We spent the three days before Christmas exploring Berlin, where we followed in the footsteps of Christopher Isherwood, sampled spiced glühwein, and crawled under the Berlin Wall. To me, a German Christmas is exactly as it should be. Compare my previous, springtime, visit to the city by clicking HERE. Click HERE to see last year's Christmas.
a Nick Bingo Bingo
As always, Nick and I wanted to present each other with travel bingo cards to make our trip more exciting. We were in too much of a rush at home, so we did things the modern way by logging onto our own Been-Go site at Luton airport, creating tailor made cards for Berlin, then photographing the computer screen. It worked, and our cards were a hit. See the grid below for some of the things we had to find and cross off.
Bingo 1
A golden statue
Bingo 2
A juggler
Bingo 3
Cabaret reference
Bingo 4
Men holding hands
Bingo 9e
Homer Simpson
Bingo 5
Cute cop
FREE Bingo 7
Barbed wire
Bingo 8
Homoerotic painting
Bingo 9d
Wooden toy
Bingo 9
Pink triangle
Bingo 9a
Bingo 9b
Bingo 9c
TV tower in snowglobe
Bingo 6
Drink in Potsdamerplatz


{short description of image}  
B Market
The first of 60 Christmas markets in the city, at Potsdamerplatz
C Cute 1
And the first of many cute men captured on film.
C Cute 2
The second.
C Cute 3
A couple of uniformed men.
D Nick snowball
This chocolate covered ball of pastry scraps wasn't nearly as tasty as it looks.
H Bears
Queer-Grizzly, by Ingrid Rafael
F Bikes.jpg
Riding Bikes, 1998, by Robert Rauchenberg.
1998 is the year we met.
I Isherwood.jpg
Nick stands outside Christopher Isherwood's old address.
Ib Isherwood.jpg
Isherwood's writing was the basis for the musical, Cabaret.

I played Herr Schultz in Cabaret in 2000, singing about a pineapple. My Jewish character lived in Nollendorfplatz, now the "gay village" of Berlin.
K Sculpture.jpg
This sculpture was on the cover of our excellent gay guidebook, Out Around Berlin.
J Santa
A modern Santa sculpture.
L Church.jpg
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
L Church ceiling.jpg
Mosaic ceiling in the half-ruined church
L Church windows.jpg
The modern tower of the church, with its blue stained glass.

C Cute 4
This cute employee had just reprimanded a woman for eating ice cream in the church.
{short description of image}
On Friday, we took the train to nearby Potsdam, where we spent the day at the Brandenburg palace of Sanssouci and the Christmas market.
M Nick.jpg
Nick at one of the train stops en route to Potsdam
C Cute 5
A studious man in the Potsdam station.
N Sanssouci 1.jpg
A magnificent gazebo at the Sanssouci palace
{short description of image}
The China House
N Sanssouci 2.jpg N Sanssouci 3.jpg
N Sanssouci 4.jpg N Sanssouci 5.jpg
N Sanssouci 7.jpg {N Sanssouci 8
I don't know what these guys are up to...
N Sanssouci 9b
Atop the Dragon House, now a café
N Sanssouci 9c.jpg
Once this guy knew he had our attention, he sprang to life and started chopping wood. The smell of testosterone filled the air.
N Sanssouci 9d
A traditional puppet show charmed the German children.
N Sanssouci 9f
N Sanssouci 9g N Sanssouci 9h
Gingerbread cookies to rival my own.
N Sanssouci 9i
Scrumptious donut-like snacks.
N Sanssouci 9j
Scrumptious Potsdam man
O Santa P Santa
Q Seller.jpg
{short description of image}
We returned to Berlin for nocturnal explorations
V City.jpg
S Pyramid.jpg
A giant version of the Christmas pyramid we bought
T Cute.jpg
The whole premise of this photo is to capture the guy in the back.
W Juggler 2.jpg W Juggler.jpg
X Tigers Eye.jpg
Nick purchases a tiger's eye for his lucky pot plant at home.
Za Brandenburg.jpg
Outside the Brandenburg Gate
Z Unter den Linden.jpg
Under den Linden, the famous avenue leading to the Brandenburg Gate
Zb Brandenburg.jpg

Zc Reichstag.jpg
Inside the Reichstag
Zd Reichstag.jpg Ze Reichstag.jpg
Zf Bahnhof.jpg
This is Berlin's main train station. The glass panels produce much of its energy, exemplifying Germany's excellent resourcefulness.
Zg Boca.jpg
A model of Rome's Bocca della Verita.
Zh Boca.jpg
Click HERE or HERE to see us playing with the real thing!

The next day, Saturday, we stared our explorations in former East Germany.
Zi Ampelmann.jpg
The East Berlin Ampelmann was created in 1961 by traffic psychologist Karl Peglau. He theorised that people would respond better to the traffic signals if they were presented by a friendly character, instead of meaningless coloured lights.
Zi Wall.jpg
The stretch of still standing Wall known as the East Gallery
Zj Wall.jpg
You can see West Germany through the crack in the wall
Zk Wall.jpg
A friendly graffiti sea serpent
Zl Wall.jpg
More modern graffiti featuring a nostalgic Trabant car
Zm Paint.jpg
Graffiti artists still cover the Wall, layer upon layer
Zo Wall.jpg
Ironically, we got trapped behind the Wall and had to crawl out.
Zr Polizei.jpg
German efficiency
Zt Robbie Williams.jpg
Robbie Williams is always a part of our travels.
Zu Schwules Museum.jpg
Berlin's Schwules (Gay) Museum is the only one of its kind in the world.
Zv Death in Venice.jpg
We saw an exhibition of Luchino Visconti's work, including his film, Death in Venice.
Zv Schwules Museum.jpg
The museum has an excellent collection, tracing the history of homosexuality, including Nazi persecution. It really highlights how far things have come in the last few years. Now about marriage...
 Zz Red Town Hall
The Red Town Hall

Zza Fag plates.jpg
Nick noticed the funny licence plate of the car I used to prop my camera on for the previous photo.
ZZb Bears.jpg
I saw this bear displaynear Nikolaskirche last time I visited Berlin.
R Ferhsehturm.jpg
The Fernsehturm (TV tower) at night


Back home, we had our usual lovely Christmas together.

{short description of image}  
Aa Christmas tree
This year's tree was a bit wonky and fell over on the night we returned, but it's still a delightful reminder of all the places we've been (we buy an ornament at each of our travel destinations).
Aa Derren Brown
Great minds: we bought each other Derren Brown's new book as a surprise gift.
{short description of image}
Click HERE to see the (somewhat naughty) contents of our Christmas stockings
Aa food
Our Christmas dinner was unusual this year. We watched a TV competition between British chefs and decided to cook Bryn Williams' Welsh Roast goose, caramelised Brussels sprouts and peach and sage sauce.
Aa food 2
For dessert, Nick made Richard Corrigan's Christmas pudding souffle with Irish whisky ice cream. We used my homemade pudding.

Aa Pyramid
Endlessly fascinating, we bought this traditional Christmas pyramid in Germany.
Aa Nick
On Christmas morning, we went to Boscombe beach.
Aa nutcracker
Our very own German nutcracker

{short description of image}

Free Guestbook from Bravenet Free Guestbook from Bravenet