An unexpected stopover and The BIG surprise

Trip Start Feb 04, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Germany  ,
Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Some time ago. I was researching flights and was looking for affordable options which could take me from Taiwan via potentially Singapore to potentially Australia or New Zealand.

Well, as it turned out; all of the prices for flights going this direction spiked up drastically around the dates that I were looking at: Christmas.

That was probably the first time, I gave another option a thought: Going home for Christmas. And the longer I thought about it, the more sense it made.

Being quite conflicted about "ending my travels" as opposed to being with my loved ones for Christmas, definitely did not make it easy, but in the end, I made a decision.

But with respect to all my previous travelling, it absolutely did not feel right to take a direct flight from Taipei to Hamburg. It turned out, that since the beginning of 2013, you do not require a visa for entering a handful of Chinese cities if you stay less than 72 hours.

So, instead of only transiting, I decided to visit another location, where I had never planned to go on this trip: Shanghai, China.

But as it turned out, I had a really good time! I was welcomed warmly by a Couchsurfer and her friends, who made me eat duck head and drink lots of Chinese Wine to digest it! But, when in Rome… And I am definitely not complaining as it was a lot of fun – just maybe not what I am used to , but that's what travelling is all about, isn’t it?!

Besides, I was surprised how COLD Shanghai can be in December; I already had to experience a drop in temperature when leaving Vietnam in order to fly to Hong Kong and Taiwan, but China brought it to a whole new level: -5 degrees Celsius, which I surely did not expect and was therefore even happier to have bought myself a thick jacket for climbing Mount Jade a few weeks before.

But still, similar to Singapore or Hong Kong, Shanghai is a happening place, which boasts with an impressive skyline and attracts people from all over the world. And still, it’s China, making it very different to the places mentioned before.

The mentality of the people is different and things are slightly more difficult to handle – if you don’t speak any Mandarin or do not have a Chinese passport. But, it’s definitely a place I want to visit again – despite the freezing cold temperatures in Winter :)

Late evening on the 23rd of December, it was finally time then. I boarded a plane, which took me to Frankfurt, non-stop. Here I got onto a ICE bullet train, which took me straight into Hamburg Main Train Station.

And I was back again.

Singing “Driving home for Christmas” by Chris Rea in my head as I carried my backpack onto the local train and got off in my hometown, where I rang the doorbell of my family’s house, who couldn’t believe that I was there again – out of the blue!
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