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Spring calling: the best time to visit Germany?

If you have the luxury to pick your own time-slot for coming to Germany, you are one lucky soul. Each season brings with it, its own set of unique experiences from regional food, festivals, the look and feel of the place, the weather (of course ;)) and the activities you can undertake as well as the events of the season. Lets start with spring. That would be in the months of April and May.


The weather


The breeze is often cool during the day and cold at night. On warm days the temperatures reach 22-24 Degrees. They can also fall to below 10 degrees or even zero on others (yikes!!). A hooded all-weather jacket is a valued asset at this time of the year.

The north of Germany is often extremely windy and cloudy with quite some drizzles. The weather gets more unpredictable as you approach the coast.

Smells like spring


We the residents, are quite euphoric at this time of the year. After a cold, barren winter there are hints of green in the nature. It is time to get out of our homes. Over the years, many of the grandmoms I have come to know here, have exclaimed delight at the sight of tiny white flowers called Schneeglöckchen (Schnee: snow, Glöckchen: bells). Their coming to life is considered to symbolize the arrival of spring.


There is a vast array of flowers and colour that pops up starting with April: from the roadside tulip-beds, alleys lined by white and pink cherry tree blossoms, sunflowers for sell in the local market, to the magnificent blossoms of Magnolia trees (Magnolia blossom just for a week or two in April). The spectacle is hard to miss whilst going through residential areas as most homes have gardens facing the streets or the parks and Botanical Gardens of the city host a bunch of them too. The most adorable home-gardens I feel, are in the villages of Germany.


Magnolia Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms


The Food


Small wooden stalls shaped like a strawberry and painted like one, appear on the street-side at this time of the year. They bring fresh farm produce to you: asparagus and strawberries. During this season, all German restaurants will serve Asparagus: in the form of cream soup or as boiled vegetable with boiled potatoes and sauce hollandaise. Grilled salmon or Schnitzel (a big slice of pan-fried chicken or pork) are great accompaniments. Even salads include strawberries. White wine is the preferred drink for spring meals.


A meal of Asparagus at home



This is also the time when the regional ice-cream stores open their doors. The bakeries sell cakes topped with strawberries and custard or layered with strawberry cream.


You can enjoy a hot coffee and cake al fresco at the bakery itself. Or you can do what I do: parcel a few different pieces of cake and share it with my family and friends at home. It is a cherished afternoon ritual.











Spring is also the start of Grill Season and bonfires. Please do not start your own fire. There are strict rules about that here. You can get a disposable grill available at any supermarket (it is an aluminium tray with charcoal on it, topped with a wire mesh to grill on & you will need matchsticks) or use the one from the apartment you rent, if they have one. Many do. There will be grill events in the city or waterside restaurants offering a grill-buffet in big cities. Else maybe you get lucky with your Airbnb host.


Evening of Bonfire


Lets get moving


The waters are still very cold at this time of the year. Yet a few enthusiasts do get into lakes and the sea for a swim. The others carry a picnic to the nearest park, lake or riverbank. Still, May has some really warm days. So you would be delighted if you have swimwear with you. For us, it is time to move out, sit on the terrace of a restaurant and maybe even sip a cocktail. There will be blankets on your chair or you can receive one on request.


Lakeside in the Harz Mountains (North/central Germany)


If you are travelling by car, you are bound to encounter yellow landscapes encompassed by fields of canola. There are roadside tulip plantations near cities. Here you can do your own Tulip picking.


Tulip fields close to Bremerhaven (North Germany)

Easter


It is a lovely time, where almost all home gardens host trees and bushes with hanging colored eggs. Easter being a family festival, I was lucky to be invited to some Easter Sundays. The children search for hidden Easter eggs and there is a never ending amount of food. A typical traditional lunch (depending on the family tradition) comprises of boiled potatoes, asparagus, Rouladen (german Beef dish), baked fish and of course boiled eggs, followed by at least 5 different types of cake and coffee. If you weren't fast enough with your meal, you can continue to sit at the dinner table. Where you will be served supper- Abendbrot (Abend: Evening, Brot: Bread): a meal with different types of anti-pasti and spreads which accompany the bread.



As a tourist, you are bound to see Easter decorations in the city. Chocolate bunnies wrapped in golden foil and bound with red ribbons are quite in demand. The Easter sunday and monday evenings are known for Easter Fires. In cities like Bremen the Easter Fire is also accompanied by a display of fireworks (It takes place at Cafe Sand). Do check out the event and firework calendar of the place you are visiting. There will be beer, pommes (fingerchips) and wurst (sausage) stands at the fire. You will also have the company of hundreds of people attending it.


Easter Fire in a village


If you decide on visiting the north or Baltic sea in spring, it is best spent hiking or biking along the coast. The mountains in the south are very pleasant and open for tourists. All of which are wonderful experiences. Also April is the season for tulips for our neighbouring country- Holland. Remember though, the rates of flights and accommodation in winter months of Jan - March will be cheaper. As vacation season begins officially with the end of March.


If you decide to visit in spring, I hope you receive many sunny days to accompany you on your trip! :):)

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