This holiday season taught me something new about German traditions and pointed out at some differences between Germany and my home country.
1) Saint Stephen’s Day
26 December is a public holiday in Germany (and not only in Germany). Hence, supermarkets are closed. I knew that supermarkets were going to be closed on the 24th (Christmas Eve), the 25th (Christmas) and the 27th of December 2015 (Sunday). I bought enough food, nevertheless I hoped to get some snacks on Saturday (26 December). That was the time when Google kindly reminded me that Saint Stephen’s Day might affect the opening hours of supermarkets. Supermarkets were closed. For those of you who did not hear about St. Stephen’s Day before, be prepared that supermarkets in Germany are closed for 3-4 days in a row during Christmas holidays. 2015 taught me to buy food in advance. Fortunately, I have heard, that when everything else is closed, you can get some bread, eggs and things like that at gas stations (be ready to overpay).
During these holidays I went to play bowling. Surprisingly, one must book a lane in advance in order to play bowling in a small city we live in. Plus, here you pay not per hour, but per player and per game. One hour of bowling cost us 16 euro, even though in Berlin one can pay per hour and enjoy bowling for 12 euro. Baden–Württemberg definitely seems to be more expensive, than other Bundesländer. Here, we did not get single-use socks together with bowling shoes and we had to figure out how a special bowling ‘computer’ works. Thankfully, there was an English menu too (just like at ATMs here, just remember that German Sprachauswahl stands for English ‘select a language’).
(Here is an English version)
3) January 6 is also a public holiday in some parts of Germany.
Supermarkets are closed (again). Epiphany is celebrated on the 6th of January. After moving to Germany I finally learned more about this Christian feast day. Earlier, the word ‘Epiphany’ was in my passive dictionary.
I also found out that many Germans like to take some time off from work during these days (from the 24th of December till the 7th of January or a bit longer).
4) übertragbar /nicht übertragbar
Who would think that in the official German language an adjective übertragbar can stand after a noun and create a certain confusion for foreigners?
There are many types of bus tickets one can get in Germany. Additionally, there are many regulations about those tickets. As for me, I got an Abokarte. On top of my card it is said: nicht übertragbar. Once, reading the rules about Mitnahmeregelung at a bus stop I saw the following: ‘Bei Tagesticket Gruppe, Monatskarte und Jahres-Abo übertragbar dürfen montags bis freitags ab 19.00 Uhr, samstags, sonn- und feiertags ganztägig bis zu vier Personen mitgenommen werden.’
I read it carelessly without thinking that the adjective in the end relates to my Abokarte. In addition, a bus driver agreed with me once, that I could take a person on my ticket due to Sunday. So, many times I thought I could bring my husband with me for free. Well, last Sunday we went for a trip and a bus driver pointed out that only with an übertragbar ticket I am allowed to take someone with me. The price difference between übertragbar and nicht übertragbar tickets is about 5 euro. It is worth to upgrade, believe me. Also, pay attention for how many Waben you pay. I have been charged for two Waben, even though my Abokarte was valid for one of them. I did not pay attention to that and overpaid. Public transportation in Germany can be confusing.
Meanwhile, I am very happy my husband rented a car for tomorrow, so we can escape all the hustle and bustle to see a castle. 🙂