My madcap adventures in Germany during my year as a Fulbright Scholar.

29 October 2006

Long Night of Shopping

Oh, those Germans.

On Saturday evening I went to my favorite place in the whole world to buy some thread (I had some mending to do). I rushed to get there before it closed at 8:00 (everything in this country closes at 8; it's the law); I was in such a hurry I didn't even take time to marvel at the massive crowds on Kurfürstendamm and wonder why, literally, thousands of people were on Berlin's main shopping boulevard ten minutes before closing time. I reached the store at 7:53, only to notice a sign on the door proclaiming October 28 "Die Lange Nacht des Shoppings."

Gratuitous use of English aside, I'm actually a big fan of this concept. The stores were open 'til midnight. Midnight! That's just unheard of in this country. Stores generally have to close by 8:00 p.m. (except for Hauptbahnhof and the bookstore on Friedrichstraߟe which stays open 'til 10) and are only allowed to be open four Sundays a year, for no more than five hours, and only outside of the times of normal church services. (Seriously.)

After stocking up on thread, I went to H&M and bought a cardigan and two sweaters at 8:45, just because I could. (Well, and also because I'm always cold in this country, largely due to the fact that a German's first action upon entering a room is to throw open a window, regardless of both the inner and outer temperatures.) It felt absolutely decadent to be shopping so late.

It was pretty, too. There's some kind of "Festival of Lights" going on right now. (Go here and look for a stunning picture of the Berliner Dom bathed in light.) I don't quite understand it, but there are twinkle lights in all the trees:

I actually wouldn't mind if they kept it up all year. It might counteract the utterly depressing fact the sun sets so damn early here in fall and winter.

So, after buying my thread, my sweater and snapping a few photos, I went home to be domestic and mend the handful of garments I had waiting for me. Irony of ironies, I had to use my new thread to mend my brand new sweater.

(Note to the staff at H&M, keeping in mind Webster's defines "to knit" as "to form by interlacing yarn or thread in a series of connected loops with needles" and knowing this is done with a single, continuous thread throughout, you should be able to infer that when you puncture the thin thread with a security tag, even if it only destroys one or two stitches, you will cause severe structural damage to the garment. Idiots.)

  • Shopping is fun.
  • Security tags, and the H&M personnel who put two of them on a $10 sweater, suck.
  • Twinkle lights are pretty.
  • Although the Long Night of Shopping has its advantages, it can't hold a candle to The Long Night of the Museums.

(What can I say, other than that I'm a complete nerd?)


Anonymous Carolyn Taylor said...

Maureen: I just love reading your blog. I almost feel like I'm there. I for sure am getting a much better feel for the culture.

4:23 PM


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