Posted by: Claudio Carbone | 17 December 2010

Tip-tapping on the snow, from Rome to Berlin

This was how Rome looked like departing from Ciampino Airport on the morning of Dcember3rd.

This was how Berlin Schonefeld welcomed us!
“What, are you going to Berlin in december? You crazy!”
Maybe but given the fact that I’d been there two times already and that i liked it a lot, and add to it that…

I’m a HUGE fan of Lord of the Dance

and that all main UK avenues were already full when i went to book my tickets…
Bam! Berlin it was! O2 Arena.
May i write a review for a city???
Berlin during Christmas is very lively, full of christmas markets all of them made out of wooden huts, some quite large depicting classical dinner table decorations. These huts are full of food of all kinds, they even have wood stoves to cook bread live! You’d see those guys out in the snow putting wood in the ovens, and turning those meter long rolls of bread full of krauts, meat, vegs… Unfortunately i didn’t try those, but you couldn’t say i came back slimmer!
Apart from the food huts, these markets offer a variety of christmas decorations (wooden, glass, all you can imagine) hand made or industrial made, bio foods (jams, honeys, bisquits and so on) and are a HUGE attraction to berliners who literally flock them. Since the biggest markets also have enclosed zones providing warm confort, it’s not unusual to see Berliners outside of them, puffing their smokes in the chilly -5°C air… without COAT!!!! They don’t call them German for no reason :p

Apart from these markets which are funny, but repetitive in a fashion (diversity is not their main quality, we struggle finding peculiar things), in fact most of them sell the very same things. I also think that, since these are something taken care of by the town hall, probably also the food providers were common for all food-serving huts, since most of them have the exact same taste. Apart from one in Potsdamer Platz which used a very good curry for its currywurst: the most spicy and tasty ever!
But anyway, deeply tucked in just ONE of the hundreds of huts all around the city (I think we visited all the markets, but can’t be sure of that :p) look what we found!

This lovely (at least I find it lovely) Christmas decor! And would you think that only one in a hundred (litreally) huts, those selling wooden things, had these? Just one in the street going from Potsdamer Platz to the Bluemax Theatre. Couldn’t find these nowhere else. The little fan is used to move the little figures, just put a small candle (like those you can light up with an offer at any church) under hit (take care not to put it on fire please) and see it turning. This one has all the christian figures: child, father and mother. There are other with different themes, there was also a green tree with white snow flakes, but for the parents of my fiancee it looked too “modern” :p

Anyway Berlin under the snow is really romantic, and always full of peculiar spots. This time I really got around. We walked all the central zone, it’s not that big once you try to go around by foot. At least not for us Rome people anyway. Got lost a couple of times but, thanks to my innate fifth and a half sense of orientation, quickly found our way back. I took my gf to see the Jewish Museum (the architecture itsels is worth it, really one of a kind; but the museum too is full of things. You just have to be the patient type, because there are so many things. Otherwise just make your picks here and there), the Neuses Museum (with Nefertiti and all the Aegyptian collection) and the Pergamon Museum, of which here is a shot:

This is a model of the portal to Babylon, on the upper sides of the image you can see the reconstruction of the corridor (which was long about 200m) and on the upper side the reconstruction of the smaller of the two portals you can see in the model. And even this couldn’t be shot because it’s BIG. All made of laquered bricks, thousands of years ago. Astonoushing in itself, all the more because you can actually walk through it and try to imagine how imposing the original was. Really worth it. A full day ticket for all the Island of Museums if 14€, and they even make all kind of discounts (like 50% for students, they accepted my fiancee’s La Sapienza student card) so I really recommend you pay a visit. The Pergamon Altar and this Portal of Ishtar alone are masterpieces.

Unfortunately the Reichstag famous dome was closed due to terrorist fears, but I had already seen it. It’s a one of a kind piece of work, it makes me wonder why can’t we bring Germans to do things in Italy. It would be so much better…

On the last day, we had dinner at a famous restaurant Zur Letzen Instanz (ab 1621), it was very good: i had a plate of mixed salami, a kind of prosciutto, plain tasty fat and a hand made nut bread. While she had a classic knuckle. It was almost bigger then her! This triggered our neighbours to comment on this… in italian! We started chatting and discovered they were a Munich couple on holiday in Berlin, with friends in Italy and used to stay a couple mounts near Padova! Chances of life… We’ve been in Munich in april! Anyway the dinner (at 6pm… a bit early for us) was spectacular, i really liked it. The chat was lively, and after that we were on the go for the O2 arena where Michael Flatley was waiting for me! 😀

I was very good to see it in person, almost unbelievable the speed at which they move those feet!
Try to watch this and not be blown away but 30 dancers tip-tapping in sync on stage! And in the biggest scenes… He has up to 100 at the same time on stage!!! Marvelous!

If your feet don’t start to move by themselves, go see a physician and a psychologist too 😀

Anyway this was the last time of us in Berlin, next day we got up at 4 to get back… I’m really starting to like it, and even the German (language) when you start listening to it, it is not that hard and harsh as they make it sound in films. But i guess it depends on dialects and inflections.

Summary: Berlin is go!

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