Sunday, December 19, 2010

Berlin day 3

It snowed all morning, which made a picturesque backdrop to our cozy all-you-can-eat brunch buffet but was not such good weather for exploring. I dragged a reluctant Nadia onto the streetcar and over to Kollwitzplatz, where I'd heard about an organic, all-natural Christmas Market, and sure enough, there were plenty of objects for sale along the lines of little hand-knit animals made from hand-dyed wool from the humanely raised and sheered sheep of the seller's sister.

Although Nadia had been moaning about her frozen feet before we reached the market, a cup of organic Gluehwein soon put her to rights (though I did NOT let her have a shot of rum in it). Here she is, post-wine.Nadia spent the afternoon in the hotel while I visited both the Kathe Kollwitz museum (amazing and powerful) and the Story of Berlin museum (where I got a tour of a real nuclear bunker, one of 16 in Berlin, built in 1974). Between museums, my timing was excellent, as a Christmas parade was heading down the Ku'damm. But tackily, it was sponsored by Coca-Cola and included free cans of coke handed to the crowds. Sigh...I'll take hokey Christmas markets any day.

Every once in a while, such as today on the streetcar, it will dawn on me again how strange it is to be able to travel through what used to be East Berlin, and back and forth over what used to be a heavily controlled border. Our hotel is in East Berlin, for goodness' sake! My last visit, in 1981, was during such a different time.

This city is starting to feel very comfortable to me, even if I can't quite get the knack of tipping. My German tutor back in Venice is from Berlin, and so the accent is familiar and understandable. Folks are pleasant and courteous, and are clearly ready to enjoy the holiday Stimmung despite the weather. And the public transportation is a dream - oh, how envious I am!

My Euro-style twin bed awaits, as does Matched by Allie Condie (only a few more pages to go and then on to The White Horse Trick by Kate Thompson).


  1. I greatly enjoy following your adventures, Eva.

  2. It looks like you've got an ample supply of ARCs left.