Sunday, December 31, 2017

First Christmas in Germany

I hope you had a wonderful time spending the holidays with your loved ones. As for me, I know this is late, but let me share how my first Christmas here in Germany went.

On the 24th, I traveled to Oldenburg, a quaint city in the northern part of Germany, where I'd be spending the next coming days visiting a friend and nearby places. The travel time from Cologne to Oldenburg is approximately 4 and a half hours by train (including a 37-minute waiting and change of train in Bremen). I arrived at 4:30 pm but it's already starting to get dark. Since the time in Philippines is several hours ahead of Germany, we spent time chatting with our own families online before having dinner. For our Christmas dinner, she prepared spaghetti and lumpiang shanghai. It's just a simple celebration. We also had an exchange gift and I got some comfy/warm socks and a candle, which is perfect because it gets really cold in my apartment.

Christmas day was spent just eating and staying in the apartment. But late in the afternoon, we decided to get out and breathe some fresh air. We just walked from her apartment to the city center. On the way, we passed by a cemetery and decided to have a look at it. How ironic that it's Christmas and we're in a cemetery but my heart melted when I saw people visiting the graves of their loved ones. I also noticed that there were candles and fresh flowers in many of the graves, which just shows that the love for our departed family members and friends never ends, even after they are long gone.

We, then, passed by several houses and apartments. What I like about Oldenburg is that the buildings are separate from one another. The houses have big lawns and gardens. It's refreshing to see a sight like that because Cologne can be a bit crowded and rarely do you see apartments with gardens. Upon arriving in the city center, we're lucky to find an open cafe. Yes, it is open on Christmas day! It's cozy and warm and it's just nice to sit there with a cup of macchiato. After keeping warm, we had our energy back and walked around the shops and, snapped some photos.

At the end of the day, I realized that nothing beats spending Christmas with family but I'm also thankful that even though I'm in a foreign country, I was still able to spend it with someone.

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