It has been almost 6 months between my first trip to Germany and now. Things have changed, faces around me have changed. I am not sure if I have changed but I am sure I have matured quite a bit. I learnt to be more assertive, I learnt to ignore naysayers, I learnt to judge less and above all, I learnt to shut up when I should. Sometimes I express myself way too much unnecessarily. I think my life philosophy is pretty much still the same – to love life, to be open to new experiences and people and to be respectful of different cultures. Like Rosa said, people can be very different from us but it doesn’t mean that they are wrong (it doesn’t mean that we are right too).
I visited Aneke and her family for a weekend in January and it was snowing a lot while I was there. She lives in Melle, which is a very small town in the northwest of Germany, and I am proud to say that this small town is the first German town that I have visited in my life. I have very good memories of Melle which are not exactly about the town – I remember walking in the woods as the snow fell gently (it was my first snowfall!), I remember watching the movie Rush with Aneke and her family, I remember eating nice home-cooked German food, I remember listening to electronic music on the German/ English radio channel as we sped (what is speed on the Autobahn?) down the Autobahn. I may not have the best photos of this small, humble town but I certainly have very fond memories of Melle. 🙂
On Saturday, we visited Osnabrück which is a slightly bigger city as compared to Melle. Osnabrück is historically significant because together with Münster, it was the city where the peace treaties following the destructive Thirty Years’ War were signed. I don’t know too much about the Thirty Years’ War and I will love to find out more about it. All I know so far is that it has something to do with the conflict between Catholic v.s. Protestant states. I was a happier tourist in Osnabrück as compared to Melle because it has a very charming old town and what makes it even better for me was that the old town was covered with snow and that made the old town appear even more alluring and mysterious. I think Aneke bought track shoes after she brought me around the town and it was funny how the sports shop was selling Bayern Munich jerseys. I guess when you are a winning team, you win many supporters from different parts of the country.
On Sunday, en route to the Dortmund airport, we visited Münster which is the other city where the peace treaty of the Thirty Years’ War was signed. What is also interesting about Münster is the St. Lambert’s Church. Between 1535-1536, Münster fell to the control of radical Anabaptists during the Münster Rebellion. At the end of Rebellion, the 3 leaders of the Anabaptist group were cruelly tortured and executed at the marketplace and their bodies were placed in cages on the tower of the St Lambert’s Church to feed the ravens. You can still see the three cages (or the replicas of the cages some claimed) on the tower today. Ironically, the three cages are now the symbol of the town even though there are numerous debates going on about whether the cages should be taken down because some citizens feel uncomfortable when they see that. On a lighter note, Münster has many high-end shops around St. Lambert’s Church. Just like most European cities, most shops were closed on Sundays so in the end, we went to a small cafe (Aneke’s mother’s favourite cafe) and drank coffee after the walk around the city.