Monday, May 19, 2014

No Alcohol in Germany?!

In a country where it's notoriety strives in alcoholic beverages, you'd think I'd be one to partake in drinking a beer. Truth be told, I didn't take that route on this trip.

Recently, I joined the LDS church where it is taught to, in a manner of speaking, not to drink alcohol.

So how did I manage avoiding alcohol while in Germany? Luckily for me, I wasn't never a huge alcohol fan to begin with so as far as being tempted goes, that was never a problem.

Of course, all the restaurants and other eateries we visited offered water (sparkling or tap) and soda to drink.

I admit at times, I did feel a little left out. Not because my group excluded me from joining or anything like that, but tourists always make such a big deal about drinking beer in Germany. 

I did enjoy myself a few virgin mojitos while in Germany. They replaced the alcohol with ginger ale.
Tasted like a minty lemonade which tastes much better than it may sound. 
My soon-to-be boss at work even asked me via email how did the beer taste. So much for the saying, "When in Rome..." or, in this case, "When in Germany…"

During our stay in Bonn, I dealt with having to turn down alcohol offered by the German students who hosted us at their university for the week. I feared I would offend their traditions or not be respectful of their culture.  

Now of course, there is the non-alcohol beer option to test out. 

And to be quite frank, it isn't all it's cracked up to be. My room mate Jeanne and I split a bottle of nonalcoholic beer out of the hotel's vending machine one night. 

We each took one sip and I cannot tell you in words how much we regretted it. 

It was like drinking yeast sitting in carbonated water for weeks at a time. Not the greatest aftertaste in the world. 

Needless to say, Jeanne stuck with the traditional German beer and I stuck with my Coke-a-Cola and tap water. 

I will say I am blessed to have traveled with a group who respected my religious beliefs and didn't pressure me or make fun of me for not drinking. 

It never bothered them and I liked that about this experience. 

So do I regret not drinking in Germany? No. And, in all honesty, I found several opportunities to immerse myself into the Germany culture without the beer; which made this trip much more genuine and personal for me. 

I bought gummy bears at Harbio in Bonn, ate a traditional German meal consisting of pickled pork, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut; and I learned a little bite more German beyond the first verse of "Silent Night." 

People may call it "tradition" to drink beer in Germany but I think if you're not afraid to take your own path and find what makes you the happiest, then that's all that matters. 

And to that, I say cheers (while holding a virgin mojito in my hand).  

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