So the last time I told you about this Dilwale Duhaniya Le Jayenge incident. Here goes my adventure. In October (first vacation of my school) I visited my fellow exchange friend Divya Garg in a small village, Schuby which is near Hamburg. Schuby is in the northern part of Germany and is close to Denmark. In case you didn’t figure it out till now…I WENT ALONE! All Alone in a country I just knew from the last one and a half month! Although people speak English here but in the trains when the announcements are made in German I don’t think your two month German can help you!
I happily bid goodbye to my host mom and sis at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) not knowing that I would have to sit in the train for the next 50mins at the same place because the train was running late! That made me realise that human and technical errors occur everywhere no matter where in the world you are. In normal circumstances it doesn’t matter when your train is late but when you gotta get down and change your train it does! I was to get down at Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and change my train for Schuby. I was to have around 45 minutes to change but since the first train was running late I was left with just six to seven minutes! I accepted the challenge though.
I got down from the first train…I wasn’t panicking at all till then! I tried to find the platform where I was supposed to go but unfortunately I couldn’t find it. Time was ticking; now somewhere in my mind I began to feel that I was not gonna make it. So, finally after making two rounds of the entire station I managed to ask a person for help. I don’t remember if I spoke German or not but it doesn’t matter! Time was running out and just a minute or two were left for my train to leave and I still had no clue where to go.
The gentleman guided me to the platform and I rushed. You just won’t believe what was in store for me next. I could hear the whistle of my train, yes my train, and it was about to leave! I was getting down from the staircase and I could see that the doors were about to close in front of me… just like in the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. I panicked. Gonna miss my train! I ran like our Hindi film heroes and caught hold of the nearest door. Like an action hero, I flung my trolley in and jumped in the train! Whew! That was pretty close to missing the train! My heart was beating heavily. I had saved money for this trip and was wise (he he) to buy the tickets at a discount when the government gave discount for a week. My to and fro return trip cost me over 80 euros and here I was – so close to missing my train! So, when I got in the train, for a moment I stood thunderstruck, completely blank. I got back to my senses a little later and tried to figure out what I would have done if I had missed the train. Gott sei Dank (Thank God) nothing like that happened.
When I look back I think it was a good experience for me. I not only learned to travel all by myself in a foreign country (which is my second home now) I also felt like a typical Bollywood actor with the climax of my movie also having a happy ending!;) I cannot imagine my parents even allowing me to travel alone to Pune from Mumbai which is just two hours by Expressway from Mumbai. So this was an adventure. Hurray, I made it successfully.
Food: Moving ahead, let us talk about the food here. I know these two topics don’t relate to each other but then, I have so much to tell you. So I have to club my experiences and the cultural things I learn here. Being a vegetarian, I would say it is a little difficult to get the food of your liking. I mean all the brilliant specialities here are not meant for vegetarians. So I haven’t been able to try them L but my other friends tell me the non-veg dishes here are yummy. There are many things in the vegetarian section though. All you need to do is to tune your mind into accepting the culture of a new country. After all, you have come to learn about a culture and not to change it. Every culture is unique and special. My father always used to tell me that culture is formed according to the flora and fauna and climate of a place. It depends on whatever is found at a location which people begin to use and then it forms the culture.
You will find a huge variety of salads. I didn’t eat them at home but I find them yum now…! Some of them also come with Kase (cheese). I insist you should try them when you are here.
German people eat a lot of potatoes. I still remember that when I came here my host mom told me that the next year when I go back home, I will be taller because it is said here that potatoes help in increasing height! I hope it helps meJ
The local speciality of Berlin is the Brotwurst. It is a sausage made of pork or beef and is normally grilled or pan fried. Sometimes it is cooked in beer too. I have no idea how it tastes though friends tell me it’s damn tasty. I have been having a variety of soups, noodles, pizzas and pastas here. I should admit they are lecker (tasty). And of course, you can’t miss out on the mouth-watering cakes, ice creams and chocolates. Yum… I am feeling hungry again…
There are sooo many varieties of cheese and breads… I love it. There are also many Turkish eating joints where you can find tasty Doner – veggies with beef but there are also the vegetarian ones. In Berlin, you can find food from all over the world. Indian tooJ I sometimes go to the famous Amrut restaurant which serves Indian food. It treats my Indian taste buds well. You know, my host mom and sis love palak paneer. They like Indian food. I would say that being a vegetarian is not a big problem here if you have an open mind (just that the local specialities are not meant for you).
It is exactly 11.58pm (Berlin time) and I am signing off.
Love to all.