One of the things that I got very used to living in London was the unpredictable weather. Rain or shine, you always took your umbrella out with you, and the decision over whether to got for a cheap one which would blow inside out after three goes and require buying another, or splash out on an expensive one with a week’s worth of pay and have it blow inside out after six goes, was a question we constantly asked ourselves and one another. This was equally the case in summer and winter. For the first time I owned a winter coat and one pair of socks wouldn’t cut it – again, this was the case at some points of the summer as well as throughout the winter as we bemoaned the death of our favourite season from our lives and sunk another pint at the pub.
It’s well documented that London’s summer leaves much to be desired. I always loved Nick Hornby’s description of a pub’s outdoor area in England in his book ‘A Long Way Down’:
“I took her outside on to a little roof terrace that looked like it never got the sun at nay time of the day or year, but there was a picnic table and a grill out there anyway. Those little grills are everywhere in England, right? To me they’ve come to represent the triumph of hope over circumstance, seeing as all you can do is peer at them out the window through the pissing rain.”
I think the best part about this quote is that it actually represents the entirety of summer in London; while it is as unpredictable as the winter in terms of weather, and will only bring you a collective couple of weeks of pure joy, when it does the Londoners come out in full force to sunbathe in the parks, bask in the beer gardens and try and take in and enjoy every aspect of the sun on their skin like a temporary triumph over the general shittiness of their city’s weather.
Moving to Frankfurt, I naively expected more of the same – after all, Germany is pretty cold in the winter and it’s not as though I’m moving to a beautiful beachside town. But somehow it is here that i’ve recaptured that summer feeling where the sleepless nights, warm days for months on end and the ability to go out without a coat of any kind have reminded me so much of one of the greatest things of living in Aus.
I bought my first fan the other day since moving to Europe; while England does have a few hot days the nights are mostly cool and any uncomfortable-ness at the heat never lasted long enough for me to mind. Here, it is the opposite. So far, I’ve made a blind for my sky window to try and stop the heat getting in, woken up at 3am to reach for the fan many times, twice breaking glasses and scaring the whole house in the process, and brought back a sheet I left in London (apparently Germans don’t do sheets, apart from the undersheet – they do ‘summer blankets’, with the blanket part clearly defeating the purpose) to become my new bedding.
|My homemade blind – First DIY project! Material,
velcro and fabric glue (which sticks to walls apparently)
came to 17 Euros in total :)
There’s also a beach here – well sort of, it’s a lake with sand and the Germans don’t seem to be able to explain to me thus far how the sand got there. It’s no Manly but it’s certainly a nice break from citylife.
|Frankfurt’s version of a beach.|
So far I would say the summers I experienced in Sydney are very much like this temperature-wise, and while I don’t enjoy the sleeplessness or the uncomfortable-ness, I have to admit it’s been a nice feeling to live somewhere that does summer properly again.
One of the things that makes summer easier as well is the many beautiful parks surrounding Frankfurt city. I live just a 10 minute walk from the centre, and pass two parks on my way to the shops which is a nice change from my life in London where the choice was more either the park or the city centre, not both (unless you could afford one of those awesome Chelsea-style apartment blocks with the private parks).
It does seem the tradition in London of wanting to get away for the summer has carried through to Frankfurt. For us, it’ll be a trip to Croatia for a week and a half to sunbathe, go diving and white water rafting, then onto a beach town in Hungary called ‘Siofok’ (it looks nice in google images) and then Budapest for the music festival which according to my seasoned-friend will be the best festival I’ll ever go to. After Glastonbury I’m not so sure that’s possible.
At one of the cocktail nights which I’m a regular attendant of, someone who had been living in Frankfurt told me that the city is much more lively in the summer than the winter. I found that hard to believe as I’d been here for Christmas markets and they were pretty damn lively. Perhaps she was referring to the months of January-June, when like London the place probably closes down into a counting down period until we can lose the wellies, put our winter coats in storage, and open those outdoor areas of the German beerhouses once more. But at least when next winter comes in Frankfurt, I’ll be counting down until what I know will be a real long hot summer, not just a couple of collective weeks with a feeling deep down that I’ve moved to a place where climatically at least, I will not be compatible in the long term.
Till next time xx