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Some say the best things in life come unplanned. As a girl who has a Plan C for almost everything in life, i find that statement a little hard to buy. What if Plan B fails and i land with bruises on the ground? It wasn’t until i simply said “yes” without thinking (at all) to accept an invitation to celebrate Christmas with a close friend of mine in Germany, when i had to admit defeat to un-plan plans. After all, who could turn down such a cozy offer? i had always dreamed of having a real Christmas – one with snow, colorful gifts orbiting a tree of green chlorophyl needles instead of plastic ones, a warm dinner with family (must. include. children) across a table spread sprawling with roasts and pies . . .

Before i get to the Christmas part of my trip, allow me, dear readers, to take you through a walk in Esslingen; a friendly neighborhood-like district in the center of Baden-Württemberg. For some personal reasons, i had always thought that the first European country i would land my feet on would be Spain; but it seems Germany is pretty good stuff.

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We departed Kuala Lumpur at 12 a.m. to Frankfurt – one armed with all the iGadgets you could imagine, the other with a good book in hand. i actually said sorry to my iPad that i had to leave her behind, as i’ve promised myself to read more whenever i can. Many of my family and friends seemed to worry about my gluteal muscles; or what you would call a butt, as i had just signed myself up for a 12 hours flight. Being the avid flyer that i am, i told my dad the longer the flight the better, and he laughed at me thinking i, didn’t know better. Having ‘been there done that’, i can now confidently say that i DO wish the flight was longer. i miss the moments we laughed about how creamer is spelt ‘Krimer’, or how i allowed my heart to get stolen as i managed to catch a glimpse of Germany sleeping just before the break of dawn.

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Upon arriving we queued for a short while at Europcar to rent das auto. The very moment i opened the car door i was literally squealing in delight to celebrate the first difference of Germany vs Malaysia – how the driver’s seat is reversed. i guess you could see that’s how happy i was and i am not exaggerating either. In no time we were driving at 180km/h but it didn’t feel like that at all. Somehow the roads and their drivers make you feel safe, and you see very clean highways built far away from the city without cluttering signs. Not to forget, no Kancil pulling out of nowhere with the driver’s hand sticking out the window like a boss! It was not until when we were listening to German radio about the weather forecast and how a mother lost a 2 years old daughter, later found dead at the playground when i decided that there are stupid people everywhere; no matter where you go.

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{the famous dick (landmark) in Esslingen}

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Leo had been reciting to me the itinerary for Germany: Day One and it felt exactly like a dream realized having to make everything come true – in real action. For weeks i had been listening to the hunger growling in his heart for the meatloaf from a local butchery named Mayer’s located in Das ES, or witnessing the sparks of excitement flickering in his eyes whenever he talked about the espresso at Angelo’s bar (real name: Bar Piccolino). Without further drowning you softly with my words, the next couple of pictures i grant you the glorious pictures of meatloaf galore. Be careful if you are planning to skip lunch . . .

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{a bite into this piece sends you straight to heaven – its flavors mellow and juicy, promising your tummy a welcome comfort after a long journey}

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{the walkway to swim through a crowd with minds listed with last minute Christmas shopping items before i could experience the legendary espresso}

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{loaves of fresh bread and buns baked in a thousand species}

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{gigantic pies and tarts for digging in and marvel}

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{a shot of espresso to ease the jet lag; a special blend from Angelo himself, a chocolate to taste, a shot of water to accompany}

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Here is where i planted my first few real footsteps in Europe. Wrapped up warmly in my coat and snuggly boots, Leo told to me the forgotten stories of the town and i listened eagerly with wonder; trying to capture every word he said as we strolled along the pavements under pale, empty winter skies. Every now and then the wind surprised me with her icy, sexy blows; penetrating into any space she could find through my thick layers, and my bones rattled a little. It felt like i was living in a fairy tale town surrounded by all the colorful triangular shape houses paving the narrow alleys like they would lead to a grumpy dwarf’s door. . . which did find me in the end:

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{detailed outfit entry here}

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{Kessler Sekt brewery – famous for their sparkling wine}

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As how all adventures go, discoveries are part of the package and if not, what is traveling for? To our delight, we found an opening into an aged building which houses huge fat stairs twirling into a wooden-like-palace with hidden rooms at every corner. i felt like Goldilocks (and The Three Bears drink wine), breaking into a home without permission; until we reached a lobby where dozens of cute grandmas and grandpas luxuriously spending their golden age sitting poised on each chair; warming the space even more with chatters and laughters.

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You might be wondering at this point when is this post gonna end. i can tell you that it is not . . . until i take you to the most magical highlight of my first day in Germany. Remember those grand churches you see in movies shot to portray the era of medieval times? Let me ensure you that walking into one, is an entirely different thing. As we pushed the heavy creaking door open, an almost tangible sense of calmness, peace, and honesty guided us to the core of the church where i saw Christ’s palms nailed to the wooden planks. Amidst the silence sat a lady with a troubled face and i couldn’t help feeling guilty every time my camera let out that suddenly deafening ‘snap’, but nonetheless the pictures we got are just pure magnificent for viewing pleasure:

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Soon we were crawling our way out of the mini labyrinth of Esslingen and found ourselves right in front of Konuk Kebab, established since 1987. i suppose the owner’s name is Konuk and i couldn’t understand a word he said, so i tried to read his body language every time he waved his long skinny faithful knife around. He even posed for my camera with it; which you will see below. His secret traditional recipe of fluffy doughy wrap with crisp edges plays out a delicious contrast when paired with generous chunks of beautifully roasted kebab. Every bite flows with juice from the meat, and ends with a satisfying crunch of sliced purple cabbage which natural sweetness come flowing after. It is simply gorgeous.

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{a recess time drink for a goody ol’ dose of Vitamin C on-the-go!}

 

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