Hamm, Germany. Although it is also cold here in Japan during Christmas, my husband and I sometimes dream of snowy Christmas like what we had in Germany in 2009. It was my first visit to Germany and the first time to meet his family and friends. At that time we were still boyfriend and girlfriend. And like an excited kid, weeks before our scheduled flight, I have already prepared my luggage and the gifts I need to bring with me.
It was also our first Christmas together as a couple so before we took our flight to Germany, we had a quick tour around Manila to show how Filipinos celebrate Christmas. We also went to St. Joseph Parish Church in Las Pinas City to see the 19th century Bamboo Organ.
My First White Christmas in Hamm
The following day, we headed back to airport for our trip to Germany. The flight to Amsterdam was quite a success despite the long hours inside the plane. However when we reached Schiphol Airport to take another flight going to Dusseldorf, snow chaos in Europe started forcing airlines to cancel all flights and airports to close down. We were lucky to get free overnight hotel accommodation and be able to get a decent sleep while waiting for our chance to get a flight to our next destination. Despite all of these, my heart was jumping like am excited kid when I saw the snow covering my path.
Very early the following day, we went back to the airport to try our luck. But to no avail, we have decided to call Christian's parents and ask if they can pick us up. Shortly after 3-4 hours, they came by car and welcomed us. However, due to the snow chaos, we were not able to get our check-in luggage. Luckily I put all my gifts in my hand carry. So after an hour of rest when we reached his parents' house in Hamm, Christian and I went downtown for shopping.
Touring around the city was fascinating especially the trees covered with snow; houses decorated with Christmas trimmings; and the hustle and bustle in the Christmas Market.
Come Christmas eve, we went to the church to hear mass and then went back home to have dinner and gift exchange. It was very similar to how our family spend Christmas in Manila minus the snow and cold weather.
While waiting for the New Year's day, Christian and I made some day trips in nearby places. First we went to Bonn to see a portion of the Rhein River and the House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany (Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland).
After that we went to Cologne to visit the Cathedral before heading back to Hamm.
We also visited Soest, a typical middle-aged town center east of Hamm.
Similar to Soest but a little bigger, we also visited Muenster and tried a traditional Westfalian lunch from Pinkus. It is a traditional brewery and restaurant.
Since Germany is also known for its castles especially the North Rhine-Westphalian region , we visited a few during our day tours.