torstai 31. joulukuuta 2015

The Stress free Christmas in Berlin

This Christmas we decided to relax: We met our relatives in longer period and left the Christmas days just for us two and headed for Berlin. Our program was very loose and I enjoyed the every moment no being in a hurry. 

We flew there on Christmas Eve and took a taxi to our hotel on Kastanie Alle. We have reserved our Christmas dinner at a restaurant near Friedrichsstrasse:  Sprout soup first and goose breast as a main course. It tasted delicious. There are some things in German cuisine I don’t like very much. One is the treating of potatoes: Why on earth should the potatoes be altered to sticky goo!? Another thing is the frequent usage of different cabbages: Four different ways in a dinner is just too much, however delicious the different dishes might be.

Me with my Chritmas goose breast

Berlin was really quiet as a big city and we walked through the almost empty streets in moonlight to our hotel.

                                                     At our hotel bar

The Christmas day was for two things: We visited Potsdam and met our Berlin sisters. So in the morning we took a S-Bahn to Potsdam. The weather was warm (about 10 degrees Celcius) and it has obviously been warm for a while. So many plants have made a false conclusion that the spring has already come. For example cherry trees, roses, and rhododendron bushes were blooming.

Potsdam is an old military and administrative town. The streets and houses along them told me a story about wealthy and organized life in 18th century. The blocks of flats from DDR period  behind the scene disturbed the illusion a bit.

We visited the interesting castle Sanssouci. It was the place where Frederick the Great (1712–86) lived his summer periods. He was known as a strict warrior king but at his summer palace he led his stress free life. He had many highly civilized long term guests, for example Voltaire and “servants” as Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and he played and composed music very skillfully. He didn’t live with his wife (which he was made to marry by his father) and had no children. The guests were only men what makes one wonder what was really  going on. On the other hand the royal problems with making babies seemed to be very common in these days, for example Swedish Gustaf III and French Louis XVI.

The Christmas day evening we took a S-Bahn to Nollendorf to Transsisters Berlin club. It was at a tiny gay bar. There were about ten sisters and some of their spouses. We had a nice chat with many of them. I’m rather lousy with German language but fortunately my wife speaks it like a native.

     With a Transsisters Maja in Nollendorf

In the Boxing Day morning we went to the Church in a suburb of Berlin to listen to the Choir where our friend sings. The music was a mass by a French baroque composer Marc Antoine Charpantier. It was made on basis of Christmas carols and made as such sounded more like hilarious court dance music than church music, composed by coeval Germans.

After the concert we had a long lasting lunch with lots of stories and sorts of German food. In the evening we wondered along the Berlin streets and Christmas markets. 

                                                 At the Berlin Alexandeplatz

The shops were closed so we really had time to spend again. We had our evening snack at a Rheinland style bar which had a name meaning it is an embassy of Rheinland. It is very popular among the federal administrative who moved from Bonn to Berlin when Berlin became the capital of Germany. And indeed, the relaxing atmosphere in the restaurant really is like in Cologne.

                                                No, the sausage is for us two....                              

                                                By the river Spree

On Sunday after Christmas the shops were mostly closed so our trip was sort of non-shopping trip. We travelled here and there in Berlin and finally took the bus to Berlin Tegel airport - without any hurry and stress.  

Holocaust memorial, Potsdammer Platz

                                               Someone undressing the Brandenburger Tor Christmas tree

keskiviikko 23. joulukuuta 2015

The rest before the Christmas

Now I’ve done everything I’ve decided to do before the Christmas – excluding packing for our Berlin Christmas. So it is a convenient time to report the rest of the fall.

In November I was constantly active. I took part in some TransHelsinki events. Our club, DreamWearClub organized a seminar on discrimination free sports. The main organizer and our president Minna-Maaria has done figure skating a couple of years and has had some difficulties in competing in male series and in female costume. She is very strong hearted person and has gradually made her point and the resistance has decreased very strongly. The only thing is the wrong costume takes some points from her score. Let’s see what happens when she goes to compete in Eastern European countries…

The other event I took part was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day to remember the transgendered people who had been murdered. In Finland I don’t know any case but in some countries, for example in US that kinds of sad stories are quite frequent. There was a candle light ceremony in the center of Helsinki. The member of the parliament Jaana Pelkonen gave a speech.

We also made an overnight trip to Tallinn. I had my wig box in my luggage but it turned out it was empty. To settle out the situation I hurried to the Kaubamaja hat department.

In the end of November I took part on Seta assembly. Seta is the Finnish national LGBTIQ organization and the DreamWearClub is a member of Seta. I met many old and some new friends there and we made some important plans how to implement the new laws concerning the equality and anti-discrimination of  LGBTIQ people.

In Finland December is time for numerous Pikkujoulus (“ the Little Christmas”). I took part in two. The DreamWearClub had its own with some Finnish Christmas cookies and Christmas carols.

Another one was a pop up ladies’ night in the centre of Helsinki. The audience were mostly young lesbians. The Father Santa visited there. As he said, he had his sacks full and he was mostly after the naughty girls. Well, he also found a single good girl and gave her rather naughty costume as a Christmas present to change her habit. I danced, played plays and laughed a lot with other girls.

The end of the belly dance season was a bit different because our regular coach Marinka had a baby in the beginning of December. For that reason we had her substitute Ulla who really made us sweat. For me the tempo was a bit fast to learn the new choreographies but on the other hand she was very demanding and strict which made me try my best. We also practiced our choreography for the Christmas show under her supervision though it was originally composed and started by Marinka. Taking into account these facts we made rather good performance. Unfortunately YouTube has removed the music but the rhythmical element of our dance can be still clearly seen.

So now I start to pack. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to everyone!