Ride 3 from Zehdenick to Furstenberg Havel. One of the most scenic routes so far. A little overwhelmed with the beauty and solitude on the road – hunger was a constant companion (because I was keen on an early start so left without eating anything). I pulled in for food at this little town called Himmelpfort. No major reason to stop here but cafes are not so common when I am cycling only 40 or so km daily. So I stopped at this cafe which seemed very popular in this town of Himmelpfort.
Vaguely I remember seeing some Santa Claus banner while entering but didn’t pay much attention – though it was odd to have christmassy stuff in the month of August! Anyway, I proceeded into the cafe – and then the big Q was: what am I going to eat? I told the lady at the counter – Vegeeeetaaarish.
I want Vejjjjeeeeetaaarish food. Veeegaaan? Vegetaarish?
*She tells me some dish names in German*
Does it have egg? No egg. Vegetarish with no egg.
ehh, … Yes, egg!
Errr….moment. *shouts something in German into the kitchen*
I am just standing around. Wondering whether I have been dismissed. Usually ‘moment’ means ‘one moment’ So I am waiting. Then thankfully another German lady comes to me and she knows decent English. Phew. She suggested me a potato dish. Apparently it was just potato n cheese.
I ordered it. This culture of eating cheese like a main course item is very unusual for me because in India we consider it fattening and somewhat unhealthy. Paneer (cottage cheese), Ghee, Curd are all considered healthier. However cheese is like a staple in many of these European countries. So here in Himmelpfort, I found a typical German vegetarian dish which I had quite often on the road – Potatos & Cheese!
Finally feeling a bit satiated and guzzling down couple of Ginger Ales I decided to inquire into that Santa Claus postcards & banners I had seen earlier. Now this is an interesting conversation,
“Why do I keep seeing the Santa Claus here? For eg on this postcard?”
“well, you know this is Himmelpfort! This is where Santa Claus lives”
*Feeling like fish floundering without water* “Err what do you mean ‘lives’ here”
“Well you know as the legend goes…. this is where he stays. When kids want to write to the Santa, they all address it to Himmelpfort!”
“Err what about North Pole?”
“Err Nothing…. *stunned*”
“You know Santa lives right behind this cafe. This is where he reads his letters and even replies to them”
*Finally coming around* “Aah that is interesting, I will definitely go and see it 🙂 “
Bought one of the postcards as keep sake from Santa’s town. At least the German Santa’s town 😉
You know often exposed only to the ‘western’ media which originates in US or UK we assume things are a certain way. But when traveling other countries, things are different.
In Germany, Santa is from Himmelpfort and who can say otherwise?!
So I went and visited the lovely Santa cottage. A colourful room with a nice big veranda. Surrounded by green wilderness. In the near distance there was a big lake and boats. Families were picnicking there, I could here the sounds of kids laughter and water splashing.
In hindsight I think I should have inquired more into this activity but I found a very interesting article and I am so happy to know that this whole culture has humble routes.
So feel like writing a letter to Santa? 😉