Two all-encompassing words to describe German weather, other than those written above?
Like most anywhere else on earth except the Sahara, the southern tip of Chile, and the Sonoran Desert, weather here in Germany is predictably unpredictable. But I can think of more exacting descriptors: rainy, cloudy, gray, cold, wet, rainy, cloudy, windy, damp, cloudy, gray, overcast, cloudy, gray... and sunny, if you're lucky.
A beautiful yet partially bedeckt dawning sky over Hesse
Not so fortunately, during my first winter here, I found myself trapped in Germany for the "darkest" winter in 40, 50, perhaps even 70 years, according to the media, though one person said 100 years. It is not necessary to check data as to how long it had been since Germany suffered through sunless skies day after day, week after week, month after month, because there would be no changing the facts. It was cold, gray and miserable for a very long time.
Over the dark winter of 2012-13, it was chilly, but not so cold you couldn't play outside. There were even one or two days where it was nice enough to open your doors to the world, even in February and March. Sleeping with the window open during the winter didn't turn me into an ice cube, either. If one has the proper sleeping gear, such as flannel pants, socks, a warm long-sleeved shirt, a triplet of blankets and a down-filled duvet, a person can survive the harsh and wet cold streaming in from outside. I chose also to include two feather-filled pillows and two smaller pillows, plus a large stuffed animal to hide in my sleeping cave with me.
Spring was barely present this year, and summer has taken a long time to arrive. March was pretty rough -- it came in like a lion, and that fierce cat stayed through the end of May. It was cold, cloudy and/or rainy every. single. day.
Though temperatures got up to what most would consider hot only just this week --"Endlich Sommer!" they said on the German news -- yesterday and today it rained again. And the long sleeves are back on my arms as quick as you can say "Scheiße Wetter." Walking to the bakery around the corner this morning in jeans, boots and a rain coat, I carried a sturdy umbrella (Regenschirm) overhead. Umbrella? I'm from Arizona! We don't EVER need an umbrella there. But there I was.
No matter the gear, by the time I got home, much of my clothing was soaked. Oh, believe me, I was smart enough to pack a plastic bag in which to transport the precious cargo: the Kurbiskernbrötchen I love so much.
Mark Twain was credited with saying, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." When it rains day after day, what can you do? Even the hearty, powerful, durable and mostly omniscient Germans have no choice in the matter.
They grumble -- but not for long, for they're used to it -- then pull out their rain jackets, boots, scarves and umbrellas. Hey, it can't be any worse here than in the U.K., which is coined "die Regeninsel" by the teutonic Leute here on the European mainland.
Germans have a good word for overcast skies: bedeckt, or "covered." Cloudy. Gray. Grrrr.
It stopped raining for a few hours. Get on your bike and ride!
It is often bedeckt here, so when the sun does come out, it is time for celebration. Once the clouds part and the blue sky appears, Germans come out of their houses and make their own appearance. It is incredible to watch. The whole country comes alive, and people even smile... a lot!
Recommendation for sunny weather, when it makes a rare appearance? Get on your bicycle and go. Work in your garden. Sit outside on your terrace. Take a leisurely walk. Have a Grillparty. Enjoy a glass of wine and gaze at the small patch of blue sky, making note of it. Do these things, because that sunshine won't be around for very long.
bedeckt - cloudy, covered
endlich Sommer - finally summer
Grillparty - barbecue
Kurbiskernebrötchen - pumpkin seed rolls
die Regeninsel - rainy island, island of rain
der Regenschirm - umbrella
Scheisse Wetter - shit weather