Yesterday we came home from a vacation in Germany, the first journey abroad since the corona virus has started. Of course it was pretty interesting how it would go, but in the end I thought it was not so bad. In order to prepare you for your Germany trip, I’m sharing my experiences with you so that you know what it is like in Germany at the moment.
Note that this is an article based on my personal experiences. For official rules and regulations, go to the official Germany website. We do not accept any liability for not providing the up-to-date information and it may be that the experience listed below is now up-ro-date when you read this, as the rules can be changed at any time by local authorities.
Preparations from home
First of all, I only booked my accommodation shortly before departure. The travel advice for Germany is currently on code yellow for people from The Netherlands, but this can of course change at any time and without prior notice. Because I travel just before the high season, it is possible to book an apartment in Landal Sonnenberg in the Moselle area at a very good rate last minute.
After my accommodation was booked, I had to arrange a face mask. I decide to go for a mask from a local entrepreneur that I have custom made. A face mask is mandatory in all public places in Germany. You can read more about this in practice later in the article.
In addition, I already tried to take as many groceries from home with me as possible, so that in Germany I only had to buy the needed fresh things in the local store. I took everything I could keep well in the car from the Netherlands with me.
Crossing the border
Crossing the border was no problem at all. I traveled by car and was not stopped anywhere. I eventually drove through Belgium and this turned out to be possible as well. On the way I did not stop (I had already refueled in the Netherlands) to avoid as many contact moments as possible. Of course I really had to pee on arrival, so luckily check-in was arranged quickly.
Arrival in my apartment
Upon arrival in Landal Sonnenberg, a clear sign with the maximum number of people allowed in the reception immediately became visible. Just like in the Netherlands, there are cough screens everywhere and you have to keep 1.5 meters distance from others. From the moment you step into a public space in Germany, you must wear a face mask.
What I regretted is that there was no hand soap in the apartment. When I wanted to buy it in the park shop, it only appeared to be open between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., i.e. I could not buy soap to wash my hands. Not very handy, so bring your own soap to be sure. I did have disinfectant spray with me, but I prefer to use soap, which I could only buy the next day.
The apartment was also fine and clean so I have nothing to complain about. I received all the information in an envelope, including a number of additional rules for the park. I could not find the opening hours anywhere, only at the places themselves.
On the campsite
After my stay in Landal, I went camping with my boyfriend for a few more nights in the Eifel region. The campsites are open again in Germany, as are the sanitary facilities. For the campsite where we were (which I do not recommend you by the way), we already had a reservation and had to wear a face mask when checking in. Reservation for the restaurant was required (due to limited space) and the owner told me that many restaurants only work by reservation at the moment.
So the sanitary was just open and I have no idea if this was cleaned extra often. I camped on a tent field with only a sink and a toilet, I did not use the showers. A face mask is also mandatory in the toilet building, unless you brush your teeth, of course. You have to put it on the moment you walk through the building.
In restaurants and outdoor terraces
When you arrive on an outdoor terrace and in a restaurant you have to put on your face mask. As soon as you sit you can take off your face mask. If you go in to go to the toilet, for example, you have to put it on again. All employees in the bar or restaurant wear a face mask, whether or not correctly …
Many terraces and restaurants have one-way traffic, indicated by arrows. Sometimes it takes a while to search the right way in and/or out. In addition, all tables are separated and a maximum number of occupants applies. For example, Landal’s terrace was only open between 2 pm-5pm.
Upon arrival at an establishment you will receive a form to fill in with your name and address and your telephone number. In addition, you fill in your arrival and departure time, so that the owners can contact you if necessary. Most forms stated that your data will not be stored digitally and will be destroyed after four weeks.
What struck me is that in Germany they still accept cash everywhere and they don’t bother about it. So much better than in the Netherlands as far as I’m concerned where cash is not really accepted anymore. In addition, I noticed that one and a half meters are not really looked at, or at least it seemed so. I don’t know what the exact rules are in Germany with groups of friends, for example, but I had the idea that the Germans were fairly flexible with it.
I mainly went to Germany for a hiking. At the moment it is still preseason and therefore not very busy on the trails, but I did find that there is a less “I keep 1.5 meters away mentality” than in the Netherlands. This does not detract from the fact that I was able to hike safely just fine, but not always everyone passed at a meter and a half. I must also honestly say that I mainly chose quiet and local hiking trails and ignored the famous sights. I occasionally ran into some people at viewpoints, but otherwise it was not so bad. So no museums or crowds for me!
In the supermarket
In the supermarket, the use of a face mask is also mandatory, as is the one and a half meter distance. Just like in The Netherlands, cough screens hang down at the cash registers. A shopping cart is also required, but this will depend on where you are exactly.
Conclusion about my trip in Germany during corona
To be honest, I’m not a fan of face masks. I find it very suffocating (especially at 30 degrees) and given my asthma I would rather use them as little as necessary. Therefore, I tried to stay away from busy places as much as possible and avoid visits to shops and that was doable for me.
What makes the difference is that I traveled in the preseason and it was not very busy in many places. What you have to take into account are waiting times at swimming pools and sights, one-way paths and intensive use of a face mask. I also noticed that many hotels and restaurants were closed, but I don’t know if this was specifically because of corona or because it was still low season. The spontaneity of “grabbing a drink along the way was a lot less than I’m used to due to closures.
All in all I had a great holiday and I would definitely go on holiday to Germany again during these times, provided the circumstances remain the same. Happy holidays in Germany this summer!