Saturday, 13 June 2015

Untold Travel Story: Winter Wunderland (2012)

If you have been following me for over 3 years, you’d know that whenever I travel, I will almost always write about it on this ol’ blog. But there are travel stories that I have yet to share, mostly because it all happens before the blog. But I’d really love to reminisce and write about them, mostly because these stories are worth telling and I may never see these people again. Maybe one day when I'm old and decrepit, this would be proof that I did indeed meet them. Enjoy!

Impromptu sleepovers used to be a habit of mine when I lived in Germany. One of the times I remember the most was when my friend Atika and I went to Leipzig when the earth was covered in snow. This one actually happens 3 days after I started this blog. But at the moment, I didn't know where I was taking the blog so I didn't share it. We lived only 30 minutes from this town by train but we had never been there. So we bought tickets and we went there, fully intending to explore the town briefly and went back home that same day. But we managed to meet up with a mutual friend, Aqbas, who lived there so we decided to crash over at his place. It was the first time I had an impromptu sleepover at a guy friend’s place.

You have to understand one thing: KFC in Germany is such a rare gem. It is incredibly hard to find, especially if you live in small towns. They even made a commercial based on that fact - yes, fact. So when I say that our intention was to eat at a KFC in Leipzig, you need to know that it isn't an exaggeration of the truth. Since the restaurant is located just right there at the train station, we decided to eat there as soon as we arrived. You also need to know that Leipziger Hauptbahnhof isn't like train stations here in Indonesia; it's like a frikkin' mall! There Aqbas met up with us and we didn't end up going home right after. Afterwards, we went to an asian supermarket that Aqbas showed us. The owner can speak various Asian languages, including Indonesian. It was very entertaining to see him greet us in our native language!

Because snow was everywhere, we stayed out even after dark. We went to a park and rolled around on the snow. I managed to do the one thing I had wanted to do since I saw snow: make snow angels! It was super cold, we were all freezing, our noses and ears are red and our toes were frozen. We took a walk downtown and saw Schauspiel Leipzig, the theater. There was this huge egg made of gold in front of it and we fooled around with it a bit. To be honest, I can't remember what day or what time it was when we did this because everything was closed and it was really dark. It almost felt as if the city belonged to us. Eventually, it was too late to go home to Halle so Atika and I decided to crash at Aqbas's place. We had dinner together - instant noodles, if you must know - and hit the sack.

The next day, we decided to roam the city a bit more. We went out quite early, had breakfast and then out to Völkerschlachtdenkmal, which looks quite like a Hindu temple. It blew my mind so much how there could be such a relic in Germany! It looked marvellous and majestic covered in snow. We got crazy here - just like the day before - and slid down the slope of the park, almost like sledding without any board. It was freezing! But it was so much fun. We almost went in but we didn't know if we could, so we didn't. We took tons of photos, explored the park and departed. Later on, we saw postcards of this place in the summer and we wished we could go back then. I did, actually.

Next stop: Leipziger Messe. By this point, my toes were already so frozen, I could hardly walk. In front of the mess hall there was this huge man-made lake and park. The lake was obviously frozen. Atika wanted to try walking on it so Aqbas and I held on to her while she tiptoed on the ice. The mess hall was closed since there wasn't any event going on. We walked to the back of the hill to see the various national flags on the flagpoles. What do you know? The snow was so thick that families came out to sled down the hill. It looked like so much fun. But I wasn't interested, it was all I could do not to freeze completely. We actually wanted to roam around a bit but, thanks to the temperature, we could barely stand another minute outdoors.

We went back to Hauptbahnhof to have a snack and Atika and I could go home. We kept missing the train since we stayed in McDonald's and couldn't hear any announcements on the train. Eventually, we did get on a train, though, and went back to our separate homes. It was a fun trip, I should say. The impromptu quality doubled the fun and the snow was not to be tampered with. Now Atika, Aqbas and I have gone our separate ways and who knows if we would ever see each other again. Maybe someday.


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