Wednesday, December 30, 2015

[MÜNSTER] Cold in Muenster

I didn’t really have enough time to plan my German New Year trip because it just sort of happened. After that booboo at Phuket International Airport, I just lost consciousness several times on the plane and the next thing I knew we were already landing in Cologne. What I remember, though, is that I had two options: a) hop on an evening flight to Hamburg the same night, or; b) stop at Münster the next day because some friends of mine are from there and happened to be at home for the holidays.

I don’t like European trains because they are just too expensive but I managed to get my hands on two one-way tickets from DB which cost me just EUR 20 each, which I thought was not that bad. The routes were Cologne – Münster and Münster – Hamburg. I think they cost more than that in general, and I thought it would be crazy expensive because it’s the holiday season, but no! And so I decided to proceed with the Münster daytrip sans itinerary. Leave that to the locals. Bring me anywhere you like, I’m down!

Münster is not too small but not too big; not too busy but not too quiet either. I guess this is the part where I apologize for my lack of appreciation for Deutschland, which has always been my gateway to Europe, but all I ever remember is how cold it is. I was in Berlin and ventured in the northern parts summer last year, and it was cold. Newsflash, it’s winter right now and the temperatures are flirting with negative digits. I guess there’s just no getting used to this. Either you hate winter or you love it. I hate it.

I arrived at Münster’s hauptbahnof a bit too early, which was fine because it meant getting a cup of hot chocolate and some choco pastries at some random café. But before that, I decided to leave my luggage in one of the lockers conveniently located right next to the stairs leading to one of the platforms. And then I was ready for some breakfast action. I found a good café with free Wi-Fi, in the condition that I allow it to post on FB on my behalf. It did so with grammatically correct Deutsch, which was obviously so not me.

And then my friends arrived and we drove to their place. I met the entire family from grandma all the way down to the little bro. They were really hospitable and used to hosting people from all over the world so there wasn’t a lot of awkwardness to deal with, which I guess helped a lot because I was still a bit aloof from lack of sleep. We then started with our walkathon around Münster which would have been awesome if it was summer. All three of us love walking, but I don’t think all of us like cold weather.

It was okay because the sun was still out, although it got a bit unbearable for me later on when the sun started to set that we had to cut our walk short. The itinerary included an Asian grocery where we picked up ingredients for Adobo, followed by a trip to the Altstadt which seems to be the highlight of every German excursion I’ve ever had, and not without reason. You see, almost every German city has this area which used to be the center of everything back in the good old days, and most of them are preserved.

The usual attractions consist of cobblestoned streets, various shops, and a cathedral or two with a spire visible from afar. Or as camwhores would like to say, “the ultimate selfie spot!” If I remember it correctly, the first one we saw was the one with the spire that had three elevator-like thingies hanging in front of it, which according to my friend was used as a torture device back when different factions of the Church were still at loggerheads with one another. Well, that sounds like fun.

But the one I found more visually appealing was the cathedral at the market. This one didn’t have spires that commanded a good view but I guess that’s because most of the interesting sights are inside the church. I am talking about religious sculptures here with Latin engraved on most of them. Oops, did I mention that I’m studying Latin?! *insert dorky language geek verbal diarrhea here* I usually avoid entering churches because I’m such a blasphemous heretic who should burn at the stake, but I really enjoyed this one.

And then we found ourselves in another historic part of town. Münster apparently had a significant contribution to the Treaty of Westphalia. Now I wouldn’t really know the significance of that treaty to my everyday life because I think my brain went to Maldives on vacation when that topic was discussed in history class. But I suppose that whatever that contribution is, it must be legit. Otherwise, they wouldn’t really bother to make a museum for it. And so we just took selfies. Hooray, us.

We then decided to take a break and have some hotdogs and fries from a popular American food place. What followed was another lovely stroll which turned more and more sinister as the sun went down. It's said that Münster has a lot of bikes. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they have more bikes than people, but I’ve been told that it’s one of the things it’s famous for. What I noticed is the abundance of parks, and that really nice lake where people go to chillax.

I could imagine how majority of the people here should be so healthy. I mean, when your city has vast parks like that, you just want to walk and jog and run and have a picnic there. The trees were bald because that’s en vogue for them during winter, but they still presented a good backdrop for the daily routine unfolding there. I bet the view will be even more postcard-worthy come autumn. Imagine the colorful foliage waiting for you as you prepare to sit down under a tree to feast on your currywurst. Graphic! LOL.

And so the verdict, will I go back to Münster? If they invite me again, I don’t see why not. I often complain about inconvenient cities and how I hate lack of order and discipline but deep inside, I know I just love chaos. I think Münster is too nice for my taste, like many European cities are. But whatevs. Lately my motivation for travel has been constantly evolving, taking into consideration certain cities that I want to visit not for the purpose of tourism, but for the sake of visiting friends and having a sneak peek of what their life is like in their natural habitat. As far as I’m concerned, Münster served that purpose.

Thanks a lot for hosting me and showing me around your city, Henzy and Johannes. Until our next lakwatsa! :)

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