The last time I was in Berlin, the city was still surrounded by a wall and it was brutally depressing, but late last year, I threw caution and concerns about cost out the window and took a jaunt there to visit some friends for New Year's. They have an apartment off the Kurfurstendam near the KDV and were willing to put up with me for 5 days. It was the perfect trip. I saw the Christmas Villages surrounding the Kaiser Wilhelm Church and in the French quarter. I rode to the top of the TV tower, which used to be in East Berlin. Visited the Sony Center and the Holocaust Memorial near the Brandenburg Gate. Saw Berliners celebrate Sylvestre (their version of New Year's Eve) and watched and heard so much in the way of fireworks, my ears are still sensitive. I wandered through Weissensee, the Jewish Cemetery. Snuck a number of photographs of the interior of Charlottenburg Castle and The Pergamon Museum. Found I really like being up at 4 in the morning having a beer in a quiet bar then grabbing the U-bahn home and getting up at 9am to go to the Tiergarten on New Year's Day. And then the best thing happened -- it snowed. And here's how the city looked on the first day of 2008 --
The Kaiser Wilhelm Church
Birds of a feather...
The one-time star (as a polar bear cub) of the Berlin Zoo, Knut, witnessing his first snowfall.
I want to live there. I've been working on my German (and not doing well, it's a HARD language) and considering my options...but I felt at home here and feel eventually it will happen. Weird thing to say, I know, but it's the reality of the moment.