By virtue of most things being closed on Sundays, weekends here have even more of a definite shape and rhythm to them than they did for me in Sydney, where shops and shopping centres are open until 6pm and it doesn’t matter if it’s 8pm on a Sunday evening, a weekly grocery shop is still possible (and for many, highly probable). Most German cities, like a lot of European cities, haven’t yet gone in for the 24/7 culture and while that rankles when you first realise you can’t pop to the shops on a Sunday afternoon (or get hold of anyone in an office after 3pm on a Friday) it soon reconfigures your weekly pace and you slow right down. You buy the milk on Saturday – admittedly with the rest of the city and the whole thing sort of takes on an apocalyptic feel as people grab huge amounts of goods to get them through Sunday – and spend Sunday doing other things, or even nothing at all.
Last weekend took the classic form, which is always good, but it was made better by a sudden and stunning appearance by summer. Spring took a day off, packed up her four-seasons-in-one-day moodiness, and gave summer centre stage. And summer ran with it.
Saturday began by discovering the current holder of the title Kiel’s Best Coffee. Germans do many things well, coffee isn’t one of them. Time spent in Melbourne and Sydney (and New Zealand, which also has excellent coffee) has turned SG from a filter swilling Germ into a budding coffee snob who still swills the filter when he must, but hatefully. Ergo, we are on a hunt to find Kiel’s best coffee and thanks to Emmaplus, have a new frontrunner. (Fun fact: apparently little gourmet delicatessens are affectionately referred to as ‘Tante Emma Läden’ (Aunt Emma shops) because they are the kind of places an Aunt Emma would love to shop in and buy her chutneys and sweets. Hence the name Emmaplus, which is a slightly trendier version of your classic Tante Emma Laden.)
Most Saturdays contain some sort of foot stock up, so we made a trip to the weekly food markets (another thing Germany does so well, your basic produce markets, once or twice a week) and bought approximately nothing, but then walked away from our visit to the Asia Laden (your one stop shop for any food product that is not Western European) with a large amount of curry pastes and an assortment of ‘exotic’ drinks like ginger beer and coconut water. We drank our summery drinks in one of Kiel’s numerous parks, taking full advantage of the free sun loungers that are scattered around the fountain for anyone who needs to recline beneath the sun.
And of course, one doesn’t just ignore summer when she makes an unexpected appearance. That would be akin to leaving the Queen sitting on at your kitchen table without a cup of tea. One makes a mad dash to the coast (in weird outfits that contain layers you can peel off and put back on, should summer decide to make as hasty a departure as she did entrance) and basks in the sun and, if you’re me, gets burnt while telling people all about skin cancer being the number one killer in Australia.
Saturday evening comprised of a trip to Ikea (got to squeeze these things in when you can) and a football match. I am personally of the belief that if that is your Saturday night, bureaucracy and paperwork and dual citizenship debates can step aside. Give me my German passport.
So what, you may ask, does one do on a Sunday? You’ve stocked up on food, done the Ikea dash and any other errands that require opening hours, so what is left for the day of rest? One goes for a long stroll, taking in the sights and sounds of one’s neighbourhood…
Buys bread from the bakery for the next couple of days. Enjoys an eis, preferably from an eis parlour of good repute …
And goes back home to crack open a cold, alcohol-free Fassbrause and watch another football match.
About that German passport …