Well folks, that time is upon us! No, it’s not Christmas yet, we’re still in Advent. Why make a big deal distinguishing between Christmas and Advent when virtually nobody in this city regularly goes to church anymore? Good question, but that’s how it is.
At this point I would LOVE to post a beautiful slideshow of the best pictures I’ve taken of the snow and markets, but my WordPress page it out of space so I’m posting them one of my other blogs. Click here to link to that blog.
October the sun suddenly went away and we had a lot of gray cloudy days not unlike back home in Western Washington, only with less rain. In November the temperatures dropped very suddenly, reaching their goal of “you can pretty much see your breath anytime, anyplace if you exhale hard enough” and staying there through December.
The last weekend of November we had our first snow! It was so beautiful and exciting. Unfortunately due to the snow my ride to Heidelberg flaked out (ha, ha) because he didn’t have snow tires or some other similarly stupid reason, and this time not having money for a train ticket I just stayed in Berlin. The snow melted a day or two later, but then later in the week it started again and December has pretty much always had at least some amount of white stuff on the ground.
With the beginning of Advent brought on the Christmas markets! I have been to three so far, a tiny one in Zehlendorf that doesn’t really count, a good-sized cute and traditional one at Potsdamer Platz (which is funny because Potsdamer Platz is the most modern-looking area of Berlin with nothing but skyscrapers and office buildings, and it had the cutest Christmas market), and a huge sprawling extremely crowded one at Gendarmenmarkt that charged admission. I actually liked the Potsdamer Platz one best because they had much more traditional Christmas stuff that was unique to Germany, such as gingerbread hearts with sappy sayings on them to give to your lover, traditional Glühwein or hot spiced wine, and the CUTEST hand-carved wooden toys and Christmas ornaments ever. Gendarmenmarkt was much larger and more commercial, and everything there was horribly overpriced. I am told they had almost entirely the exact same stands as last year.
Bach’s Christmas Oratorium is definitely the most over-played Christmas concert in Berlin and is definitely comparable to Handel’s Messiah in America (think “Hallelujah Chorus.”) I went to see a free showing of it the Sunday before finals week (aaaaaaahhhh!) at a nearby church. More people go to church for Christmas concerts than regularly go for services… but I think that’s how it is almost everywhere nowadays.
If you missed it before, the link to the photos was http://www.alisonphotoland.wordpress.com. Check it out when you get the chance!