While many of my friends were flying to sunny places such as Greece or Spain this summer, I went on a short holiday to Munich – and I don't regret it.
It has to be said, this is not a declaration of love for Munich but a declaration of love for the whole of the country. Yes, Germany, ich liebe dich. For some reason, every time I have a few days to spare, I head to Germany. In the last year or so I have visited Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Köln and Hamburg. Still, if I was deciding on my favourite, I would probably have to go for Munich, though the lovely Hamburg comes a close second.
I'm not sure if it's my obscure schlager obsession or my love of a good schnitzel, but there are many reasons to enjoy the country. And yes, schlager is a good way to start. I knew the classics before going to Germany for the first time, such as “Warst du Doch in Düsseldorf Geblieben” and the classic “Tanze Samba Mit Mir” by Tony Holiday. But when I finally visited a German record shop I felt like a kid in a candy shop: I even spotted a band that shares the same name as me: Fernando Express. But don't you worry, I do like other kinds of German music. In fact, my favourite band is Kraftwerk. When I saw them touring in Brazil back in 2004 I cried listening to “Das Model”.
And let's talk about food. Some might say German food is stodgy – I couldn't disagree more with such fine cuts of meat available and those buttery biscuits from Dallmayr. The great availability of outdoor restaurants and lovely biergärten are a nice addition to it all.
Shopping is a must too, especially if you are looking for stationery. Or you can just salivate looking at the huge number of magazines available (although they are all in German of course, a language I haven't mastered yet).
Germans are a fun bunch as well. In my airport experiences in the country I don't remember encountering grumpy immigration officers – much the opposite. One of them even spoke in Portuguese with me, saying how he really wants to go to Brazil again.
Strangely enough, for all their differences I kind of feel a connection between my own country of Brazil and Germany. Perhaps it's the well-stocked supermarkets – or the Brazilian übermodel with German ancestry Gisele Bündchen.
So, why not give Germany a chance? It might be an unusual summer destination but you won't regret sampling its simple pleasures.
Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a researcher for Monocle 24.