Summer in a small German town

A heat wave has hit Germany in the last two days. The US weather service had predicted that Germany would reach an all-time high of 45 degrees. The German weather service didn’t believe them and predicted a maximum of 39 degrees. The actual temperature today, we reached 36 degrees here. I heard someone on the radio say that the body felt like 42 degrees. I think the person who said that must not have really experienced how hot 42 degrees would be, he just thought that it was much hotter than 36 degrees for the last two days, after all, it was still a comfortable 22 degrees even two days ago. Tomorrow there is said to be a rainstorm and the temperature then drops back down to 26 degrees.

It is common in German summers for it to be 26 degrees, sometimes with a coat in the early morning and evening, and with such stable temperatures for a week, it will definitely rain to cool things down a bit. Many years ago I was looking forward to living in a place with heating in winter and not too hot in summer. This expectation took me to a small, clean, beautiful town in west-central Germany, near the Netherlands, which, as it happens, is not too hot in summer and heated in winter.

The not-so-hot summer months are the most beautiful time of the year in Germany. The daylight hours are particularly long and it is only at 10pm that the sun sets and the land cools off. In the morning, before 6am, the sky is already covered with red hues and the clear air echoes with birdsong.

But for a good summer experience of beaches, swimming and bikinis, temperatures like these in Germany are just too low. I once took my children on a summer holiday in the North Sea and they jumped into the water and immediately turned around and ran out, shouting that the water was too cold.

And the neighbouring countries, Spain, Greece and Italy, all have the proud sunshine which attracts the ultra holiday-loving Germans. A total of six weeks of fully paid holidays, 30 days a year, amicably supports the surrounding tourism industry. The long, wet and cold autumn and winter months from September to March are the most common in Germany. The country’s unusually colourful autumn somewhat offsets the gloom and doom of the season, but the desire for sunshine cannot be denied and they will fly out for a little holiday at any opportunity. According to statistics, there are 40 flights a day from Germany to the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca, and what German would say no to two hours of running around in the sun? The hotels are like being in Germany, from the reception desk to the children’s mini disco at night, all speaking German, and it often seems like you get lost in the feeling that this is not Spain, or Portugal or Egypt, but Germany, sun-drenched Germany.

But back in Germany, when the temperature rises and the kids can play in the water, it’s just as perfect.

When I took the kids out for ice cream in town yesterday afternoon, it didn’t feel stuffy at all in the shade and there was an occasional breeze blowing through. It was really sunny walking in the sun, but there were still so many people enjoying themselves in the sun, drinking beer on the steps and laughing and talking.

The fountain square was alive with the sound of children weaving in and out of a clump of water columns, laughter blending with the sound of the water, making life come alive instantly. Pedestrians walk alongside, and old people sit around drinking coffee, eating ice cream and enjoying their old age. Every time I sit here comfortably, spoonful after spoonful, eating the ice cream in my hand, watching the children running back and forth, climbing up and down on a big rock in the shade, I find the moment very healing.

When we are working, we are fully committed, determined and persistent. After work, it’s all back to relaxation and leisure.

This is not a place to roll, this is a place to enjoy life.


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