Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Stadt in Überblick: Halle

Today I am moving out of this town, where I've lived in for almost a year. It hasn't been that long, actually, when you look back. But it's been quite comfortable. Such a small town. I think I was disappointed the first time I moved in but have learnt to love the town afterwards. So here I am, sharing all this love with you, fellow readers! Enjoy!

From afar, it's often mistaken as real live scene, when actually it's simply a mural

Let me tell you a story. It began with a girl, who was introduced to a dream she had yet to think about. That girl was -- surprise, surprise -- me. Ever since I was only 1 year old, I've wanted to live in Japan...or at least to go there for a visit. One day, though, I was introduced to the possibility of studying in Germany, Europe. Ever since then, I did a lot of research on the matter and stumbled upon a brochure to Burg Giebichenstein Art School that lured me into Halle in the first place. Long story short, I received an invitation to join the entrance exam to Halle State College and passed. So since September 2011, I've been living in this small and simple town.

This planetarium-shaped café is located right in front of my building


Having spent 11 months in this small town, I've learnt a lot about it -- something that I wouldn't've done had I not lived in this place. First of all, it's the birthplace of one of Germany's most renowned composers, Heinrich Händel. Apparently he was the one who composed the Hallelujah song -- you know, those who appear in movies or sitcoms these days when the characters find something wonderful (or check it out here). The Saale River runs across this town and that's why it's officially written as Halle (Saale) -- it's pronounced Halle an der Saale (Halle on Saale). Halle is located on Saxony Anhalt, on the east side of Germany. It was once part of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic/ East Germany)  post World War II. That's why the people are kind of unwelcoming to foreigners. However, it's not to say that there aren't many of them on this side of the country. Speaking of which, here're my favourite spots in town:

This is the first Asian Grocery Store that I've found in this town. And, I think, by far it's the most complete one in town. Like I said, Halle is a small town. There aren't many foreigners here so there are only a limited amount of asian grocery stores in town and they're located relatively close together. Even this store that is so-to-say the most complete one, it doesn't have all the asian food or materials that I need to get to make indonesian or asian food. But it's got enough to satisfy your asian needs. The lady who works there is really friendly and always remembered to ask me if I would like a tofu.

I think it's important for each town to have local stationery stores like this one. It may not be well-stocked but once you walk in, you can already feel very homey. Usually ladies work here -- I don't know why -- and they are very friendly. When you have questions, they will try their best to answer and if you don't, they won't patronise you. I usually buy my art supplies from here when they have it. Sometimes I like going in just to take a look around because stationery stores are such heavens on earth.

One day, when I got lost, I stumbled upon this beautiful thrift store. It sells pretty much everything and you can just go through everything on your own. It also holds a flea market every first Saturday of the month. At the first flea market, I scored one pretty skirt, one lovely top and a vintage suitcase -- which I actually used. Turns out, this store has a branch on another part of the town. When I went there, I scored these boots. The ladies who work on both branches are relatively friendly and the people who participated in the flea markets are always sweet old ladies. How could I not purchase anything?

Different from the thrift store above, this store only sells clothes and household textiles. It has branches all over Germany, apparently. I myself find it very comfortable to be in. Whenever I thrift a clothing item, you can be sure this is where I thrifted it from. They also provide their customers with a stamp card, that when you purchase at least 15€ worth of clothes, you get a stamp. Collect ten stamps and...okay, I don't know what happens. It has items for men, women and kids, fairly divided. A thrift heaven, if you ask me.

After searching high and low for the perfect bubble tea in Halle, I've finally found it here. It is located at the Rolltreppe Centre, somewhere around the Marktplatz (=market place). I love how the tapioca pearls are very chewy and sweet enough. I love how cheap the price is -- it's the cheapest bubble tea in Germany yet! I have gone here so many times that the guy who works there lights up whenever I come. He knows I'm buying. It's a joint franchise with the Asian Restaurant to its right so you can eat good food and sip on a bubble tea afterwards. Oh, and did I mention it also provides frozen yoghurt?

I believe I've mentioned this store before. I ended up never going there more than I planned. But I kept ordering copic from there anyway. The lady who works there is really sweet and it seems she has the sweet life. She just sits there and read comic books all day, unless a costumer comes in. Too bad I don't have the budget to buy anything there. I kind of hoped we could've been friends. 

Here are some instagram photos of Halle that I collaged up together. Halle is an unpopular town and somewhat small. But it's, like, if you care enough to look, every corner has a surprise lined up for you. Halle is like one of those lonewolf kids at school, who never seem to talk to or like anyone, but when you talk to him and make an effort to get to know him, you might just like him for his quirks and beauty. It was fun getting to know Halle, even though we have yet to be best friends. Maybe someday I'll miss this place and would like a reason to come visit again. However, for now, we must part ways. Adieu, Halle -- if not au revoir! Cheerio! 

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