12 Summer survival tips: Things to do in Germany
Geographically speaking, Germany should have the same climate as mid-Canada. Meteorologically speaking, Germany is much like the Midwest/ Mid-plains USA, regarding temperature and precipitation. So everybody has a tornado hide-out? Nope. So let’s just turn our Air conditioner up a notch, buy mosquito repellent and go to the local Italian ice cream shop. Lemonade stands? Good luck. Summer survival tips for Germany.
1. Order An Extra Side Of Ice Cubes
If you don’t order it, it’s not standard. Ice cubes in your drinks. If you are an American in Germany, you get used to the fact that you have to order ice cubes like an extra side of fries. Germans in America are sick of being served ice cubes in their drinks although they didn’t ask for them. Only the newest of the newest German refrigerators have an integrated ice cube maker and if you need to cool down…. Don’t forget to order your extra side of Ice-cubes.
2. You Don’t Need Air Conditioning
Although the German mentality towards air conditioning has shifted in the past years, the Germans are slowly but surely beginning to believe in air conditioning. Assuming you aren’t staying in a 4-star hotel the whole day, most normal German citizens do not have any air conditioning whatsoever. This may be due to their energy-saving attitudes, but most of them Germans are satisfied with a good summer breeze beneath the pits. I suggest you acclimate yourself before visiting Germany, or just have cool thoughts during your travels.
3. No Lemonade -> Drink Bitter Lemon
The much anticipated, get-out-there-and-make-a-deal weekends in the States are filled with Brats, Hot dogs, slushies and Lemonade stands. Each and every American child looks forward to their first dollars selling their “Extra-special” lemonade. In Germany? Nada – An alternative to the much sweeter American counterpart would be the German Bitter lemon. It is definitely lemony… and much more bittery. And if you just want to skip the whole non-alcoholic mindset, I suggest Radler.
4. Drink Radler Beer instead of Normal German Beer
Yes, we all know… if there is one thing the Germans do best other than engineering, it’s their Beer. But alcoholic drinks and the heat were never best friends, so I suggest drinking Radler (Summer Shandy). Radler is still beer, but is mixed with other products to become more lemony, fizzly and overall a lighter drink: which is optimal for beach-days and not ending up with a headache by 4pm.
5. Go To The Local Baggersee – Not Swimming Pool
A Baggersee is a quarry pit, which is filled with sandy, gravel bottoms and with tons of visitors in the summertime. Some Baggersees are definitely better than others; ask the locals and they will give you suggestions. Baggersees have designated swimming areas, are mostly great for kids, grill-outs, public drinking, a day of camping and you are sometimes allowed to even bring your four-legged companion with you. All of this is FREE. The downside of this ordeal is that there is no lifeguard and sometimes the Baggersee doesn’t look any better than a good ol’ fishing hole. List of Baggersees in Germany
6. Eisdiele instead of the “Ice-Cream Man”
Italian immigrants in Germany not only know how to do their Pizza and Pasta, they know their stuff when it comes to ice cream. Better than any Deans’ gallon ice cream or Haagen-Dazs overly-priced scoops, the local Eisdiele will blow your socks off. If you are focused on your portion size, then you may be super disappointed; but the taste is just grand. It will cost you anywhere between 0.70 cents to 1 Euro per scoop. Yes, one normal scoop for nearly 1-1.40 USD. But it is something that you need to try in Germany to cool yourself and nerves down in the summertime.
7. Downtown, Streetside Cafes instead of Dark-Downlighted Restuarants
Streetside Cafés are nearly non-existent in the U.S.. It’s really too bad because, German downtown areas and streets are utterly vibrant and a great place to be in the summertime. Eating out for lunch in front of the cathedral, drinking Radler outside of the city hall or just lazying-around in one of the downtown parks that almost every German city has to offer. And it won’t be overly expensive either, you don’t have to tip the waiter nearly anything and good quality German food doesn’t cost a fortune.
Germany is not nearly as natural disasters-ridden as some the Midwest-Mid-plains in the U.S. when it comes down to tornadoes. Germans don’t have tornado sirens, nor do they have tornado chasers nor do they have standardized tornado drills in their schools. Why? Because they hardly ever happen and if one does appear, it’s usually only capable of causing minimal damage in comparison to some U.S. tornadoes in the past. On the other hand, some meteorologists say it is one of the most underestimated weather phenomenons in Germany.
9. Bike Rides instead of Your Car
I love this one because going biking and hiking is a grand German past time. Furthermore, almost every new country road that is built in Germany is accompanied by a very wide bike trail along the side of it. Pump up your tires you rusty expat, pack your Radler, grab some friends and take a ride in the countryside… you have more than 75,000 km of bike trails to ride on in Germany alone!
Remember those American mosquitoes that you were looking forward to leave behind you during your trip to Germany? The German ones are just as good. Although there haven’t been any reports of the Zika virus arriving in Germany until July 2016, mosquito repellent is always suggested if you are out camping or in the woods. 2016 is a mosquito year due to the spring flooding that took place. Some regional municipalities even have helicopters spraying wooded areas to fend of larvae from turning into German killing machines. More about the mosquito problem in 2016.
11. School vacation
The summer vacation for schools in Germany is a bit different than in the states and is regulated by each federal state. The high time for summer vacation is always mid-July until the end of August in any given year. So the best times to book flights are at the beginning of the American summer vacation until Independence day. Otherwise you may experience the German “Sommer-Loch” which is the time of year when more Germans than not, are on vacation themselves.
12. Make Use of No-semi-Saturdays
And exactly during the summer school vacation times from July until the end of August, German authorities have created no-semi Saturdays. This is due to the increase of traffic on the Autobahn and as a result… it has most probably saved the lives of many vacationers. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself: No semi-Saturdays.