Beware German holidays. We arrived here late in the day on a stormy Friday, a bit weary after a long day of flying, renting a car and negotiating city streets with different driving patterns and rules. After a deep sleep and a late start Saturday morning, we headed out to find a bit of breakfast and do some grocery shopping. We easily delved into our favorite German vittles – sausages, sauerkraut, stinky cheeses and the sort. We came home quite laden with goods. Or so we thought.

We had plenty of makings for Saturday and for Sunday morning. We planned to revisit the grocery Sunday for fresh bread and maybe a bit of fresh meat for dinner. We got to the shopping center, where there was a variety of stores in addition to the grocery. Not a car in sight. What’s going on? Aren’t stores open on Sunday in these modern times, at least the bakery? Nope. Closed up tight. What to do?

First, we had lunch out, and was it ever so good. For dinner we scarfed up the remains in our fridge. We hunkered down and waited for Monday to arrive.

Back to the store on Monday. What!! Again the parking lot was completely devoid of cars. Everything closed up tight as a trap. Now what?

A lone passerby came along. Eva hailed him down and asked what was going on. Oh, he said, Sunday was the Christian holiday Whitsuntide (Pfingsten). OK, that’s was fine, but Sunday is past. What now? Well, in Germany you get the next day off, too. Who were we to know? We don’t keep an eye on the Christian and German calendars. Our bad.

Now this passerby was a nice guy. He said, see over there, there’s a route through the big buildings. Take it and it will lead to a small restaurant. Prices are low and food good. So we followed his direction and wound our way among a number of high-rise apartments to a most tidy little restaurant located in a senior center complex. It is run by a nation-wide Protestant service organization, and although it caters to seniors there, it is open to the public as well, if they could even find the place.

Bottom line is – we had a fine lunch and the largest, yummies desserts you would ever want, for prices to rival anyone. We left so satisfied.

We returned to our flat, met our hosts, and inquired what to do next, since we needed some provisions for supper and breakfast. Not to worry, he said. Go to the local gas station (GAS STATION!), they have fresh bread and other items. Be it known that in Germany fresh bread is as necessary as oxygen.

We sought out the local Shell station. We went inside and found it to be as full of junk food as any 7-11 in the US. We were crestfallen. But, hey, over in the corner there was a display case. We ventured over and saw the it contained a couple of small loves of bread. A guy (grease mechanic?) behind the counter asked if he could help us. We were eager to grab one of the small boules of bread. But he hesitated, saying these were not too fresh. They had been there for an hour already. Would we like to wait for a fresh loaf? What!! Then we saw the oven behind the counter. More bread was being baked right there on the spot. Now that’s Germany for you. Standards, very high standards.

We decided to take the old, one hour stale, loaf and be on our way, amazed by it all.

Later, we made it through a delicious home-cooked dinner of veggies and bread. We slept well last night.