Sunday, 26 June 2016

Year Abroad Series: Sundays in Germany

Hallo meine Lieben!

Everyone who goes on a Year Abroad is concerned about "making the most of it". People constantly comment on how lucky you are and how jealous they are and how you must be having SO MUCH FUN. When you scroll through Facebook to keep updated with fellow Year Abroaders, it seems like an endless stream of holiday snaps, where the person in question doesn't seem to be stopping. 

Sundays can be difficult in Germany, because few things are open and in a small city like Erfurt, this can have a dramatic effect on how lively the centre of town feels. Not only does this mean that you have to check you have all of your food for Sunday planned (there's no chance of a quick trip to the corner shop for a loaf of bread), it can lead to the impression that all Sundays in Germany are boring, and you might as well just stay inside. This is exactly the mistake I sometimes made, often using Sundays to clean the flat and do my laundry and basically wait for Monday, not making the most of my time away. So what can you do on a Sunday in Germany?

1. Restaurant Surfing/Coffee Shop Hunting

There has been many an instance where I have forgotten to plan ahead enough and run out of food on a Sunday, meaning that my only option for eating is to go out for a meal. Sometimes it's as little as a döner kebab from round the corner or a stereotypical Bratwurst at Domplatz, but other times it allows for a little more exploring. Sundays are great for scouting out future food places to take friends and finding the coffee shop which sells the perfect latte, or trying that restaurant you constantly walk past but have never tried.

2. Museums/Tourist Attractions

Thüringen, thought not widely known, is an incredibly interesting Bundesland: it's the home of Germany's National Theatre, its most famous writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the father of the German language Martin Luther, and the fairy tale forest of the Grimm Brothers.

Wartburg Castle, Eisenach
With all that comes multiple museums you can visit, of which I would definitely recommend:
  • Wartburg Castle, Eisenach - I took my boyfriend he when he last came to visit because he likes castles, and I wasn't expecting much but it was brilliant! It's the home of St. Elizabeth and also was Martin Luther's home whilst he was in exile
  • Buchenwald Concentration Camp, Weimar - I really didn't know enough about Buchenwald before moving to Germany, which is horrible, considering it was the first and largest concentration camp on German soil. I couldn't believe how close it was to the city, either. It has one of the most extensive collections of artefacts/information I've seen in a museum, and I would really recommend going and learning about the history of the place.
Elsewhere in Germany there are fantastic museums, like the Deutsches Museum in Munich, or the DDR-Museum in Berlin. And don't forget to see the must-sees! The Brandenburg Tor, East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie, Cologne Cathedral, Neuschwanstein Castle. All make for a wonderful trip on a Sunday.

3. Hiking

Or just walking. Germans love to ramble; I often see people walking through the (perfectly flat) centre of town with their Nordic walking poles - we're not exactly miles away from the Thüringen forest of fairy tales but we're not in the middle of it either. Anyway, hiking is a great way of getting out of the house and breathing fresh air. Even if you just end up sitting on a tree stump reading a book, it makes for better surroundings that 4 bare walls.

4. Be social

Now there's something I didn't expect myself to say seeing as I'd usually prefer to spend a day blogging alone, but I have to admit that sometimes you need to be around people. Sundays are perfect for going bowling or skating or having a picnic (weather permitting), or if you're not feeling too social, going to the cinema. And whilst we're on the topic of cinema, don't be afraid to take yourself! I did it for the first time this year and saw Er ist wieder da (Look Who's Back) and it was brilliant.

5. Discover somewhere new

All of the above can be done in the place you're living, but Sundays provide the perfect opportunity to escape somewhere else and experience somewhere new. It's not always successful, but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Take the Lonely Planet you will inevitably get before you leave and flick it open to a city you've never heard of, or go to the tourist office and find out what there is to do in the surrounding area.

With all that being said, don't feel pressured into doing something all the time whilst you're away. Being constantly on the go can be bad for your health, as I found out. This list is just to give you some ideas for those days where you want to do something.

If you have any questions you'd like answering, or any post ideas, then please let me know! Comment below or simply tweet me @readabilitea
Love to you all,
Zoe