Wait, has summer finally sent its temperatures and autumn its colours here in Germany? It’s been a crazy few weeks over here with nature cranking up its rainbow of shades. I have just come back from a nature getaway into the Thuringian Forest, a mountain range in the centre of the country. Autumn is my favourite of all four seasons (though I don’t mind the others). But the more I travel, the more I know I shouldn’t take anything for granted. Each country has its own specialities and Germany is no exception. So how do we celebrate autumn in Germany?
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Autumn Forest Walks
Even after having lived in Germany most of my life, I never get tired of autumn walks. (Germans love going for walks, it’s a sure sign you’ve lived in Germany for a while if you ask for a “Spaziergang”). Of course, you have to get out and enjoy the warm early autumn days as long as you have a chance. Autumns in Germany can be cold and chilly with foggy days and rain. So when the sun pokes it’s shiny head around and the clouds take off, go out! If you need some inspiration of where to go, check out these suggestions:
- Read this! Altes Land – Germany’s Apple Region
- Read this! Hiking Trails in and around Jena
- Read this! 30 Dreamy Castles in Germany
Collecting chestnuts is a popular among kids (and I still love doing it when I have time). For one, chestnuts fresh from their shell are super smooth and feel just amazing. I rub them in my hands until their shine disappears, I am crazy like that. Once you are ready to let go, you take a small chestnut screw and make holes in them. In those holes you attach halves of match sticks and combine chestnuts to one another. This way you can make small figurines, snakes, whatever you feel like it.I once made a small Shakespeare figure like that. So you see, you can build whatever your nerd heart wishes.
This is another one for the kids and a thing I haven’t done in ages. The best way is to make them yourself. Grab a kid – with permission – to get an excuse to make one. (Fun fact: I once won a kit making contest in primary school.) Build a frame like a cross out of small wood planks or twigs and stretch firm paper or an old plastic bag over it. Attach a cord with ribbons, paint the kite and off you go. If you’re lazy, you can buy one.
This is a must for me. I can never get enough (hot) chocolate. Be it autumn or not, but this time around it’s the best when you don’t have to heat your cocoa so much that it burns your tongue (cause you think that since It’s so cold outside, it will be fine. It never is.) We don’t really put marshmallows in over here, just so you know. Maybe add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Read this! How to Make Swedish Chokladbollar (Coco Chocolate Pralines)
- Read this! How to Make Swedish Kladkaka (Runny Chocolate Cake)
Carving out pumpkins has become a trend over here as well. And don’t I love it! I love to make the cheekiest looking pumpkins and then turn the innards into soup. There are so many different kinds of pumpkin soup. But my little secret is to throw in iced butter in the end and then puree it. It gets super creamy this way. Since we don’t have pumpkin flavour on everything like in the USA, all we have is pumpkin soup. So make the most of it!
Another one for the kid – o those who want to try – are lampion trains. You get a paper lampion that is attached to a stick with a candle holder. You light a candle and fold the lampion around it. Then you parade slowly through the night. Be careful not to burn the paper or have the wind blow out the light. It usually turns into somewhat a struggle this way, so better do it on a windstill night. I guess I need to go out and get a lampion now.
Come on, you do it, too. Colourful leaves are just the best and autumn in Germany wouldn’t be the same without them. You can collect them for placing in decorative bowls with twigs and scented spices. Or you dry them in old newspaper and use as stamps for decorating cards in case you’re into DIY.
Cosy Book Corner
If you have access to a fireplace, get an armchair and get comfortable. I love reading books when it gets chilly and cold outside during autumn in Germany. Books are the perfect way to travel far away in your mind. The fireplace will help with warm thoughts. You could pull out old photo books from your travels as well. Alternatively, you could start turning your brochures and tickets from your trips into memories. I love making scrapbooks. It’s the best souvenir and also very relaxing.
- Read this! How to Keep Your Memories Forever without Taking a Single Photo
- Read this! Awesome Souvenirs from around the World Worth Buying
Windy Beach Strolls
If you are anywhere near the coast during autumn in Germany, you will not have to battle masses of tourists. Sure, it will be constantly windy and chilly but it will be beautiful. Picture dramatic storm clouds, windswept trees by rugged coasts and orange trees up on white cliffs. If you happen to see clouds part at dusk, you are in for a treat. Autumn sunsets are simply the best!
I am no fan of mushrooms but if you are, then you might as well go out into the forests and collect some. Make sure you know which ones are ok to pick, you wouldn’t want any inedible ones in your basket.