August 2008


Supermarkt Stadt

One aspect of life in Weimar stands in stark contrast to every place else I’ve ever lived: Supermarket Access.

From where I sit, as I write this at home, there are at least 4 supermarkets that I can think of within a ten minute walk: REWE, Netto, Aldi, and Edeka. If you add five more minutes to the walk time, you can hit two more REWEs. Make it a total twenty minute walk and you have a total of Three REWEs, one Netto, two Aldis, two Edekas (including a Hercules location), one Tegut, plus a half dozen fruit stands, a couple gas station shops, a dozen beverage shops, and more bakeries than I can possibly count.

And I’m willing to bet that I’ve undercounted the true number.

Sure it’s possible to walk to grocery stores in the three American cities I’ve lived in, but the closest shops were a 20 minute (Bloomington, Indiana), 40 minute (Laramie, Wyoming), or 50 minute (Denver, Colorado) walk from where I lived.

I point this out because I’ve had the pleasure this past month of watching another grocery store rise out of the vacant lot next to the train station where I wait each morning.

This October, to ensure that all my shopping needs are met, Lidl will open its doors with its bargain basement pricing giving me my tenth supermarket within a twenty minute walk–compared to one within a 20 minute walk of my home in Bloomington, and none in Laramie or Denver.

It is mind boggling and I like it.

I can remember the last time I walked to the supermarket in Denver, with my Father. It was after a blizzard and the streets hadn’t been plowed, so walking was the only feasible way. I was a little kid, and I remember that he, at some point, had to pull me on the sled. I also remember, for some reason, that when I did walk, at some point I walked into a pole–the kind that holds up street signs in America.

Other than that, in America, the car has carried me to and from the supermarket.

It also means I live a radically different lifestyle: here I go to the supermarket two or three times a week, shopping for a few days at a time (with a full larder in the event of a blizzard), while in the states, I used to go shopping once, getting two or three weeks worth of food at a time.

Life’s better here.

At least on this count.

3 comments to Supermarkt Stadt

  • I hope I get my passport soon. I think I’d like this style of living.

    Can I bring P along?

  • We’re also very fortunate in Victoria: the Market on Yates (http://www.marketonyates.com/yates/index.html ) is within a 1-minute walk of our building, and it carries a wide variety of local, organic, and ‘mainstream’ groceries. Like you, I find myself shopping at least 2-3 times each week. Another supermarket, Wellburn’s, can be reached via a 10-minute walk, and a smaller ‘mini grocer’ can be reached via a 2-minute walk. Also, there are at least a dozen independent bakeries within a 10-15 minute walking radius of our home (including two bagel bakeries). 🙂

  • tqe / Adam

    @CQ: Please do.

    @Jerry: I did once live down the alley from the original Bloomington Co-Op, but i found their pricing too expensive for my day-to-day shopping. It probably wouldn’t stop me today, but I’ve altered a lot of different things about my day-to-day lifestyle in the last decade!