December 3 – It was 5:10 AM when our plane touched down on unseen black tarmac at Munich Airport Germany. Us passengers felt the crisp, calmingly still winter air as it clapped in waves at and through the portable passageway connecting the plane to the airport terminal. Kunt, the father of my good friend Johannes was waiting for me with his black Audi sedan. He was dressed in a black Hugo Boss suit, all tailored to a well-kept physic maintained through a diet of regular exercise and red wine. Kunt is an commercial lawyer if I ever saw one. A handshake allowed me to notice, although he looked remarkable young and fit for his age, there were spots of grey scattered through his dark brown hair.
Together we drove to the family house in Geisenfeld. Which is about half an hour easy driving from Munich. Located in the Hallertau region of Bavaria, world famous for hops. Geisenfeld is a small Bavarian town in which I had previously lived in for two months on an exchange in 2014 and 2015.
During breakfast I surprised myself how well spoken my German was. (In New Zealand it is sometimes difficult to practice the language on a regular basis.) At 2.30 PM the doorbell rung eloquently throughout the hallway. Down the far end of the hallway is a modern Yamaha white piano. I was practicing Beethoven’s moonlight Sonata, admitting the cords and tempo to memory. Lotta, the family dog, a short hair brown Labrador cross Retriever ran barking mad towards the front dog. Lotta repeats this action every time the doorbell is struck.
Alex had arrived to picked me up. It was three years since I had seen her. That felt like yesterday. Her long golden blond hair in waves with deep sealike eyes the color of the Summer sky, I did not forget. We hugged, and, while smiling to ourselves at each others accents (Alex is Canadian/American) walked in that crisp Winter air towards Alex’s new red Mini Cooper.
One of the most beautiful cities found in Bavaria is the city of Regensburg. Dark Gothic church towers, city gates, pizzeria’s in white brick wine cellars and a cobble stone bridge from which to watch a sunset over the river Danube. We walked and talked through the Christmas market in the main square. Alex wore a dark green winter puffer jacket that provided a blanket down to her knees. She wore a brown woolen beanie and her favorite black Dr Martians. We talked about Christmas and university, our families, reminiscing old memories.
Although more than a year younger than myself, Alex is one of the most intelligent people I have had the pleasure to meet. She can hold a conversation on any topic, from fashion to politics, interior-design to nutrition. Fittingly so, Alex has her eyes on studying medicine in Berlin.
We crossed that cobblestone bridge and it started to snow. Arriving to another Christmas market with rickety wooden stalls set up alongside the river. I ordered a glühwein and Alex a kinderpunch (non-alcoholic hot punch). They came in the most beautiful clay mugs. We stood by the river, snow dancing down into the wine. Steam rising out from our mugs. We smiled. There was nowhere in the world I would rather be. It was only yesterday I was in China!
Due to the weather, although comically romantic, a warm dinner inside was decided to be a more reasonable option. We dined at Hans Im Glück located in Marktplatz. Hans Im Glück is a new restaurant chain that provides Germany’s best gourmet burgers. The interior of the restaurant consists of a earthy decor with tree trunks that rise from the floor and carry upwards into the ceiling. The design is an interpretation of the forest described in the original children’s book Hans Im Glück thus appealing to the childhood memories of the Germans who dine.
Table talk was mostly related to anything practically related to a Hospital. Hospitals or anything medical is not my favorite topic of interest but I believe I made a satisfactory effort to take an interest and contribute. In any event, due to my jet lag it was socially acceptable to only nod and smile.
With arms linked we began to make our way back to the car. The snow thickening and the temperature dropping. By the hour, we arrived on the Autobahn. What was a romantic snowfall and developed in a blizzard. Traffic was in virtual standstill. After a many back country road in thick show we arrived back in Geisenfeld. A first day back in Germany to remember.