My group of nine flight attendants left Oak Harbor, Washington, on November 26, 2012, sporting navy guys to Leipzig, Germany. We stopped in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for refueling and for the appreciation reception the Pease Airport Greeters always give the infantrymen going to or coming from areas of battle. No, be counted what time of day or night the greeters are there with huge smiles, welcoming hugs, warm espresso and chocolate, popcorn, cakes, ice cream, and presents. This time that they had bags stuffed completely with knitted caps, which came in available for me considering that I forgot to carry my very own.
Although it became bloodless in Washington, it becomes going to be colder where we were going. After 7 hours, we landed in Leipzig, a huge town in East Germany about one hundred miles south of Berlin. The soldiers deplaned to relaxation for three hours earlier than continuing to Afghanistan. Our group took a shuttle overnight in Halle, a few 20 mins away, a metropolis recognized for harvesting salt (it’s call method salt) since the Bronze a long time. It is also acknowledged for chocolate and is home to Germany’s oldest chocolate manufacturing unit. It’s been an 18 hour painting day for us.
The hotel Maritim is an antique and stylish hotel with all the amenities; spa and gym, retail shop, salon, eating place, bar, smoking room, night time club, chocolate shop, even a simulated golfing room. My room looks effortlessly German. There’s a tub with a single sink and a small bath. The sitting place includes a marble table with 2 small chairs. 2 nighttime stands, and a single bed wearing crisp white linen crowned with a tender white duvet in the bedroom, along with a matching chair and desk with a well-stocked refrigerator below. The Germans are very green, no longer overly indulgent, except for on the subject of food and drink.
After 14 hours of sleep, I arose, very hungry, to a dreary and biting cold day. Another flight attendant and I struck out to find something to devour. The resort is centrally positioned in this city of 200,000 human beings. The train station is across the street, handy for purchasing to Berlin, an hour and 15 minutes away. We’re heading to the purchasing district simply around the corner, a no-cars pedestrian road on foot blend of affordably priced retail shops, rapid food eateries, candy shops, and pastry cafes.
Up ahead, there seems to be a flurry of the hobby, so we walk toward it. It looks to be a town square. There’s a big tree at the beginning of it. Oh, look. It’s a Christmas tree, a stay one, with a choo-choo train full of smiling kids going round and round. The tree should be 25 feet tall. How beautiful. What? Do I hear bells ringing? Yes, I do. I odor roasted nuts additionally, and gingerbread. Oh, my! To our tickled pink marvel, we have walked into a German Christmas Market.
A nevertheless, man spray painted gold and wearing 17th-century finery all at once comes to life and greets us. We shake his hand and take an image. I trust he is the famous Baroque-duration musician and opera writer George Friedrich Handel, born right here in 1685, whose real bronze statue we find at the opposite case of the square. He faces the Market Church of our Dear Lady and the Red Tower majestically overlooking the square. Built within the 1500s, those ornate architectural landmarks stand side with the aid of aspect, anchoring the square and silhouetting the metropolis’s skyline. In the center of the square is a brilliant three-tier nativity German windmill that reaches toward the clouds.
The attention to an element is astounding. The complete scene looks as if a medieval wonderland. We are in awe of the lifestyles-sized fairy story characters staged in scenes, 10 of them in all. There is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Little Red Robin hood, Rumpelstiltzchen. Ah, the motive for the season, there’s infant Jesus and the manger scene, all intricately carved in timber. We wonder at how actual they appear at the same time as ingesting Gluhwein (mulled wine), a spiced wine that may be a Christmas lifestyle, like eggnog in America. The wine is served warm and, on occasion, spiked with rum or brandy. It’s absolutely properly, smells divine, and goes properly with our bratwurst sausage. I did not have the heart to attempt the reindeer sausage, particularly after seeing the reindeer pair on show within the middle of the square brought over from the Halle Zoo.
The arts and crafts are broadly speaking all handcrafted. Stalls brim with forte candles and holders, hand-blown glass adorns with glowing angels and lit Christmas timber inside of them, and wooden carved collectible figurines and incense people who smoke. I love the wooden Santas and reindeer blowing frankincense thru their nostrils. There are items and food from Russia and Sweden, and Finland. Oh my, the handmade toys make precious presents. We revel in our time until dusk. It’s getting less warm, and the group starts offevolved to thicken. By nightfall, the square is packed tight with locals and visitors, a multi-cultural revelry of pride.
The subsequent morning I go away to the motel looking for a less expensive all-American breakfast. I’ve had sufficient worldly culinary treats. I want easy bacon and eggs. I try an area referred to as Cafe Softi. It’s full of locals, so it needs to be precise, except I can not understand something on the menu. Luckily, the proprietor Stephan comes over and assists me. He has visited the states plenty and speaks comprehensible English. He suggests what turns out to be a very delicious ham and egg omelet. It turned into notable fun talking to him. His cafe specializes in fruit and ice cream goodies made at the cafe.
He serves a sample of a candy treat propped on the side of my espresso cup. Um!! It’s great. I’m feeling fortunate now, after an amazing meal and pleasant verbal exchange. More than fortunate, actually blessed. I in no way could have discovered myself in Halle Germany, sitting in a cafe, speaking to a communist over espresso, if it were not for divine desire. I clearly enjoyed my stay in Halle, a gem of a city, and can’t wait to return. Everyone ought to see more of the arena, up near and personal. Seeing the world is the key to expertise.