One thing we weren’t prepared for in Europe was holidays. Holidays where everything is closed.
Today is Halloween. In Georgetown, we were prepared with LOTS of candy. But here in Europe we didn’t think Halloween was really celebrated like it is in the US. Last year, we were in Austria. I remember walking along Mariahilfer Straße on Halloween and I saw a few young kids dressed in costumes. But I didn’t see any trick or treating.
This year, we are in Germany. I didn’t buy any Halloween candy. Tonight around 6pm, I heard a knock at our door. Chris went to see who was at the door and it was a trick or treater!!! Oh my goodness what a surprise!! I was SO excited but I was also really sad because today is also Reformation Day in Germany. On Reformation Day, EVERYTHING is closed. The grocery store. The corner quick mart. Did I say everything? So even if I wanted to walk up the street to get some candy, I am out of luck. Sadly, we had to turn off all of our lights and hang out in the back bedroom.
Last year in Austria, we learned pretty quickly to check out the holiday calendar. In Austria, almost everything is closed on Sunday. All of the stores you expect to be open are closed: all retail shops (Zara, Apple, Benetton, etc.), all major grocery stores and most bakeries and cafes. Some restaurants are open and some small quick marts are open. But what the quick marts sell on Sundays are limited and half of the store is usually roped off. So when you have a few holidays in a row like All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day and then a Sunday – you have THREE days where the grocery store is closed!
And last year our favorite grocery store was closed for two whole weeks around Christmas. Isn’t that crazy? I couldn’t imagine Publix in Florida closing for two whole weeks. People panic in Florida when Publix isn’t open after 4pm on Thanksgiving!
In honor of Halloween, here is James in his cute pumpkin costume from 2014.