One can only form impressions of how things really are through experiences that life affords... everything else is just an assumption.
I remember asking one of my best friends, who worked for the airlines for many years, why she had been all over the world, traveled Europe extensively, and had never been to Germany. Her reply was that she didn't drink beer and never really like bratwurst and sauerkraut.
I too had my own assumptions of how things were in Germany before I ever came here, deriving those assumptions from things I had read in books or seen on TV. One impression that I had about Germany was that all the houses were Fachwerk (the large wooden beam framework filled with stucco) I always thought the the old houses and crooked cobble stone streets looked so charming and romantic.
It wasn't until I moved to Northern Germany that I realized that these assumptions did not necessarily fall in line with what I actually saw. Sure there are plenty of Fachwerk houses around, but much to my disappointment, there are far too many simple brick houses for what my imagination might wish for. It is mostly the old city centers that boast the centuries old homes.
I still am so inspired by all the beautiful old architecture and quaint city parts that have been around longer than my own country. I can remember one of the first times that I flew home after being in Germany for some time. It was somewhat of a strange dream like feeling, noticing that my surroundings were not the same as the day before, and I couldn't help getting over the feeling that yeah, this was nice, but everything looked too new.
The really interesting thing is that the house that I bought in the States before I met my husband was a cute little "vintage" brick home with a faux Fachwerk look. In my back yard I even planted climbing vines to grow up the sides of my buildings, and it would almost appear that I was unconsciously attempting to create the environment that my heart was secretly longing for. But here I am, sometimes much to my own astonishment... experiencing the real thing.