Another day in Christmas heaven…
Today I saw many Berliners buying and carrying natural trees. For an American it may seem a little bit late for one to buy a Christmas tree. We start decorating the Christmas tree in our house as soon as Thanksgiving is over, and by now the Christmas trees would go on sale at Walmart… but here in Berlin Christmas is Christmas and it hasn’t been exploited yet… we can argue about that… but it is just my opinion.
Enjoy more pictures of Berlin under the Christmas spell.
I was doing some research about the Christmas markets and I found this in Wikipedia. It is an overview of the history and origin of the Christmas markets in German speaking Europe. It gives an idea about the importance of the Christmas markets in European countries.
“A Christmas market, also known as Christkindlmarkt, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, and Weihnachtsmarkt, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. These markets originated in Germany, Austria, South Tyrol and Alsace but are now being held in many other countries.
The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe. In many towns in Germany and Austria, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the Christmas market or “Weihnachtsmarkt”. In southern Germany and Austria it is sometimes called a “Christkind(e)l(s)markt” (German language, literally meaning “Christ child market”). Generally held in the town square and adjacent pedestrian zones, the market sells food, drink, and seasonal items from open-air stalls, accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. Popular attractions at the market include the Nativity Scene (a crèche or crib), Zwetschgamännla (figures made of decorated dried plums), Nussknacker (carved Nutcrackers), Gebrannte Mandeln (candied, toasted almonds), traditional Christmas cookies such as Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread), Christstollen (Stollen), a sort of egg bread with candied fruit, Bratwurst, and for many visitors one of the highlights of the market: Glühwein, hot mulled wine (with or without a shot of brandy), or Eierpunsch (an egg-based warm alcoholic drink). Both help stave off the cold winter air which sometimes dips below freezing. Many other handmade items, toys, books, Christmas tree decorations and ornaments (and in recent years less useful gadgets) can be found at a Christkindlmarkt.
Berlin claims over 70 markets, which open in late November and close just after Christmas.”
Yes yes and yes! It is this time of the year, it is Christmas time!
It is the magical time, the beautiful, the nostalgic, and most of all the fattening period of all!!! lol lol
When I was growing up in Beirut we didn’t have White Christmas. To get in the spirit we had to watch American movies and dream of snow. Some times we would put fake snow spray on the windows but it got old and tacky so we stopped.
All this to say that in Berlin I am definitely living the White Christmas dream 🙂
Not only with the snow that doesn’t dry off the ground since few weeks, but also the beautiful famous German Christmas Markets! I think Christmas was born in this country!
There is all kind of Christmas markets here, the big ones, the medium ones and the one on each corner of a street. You don’t need to look up on the internet to find where they are, just wander in the city and you will hit at least few!
Enjoy the pictures of the Christmas markets that I will be sharing for the next weeks. This one was taken in Schloss Charlottenburg Christmas market, and it seem to be one of Berliners’ favorite.
When I started writing this post about Berlin East and Berlin West, perceived from a foreigner’s (who just landed in the city) point of you, I couldn’t stop thinking about Beirut East and Beirut West during the civil war. It is so funny how much the two capitals have not only four similar letters the B, E, I and R but also hundred of other similarities. They both got caught up in the middle of a power struggle between two big forces.
It is, obviously, not in the nature of the Berliners or the nature of the Lebanese to be contempt with one ideology and to accept one identity. Far from that, they both are torn between East and West, Capitalism versus Communism (Germany) Christianity versus Islam (Lebanon). I wish it was as simple as I am explaining it, but it is not; each of the two people have West and East in them, and sometimes it is so hard to tell the difference.
I think from what I have seen around me in Berlin, even the people of the West who stayed in the westernised part of Berlin carry lots of socialism and equal social justice feelings in them. The Lebanese too, no matter how religious they might be they all carry at the same time christian and islamic beliefs in them, yes it is complicated, or let’s say we complicate things; it was simple in the beginning and then one idea emerged from the other and they all exist because of each other… Ok this post is getting a little bit too serious, and this was never my intention in my blog, I want to always keep it light, cute and simple.
I love the fact that destiny brought me to Berlin to find answers about the Lebanese war, of course not literally but in a philosophical way to why war happened in Lebanon, and why the Lebanese allowed it.
When I wrote the blog about crossing the Beirut borders and comparing it to Berlin (One day in 1985 in Beirut) I had no idea that four years later I was going to be in Berlin and see what happened here.
Anyway, here are the pictures of Check Point Charlie, a very typical place to visit while in Berlin. Check Point Charlie was the military passage from West Berlin to East Berlin, where passports had to be stamped with a visa in order to cross to the other side of the same city. You will see the one side controlled by the Americans and the other side which took pride for not being a profit sector.
Hello my dear bloggers friends, I have missed you!
So here we are again moving to a new country, this time to Berlin, Germany!
After a little bit less than two years in Sudan (which seemed like eternity) here we are back to Europe, and this time in a place where I have never been before, Berlin.
What can I say about this city… still cannot place it in a category… still wondering…
It’s definitely Europe but not the mid and south Europe I know. It is not Paris, it’s not Italy. No wonder you don’t hear people saying: “oh this year I’ve got to go to Berlin to check the trends, the fashion, and see what it is going on in the world”, well not. However the Germans of Berlin are the nicest people I have ever met! Berlin, definitely, brings the best of you. You cannot help it here but feel calm, confident, happy and relaxed.
On the cultural side; Berlin is charged with history, and not the good one; when you walk in the city you can easily take a visual and spiritual trip back to the Nazi regime and the Cold War. The remorse, the regrets, the painful memories of the past, are all still weighing on the city, once divided between capitalism and communism. The Germans are doing their best trying to deal with their painful history, but they are not really getting over what happened, and a very sad morbid atmosphere lingers over the city.
Anyway, I hope to be able to catch all this with my lenses, and witness the evolution over the years.
Today I am sharing my first pictures of the Berlin Wall!
My Friend Gwen, when she first saw the pictures, said to me that she didn’t know that there was so much wall left. Well in fact, Gwen, the wall was built on each side of the two Berlins; the west side which was totally (I think) destroyed (and you can buy pieces of the wall in the souvenir shops) and the east side which is still standing, and turned into an open air gallery with beautiful paintings and drawings, and this is what you see here in my blog.
Enjoy the pictures my friends! And I promise to take you with me in my journey in Berlin for the next coming years.