2011 will doubtless go down in history as a seismic year of toppling dictators, cracks in the eurozone, nuclear disasters and the death of Knut the Berlin polar bear. But in the bewildering blizzard of big news, you may have missed some of the odder stories of the year, faithfully covered in the Local’s ‘Offbeat’ section.
1) There’s nothing that’ll put you off your food better than an aperitif of Nazi propaganda to go with your starter:
Guests attending the opening of the 2011 World Biathlon Championships in Siberia got a surprise when they found Nazi propaganda among the hors d’oeuvres at the reception.
2) Whatever happened to the mysterious English speaker from the woods of Berlin?
An English-speaking teenager who walked out of the forest near Berlin told police he had been living in the woods for five years with his father, but had no idea who he was or where he came from.
3) Ah, the subtle and sensitive German sense of humour:
German comedian Martin Sonneborn is well-known for jokes bordering on the tasteless. But a satirical political billboard of him posing in blackface makeup as US President Barack Obama is sparking outrage.
4) Some would say the German postal service had it coming:
Accusations that Deutsche Post’s service is crap have been taken to the next level. Police say someone in the Munich area has been shoving poop into postboxes for months, clogging up the letter sorting system.
5) The German legal system stinks, especially if you live near a farm where the pigs have a pungent penchant for onions:
A court in the northern German town of Osnabrück has ruled that a farmer is allowed to feed his pigs vast quantities of raw onions, despite complaints from neighbours about their eye-watering gaseous emissions.