German Windows

As you might remember from other posts, I have a thing for windows. The French say lèche-vitrines, which is literally window licking, for what we call window shopping, and since I seldom buy anything, licking is a much better description for one of my favorite travel pastimes.  As we saw here inFrench windows and here in Dutch windows, they often give me a nutshell-sized understanding of the culture around me. But in Munich we saw some windows like no others, and I must say that the insight quotient was sadly low.

We couldn’t even figure out the message of this window, but it’s certainly one you wouldn’t see in France, with all of the current debate about Muslim dress.  There’s no question that Muslims don’t drink, though, so what’s with the empty bottles?

Or how about this one, what the heck is it supposed to suggest? Europeans are sometimes accused of stealing children from the developing countries, by adopting kids that are not really orphans, but is that what’s happening here?  I find both windows fascinating, and I have the recollection that they were representing a travel agency, but that doesn’t make them any easier to figure out.  You tell me, what’s your version of their story?

This one is simpler, but still cryptic.  It looked to be a health food store, but I liked the way these dolls have German faces, as opposed to these dolls with French faces that we saw in Strasbourg, even though they don’t look especially healthy or natural.

Candy and cookies by the truckload, all the way from Austria?  I have never seen a pink semi on any road, and especially not on the Autobahn, but I’m guessing that they really do look like this, and if we ever get to Austria I’m going to look for the life-sized original, the Mary Kay of tractor trailers.

Now this one was a real mystery, although the almighty Google shows that there are San Francisco Coffee Company shops all over Germany. What I don’t know is whether it has anything at all to do with San Francisco, my birthplace, or whether it’s just a clever and exotic name, like Häagen-Dazs, which sounds oh so foreign to our ears, but isn’t.

I was very tempted to buy a dirndl, which are for sale all over town although these were the most beautiful ad least traditional ones I saw. But I couldn’t imagine where I’d be able to wear one, and my suitcase was already bursting its zippers, so I sadly left them behind.  Let me know if you’re planning a dirndl party, though, and I’ll rush back and get one.

I didn’t know what I’d do with a Rolex either, as I haven’t worn a watch since eighth grade, but I loved the elegant understatedness of this window and all that it suggested about the coziness of German Christmas.

And now, let’s get back to France, where we speak the language and are starting to understand how things work, where the windows hold fewer mysteries every day, and where my kitchen is calling to me.

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6 Comments on “German Windows”

  1. Eden Says:

    is it possible that the fellow with the wine is not muslim, but one of the three wisemen stopping to refresh himself on the trip home? Or perhaps a fourth less wise man who got distracted from the journey ;>

  2. Wolfgang Says:

    Even though I speak German amd live in Germany some of the windows shown are , let´s say politely, experimental, and some of it´s beauty and meaning is totally left to the eye of the designer.

    Most of the smaller non lifestyle shop windows are often poorley designed since the lack of money or knowledge that a good advertisement sells.

    Italian shop windows are my favourites, sometimes even with minmalistic style, just wonderful!

  3. zuleme Says:

    The windows are strange. I wonder how truckers feel about those pink trucks!

  4. Ed Ward Says:

    It would be nice to know what the sign by the “Arab” says and the ones around the woman’s torso with the baby on her head say. I think the two little dolls are just part of a generic Christmas scene (is that a wrapped present in the lower left? And there’s also a sheep), since a lot of the German Christmas stuff I saw when living there emphasized secular aspects of the winter season. Of course, that was Protestant Berlin instead of Catholic Munich, but I suspect it’s the same down there.

  5. Sue Geisler Says:

    There is a San Francisco Coffee company here in the City. Just passed by a huge warehouse building bearing their name South of Market yesterday. Also, that brand is for sale in supermarkets.

    Loved the windows!

    Tried your pate recipe, with some modifications due to ingredient capability, last week. Marvelous.

  6. Lynn Stedman Says:

    Abra: I laughed my head off at your wonderful and witty descriptions of these windows — I especially liked the notion of “Window Licking” which sounds so much better than ‘drooling’ over something. The dirndle outfits were beautiful and got me thinking that maybe I should actually have a dirndle party. I tried to make a trip to Paris become a reality for my 60th birthday but ended up with a total hip replacement instead (‘Happy Birthday to me’). Now at least when I travel (after making it through the security sensors = no fun) I will be able to walk pain free.


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