Berlin was the first stop in a long winter pilgrimage that would take me from London to Berlin, Berlin to North Carolina, NC to Seattle and then back to London. Each stop was about 5 days long.
This was my first Christmas since moving to the UK; Anne moved to Berlin in September, and as she wasn’t planning on going home for Christmas, I decided to spend Christmas with her and then stop for a belated Christmas with my family on the way to Seattle. (Anne is family.) We were out late most nights, keeping company with others far from home, going to karaoke bars and house parties ‘til early morning hours; stamping over the icy cold grounds of the Weihnachtsmarkt; and figuring out new traditions for this non-traditional Christmas.
We cooked most days (our own Christmas dinner: roast chicken, stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, sprouts with bacon, rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin cake), took long walks (around Treptow, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, the East Side Gallery, hours-long Third Reich walking tour), went to several potlucks with a people too far from home to return for Christmas or close enough to reappear (Brazilians – Laura, Leo, another Laura, Philippe, 2 Italians – Louise and another – 2 Taiwanese – Chien-wei and Coo-wei, 1 Sudanese – Ishmail, 2 Berliners, various others), Weinerei (a wine bar where you pay 2 euro for a cup, have endless wine until you’re heart’s content, then pay whatever you think is fair at the end), went to about 3 Christmas markets on Boxing Day, karaoke on Christmas night, cheesy time-warped burlesque, Skypes with home, and a whole lot of Felicity for a middle school throwback.
Exploring Christmas markets with Anne and Louise
Treptower choo-choo train
One of a million Weihnachtsmarkt
Inside the Kunsthaus Tacheles (before it was demolished – on the Third Reich Walking Tour)
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
At the East Side Gallery
Saying bye to Anne and the bids for the airport…
From Berlin, I went to see my parents in Charlotte and had the most wholesome 5 days of health and a lion’s share of sleep.
On NYE, dressing up as musicians. I had nothing. Edith Piaf? Sure. Flying up the West Coast from Texas to Seattle…
Got to see my baby girl!
This looks like it’s received the CityFabric treatment.
I went to Seattle to attend Modern Language Association, which is a conference I’ve always wanted to attend, so pretty incredible to be sent by work. I reconnected with a childhood friend I hadn’t seen in more than a decade over Belgian beers at the Stumbling Monk, and another night went for oysters and flights of beer at Pike Brewery with another old friend. I also ran into Ruth early in the conference (from the Liverpool trip) half-way around the world. She was there from Edinburgh!
Near Pike Market
And back to London, with its Parliamentary Lantern.
And these pals