German Terms for Holiday: Urlaub, Reise, Kurzreise, Wochenendausflug, Tagesausflug

When your average German goes on summer holidays, it is usually for a minimum of one week, and can last up to four weeks.

As one of my friends once stated, ‘Anything less than three weeks is not good for relaxing!’ or ‘Weniger als drei Wochen lohnt sich nicht!’ (less than three weeks isn’t worth it).

An Asian friend told me in German, she would be going on a holiday “Wir fahren in Urlaub”. When I asked her about it in more detail, it turned out to be a one-day trip…

Well, this holiday question depends on your cultural and social background. The Americans I knew while working in the States usually took a one-week holiday. The Asians I know also take a week off in the summer. So, in regards to our different perception of what a holiday is, we need to break it down the German way.

Urlaub (holiday): anywhere from one to four weeks

Kurzurlaub (short holiday): three to five days

StÀdtereise (city trip): three or four days to a European capital city

Reise am langen Wochenende (long weekend trip): weekend with a public holiday either on Friday or Monday

Wochenendausflug (weekend trip): Saturday and Sunday

Tagesausflug (day trip): one day only

When Germans have so many paid vacation days (30 days per year) and 13 public holidays to add to it, of course the vocabulary gets bigger and more detailed.

When a German tells you he’s going on holiday, he really means it. 🙂

“Have a good trip!” in German: Gute Reise!

Biarritz, France

Taken on our two-week summer holiday in Biarritz in 2012.

German Word of the Day: der Dorfweiher

Hundreds, in same cases a thousand years ago, most villages had a little pond in the center. Back then, most houses were made from wood and covered with straw, which posed a substantial fire hazard.

Each village generally had a Löschweiher* (a.k.a. Löschteich, Feuerlöschteich oder Feuersee), or in English: firewater pond, pond with water used for firefighting.

This one we found in the village of VasbĂŒhl (Werneck). I was pleased to discover a remaining village pond. Over the years, many of them have been filled to make space for other facilities.

A long time ago, the village pond was also essential as a water source for cattle on its way home from the fields. Women also used to wash their laundry there. Wash machines did not come to Germany until 1951. My mother got her first wash machine in 1965, I believe.

Not so long ago, when we were children, we had fun skating on frozen ponds. This was very popular in the 1960s.

Nowadays in VasbĂŒhl, with the fire brigade having a central water supply, it still sits right next to the pond.

This is Saint Florian, the patron saint of the fire department.

 

German Word of the Day: das Seifenkistenrennen

The first Seifenkistenrennen (soapbox racing) was held in …

Seifenkistenrennen

German Lesson: der Sauerampfer

Many years ago, my best Korean friend, Heajin, showed me all the edible greens around here in Oberursel. While taking walks, she pointed to this ‘weed’ and that ‘weed’ and how to prepare it, how expensive herbs like these are in Korea, and much more. Unfortunately, I did not take notes, and I had no camera of my own.

Back then, about 20 years ago, all that edible weed sounded almost too wild for me to give it a try. Here we are now – going back to nature, and away from processed foods.

The only weed I remember eating as a child is Sauerampfer (sorrel), which grows by the wayside in abundance. The young leaves taste the best.

Sauerampfer

Sauerampfer

I will give this plant another try by preparing it the Korean way (Korean pancake: pajeon 파전)

 

German Term for the Day: die KatzenwÀsche

Cats regularly clean themselves throughout the day. Right now, we are in the middle of a drought (die DĂŒrre), and need to preserve water. Hence, live more like a cat.

KatzenwÀsche

Besides the daily shower, I had taken extra ones throughout the day, but the City of Oberursel sent out a notification to ask us to preserve water for the coming days/weeks.

This means, I still get to take my daily shower, but during the other times of the day, I have to contend with a KatzenwÀsche.

Definition: kurzes, oberflÀchliches Waschen (a short and perfunctory washing of the body)

Beispiel: Ich bin spĂ€t dran fĂŒr die Arbeit. Ich habe keine Zeit fĂŒr eine Dusche. Ich mache eine schnelle KatzenwĂ€sche.

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