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Shopping in Thuringia
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Most cities and townships have large supermarkets in the outskirts. But the pedestrian zones are normally not deserted, even not when it rains or during winter.
The little individual stores offer a variety of products and elderly people, who do not have a car love to stroll through it. They meet friends here, they know the store owners, they can sit down and enjoy a coffee with pastry or a cup of ice cream.
Yes, they walk. They take their time but it is a good exercise.
Bicycles and delivery cars are allowed.
Normally you find metered parking or time limited free parking very close to the pedestrian zones. (Fußgängerzone)
Also public transportation is normally provided. I would have loved to watch Elizabeth when she was using buses and nobody understood a single word of English! She told me that it was lots of fun.
I enjoyed very often a nice cup of ice cream with many taste improvers when Elizabeth went in specific stores.
Elizabeth became addicted to a chocolate store in Suhl
She loved the "Nougat" from Viba - a Thuringian company. She does not touch any marzipan which is one of my favorites. I still could not find out why she rejects it. Maybe she tried only the cheap and extremely sweet stuff before. Now I found a source in Canada for some of the products from Viba.
She bought also two new frames for eye glasses which she said where not available in this style in Canada. A year later you could get them here too.
She was also always attracted by cosmetic stores. I did some sightseeing in the meantime. It took her always a long time to select what she needed and I was never very patient. Doing this kind of work share everybody was happy.
The pedestrian areas keep you mobile.
We only purchased a few cheap clothing for me after we arrived without my luggage in Germany. I did not experience the same problems as in Japan where almost everything was too small.
However, I had the feeling that in former West Germany the selection is larger and that they offer better deals if you look for something more extravagant. But I may be wrong. I needed something urgently and they even delivered the pants to the house of my son for free after they had been shortened.
Combine sightseeing with window shopping and a stop over for a snack or a meal.
You do not see too many stores which belong to the large chains which offer everywhere the same. You will find interesting niche products and can very often deal directly with the owner of the business.
Don't be afraid of the language barrier. It can be fun for both sides to try to understand each other. Carry a small dictionary with you. I made it through Japan and English has very much in common with German. Spelling and pronunciation are unfortunately different, but beer is "Bier", wine is "Wein", grass is "Gras", butter is "Butter", kindergarten is "Kindergarten", radio is "Radio", bus is "Bus", Book is "Buch". I am not surprised because the Anglo-Saxons came from Germany and settled in Britain. I am not sure weather the British like to hear that but check "Wikipedia" for more details.
Something which she missed to get
Both of us like to be spoiled and pampered in the numerous health centers with all kind of pools and available treatments.
In this spa bathing suits were offered which allowed a full body tan without taking it off which is note even allowed everywhere in Germany.
I wanted to buy her one but she thought they were all to big for her. Now she regrets it all the time that she did not listen to me. I would have fed her that she fits properly into it.
The former GDR had excellent manufacturers of mopeds with 2-stroke engines. They became collectibles.
I was close to purchase something like that or bigger and to leave it in Germany. A serious traffic accident in Canada with my fast Vespa scooter put these plans on ice.
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