A lot of American tourists are frustrated by Sunday in Germany. However, I was always very appreciative of the sentiment, even if it was a bit limiting. It is still limiting for someone trying to settle in to a new town. But it still gives a much needed break.
See, everything is closed on Sunday in Germany. Depending on the area, the extent will vary. In Bavaria, the most traditional and Catholic of the states, it is absolute. Restaurants can be open if they choose, and public transportation runs. Of course emergency services are available. Other than that, nothing.
It is actually kind of funny. Unlike in Minnesota, we can buy alcohol in the grocery store here. But like Minnesota, we still have to make sure to do it before Sunday. Simply because nothing is open to buy liquor!
The small shops in the Altstadt are closed, and the big department and grocery stores are closed. Twice I’ve been in a town with a large mall (once in Bavaria and once in a state in East Germany), and even that is closed.
So what do you do on a Sunday in Germany?
Well, even though few Germans actually go to church, that is of course an option. Today we attended our first mass at what will be our home parish. This is what it looks like from the inside, a bit before mass started. No big deal:
Unfortunately, this was a special service commemorating the inclusion of this church, St. Martin, in the pilgrimage for St. Martin that goes through this area. It was an hour and a half long! But they had a wonderful choir, band, and organ playing. Afterwards, related to this pilgrimage somehow, they served bread and drinks in Kirchplatz (the street around the church) to be shared among the parishioners.
We started our afternoon by watching Sound of Music. It was a chilly fall day. Perfect for curling up under the blankets with a movie. Both during intermission (that movie is so long it actually has one) and after the movie, we went for walks. First we explored a side of town we never visited, and next we took a walk through Jordan Park, investigating the sound we could hear from our apartment.
That sound was a hockey game, happening in the stadium that is right on Jordan Park, fairly close to our apartment. It was loud! I can’t even imagine how loud it must have been on the inside. But hey, there’s something we learned you can do on Sundays: go to sporting events.
We played on the playground equipment a bit and William took pictures of swans. They we just went back home and relaxed, went to bed early in preparation for our early morning on Sunday.
All in all, a nice, relaxing day. And not having internet certainly made us be more creative about how we spent it.