Berlin – December 26, 2013

December 26 is St. Stephen’s Day in Germany.  A day to recover and prepare for the big after Christmas shopping sales.  After a nice long breakfast we took a driving tour of Berlin.

We drove past Tempelhof Central Airport which was the United States Military airfield between 1945 and 1994.  Mom held an office job across the street (Columbiadamm) with a view of the soldier’s quarters.  She told us that she and her co-workers would hold up signs with notes and phone numbers.  The soldiers did the same.  Seems like an early version of online dating.

Tempelhof was the site of the the greatest military airlift in history.  On June 20, 1948, Soviet troops cut off all surface routes into West Berlin.  The ‘Berlin Airlift’ saw millions of tons of fuel, clothing, and food into Tempelhof for West Berliners.  The last airlift transport plane touched down on September 30, 1949.  As a result of the airlift, Mom had her first orange (she was 7 years old).

When President John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin, he flew into Tempelhof.  Mom and her co-workers leaned out of their office windows to catch a glimpse of Kennedy as his motorcade drove past.

We drove through the grittier parts of Berlin where graffiti ruled.  We also drove past the last remaining segments of the Berlin Wall.

Berlin Driving Tour

Berlin Driving Tour

We took a break from the driving tour with coffee at the top of a boutique hotel in the former Soviet sector.  While everyone made their way to the cafe, Mr. MM and I walked over to an abandoned warehouse building that was covered with graffiti.

Graffiti

Graffiti

We had walked past the closed Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market on Christmas Day.  Unlike all retail stores, the markets are open on St. Stephen’s Day so we ended the tour with a walk through.

Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market

Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market

This market is located in one of the most beautiful squares in the city.  This was the only market that required a 1 Euro entry fee.  Not crazy about that but it was well worth it.  The level of goods offered by the vendors was definitely higher than the other markets.  Many more artisans selling their creations.  I bought a ‘Frohe Weihnachten’ stamp to use on my Christmas cards next year.

No walk through a Christmas market is complete without some sort of snack.  The Germans claim that the Thuringer Rostbratwursts are the best.  Well, in that case we made sure to eat plenty of them during this trip.

This was Mr. MM’s and my last day as single people and what a lovely relaxed day.

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