I’m waking up in Berlin this morning after twelve hours of glorious, restful, restorative sleep.  I think I’m going to live.  

We landed in Germany exactly 24 hours ago on a crisp, foggy Friday morning.  We managed to squeak out a few tidbits of rest on the flight over, interrupted only by the Northern Lights as we flew over Iceland.  Air Berlin was wonderful.  My favorites included the aromatic eye mask, and meat and cheese breakfast.  Unfortunately, my teeny, tiny, red cup of coffee was spilled by the rather rough decent into Deutschland.  That was remedied by a huge, steaming latte at the airport a bit later.  Danke.

Currency exchange, check,

Train pass, check.

Off we go.

Our first look at Berlin was from the terminal bus taking us to the train station.  Bicycles everywhere.  The mix of modern architecture and old buildings is mesmerizing.  Traveling around Berlin is serious business; know where you’re going and get there straightaway.  Fortunately, Tif is very good at seeking out kind Berliners for help with the schedule and tracks.  She and Michael have cracked the code.  I just follow them.  

Cameron and Michael arranged for us to store our our luggage at the Emarsys office in Berlin so that was our first stop.  

Those kind folks gave us the opportunity  drop some weight and freshen up.  “Yay” for toothbrushes and fresh bottles of water.  Germans are bewildered by the fact that we prefer plain water over the sparkling variety.  No fizz?

We depart the train at Gendarmen Market, hungry for lunch though it is only 10:00 am in Berlin.  Fortunately, Augustine Brau Munchen was serving.  Maybe we were giddy from the lack of sleep and running on adrenaline, but it was our every-Germany-dream come true.  We had an ample sampling of sausages, kraut, and beer, and can we talk about the bread here in Germany?  Oh, the bread.

Our waiter was Pierre, who tolerated our hyper-touristy selves and made our first taste of Germany a delight.  As you will find when you travel with Eric, you get to know people, particularly the ones who serve you, pretty well.  

Christmas markets are everywhere in Germany this time of year and our first was down the street from the restaraunt. We are more than a little excited about the Christmas Markets.  And the music? American classics like White Christmas and Frosty the Snowman.

What a delightful mix of craftsmen and food!  We even enjoyed a live performance by the white hoopla hoop dancers.  You had to be there.  

Nativities are everywhere, which makes me quite happy. Look at the sheep.

Go big or go home on the first day when you are running on no sleep, so we headed for the iconic Berlin destinations.

The Brandenburg Gate.

The Reicshstag.

Also, Tiergarten and Checkpoint Charlie.  Being huge history nuts, we are in heaven.

Back to The Underground and the train for a harried trip to retrieve our luggage and meet our BRBO host at The Sony Center.  We have made it to 4:00 pm.  Despite the temptation of soft, horizontal, non-moving spaces in our lovely apartment, we push through to follow the advice of those who have gone before…no sleep and no napping.  

So, it’s back into the masses for a quick drink in a warm brewery, and then out into the street for our second Christmas market of the day at Potsdamer Platz.  The evening vibe was very festive and the food and drink were plentiful.  There’s nothing quite like eating a steaming bratwurst elbow to elbow with Berliners who are celebrating Friday night at the market.  Willkommen.

And the German candy?  Those are the bomb.  Right up there with German bread.  

While watching the outdoor skating, we sipped mulled wine and hot choclate with rum.  We need these Christmas markets in America.  Get on that.  

We stopped at the grocery for coffee and no-fizz water and wound our way back to the apartment.  It’s now 7:30 pm.  CAN WE PLEASE GO TO BED?  My iPhone says I took 19,147 steps and climbed 21 flights.  Tired.

I’m gonna slice off a piece of that Butterstollen and have a second cup.  Guten Morgen, Germany!

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