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

Städtereise (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. ūüôā

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

Biarritz, France

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

German Term for the Day: die Katzenwäsche

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

Katzenwäsche

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 Katzenwäsche.

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

Beispiel: Ich bin sp√§t dran f√ľr die Arbeit. Ich habe keine Zeit f√ľr eine Dusche. Ich mache eine schnelle Katzenw√§sche.

German Ice Cream Dish: das Spaghettieis

With sunny weather approaching, you might want to treat yourself and your child/children to one of Germany’s most popular desserts: Spagetthieis¬† [ Épaňą…°…õtiňĆa…™s]

Do it yourself: Pile some whipped cream onto a plate. Squeeze vanilla ice cream through a Spaetzle Press, completely covering the whipped cream. Then top with your favorite strawberry dessert sauce.
Add coconut flakes, blanched slivered almonds, or white chocolate shavings to simulate Parmesan cheese.
Almost every ice-cream parlor (Eiscafé) serves this. Guten Appetit!

German Terms of the Day: die Steuern und Abgaben

Newcomers often mention Germany’s high prices when it comes to labor costs and products. One one hand, some employees enjoy good benefits, and let’s not forget the many kinds of taxes employers in Germany have to pay.

Let’s take a pub owner and the list of applicable taxes and shares he has to pay:

  • Schankerlaubnis (public entertainment license), Getr√§nkesteuer (alcoholic beverage tax), Vergn√ľgungssteuer (entertainment tax), Mehrwertsteuer (value-added tax or VAT), Einkommenssteuer (income tax), Verm√∂genssteuer (property tax/personal tax), Grundverm√∂genssteuer (immovable property tax), Gewerbekapitalsteuer (trade capital tax), Gewerbeertragssteuer (tax on profits), Lohnsteuer (payroll tax), Lohnnebenkosten (nonwage labor costs), Hundesteuer (dog license fee), Kapitalertragssteuer (capital returns tax);

 

  • Add the employer’s obligatory share of his employees’ Krankenversicherung (health insurance), Pflegeversicherung (long term care insurance), Berufsgenossenschaft (employers’ liability insurance coverage), Familienausgleichskasse (family compensation fund), Invalidenversicherung (disability insurance), Angestelltenversicherung (employees’ insurance), Arbeitslosenversicherung (unemployment insurance), Lebensversicherung (life insurance);

 

  • Feuerversicherung (fire insurance), Einbruchsversicherung (burglary insurance), Unfallversicherung (accident insurance), Haftpflichtversicherung (liability insurance), Solidarit√§tszuschlag (solidarity tax), Rechtsschutzversicherung (legal protection insurance), Industrie-und Handelskammer (chamber of industry and commerce);

 

  • The owner also has to pay his monthly expenses for Gas (gas heating),¬† Wasser (water), Elektrizit√§t (electricity), Heizung (heating), M√ľllabfuhr (garbage collection), Schornsteinfeger (chimney sweep), Telefon (phone charges), Zeitungen (newspaper subscriptions), Zeitschriften (magazines), Radio- und Fernsehengeb√ľhren (quarterly payment for radio and television licensing fees), Gesellschaft f√ľr musikalische Auff√ľhrungs- und mechanische Vervielf√§ltigungsrechte or GEMA (performing rights society), etc.

I had read somewhere that a village pub about 30kms north of here had to close its doors. Paying a monthly fee of euro 700, so his guests could watch sport shows, was no longer feasible.

If you have a dog, you also have to pay the Hundesteuer (dog license fee).

I believe we all should pay our tax with a smile. 

I tried, but they wanted cash.

What Germans Traditionally eat on New Year’s Day

Traditionally, we eat pork (simmered pork knuckle, Bratwurst, or smoked pork chops) and Sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Eating Sauerkraut is especially important, as it promises a financially good new year.

Eisbein

In some rural areas, you might also find the Eierring or Eierweck on the kitchen table. Many years ago, families had to pre-order the Eierring days in advance to make sure to get one. Fewer and fewer bakeries sell these nowadays, as demand has gone down for this traditional form of bread. The Eierring, with its round shape, is similar to the horse shoe, another good luck charm.

Eierring in Franconia (northern Bavaria)

Growing up, I remember having the Eierring on New Year’s Eve (while it is still fresh) and mulled wine. Whatever was left, we had on New Year’s Day as it was supposed to be.

Same with the pork and Kraut – we had it for dinner this evening, and will have the remainder tomorrow, on New Year’s Day as it is meant to be.

Have a great New Year’s Eve, wherever you are!

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