is the first Chinese-government-tourism-approved European country. A fact in itself somewhat contradicting the Financial Times‘ Berlin correspondent who, according to another government sponsored article, can see Germany becoming
„‚the new France,‘ a country where joie de vivre has not yet been unraveled by atrocious prices and the danger of airline strikes.
Claims like this always make me cite Elle Woods, the only person who can counter such statements on the appropriate level – „Whoever said that Orange is the new Pink was seriously disturbed“.
Now, Chinese masses tucking into Sauerkraut may not in itself be a sufficiently interesting subject for a mainly American audience. So no wonder, the article’s hook is something as famous in the US as it apparently is in China: the Geman Autobahn. I once had a vivid discussion with an American friend about the mythology of German motorways, while driving on an American one that is just as famous over here: Highway 66.
In the end, I wasn’t able to convince my friend that German highways are – for the most part – speed regulated. That most German cars aren’t Porsches, and that, while Michael Schuhmacher may be distorting the average, most Germans haven’t driven a car at 200+ km/h.
But then again, so much has been demystified about Germany that it might not be a bad thing to keep some legends alive… (whole story in the extended section).