Thursday, September 15, 2005
The Day I touched Snow.....
Doesn't sound like an interesting blog topic, does it? Well.. It can't be helped. Because the day i first touched snow was a day I will not forget that easy. Its not just becuase of the snow that the day was so special, but the fact that i experienced so many new things then and saw so many beautiful things made the day a special one.
I live in South India and so i hardly need to tell that I have not even seen snow in reality, let alone touch it. It had always been a dream of mine to hold snow in my hand. My parents tell me that I had already touched snow when I was about 3 years old. But then again, how many of us remember what we did when we were 3 years old??? So as far I was concerned, I had never touched snow. I got the oppurtunity to touch snow in quite an unexpected manner in the summer of 2004, when I had made a trip to Germany.
I had gone to Germany with my father for a couple of weeks. During the course of these two weeks, we travelled as much as we could to try and cover as many places in Germany as possible. One of the places we had visited was Wernigerode. It is almost at the base of a hill, where a popular hill station, Brocken, is located. There is a mountain train service between Wernigerode and Brocken. We had heard a lot about it and decided to try it out.
We set out early from the town we were residing in, to Wernigerode by the normal train. Its about a couple of hours by train. At Wernigerode, we managed to get two tickets for the mountain train to Wernigerode. At the ticketing counter (which was also a kind of souvenir shop), they had a TV screen which constantly showed the conditions at Brocken. I initially thought that this TV was showing the News or something, because i saw lots of snow. Then only i realised that it was an image of Brocken. AND IT WAS SNOWNING! This was not normal, as it was spring time in Europe and it normally does not snow in Brocken during spring time (well.... it was ALMOST summer there.. so it was even more surprising!).
I was beside myself with joy. But my father and I faced a particular problem. We were not prepared for snow and an almost zero degree celsius weather. I had just a light jacket and a wind breaker with me. My Dad had his jacket and a sweater. That would hardly be sufficient. My father is pretty much used to low temperatures as he often has to go to Germany for office work. But I was not like him. I was too sensitive to temperature changes. So he bought a nice, warm jumper for me from the souvenir shop.
Finally, the moment came... We boarded the train and we were on our way to play in snow!!! Even though we had good seats inside the compartment, my Dad and I chose to spend most of the journey standing outside on a small platform fixed outside the compartment and watch the scenery fly by. It was the most amazing experience ever. Everything around me was so green. I am from a tropical country, so I am not that used to seeing coniferous trees. But all through this fantastic journey, all I could see were beautiful green coniferous trees with some snow settled on them. It looked like a christmas postcard!!!! I wish I had a photo with me now to attach to this post.. but i don't. Because no matter how many words i use, I can never describe that journey. It is something that just had to be "experienced". Not "described" (now i understand why they say "a picture is worth a thousand words!!!). It was one of the most wonderful train journeys of my life. In fact the journey was more awesome than the destination. If you ever go to Germany, I strongly recommend you trying out this trip. You will not regret it. Trust me.
We reached Brocken after an amazing two hour journey. Finally I set my foot on snow!!!! I was so happy!!! But i was also really cold. It was a very windy day, and soon I could feel my face becoming numb. So me and my Dad stepped into a tourist building full of souvenir shops to warm up. We just walked about gazing into all the shops. I began to feel bored inside and longed to get back out into the snow. So we went out again, and this time, I held snow in my hand!!!
It had not snowed all that much for us to make a snowman. It was also becoming warmer as the day wore on. My dad and i spent most of our time outside, and went into the shopping area only whenever we needed to warm up. I bought my dad a little, stuffed owl at the souvenir shop (owls are my dad's favourite birds!). It was quite a cute thing.
We could not eat anything from the cafetaria there, because both of us are vegetarians and all they had in the the cafe was non vegetarian. Later that afternoon, we caught the train back to Wernigerode. This journey was also as eventful as the first one. Infact, it was more exciting!!! It started to snow just as we left. So all through the journey, I was trying to catch snow flakes. We eventually reached Wernigerode and went back home with a feeling of happiness. It was almost like a perfect day. The only imperfection was that my Mom was not there. She had to stay back at home in India. If she had also come along, it would have been THE perfect day for me...
What made the day so special to me was not just the snow. Even the fact that i travelled by a train pulled by a steam engine made the day so wonderful. On the Discovery Channel, they had once shown a programme on the disappearance of steam engines and on the sentiments of the people who travelled in trains pulled by these giants and also those who operated them. At that point, I did not understand why they were so worried about the disappearance of steam engines to pave way to more advanced engines. I didn't understand why they were becoming so sentimental about it. Only after travelling in this mountain train, I realized why people love steam engines so much. They seem to have a life and personality of their own... Call me mad if you like... But i could have almost sworn that the engine was talking to the passengers in its own unique way by tooting and letting out little puffs of smoke. That train journey was simply awesome (looks like the show "thomas and friends" does not exaggerate when they show steam engines talk to each other!!!!!) What made it even more amazing, was that i was travelling with someone who also missed steam engines and had travelled in them on a daily basis long time back!!!!
I do not know if I will ever get another chance to go there. I am not sure which element of it made it so special. The snow, the train, Brocken, the scenery or just spending time with my father??? Whatever it was, it doesn't matter now. I only know this much, the memory of this trip will always be one of my favourites in my long "Memories to be cherished" list...... Hope to meet you again Thomas!!!!!