• Monday, October 20, 2014

THE HUNGRY TRAVELLER

How does Christmas taste in Germany?

By Shariqa Habib

Christmas is a time to be with one's family and loved ones. I was not going to go home for Christmas break as it was less than three weeks. My intention was to backpack through Italy over the break, but for some unforeseen reasons, that did not happen. However, I refused to sit at home and not do anything at all -- as in, not travel at all when I have a break. So, I was checking for affordable flights to anywhere in Europe. Found few options, which looked nice. However, I found a flight to Munich, Germany which I could pay with all the mileage I have saved on my back and forth travels to Dhaka and Madrid. Not surprisingly, I have an old friend living near Munich. So, I asked him, if he would be able to meet up with me if I came to visit from 24th to 27th of December. And to my ultimate shock, my friend and his family invited me to spend the Christmas with them at their home! It was a Christmas miracle.

I was lucky to get a last minute flight, right before Christmas. But as I got to the airport, we were notified that the flight was delayed and it would probably be delayed for 3 hours. My heart just sank as I did not wish to be late for the Christmas Eve dinner at my friend's house. However, a second Christmas miracle happened. My flight was only 30 minutes late and before I knew, I was aboard the aircraft and fell asleep even before it took off! The flight landed and I ran out, because I was very excited to see my friend after 2 years. As I walked out through the exit doors, I saw my friend. Greetings were obviously in place and it was just amazing to see old friends; they make you miss home a little less.
After we were out of the terminal, my friend took me to the Christmas market at the airport. First of all, I cannot begin to tell you how much I love Christmas. All the colours and lights make me feel like a little kid. It is wonderful to have a nice cup of hot chocolate in your hand in cold weather. So, after the walk around the Christmas market, my friend drove us to the Christmas Eve dinner. I met my friend's family and I cannot express in words how thankful I was that they opened their doors for me during Christmas and welcomed me with open arms as a family member. I was touched by their warmth and generosity. Even though my friend and his sister had to translate back and forth between German and English, it was a delightful experience.
So… the hungry traveller got to food, finally! The highlight of the Christmas dinner at my friend's home was 'Apple Chicken'. I have never had apple chicken before and did not even know that you can cook chicken with apple. It was a gastronomic surprise. And I loved it. I asked my friend's family if it was a traditionally German Christmas dinner. They answered that it was rather a family tradition. After the dinner, the entire family stood around the Christmas tree and sang Christmas songs. Though all of the songs were in German and I did not understand a single word, I just loved the family time. After the songs, the family exchanged presents. At the end, there were giant plates of home-made cookies. It was hard to stop myself from stuffing my mouth with the Christmas cookies. I was thankful to have a beautiful family Christmas where I truly felt like a part of the family.

Shariqa Habib is a student of Political Science and Communication at Saint Louis University Madrid. When she is not studying or sleeping, she likes to travel and eat anything and everything! She can be reached at habibshariqa@gmail.com

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, January 12, 2014

Last modified: 9:04 pm Sunday, January 12, 2014

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