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

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