And suddenly, the sun is out. It’s bright and sparkling, and it hurts your wintry little eyes. The sky that has been a lovely shade of chalk for months, is suddenly so, so blue. People around you are scuttling about wearing as assortment of outfits – a few have cottoned on to the sun early and have dressed accordingly. Most went the safest route with a decent jacket and a pair of boots and look both out of place and as if they know something that you, in your canvas slip-ons, don’t. It’s like someone switched on the light and caught everyone out doing what they’d normally do in the dark – it’s both illuminating and weird, and takes some adjusting to. Particularly when someone switches on the light early. I mean, yesterday was the first day of Spring, but first days of seasons (namely warm ones) mean nada over here.
So how does one fit in with the Germans, when the sun comes out? Or, more pertinently, how does one avoid being stared at when the sun comes out and the entire population of your city finds itself outside and face to face with each other, as opposed to staring at the icy ground so as to avoid slipping on it? (Germans, my sweet loves, you stare. You may not know it, or indeed realise it, but you do. It’s okay. It’s a social trait of yours, it’s part of who you are. Own it. But please stop staring at my feet if I’m in ballet flats before 90% of the population deems it appropriate to wear them.) Apart from keeping a keen eye on the state of Spargel in your nearest supermarket, here are some surefire tips on how to do the year’s first warm weather like a German.
– Flock to the nearest cafe with outdoor seating. But none of our cafes have outdoor seating, I hear you bleat. Look again! Rub your eyes, if you must. Magic, isn’t it? Each and every cafe will suddenly have forty chairs crammed into their portion of front pavement, all facing the sun, and if you are like lightning, you will be able to squeeze yourself into one of them – and indeed the conversations of everyone around you, because you’ll be nice and close to each other.
– Once seated, shrug off your jacket. It’s okay if others around you remain bundled up, you won’t get sick. In fact, you’ll probably keel over from heat if you don’t divest yourself of your safety blanket (which is what, after 4 months of daily wear, a winter jacket becomes). Smile around at others as you do this, share the wonder of outdoor divesting of jackets.
– Tip your face to the sun. Leave it there, no matter what.
– Order a beer.
– If you live in a town or city that is near water, make sure you do all of the above as close to the bank of said body of water, as possible.
Don’t feel like going to a cafe with a million people, or indeed simply cannot find a seat? You have but one other option.
– Source out your nearest ice cream shop. There will be at least four per ten-person town. The most popular will have a queue snaking back about a hundred people, but you’ll deem to worthwhile waiting for. Join the queue.
– Order an enormous cone, because ice cream in Germany is wondrously cheap and generally delicious. Or, go all out, and get some sort of monstrous Sundae concoction. There will be a generous menu to choose from. Don’t hold back.
– If you’re feeling particularly brave, go for the Spaghetti Eis. It’s a bit of a thing here.
– A banana split usually does the trick, and doesn’t contain any ice cream in noodle form.
After a while, when you feel it’s appropriate, begin to gently murmur about how perhaps it is a little too warm. Perhaps two or three degrees less would be just right …