Small talk is something that I have trouble with. Most advice that I can find is quite US-centric, like asking people what they are looking forward to. In my country this would be quite strange. Conversely, "where are you heading?" is quite acceptable here, but may be considered suspicious elsewhere.
It seems small talk conventions are quite culture-specific. I'll soon be moving to Germany for work. In what settings is it appropriate to make small talk there? What are some topics that are acceptable without being boring? (e.g. the weather) What topics should be avoided? (besides the obvious like the nazi era) Does it make sense to broach "controversial" topics like immigration, once you've got the ball rolling?