It could have been a two- or three- or four-hour drive from Berlin to Münster on 04.12.2015, I am not too sure. Either way, it was long enough for me to have fallen asleep on the window ledge which I had taken for a headrest. I woke up with a slight burning sensation on the skin between my right eyebrow and right temple. With a curious mind, scrunched up eyebrows and droopy eyelids, I ran my careful fingers along the seam holding the material (on the window ledge) together and realised that it proved to be a lot more menacing to the skin than I had previously thought.
We had about forty minutes left of the journey – during which I spent propping my head up on the window ledge (with the help of my arm this time round) and taking in everything we were whizzing past. Left and right and left and right went my poor eyes, but I couldn’t help it, there was too much to take in! We drove past three-spoked rotating giants (one might otherwise call them wind turbines), patch after patch of neat farmlands and a rather out-of-place soccer field snuggled in between two patches of crops.
Something that caught Dad’s eyes were the herbs that were clearly more grown than they should be at this time of the year – they were too tall, too green. He explained that this could have been because the farmers had planted the herbs too early or November’s winter was too mild. Dad believed it was the latter that was the root cause. I believed so too, November was an unusually warm month.
We also drove by some houses with “Schiefer” roofs, an observation to which Dad added that it is not allowed to use them as building material for new houses even though it is a cheap option, insulates the house well and could last for thirty years. Why? Because it’s a terrible fire hazard.
“Strawberries! And those right there… Asparagus! Oh more of those herbs here too!” Dad’s history of growing up in a farmhouse shone through right there and then – he knew everything! I found the lands dedicated to Asparagus slightly amusing: they were raised columns of land draped over with a layer of white foil.
Mum wasn’t feeling too well that evening and thus we made a detour to the hospital in the little town of Lüdinghausen, where Hotel No. 11 was located/ where we were planning to stay over for the night. Her unfortunate skin conditions led her to receiving 50ml of cortisone from the doctor, to which I commented what a large amount that was. The doctor calmly replied that some much severe cases could leave patients receiving up to 250ml of cortisone instead. Oh my! The doctor then told Mum that she had to lay there for thirty minutes before she’ll pop back in to examine her and conclude if the cortisone had worked or not. Thirty minutes later, the cortisone worked and Mum looked (and said she felt) much much better. One could tell anything from her smile: whether it was pained – hiding what she knew would make other worry – or genuine – sharing the joy blooming inside of her with those around her.
It must have been the cortisone or maybe the state of over-the-moon-ness that led my Mum to saying, “See You again!” to the doctor as we bid each other our goodbyes. Silence ensued as we figured Mum’s intentions of seeing the doctor again, but it was broken by a “Yea I hope not in the hospital though!” uttered by the doctor. We dissolved in laughter and I waved one last time before the doors to the room shut tightly. We then made our way to the car – Mum and Dad hand in hand and I… I trailed behind to take in the beauty of companionship.
“Quick, take a picture of me!”
“In front of the hospital, are You sure Mama?”
“Yes yes so You can see the before and after…”
It was perhaps about twenty minutes post-sundown that we finally got to checking into our lovely little cosy hotel. If there was one thing that I noticed right there and then as I took my first step out of the car was that the roofs hung so so low down… Dad said they were Dutch-influenced.
Here are a few impressions from the lovely little abode:
1. The warmly-lit dining area.
2. The view from my bed (which was positioned opposite my parents’) (this was taken the next morning when I had the privilege of enjoying sunlight finding its way into our room)
3. A simple, calming painting of a flower right outside our room.
Once we were done huffing and puffing up the stairs as we each carried our luggages up four flights of stairs, we drove off straight away for the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) in Münster’s city centre.
It was around 6.40pm when we arrived at the market and my oh my was it dark. If not for the handful of street lights here and there and the slight glow in the skyline as a result of the many many bright light emitters all around the market, we probably wouldn’t have been able to navigate our way around the quaint little town.
Look at the shimmery lights!
There was a carousel right smack in the middle of the market ground, one which I spent quite a bit of time watching from a two-metre radius. I saw kids having fun being kids – probably wishing they were old enough to own their own vehicles and drive – and parents having fun watching their kids being kids – probably wishing they were still young and small enough to have innocent fun free of the worries that come with growing older. It’s funny how the grass seems to always be greener on the other side. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Justin Bieber, it’d be that “The grass ain’t always greener on the other side, It’s green where you water it.”
This three-tiered structure had a ceiling-fan shaped extension sitting atop it all. Oh dear, but it isn’t very visible in this image, is it?
I am not very sure of the history behind this structure but I do believe that it may have featured characters from the Bible (inferred from a conversation shared between two elderly men in the train that I sneakily overheard).
Here’s Dad enjoying his Glühwein and Mum being playful as ever – she had her hands clasped together and used them to cushion her head which she had rested on Dad’s shoulder.
With every Christmas market comes fooooood!
“The people who give you their food give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez
After both Mum and Dad got their main courses, it was my turn to get dinner. The app, “Vegman” (will talk more about this in one of my future posts), came in handy as it led me to Krawummel, a delightful Vegan bistro serving delightful food.
I got myself a ‘basic falafel’ sandwich which costed 4,50 Euros – pretty cheap I must say!
During the 3-minute wait for my sandwich, I discovered a whole rack of mouth-watering cupcakes which I thought my sister would have really loved (I don’t really fancy dessert…)! However, I think I might change my mind about what I included in parentheses if there was something banana-flavoured.
Topped with a generous amount of veggies, the falafels were peeking from below, waiting to be devoured! What a joy it was munching on this sandwich. Absolutely delicious!
After my sandwich, we went back to the market grounds to finish savouring the market for all it had too offer. Mum thought it’d be a splendid idea to end off with some sweets, i.e. some classic vanilla waffles sprinkled with confectionary sugar.
They enjoyed it very very much!
They made a new friend too!
There was a large variety of spices in all sorts of colours, mixes, flavours and origins. If not for the fact that I had forgotten my wallet that night, I might have bought a couple of packets. They were all so fresh and smelled absolutely incredible!
Nuts and seeds are a major part of Christmas traditions in Germany too.
“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch
This picture makes me feel warm and fuzzy…
The effort put into decorating this place was out of this world!
Oh and guess what these were! Chocolate! In the form of workshop tools – think pliers, screwdrivers, hammers and such!
And for the ladies, the shopkeeper had some roses too.
There were Christmas tree ornaments everywhere…
… and all of them looked nothing like one another…
… I couldn’t help but feel like a five-year-old again as I examine all the little details that went into the making of these pretty ornaments – the strokes of the brush to create faces of reindeers or the type of fabric used to replicate the animals’ fur or the way Santa Claus’ beard was carved…
“Look… quietly quietly shhhh… a rabbit,” whispered Dad as we (almost) tip-toed back to where our car was parked.