Sophomore Manson Tung is currently in Switzerland and Germany on the school’s trip and will be writing periodic travel blogs from Europe.
One of the first things that stuck out to me while we were driving from Frankfurt to Rothenburg on our first day was the unique German culture. Not the culture itself, after all—every country has its own distinct peoples and customs. Rather, it was the marriage of old and new that is special.
Last year when I went to China, I was awestruck by the relentless development. But that same level of drive and creation is here in Germany, too. All around me I saw new creations: freeway overpasses, new freeway lanes, restaurants and even new factories that were under construction. But Germany isn’t a poor country modernizing at a ruthless pace. Germany is already wealthy socioeconomically speaking, but it is not resting on its laurels. Instead, it’s striving to better itself.
At the same time as I saw new development rolling past, villages and towns that seemed to come straight out of medieval Europe filled the horizon. Picturesque red-roofed buildings and glowing, slender cathedrals appeared out of nowhere, dotting hill after hill. Sandwiched between these quaint symbols of the past were neat, ordered, verdant rows of crops.
This view of new and old Deutschland coexisting was on full display in Rothenburg, the best-preserved example of a medieval city in all of Germany. All around the city, green energy wind turbines and fields of photovoltaic solar panels signaled that Germany has entered a new era.
In Germany, the old and new don’t compete with each other. Rather they complement each other.