Planning I – 2011 White Christmas

I’m not entirely certain why this is so, but oddly enough we’ve never been to Germany (though we’d been to many other parts of Europe). I mean, Germany is in central Europe and it’s not small, right? How could we have missed it if it had not been a deliberate decision?

That’s right. It has been a conscious effort to avoid the country because we speak no word of German and I erroneously thought we would not be able to survive with just English (and some Italian, and French). In addition, I’m not a huge fan of Germany. Neither have I anything against it. I just feel… nothing much for it. The mister, on the other hand, is quite a history buff who had read many books on the Third Reich and more. Understandably he’s a lot more enthusiastic about this trip than I am. I am just glad to be headed toward somewhere cold.

First things first – I  always draw out the route map. In this sense, I’m still undeniably an engineer through and through in that I work very well with maps and charts. Somewhat a spatial person, you could say. A route map is always my starting point whenever we commence planning for a trip, followed by a day by day itinerary, tabulated in Microsoft Excel.

The route map still doesn’t look logical at all, despite several revisions. I have some constraints to work within, thereby explaining why it seems that we are going cross-country in and out of Germany a couple of times. At the mister’s insistence, I once removed Prague from this trip and then added it back in (and removed Berlin). Then I wanted to be in Munich just before Christmas Day and Prague just before New Year’s Day, reason being that it’s better to be in the bigger cities as the smaller ones literally shut down on these two days and their eves. I cannot imagine being stranded in a small town with no food to eat (except fast food). And last but not the least, we cannot end our trip in Berlin (although it would be a much more logical a flow than returning to Frankfurt) simply because the national carrier of Singapore doesn’t operate in and out of the capital of Germany. I wonder why?

As for why the choice of place and time – Christmas season used to be magical to me. It wasn’t just about Christmas lightings along Orchard Road or gift exchanging. It was something more traditional: with a visit to the Church for mass, carollers singing beautiful Christmas carols because it was Christmas (not because they were engaged by malls to entertain the shoppers), and a time for families to gather (not a perfect excuse to get dead drunk). The way most people celebrate Christmas these days have changed, and I don’t like the change. So this year, I wish to visit Germany in search of one of the most traditional ways to celebrate the Christmas season – Christmas Markets. I’m even going to attempt attending a midnight mass in Munich. Probably won’t understand a single word, but thank goodness all masses are conducted in a similar flow so I should not have problem following along.

Coincidentally, the route map ended up looking like a badly drawn shape of a heart. I swear it wasn’t intentional on my part but in any case, I’m loving this accidental coincidence.

I really must start looking for accommodation now or we might find ourselves without board in the dead of winter.

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