Friday, November 25, 2005

More News from Berlin

We did indeed end up at a German/Austrian restaurant for dinner on night number one. Katie and I were thrilled with our cheese spaetzle and everyone else was happy with their schnitzel and gulash. Jetlag led to an early night.

Granny and Grandpa were back at my apartment by 8:30am (Thursday) for breakfast and then it was off for a small bus tour (narrated by yours truly.) We hopped off at the Brandenberg Gate and then strolled along Friedrichstrasse, where my dad and grandpa each picked out a Bentley at the car dealership☺ Next it was off to the Christmas Market at the Gendarmenmarkt. Supposedly this Christmas market is the most picturesque and traditional one in Berlin. As we perused the stands filled with handmade wood carvings, ceramics and other treasures, the smell of wurst, spiced wine and chestnuts (roasting on an open fire…really) wafted through the air.

Thanksgiving dinner found us at the Marriott hotel on Potsdamer Platz. We arrived to a completely empty restaurant and five waitresses ready to serve us dinner. Though dinner did somehow have a Berlin flare, we were all impressed with how American the meal was overall—turkey, yams with marshmallows, cranberry relish, real mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans and pumpkin pie. After dinner, I showed everyone the futuristic-looking Sony Center, which, for the next month, has also been turned into a Christmas market.

This morning’s wonderful surprise was waking up to snow-covered streets and giant flakes falling from the sky! What could be better for Christmas shopping! We started the day at Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe,) a giant department store located in Western Berlin. I pointed my mom, Granny and Katie to the Christmas decorations and paper napkin department (yes, there’s really a whole paper napkin department!) My Dad and Grandpa headed for the fancy pens. We all enjoyed walking around the food floor (are you sensing a trend to this trip!?) Grandpa Lee said he thinks the meat department has had over 50 kinds of wurst.

Christmas market #3 at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was our afternoon destination. Though not quite as picturesque as yesterday’s market, the 15-20 foot tall Christmas candle holder with a spinning top was quite a sight!

The snow is still falling! Tonight we are off to a German-Alsatian restaurant and then back to the apartment for a game of cards!

We are all having a blast! I think everyone should stay another week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sssshhhh, everyone is sleeping

It's 5pm Berlin time and everyone has arrived safely, been fed and is now napping:-) I am sitting in the kitchen with my laptop and a mug of spice tea (thanks mom), looking out at the christmas lights in the greens on my balcony. The holiday season has begun and it is wonderful!

It was fantastic to greet everyone at the airport this morning. My mom, dad and Katie arrived at 9:45am. I got them to my apartment and then headed back out to pick up Granny and Grandpa at 12:15pm.

I think a German restaurant is on tap for tonight. Before everyone wakes up I need to review my German meat vocab words so I can translate the menu at dinner!

On an unrelated topic, I have decided that Germans should celebrate Thanksgiving not only because it is a nice family holiday, but also because Thanksgiving Thursday brings Black Friday. The economy here could use a boost! (For any Germans who might not know what I am talking about, Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year in the US. There are huge pre-Christmas sales and it is traditionally the day when a store begins to make a profit for the year--move from red to black.) I had totally forgotten about this important American holiday until I received my Lord and Taylor's Black Friday coupons via email this morning. I am sure the Taylors will have their own little Black Friday at the Berlin Christmas markets, but alas we are only 6 people:-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A poem to rival Goethe;-)

Tomorrow’s the day I have waited so long for;
I cannot believe who I will see walk down the corridor.

Mom, Dad and Katie, Kappy and Lee;
once we are all in Berlin together I know I will yell yippee!

Will they be jetlagged, or will they be giddy;
will they want to sleep or tour the city?

I have made a lasagna and cleaned the apartment;
shopped at IKEA and researched every Christmas market.

We’ll see the Wall the crazy commies built;
if we don’t have fondue, I will feel lots of guilt.

Grandpa says prepare for a wurst eating contest;
the vegetarian thinks this idea is not best.

From Wilmersdorf to the Kudamm and KaDeWe;
I am sure we will talk all the way.

Also on the list are the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate;
who knows what else we'll see, the subway runs late!

I hope you enjoyed my little poem, rhyming with German words can be a pistol;
like Potsdamer Platz and Schoeneberg, Merkel and Schnitzel (see, what really rhymes with schnitzel?)