My Expat Bucket List – 10 German Things I Want to Do

This week I’m joining the expat blog link up My Expat Bucket List hosted by Amanda over at Expat Life With Double Buggy. This bucket list comprises 10 things that I still want to see, do or experience in the country that I currently call home.

At the end of the summer it will be 7 years since I live in Germany and, believe it or not, there’s plenty of things that I still haven’t done!

Do a bike tour of the Altes Land region

The river Elbe marshes downstream from Hamburg are a huge orchard dotted with cute little villages and centuries-old farmhouses: perfect for an idyllic bicycle ride on a sunny weekend.

Go camping on Heligoland

I’ve wanted to visit this North Sea island renown for its high red cliffs ever since I first heard about it, sadly it was always a bit too expensive for my student budget.

Experience Alstereisvergnügen

During particularly cold winters, when ice on the Alster lake in the middle of Hamburg reaches at least 20 cm thickness, a festival is celebrated on the ice. Food and mulled wine stands are built up and different attractions take place. It the last 15 years this festival has been celebrated only once – in 2012 when I was in Scotland for a visiting fellowship and enjoying balmy +10 C weather.

Participate in a Kohlfahrt

It is an old North German custom that takes place mid-winter when Grünkohl (see next point) is harvested. It is, literally, a “cabbage walk” around the countryside filled with games and drinking crowned by a hearty meal of Grünkohl at a local pub or restaurant. Both times I was supposed to take part in a Kohlfahrt it sadly didn’t work out so this one’s still on my bucket list.

Learn to cook Grünkohl German style

Grünkohl is a type of the currently trendy kale but, as opposed to most super healthy ways of cooking kale that you might have seen, this traditional North German dish is anything but. Kale is cooked for several hours and served with a side of potatoes and three (!) types of meat.

Visit the Harz mountains

Coming from a country whose highest point is 318 meters above sea level, I’m a sucker for mountains. The Harz mountain range is just a few hours drive from Hamburg and, from what I hear, it’s a beautiful place with pretty historic towns, rivers and lakes and, of course, mountains prefect for long walks.

Do a wine tour

Germany has 13 wine-growing regions. I’m sure that one of these days (when I’m allowed to drink again) I can manage to do a proper wine tasting tour in at least one of them. Of course, with some sightseeing on the side.

Visit Munich

Well, to be honest, I have been in Munich once but my parents couldn’t find a good parking place in the city center so we decided to drive further and visited Nuremberg instead. Munich remains on my bucket list and I would love to spend a few days getting to know the charming Bavarian capital.

Learn some German grammar

I’ve spent seven years in this country and, although my German knowledge has improved significantly, the last time I learned some German grammar was back in 10th grade. If I ever want to find a job in this country I should  at least learn how to write a proper letter without having to hand it over to hubby for correction.

Use (and abuse) the title of “Frau Doktor”

Having a doctorate is ridiculously prestigious in Germany, people will generally address you using that title and, from what I hear, it can even make things like finding an apartment easier. So, when I’ll have finally earned that title, I’ll make all these years count and put it on every single form. I’d even consider getting a German citizenship because then my doctor title would be in my passport! I’m joking, of course. Well, mostly…


Are there things that you still want to do in the country where you live? Please share in the comments!

And head over to Expat Life With a Double Buggy to be inspired by some more bucket lists.

Expat Life with a Double Buggy

8 Replies to “My Expat Bucket List – 10 German Things I Want to Do”

  1. You are welcome to the first town of the Boxbeutelstrasse! Best Franconian wine :-)!!! Several vineyards with medal winning wine just 1-5km away :).

    1. Sounds awesome! Sigh, I miss wine…

  2. Frau Doktor sounds impressive indeed and you’re right to abuse the heck out of that title :-) Wine tours and lots of cabbage…… sounds like a trial for the digestive system for sure!

    Thanks for joining in – a great list and hope that some of the ten become reality soon!

    1. Hehe I never thought about it that way, it definitely doesn’t sound good for the digestion 🙂 Good thing that one is more of a winter thing and the other – a summer thing!

  3. Oh wow, great list. I imagine German cooking to be all meat and cabbage type foods, but I’ve only been to Germany once (and it was all meat, fish, bread and cabbage where we ate!!) Good luck with everything and enjoy :-)

    1. I hadn’t thought of it but my list is quite stereotypical that way, isn’t it? 🙂 I can assure you though that there are other things to the German cuisine aside from meat and cabbage.

  4. Nemaz i nezināju, ka esi igauniete. :) Gaiziņš bija biki biki zemāks. ;)

    1. Ak sasodīts, patiešām tikai 312 m. Laikam, kad skolā mācīja augstumu, skaitīja arī torni 😀

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