When you need a little (or a lotta) Christmas

A German Christmas story – Berlin – Christmas markets It is difficult to explain how a German Christmas market smells. A bit of a heady combination of spiced red wine, cinnamon, cookie batter, sizzling sausages, damp earth from a recent rain, and baking bread – it is all of these things and more. My first market…

A hobble around Museum Island

A German Christmas Story – Day 5, Berlin – Museum Island Despite a very swollen and rather stiff ankle, I wrapped it up with sport tape and an ankle support sock and set out for Museum Island, a UNESCO heritage site on the River Spree known for its architecture and concentration of art and artifacts….

The long shadows of war and wall

A German Christmas story – Berlin, Day 4 – Berlin Wall Memorial & Jewish History Museum It was hard to drag myself out of the hotel the next day after staying up half the night watching news footage about the Berlin Christmas market terrorist attack. The hope that it had been only an accident quickly faded away…

The landscape of terror has not been forgotten

A German Christmas Story – Berlin, Day 3 – Topography of Terror (afternoon) Germany is very upfront about the Holocaust. The Topography of Terror Documentation Center stands near a long stretch of the Berlin Wall on the former site of the Gestapo and SS headquarters. It is a low, modern building which seeks to lay…

From Prussian splendor to post-war gloom

A German Christmas Story – Day 2 in Berlin – Checkpoint Charlie and Schloss Charlottenburg I fell asleep early the night before and did not make it to a Christmas market after all. However, I unashamedly got thirteen hours of sleep after a restless night before leaving for Berlin and almost none on my flight,…

I am not a jelly doughnut, but that sounds good anyway

A German Christmas Story – Day 1 in Berlin Ich bin ein Berliner. Those were the first words used to introduce me to the conflict in Berlin, and indeed, the Cold War in general. Since I was only five years old when the Berlin Wall was torn down, I have no memory of the Cold War…