Five reasons to love Germany in autumn
September 1st may be the first day of autumn, but it's not all sad news for those living in Germany. Here are five reasons why we should welcome autumn with open arms.
There's no escaping it – as August fades to September, it's time to bid a sad farewell to what has been a scorching summer for most of Germany.
It's officially the end of meteorological summer - although calendar autumn doesn't begin for a few weeks yet.
Here at The Local, we're trying to live in denial for a bit longer. But when we finally come round to the fact that the German autumn is upon us, here are some things we'll be pretty pleased about as the leaves turn brown.
1. You don't feel emotionally obliged to buy ice cream after every meal.
Ice cream: always a good idea at the time. Photo: DPA
You know the feeling. You've just finished your sandwiches / salad / [insert healthy lunch] in the sun and are about to head back to the office. Then one of your colleagues utters that fatal phrase: "shall we get ice cream?"
What can you do? It's summer! It would feel wrong not to.
German ice cream is something special, we know. But after two months of frozen treats pretty much every day, here at The Local we've begun to wonder what this is doing to our waistline.
Bring on the autumn, and an end to the sugary temptation.
2. It's officially Lebkuchen season
At the Bahlsen factory in Berlin, the first Lebkuchen of the year are already being made. Photo: DPA
Well, something had to fill the ice-cream hole.
Need something to make you feel all warm and cuddly inside as the weather gets cooler? Forget about cinnamon-spiced lattes. Get your hands on a bit of German Christmas tradition.
It may seem ridiculously early – but preparation for the holiday season gets underway early here in the land of festive food.
Last Friday, cookie wizards Bahlsen starting rustling up the first batches of Lebkuchen (gingerbread) for this year's festive season.
And along with the Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars) and stollen, these Christmassy cookies will be gracing German shelves very soon.
If you needed an excuse to start getting excited about Christmas, this is probably it.
3. Auf Wiedersehen, wasps
Let them eat cake. They'll be gone soon, anyway. Photo: DPA
2015 has definitely been the Year of the Wasp in Germany. A short winter and warm spring saw numbers booming - and the colourful critters will probably keep us company well into September.
Anyone who's tried to eat outdoors here in the past couple of months will have found themselves under attack.
Wasps are notorious for their sweet tooth – but we've found that savoury is by no means safe. They'll just as happily go for your yoghurt, your cheese sandwiches or your chicken salad.
But as the weather gets chillier, we can wave a smug goodbye to our summer nemeses. Granted, we won't be dining al fresco that much once autumn really sets in, but still. Victory tastes sweet.
4. Die Kinder are back in school
Starting school is kind of a big deal in Germany. Photo: DPA
We're not grouches. Really. But as this year's bunch of backpack-wearing troopers disappear behind the school gates once again, life should get a whole lot more peaceful during the week.
Prepare to be overwhelmed with cuteness as you see first-graders heading off to school carrying their enormous Schultuten.
And above all, savour the fact that you can now take a quiet stroll in the park or enjoy a peaceful lunch in town knowing the kids are safely tucked away in classrooms.
5. Oktoberfest is on the way!
Are you ready for Oktoberfest 2015? Photo: DPA
It's the biggest event in the German autumnal calendar. If you haven't heard of it... well, we're impressed, but also a bit flabbergasted.
Contrary to what the name might suggest, the party kicks off in Munich on Saturday 19th September, and carries on until early October.
But if you can't make it down to the Bavarian capital, don't panic – Oktoberfest is pretty much a Germany-wide celebration, with festivals in most towns and cities.
So dust off your Dirndl and Lederhosen, and start practising your beer-balancing skills. Because you're going to need them soon.
By Hannah Butler