November 2004


German Sundays

Despite having lived in Germany for three and a half months, I am still firmly in the United States on Sundays. What do I mean by that? Well, I woke up this morning at 7 – a direct consequence of going to bed at 9 last night, and had to restrain myself. I managed to restrain myself until 11 when I grabbed my backpack, put some papers in it, my laptop and headed out the door.

My first stop was a Mexican restaurant here in Weimar: El Burrito. My plan was the eat lunch there, do my German homework, and then make my way to Café Laden, the coffee shop that I seem to spend a lot of time in here in Weimar.

Of course, I ran into an immediate problem- it didn’t open until noon. If this had been America, I would have killed time by wandering into Borders and looking at books. Of course this isn’t America, and, ignoring the fact that I can’t read the books in the bookstore, the bookstore wasn’t open.

And I do not mean that the bookstore wasn’t open yet, I mean that the bookstore is not open on Sundays. In fact, not much is open on Sundays in Weimar, or much of Germany. I wanted the streets of Weimar and the only shop that was open beyond a few cafés was a flower-shop?and that was only one out of a half dozen flower shops that I passed.

Somehow I managed to kill the hour and made my way back to the Mexican restaurant, in which I learned a lesson I had already learned but failed to absorb-not the KISS principle I have recently mentioned, but the MFES principle. In short: Mexican Food in Europe Sucks. I have yet to have Mexican food outside of the United States that I’m ready and willing to eat again. I still have bad memories of the Mexican food in Greenwich, England (MT will remember that one-the one with green peas in the burrito–see Nov 22nd). The attempt in Amsterdam with my Father and CW met with adequate, but not inspiring results. I’m pretty sure that I have blotted another attempt at Mexican food from my memory-but I’m not sure.

Today’s effort resulted in disgusting Chicken Fajitas. For some reason the Chicken/Peppers portion of the dish came out in a heavy and disgusting brown liquid instead of the crisp dish that is more typical in the United States.

The good news was that I did manage to complete my German homework-not that it took me that long-I spent about 15 minutes on it, although I have another portion of the assignment to go.

From there I made my way over to Café Laden, the aforementioned coffee shop. Here (where I am now), I tackled the English on a paper, while enjoying a couple Café Lattes and the overall atmosphere of the joint. It’s a rather small place: 5 tables, plus two seats at the bar, plus a display of beans and machines for sale. I’m under the impression that they would do better if they eliminated some of their merchandise (or better organized it) and put in at least one more table.

In fact, this part of Sunday is just about perfect. Sitting here, writing an entry for the blog, drinking warm drinks, and enjoying the atmosphere: this is a perfect German Sunday. The only thing that would make it even better is listening to “This American Life” on the radio-something that’s not possible here.

One of the things I find myself doing frequently is forgetting how far away America is from me. There are several times that I have woken up early here in Weimar, gone off and had a busy day: taken a bike ride, gone shopping in Erfurt, taken a long walk, read a lot of papers, and then thought to myself that I should call Mom and Dad back home in Denver. I then look at my clock and realize that it is only 2 or 3 in the afternoon, which would be 6 or 7 in the morning back there-a bit on the early side to call (although given my parents waking times, perhaps not, but you get the idea-it is too early on the weekend to call my siblings or my non-European friends).

6 comments to German Sundays

  • IUMike

    Ironically enough, I’m reading this entry on Sunday morning as I listen to This American Life. David Sedaris is talking about a trip to visit his sister.

  • mt

    Lucky you. I wish we had a non-strip mall coffee shop around here – one that closer than the Penny Lane. *Sigh*

  • Hmmmm… Penny Lane… One of Evansville’s highlights.

    I need a Cafe Latte right now… too bad its not possible.

  • ChrisC

    Sounds like Germany is like the US south; just try doing anything in the south on a Sunday. It’s one of the difficulties of my existence since I work in one state and live in another. Any state business I have to do must be done during the 2-3 hours SOME state offices are open on Saturday, usually early in the morning.

    I’ve got to move to a blue state, but I don’t think Bryan will go for it.

  • Sundays tend to be my least favorite day of the week because things tend to close early or not open at all, even in a major city like Chicago.

    I did have an outstanding Mexican dinner in San Antonio with friends on Oct. 28, proving that one of the few redeeming features of my birth city is its culinary heritage. I’m fond of telling my mother that the other redeeming feature of San Antonio is its airport because it enables a rapid escape from the city. 🙂

  • ChrisC

    I think the airport in my community (GSO) is the one redeeming feature of the area as well for the same reason Jerry cited for SAT. Oddly this is the same airport that permitted smoking EVERYWHERE in the terminal but wouldn’t let you chew gum there. This was even riduculed on, “The Daily Show.”