French, maybe a B- and German, a definitive F

Where does the schnitzel come into play here?

Let’s call it a massive fail in German.  After two weeks of being exposed to nothing but German text on signs, menus, and Google search results…our vocabulary consists of a total of about 20 words.  We can now count to two (Melanie is good for up to one, and that’s if you don’t count zero).  Yes, is definitely confirmed to be ‘Ja’, and we haven’t figured out the correct pronunciation of ‘no’ just yet.  Pumpkin has been confirmed to be ‘Kurdis’, and I am sure that will continue to be useful for the remainder of our trip.  And can any non-german speaker explain the random capitalizing of words in a sentence?

We can find our way to the entrance and exit of places.  First it was trial and error, but we were able to piece a few things together based on the direction of people traffic.  Same goes for the roads with ‘einfarht’ clearly indicating ‘one-way’, but still no clue on if pedestrians have any right-of-way when crossing.  We know that isn’t the case on bike paths as we have seen many a biker verbally accost dawdling tourists, and we too have been subjected to a barrage of angry bike bell ringing.  Is there a ‘move-the-hell-out-of-the-way’ setting that I haven’t yet found on that little alerting device?

And we actually stood a good chance of picking up some German.  How many people have mentioned the similarity between German and English?  Soup, carrot, and tomato are easy to pick up, but when they are blended together into a single word about 80 characters long, it’s like one of those newspaper word jumbles.  We had enough people coming up to us to ask for directions…so we must have looked like we belonged there and knew where we were going.  It’s also a little disappointing that by defaulting to an Italian restaurant, we always know we can read the menu…even if in Italian.  The confusing part is which language to thank the staff in.

So, considering the complete lack of grasping the German language…what kind of lingual hell are we in for next with Czech?  I just saw an accent over an ‘r’ on a railway sign and can’t begin to imagine what that might indicate.  Are you supposed to roll that ‘r’, maybe a little less than in the Tim Horton’s Rrroll up the Rim commercials.  Is it actually a ‘j’ sound…just to really mess with you?  Quick checks on the greeting essentials, plus those basic numbers also looks a little daunting without any kind of audio.

Due to our lack of german, this was hilarious the first 3 times we saw it.

Of course, we could always just force our way through by demanding English of everyone, but we’re Canadians and too damn polite.  Making a minor effort is possible, so let’s see where a week takes us.  Plus, if we’re thinking of Crete still as a possibility…Greek might be even more of a challenge.  Certainly those years as a bartender in a Greek restaurant, listening to the family flight in their native tongue must have sunk in a little.  Maybe we just need to spend a little time finding a similarly hot-tempered family run establishment to kickstart the learning process.

I am guessing this week will be cuisines of India, more Italy, and croissants if we can find a bakery that bakes up items we can vaguely recognize.  Melanie was elegantly surprised with the Nougat Struckl I snagged earlier today though.  A bit of a surprise for both of us as it’s another baked goody that Nutella has been carefully hidden inside.  Boston Creme, you are dead to me.