My team of nine flight attendants left Oak Harbor, Washington, on November 26, 2012, wearing army men to Leipzig, Germany. We stopped in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for refueling and for the appreciation reception the Pease Airport Greeters constantly provide the squaddies going to or coming from areas of war. No matter what time of day or nighttime, the greeters are there with massive smiles, welcoming hugs, warm espresso and chocolate, popcorn, desserts, ice cream, and gifts. This time they had baggage filled full of knitted caps, which came inaccessible for me because I forgot to bring my personal.
Although it becomes bloodless in Washington, it becomes going to be colder where we had been going. After 7 hours, we landed in Leipzig, a pretty large metropolis in East Germany about one hundred miles south of Berlin. The soldiers deplaned to rest for 3 hours earlier than persevering with to Afghanistan. Our group took a commute to in a single day in Halle, a few 20 mins away, a town regarded for harvesting salt (it’s called way salt) because of the Bronze ages. It is also known for chocolate and is home to Germany’s oldest chocolate factory. It’s been an 18 hour painting day for us.
The inn Maritim is a vintage and stylish resort with all the facilities; spa and gymnasium, retail sale, salon, restaurant, bar, smoking room, night time club, chocolate shop, even a simulated golfing room. My room seems comfortably German. There’s a bathtub with an unmarried sink and a small bath. The sitting area includes a marble table among 2 small chairs. 2-night stands and an unmarried bed mattress dressed in crisp white linen crowned with a smooth white cover in the bedroom, together with a matching chair and desk with a well-stocked refrigerator below. The Germans are very efficient, now not overly indulgent, except for food and drinks.
After 14 hours of sleep, I arose, very hungry, to a dreary and biting bloodless day. Another flight attendant and I struck out to locate something to eat. The resort is centrally placed in this metropolis of two hundred,000 humans. The education station is across the street, handy for getting to Berlin, an hour and 15 minutes away.
We’re heading to the shopping district just around the corner, a no automobiles pedestrian road walking mix of affordably priced retail stores, speedy meals eateries, sweet shops, and pastry cafes. Up in advance, there appears to be a flurry of pastime, so we stroll towards it. It appears to be a town square. There’s a massive tree at the start of it. Oh, look. It’s a Christmas tree, a live one, with a choo teach packed with smiling kids going round and spherical. The tree needs to be 25 toes tall. How beautiful. What? Do I hear bells ringing? Yes, I do. I smell roasted nuts additionally and gingerbread. Oh, my! To our tickled crimson surprise, we have walked into a German Christmas Market.
A still man spray painted gold and dressed in 17th-century finery all at once comes to life and greets us. We shake his hand and take a photograph. I agree with he’s the well-known Baroque period musician and opera writer George Friedrich Handel, born right here in 1685, whose real bronze statue we discover at the alternative stop of the square. He faces the Market Church of our Dear Lady and the Red Tower majestically overlooking the rectangular. Built inside the 1500s, those ornate architectural landmarks stand facet via aspect, anchoring the rectangular and silhouetting the town’s skyline. The middle of the rectangular is a remarkable 3 tier Nativity German windmill that reaches toward the clouds. The attention to an element is amazing.
The entire scene looks as if a medieval wonderland. We are in awe of the existence-sized fairy tale characters staged in scenes, 10 of them in all. There is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Little Red Robin Hood, Rumpelstiltzchen. Ah, the reason for the season, there’s toddler Jesus and the manger scene, all intricately carved in timber. We surprise at how actual they look while drinking Gluhwein (mulled wine), a spiced wine that could be a Christmas culture, like eggnog in America. The wine is served warm and occasionally spiked with rum or brandy. It’s surely top, smells divine, and goes properly with our bratwurst sausage. I did not have the coronary heart to strive the reindeer sausage, particularly after seeing the pair of reindeer on display in the middle of the square delivered over from the Halle Zoo.
The arts and crafts are typically all handcrafted. Stalls brim with distinctiveness candles and holders, hand-blown glass adorns with glowing angels and lit Christmas timber interior, and wood carved figurines and incense people who smoke. I love the wooden Santas and reindeer blowing frankincense via their nostrils. There are goods and food from Russia and Sweden, and Finland. Oh my, the hand-made toys make precious gifts. We revel in our time till nightfall. It’s getting chillier, and the gang begins to thicken. By dusk, the square is packed tight with locals and visitors, a multi-cultural revelry of delight.
The next morning I depart the lodge on the lookout for a low-priced all-American breakfast. I’ve had enough of worldly culinary treats. I want simple bacon and eggs. I strive for an area called Cafe Softi. It’s filled with locals, so it should be good, besides I cannot apprehend something at the menu. Luckily, the proprietor Stephan comes over and assists me. He has visited the states loads and speaks understandable English. He suggests what seems to be a completely scrumptious ham and egg omelet.
It turned into tremendous amusing talking to him. His cafe makes a specialty of fruit and ice cream sweets, made at the cafe. He serves a pattern of a sweet deal with propped on aspect my coffee cup. Um!! It’s fine. I’m feeling lucky now, after an exquisite meal and friendly communique. More than fortunate, without a doubt, blessed. I would never have located myself in Halle, Germany, sitting in a cafe, talking to a communist over espresso, if it weren’t for divine choice. I honestly loved my stay in Halle, a gem of a town, and can’t wait to return. Everyone has to see more of the area, up near and private. Seeing the world is the important thing to know-how it.