Ah, the days are getting colder again. I'm sat here in my little office in a sweater and a denim shirt on top and soon I'll start wearing gloves at the keyboard. Many German learners might be curious about what the country is like in the autumn, so I decided to share my top 5 things that I will miss about Germany this September and October along with a useful vocabulary list and exercises if you sign up for my new mailing list.
Deutschland im Herbst is a special place, and the listed items are my own personal priorities, but of course I know that you may want to add others (something about Munich and beer?), feel free to post your comments!
Traubenlese (grape harvest)
I come from the Mosel valley and my parents make wine and our whole autumn is a time of vineyard work and harvesting. The hills are completely covered in vines and at this time of the year you'll see tractors everywhere, people working away in the vineyards all day long, but the most significant thing is the scent: The whole place smells of harvest, of fresh grapes and freshly pressed grape juice. Many harvest teams don't even come home at lunchtime but have their lunch brought to them to save time, and enjoy good food with one of Germany's best views..and then back to work!
True to the harvest theme, the second thing autumn means to me is using all the orchard fruit in many new baked goodies. Der Apfelkuchen (apple cake) is one of the most popular recipes, it's easy to make and popular throughout the country. To recreate a true German atmosphere, cover the table in a good tablecloth, bring out the posh china and enjoy a big jug of coffee with the cakes - that's our Kaffee und Kuchen.
Herbstlaub (autumn leaves)
Germany has 30% arable land (that's land for crops) according to the CIA itself, and we can also show a wealth of forest. As a result, the country offers some great autumn colours throughout the country, from city park trees to fields and vineyards, and of course at their best when you're enjoying them over a glass of wine at sunset. Or is that just me?
Hint: For visitors, the Nationalpark Hainich offers a beautiful view of golden October.
Okay, these are not around every autumn but they made it into the 2013 autumn list because this year is an election year. Der Bundestag is the German parliament, which is elected every four years. Our election days usually fall on a Sunday and they obviously shape the mood and debate of the whole country. Will you be watching on 22 September when Germany decides who might be the next Bundeskanzler or Bundeskanzlerin? Learn more about this important event through Logo or start off in English with help from the BBC in the fun video above. Advanced German speakers should read more about the parties at the Wahl-o-Mat website.
Tag der deutschen Einheit
Germany's national holiday is on 3 October and celebrates our recent and modern history. As a country that was defeated in a war, divided in the middle of a cold war and then reunited, everyone in Germany warmly remembers den Mauerfall, the end of the Berlin wall. Even though our national holiday date wasn't chosen as the most significant date around, this day in autumn is still perfect for taking a step back and remembering how we got here (a good piece of advice for life, not just Germany). Have a look at the deutsch-deutsche Geschichte pages on Goethe.de for more information, and check out this cool pin on Pinterest with chocolate company Ritter Sport's unique take on German Einheit.
Don't forget to sign up for my mailing list to get your free vocabulary on Germany in autumn, including five exercises. To get feedback on your German, simply post your answers to these exercises in the comments for this article during the next week (deadline 25 September) and I will respond to your comment!