Finally a good night sleep, on a nice mattress, in a warm and toasty apartment! I actually managed to sleep in until 10 today! Then, I took a HOT shower and started bundling up for my exploration of Berlin! Mark was going to be at school all day so I would be venturing out on my own for some "me time." lol. With my subway map in hand, along with several recomendations from Mark, my first stop was Alexanderplatz. This is a huge marketplace known to Berliner's as "Alex." As most of you know, I LOVE farmers markets, so I browsed through the flower shops, picked up some fresh figs and raw almonds then even made my way through the antique section. The area surrounding Alexanderplatz was rebuilt after World War II but appeares to be in need of many more renovations. Many of the buildings and structures illustrate the extreme upheveal of the War significantly.
Next, I took the S-bahn to Potsdamer Platz. There was a huge shopping mall here! I took my time, tried on clothes and purchased an outfit to wear out tonight complete with new black ankel booties with a kitten heal! I was so excited! As I was leaving the mall I saw one of the Christmas Markets has already been set up around the corner! Every German or person I've met who has been to Germany has always raved about the wonderful experiences that they've had at the Christmas markets so I was very excited to check this one out! Most of the markets in Germany run from the end of November until Christmas Eve. They are held outdoors evoke a wonderfully, festive atmosphere! As I approached I could hear Christmas music and smell all of the delicious snacks that the vendors prepare. These included spicy, smoked sausages, candied apples, pine roasted chestnuts, fruit cakes,gingerbread and most importantly gluvine- a spicy mulled wine heated with various citrus fruits and spices like cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Most of the vendors were selling traditional German Christmas gifts including nutcrackers, ornaments, wooden figurines, and pyramids. I absolutely loved this place! Thanks to the warm and toasty gluvine, I didn't even mind the chilly air! There was a team of huskys wearing reindeer antlers hooked up to a sleigh and Santa was behind them, saying "Frohes Fest!" to all of the children. It was lovely!
After several hours at the Christmas market, I decided I better move on. My last stop was the Brandenburger Tor, the large gate known as the "arch of peace." During the East/West split it stood in No-Man's Land but is now a symbol of reconciliation. I was there just in time for the gorgeous sunset and it was truly breathtaking.
I finally made my way back to Mark's apt, stopping for a Doner Kabab on the way! I relaxed for a bit, threrw on my new outfit and then we headed out! We planned on meeting up with some of Mark's friends at a club but were having a difficult time finding it. Mark stumbled into what looked like an entrance to a back alley and we saw a huge flight of stairs ahead of us with graffiti covering the walls leading at least 10+ stories up. For some reason, I followed him and we made our way up the stairs checking out all of the innovative graffiti on the way. We saw some lights down one of the corridors and ventured down the hallway. Inside there were several artists working in a huge studio, each of them painting, sculpting and molding works of art. None of them even seemed to notice us as we walked around. In the next room there was a gallery filled with their work. The entire scene reminded me of Andy Warhol's Factory! We continued up the massive flight of stairs and once we finally reached the top a long hallway lead us out to a rooftop bar complete with tiki tourches, heated lamps and huge comfy couches. Apparantly, this was the club Mark's friends had been talking about all along! They met us there, Alex a Brazilian boy and his girlfriend Olli a lovely German girl. We had a great night!