During the demember holidays last year, we took a trip to Eastern Europe. So now, here I am, 5 months on putting my memories into words so that they would never be forgotten.
EE states didn’t struck me as places on my travel lust wish list but when the opportunity presented itself in a Chan Brother’s Fair with a reduced price sticker: I had to strike. So I would say buying the package tour was a really spontaneous event and before I knew it we were set to take off to EE on December 3rd.
Fast forward the gruelling 12 hour plane ride, the first place we went to was Potsdamer Platz Christmas Market (This was only the first out of the 10). It was relatively early in the afternoon so the crowds were quite sparse, not exactly the feel of a Christmas market. But we still took some pictures here and there. The cold was already biting and I kept getting the shivers.
The lunch place they brought us to gave us some wickedly large portions which I obviously couldn’t finish. Some cream chicken rice stuff. After, we got on the bus to tour around Berlin.
Of course our first stop would be the Berlin Wall. But god was the place crowded. We managed to picture in front of the famous mural of Gorby and Nagy kissing but boy was it awkward. There was like a ring of tourists just watching you and their eyes imploring you to get away so that they can have their turn. It was unnerving standing there and trying to take a good picture because you only get a few quick shots before it feels like you are taking a tad too long. A rocky start to our photo taking experience.
The other walls had significantly less people, which was great for taking photos, but the only impeding factor was that it was fenced to prevent people from vandalising the walls. So whatever pictures you took didn’t came out as nice as it would be without the fence so that was really disappointing.
The whole tour consisted of us constantly getting in and out of the tour bus to see stops like Checkpoint Charlie, Reichstag Building, Tiergarten. I think the highlight would be the demostration that was held in front of Bradenburg gate. It was a demostration held to go against the views that all Syrians are murderers. It was quite an eye-opener especially with the sad Syrian(?) music that was played on repeat. But it was obviously a very controlled one with the police keeping a tight watch at the side.
At night, we ate at this dubbed “amazing” (by Cristian) Italian restaurant that served super large portions by quite hot waiters. They were super friendly and pleasant. Cristian was swooning over the carbonara. The rest of the night basically constituted of us carelessly buying 8 bottles of sparkling water that would haunt us throughout the journey.
On this day, we embarked on the hours long journey to Dresden. The view was spectacular with the azure blue skies and white towering windmills scattered over the meadows that ran as far as the horizon. Pops and Mummy was glued to the windows, snapping away at the scenery.
When we stopped at the rest stop, that was almost a surreal and serene atmosphere surrounding it. Everything was coated with ice so much so that the trees that were frozen over looked white from afar. We, children, went to rummage the rest stop and bought an exotic oreo ice cream which was probably crazy since it was -5 degrees outside. But as my past tour guide mentioned, “Eating ice cream is always best in the freezing cold”.
When we arrived at Dresden, we made a beeline to the pork knuckle lunch venue. O my Lord, the pork knuckle was huge. At the end of the meal, I would have only managed to scrape the sides. I swore I would never eat again (only to break this promise 4 hours later). I didn’t like that it was braised, I would have preferred it fried as I envisioned it to be. I got to point out that Pops was the true champion of the table when he wolfed down the pork knuckle, leaving the bare bones on the plate as his trophy.
After the awfully filling lunch, Llyod who was our tour guide brought us to some gothic looking architecture (We were only going to see many more in the following days) and we also explored another christmas market where I would spot the Trdelnik but won’t come to eat it till the last day of the trip.
Beyond the christmas market, Llyod brought us inside a church and boy was it stunning. It was a typical European church with angels and biblical figures adorning the ceilings and intricate structures at the altar where the priest stood to give his sermons. They were having their service so we just stood around at the back but the service was over so fast. Like literally, not the I’m-immersed-in-the-atmosphere-till-time-passes-so-fast kind of fast. I think it lasted only 10 minutes.
So once that was done, we squeezed out of the church and weaved through the crowds to continue seeing random architecture of the place. Cristian threw a tantrum and was acting pissy so the sight seeing was not so pleasant as it could be.
Later in the day, Llyod brought us to this place called Bastei which boasts of its rock formations. This was actually an extra itinerary that Llyod slotted, inspired honeymoon years with his wife in EE. The entire duration, I was freezing my socks off (granted since I only wore those thin ankle socks). But it was so cold I couldn’t stop getting random bouts of shivers and the sniffles.
In order to see the rock formations, we had to tread on like metal platforms that brought you to dizzying heights. Even though I don’t have a fear of heights, that got me slightly triggered. All in all, there’s not much to see there honestly, just rocks.