Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
“Gray Morning – Beautiful Day” is an old German proverb, and nothing else could have described better the Sunday afternoon I spent visiting the Annual Traditional German Christmas Market & Festival that took place at the Seongbuk Multicultural Village Center in Seoul from December 10-12.
Upon leaving my home in Gimpo, it was a very dry, gray, and bitter cold morning. My hands literally froze off while walking the measly 300 yards to the nearest bus stop. Standing frozen stiff eagerly waiting for the #60, I immediately began lamenting the very fact that I was even outside as the melancholic, caliginous sky combined with the static chill began to take its full effect upon my already somber mood. I questioned myself in utter silence, “Do I continue on?” No doubt! Retreat was not an option; German bratwurst, spicy chili, warm mulled-wine, and sweet pastries were solely awaiting to be devoured without remorse. After few more moments in the cold, I boarded the next bus and headed towards the festival with nothing but food on my mind.
Upon exiting the subway and walking up the last flight of stairs, sunlight burst through the thick clouds and steam quickly began rising from the cold, moist steps. There was so much steam that I could miraculously see the beams of light take form along the tiled walls. When I reached the final step, the meaty aroma of freshly cooked German sausage hit my nostrils like a sledgehammer and my mouth watered instantly. The scent of mulled-wine was also calling my name and it was as if I was being uncontrollably serenaded by a Siren toward my imminent demise. Demise or no demise, there was no turning back.
A pretty Korean girl with a majestic smile handed me my first glass of mulled wine and the aroma was so hypnotic that I honestly don’t remember paying. Who knows, maybe I didn’t. Nevertheless, once the wine hit my lips, it felt like I was instantly transformed into a higher being and it seemed that the dark clouds were disappearing just for me. I then veered up at the large, decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the plaza and smiled.
Despite the rather petite market, my ravenous scavenging reached success when I obtained my fill of German sausage, golash, leberkäse, stollen bread, chili, mulled wine, and an oddly popular German pilsner in Korea by the name of Krombacher. Soon following, the German Christmas market was graced with a large hoard of hungry patrons and I was immediately introduced to a number of guys and gals from around the world.
After spending a generous amount of time chatting away with a wide-variety of people while drinking mulled wine, I peeked at my watch and realized that I needed to jet to Insadong market before it got too late. Upon my departure I chatted with a lovely, blue-eyed German girl about how the sky transformed from muggy gray to bright blue almost instantly, and she taught me my first German proverb when she said, “Grauer Morgen – Schöner Tag!”