posted by Daniel Crudge | 2 Comments
It’s finally been decided. After nearly a month of frantic play and much international heartbreak, the finalists for 2014’s World Cup have finally been decided. Still, we have to wait until Sunday to see the final and that’s a long way away in our eyes.
Being the impatient toddlers we are, we want to see a little contest now. So, prior to these two titans of football battling it out on the pitch, we decided to pit country against country in a little contest of our own. We'll discover which is the best travel destination by looking at different aspects of each country, from cultural idiosyncrasies to cuisine and clothes to crazy facts.
ROUND 1: Food
While the bad rep German food gets is unfair, it’s safe to say it can’t live up to watch you get in Argentina. Even with hearty dishes like pork knuckle and dumplings on offer, Argentina blowd that all out of the water with their ‘asado’, or barbeque grill.
They may serve a little too much beef but, my God, is it good! In fact, it’s widely accepted that Argentinian beef is some of the best going (cue fight with kobe) and when it’s flame grilled to perfection, well, we’re into the realms of food porn here. Then when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you add some blood sausage (morcilla), empanadas (pastries packed with meats, cheeses and sweetcorn) or a little berenjena en escabeche (marinated aubergine) and well… it's game over.
ROUND 2: Drink
Not too long ago, Argentina was known for making a lot of wine bad wine – so bad it was unfit for export. Now they are the biggest exporters of wine in South America, so have turned things around. They have even started making waves in the organic market due to the altitudes of the vineyards making perfect natural pesticides.
Still, they are going up against Germany here. Over the centuries they have perfected their beers to be some of the best in the world, and they aren’t shy about sharing it. The Munich Oktoberfest is a celebration of all things beer and attracts thousands from all over the world each year.
Argentina have started to grow their beer industry too, but that’s mainly down to German immigrants. Argentina even have their own version of Oktoberfest, but unfortunately it's simply a poor imitation of the authentic giant, much like their beer.
ROUND 3: Music
It’s in electronic music that Germany finds its biggest musical export. Ever since Kraftwek started bleeping back in the 70’s, Germany has been pushing the envelope in electronic and dance music, especially when it comes to techno. But that’s not their only field of expertise. Rammstein are huge with rockers and metalheads the world over with their gigantic and dramatic live shows, and the Scorpions are known as pioneers in hard rock and metal, having sold over 100 million records worldwide since the 1960’s.
Argentina seem to have offered a little less to the musical catalogue of the world. While they are probably the undisputed champions of tango music, its music that’s only really embraced by those that do tango, South American restaurants or hipsters trying to show off their 'diverse taste'.
ROUND 4: Party Scene
Much like their music offerings, German nightlife is eclectic with clubs that offer all kind of music to suit any taste. Unsurprisingly they have probably the best selection of electronic and techno clubs going, but major cities also have plenty to cater for all, from punk rock to jazz. Couple this with Germany’s awesome beer along and the fact they invented Jägermeister (Jägerbomb time?) and you have a pretty good night on your hands.
While Buenos Aires attracts a lot of international djs spinning records in the top clubs, the country doesn’t really have much of a scene it can call its own. Saying that, you won’t find a better place to learn the tango.
ROUND 5: Cultural Attractions
Every year Germany holds a whole host of festivals, from the world famous Oktoberfest to Rock am Ring that provides the best in guitar driven music to Fusion that showcases the best of German and international dance music. Still, one of the coolest and most unique cultural attractions held each year in Germany is the Fuckparade; a demonstration against the increasing commercialisation of culture that’s essentially a protest – festival crossover where people dance down the street to pumping electronica.
It’s a little light on the festival front in Argentina. However, there is the Fuerza Bruta, a spectacular piece of postmodern theatre that challenges the audiences senses.
ROUND 6: National Heroes
Germany has produced more than its fair share of influential people over the centuries, but surely none more so than the philosophical giants that have done so much to shape European thinking. Hegel and Kant still provide the basis for modern European rationalism and historicism today, while Marx and Engels practically invented socialist economics and thought.
On top of that they produced probably the most famous scientist of all time in Albert Einstein.
Argentinian heroes are a little more localised. José de San Martin is hailed as a major player in Argentinian independence from Spain, while Eva Peron, made famous in Madonna’s film Evita, is remembered for all the work she did toward labour and women’s rights.
Of course, they are also known for spawning the face that peers down from every student’s bedroom wall – the revolutionary hero Che Guevera.
However, in this era of YouTube there is one national hero that cannot be passed up, especially if we’re going to talk about Fuckparade. Keeper of the party peace and master of moves, he is the Techno Viking…
ROUND 7: History
Spanning from the Germanic Gothic tribes that brought Rome to its knees to the Germany of today, this is a country that has a long and storied history. Strangely enough, it didn’t actually become a country until 1871 when it was united under Marshall Blücher. Prior to that it was a set of independent principalities that were at one time loosely united as part of the Holy Roman Empire. As such, there’s plenty to see in Germany. Countless castles, spectacular medieval architecture and grand monuments galore.
Being a ‘new world’ former colony, you’re not going to find pieces of history of the same age in Argentina. Yet the Spanish style colonial architecture that fill the towns is beautiful. From the Spanish town houses to beautiful spiralling cathedrals, these date back as far as the 1500's, so there’s still plenty of history to check out.
ROUND 8: Sights and Locations
Following on from what we said above, there’s plenty of historical significance to see all around Germany, from Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to the Schwerin Castle and the imposing, gothic Cologne Cathedral. There’s also areas of more naturalistic beauty, like the Romantic Rhine stretch and the black forest down in the south west of the country.
It’s very much all about natural beauty in Argentina. Monte Fitz Roy is a favourite amongst photographers for its otherworldly look, while the Valdes Peninsula with its incredible wildlife is a place you can spot orcas and wales between the months of May and December. Bariloche is one of the premier ski spots around the world, while Igazu Falls offers daredevils the opportunity to cruise under the crushing waters in stupidly small boats.
ROUND 9: Celebrities
There was a time when German models dominated the catwalks and fashion magazines everywhere, but even after the reigns of Heidi Klum and Claudia Schiffer have come to an end, German celebrities still make their mark. Film stars Diane Kruger and Daniel Bruhl have started successful international careers after appearing in Tarantino classic, Inglourious Basterds, not to mention the half-German Michael Fassbender, star of the latest X-Men films.
Argentinian stars seem to have made less of an impact on the international stage, though Argentinian-born Julie Gonzalo is recognisable from a few films…
ROUND 10: Fashion
Although Germany still doesn’t command the same clout as the main fashion houses of London, Paris, Milan and New York, Germany do have a number of recognisable brands. Hugo Boss make a whole variety of clothes and fragrances, while German brands dominate sportswear. On the other hand, although Argentina has a burgeoning independent fashion scene, there aren’t really any big brands that dominate the international market.
ROUND 11: Cultural Idiosyncrasies
The stereotype of the German is that they are the perfect example of efficiency, possibly to the point of being robotic and slaves to logic. Never has this stereotype been more authenticated than in their surgical dismantling of Brazil on the pitch. The stereotype of the Argentinian seems to stand as a polar opposite; proud, energetic and passionate.
We’re not saying any of this is true… but the question remains, can all this emotional energy will Argentina on to a victory over the cold and calculated German team?
ROUND 12: Football Performance
Germany has fared a little better in World Championships than Argentina up until now. They have won three World Cups in all, on top of three European Cups. Argentina has won only two World Cups, but won the South American Championship a whopping 14 times.
The BBC’s Gary Lineker already predicted the end back in April. His prediction went…
The final will be played by 22 men kicking a ball about for 90 minutes, and at the end the Germans will win.
Will it be true?
One Last Weird Fact
The German language has the longest word in existence at a whopping 79 letters. Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft is a compound word that means the very specific 'association for the subordinate officials of the head of office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services’. Very administrative.
True to their passionate nature, while the world celebrates Mother’s and Father’s Day, Argentina goes one better by celebrating Friend Day on 20th July of every year. Founded in the 1970’s, it’s a simple and beautiful excuse for friends to get together and have a bit of a party. Pretty sweet.
After 13 long and sweaty rounds, the two destinations have finally fought it out. As the dust settles, it’s up to you to decide. So what do you reckon, which one makes the better destination?
Been inspired to make a trip to Germany or Argentina? Check out our selection of budget accommodation over at Hostelworld and book now.
Tell us your favourite of the two destinations in the comments section below…
rick baldwin said