|The glühwein sweets|
|A nativity scene with the Television Tower behind|
After wiling away the morning sampling every treat at the Christmas Markets, we crossed the river to the Berliner Dom. In history class I saw photos of it looking significantly worse for wear after the Allied bombing of Berlin in 1940, so it was quite fascinating to see it in person.
The unofficial mascot of former East Germany is Ossie Crosswalk Man. He was the subject of a massive campaign after authorities proposed axing him a few years back. I wish all crosswalk guys wore fedoras!
By mid-afternoon, I was really regretting leaving my thermals at home. We took refuge from the icy wind inside the Neue Nationalgalerie. We thought their exhibition was from a guy called Geteilte Himmel. Turns out, that’s German for Divided Sky, and it was an exploration of German art between 1945 and 1968. Fascinating.
It was long dark by the time we left the gallery, so we hopped on the metro to Alexanderplatz – the largest Christmas Market.
|Stopping along the way only when completely necessary.|
The Jewish Museum is a very… unusual experience. I was expecting it to explore the holocaust a little more, but it was more aimed at capturing the longer history of German Jews. Probably more effective for the German public, and definitely less morbid, but not quite what we were hoping to experience.
|An installation in one of the empty spaces at the Jewish Museum.|
A quick bite to eat at a German bakery followed (why is German bread so delicious!), then a visit to Checkpoint Charlie – the main crossing from West to East during the cold war.
Afterwards, a visit to the Reichstag. Another building I remembered well from History class. As I was trying to imagine what it would have felt like to be one of the thousands of young men in straight lines watching the Führer speak from the steps, my hair did something freaky.
Though tired, we walked from the Reichstag through the Tiergarten to the main art gallery, where, I have to admit, I completely ran out of steam and felt it hard to concentrate as Paul slowly circulated through hundreds of enormous rooms!
|The Brandenburg gate as seen from the Tiergarten.|
Easily the best part of the weekend was the last part. My friend Phil from performing arts school moved permanently to Berlin just three days earlier, and we met up with him in Alexanderplatz, along with his lovely girlfriend Stefanie. We had several mugs of glühwein along with potato pancakes, country potatoes and currywurst before it was time to go.
|With Phil and Stefanie in Alexanderplatz|