so we arrived back in Mainz. after the bit of travelling in Cologne we took the Christmas time easy and lazy, visited, exchanged gifts, had some delicious meals, went to church as I mentioned, and watched the movie Die Feuerzangenbowle.

Feuerzangenbowle itself is actually a holiday tradition where a bowl of punch or spiced wine is set out, and a lump of sugar over top the bowl is soaked with high proof rum. The sugar is lit on fire and thus melts into the punchbowl. The movie is quite cute, shot during WWII in Europe. It’s kind of a Billy Madison story, where a doctor goes back in time to experience school day pranks he missed out on because he was home schooled. Filming of the movie was drawn out in order to save the actors from going to the front lines to aid the German war effort.

On boxing day we got on a plane for Berlin. when we arrived I had a bit of trouble getting a cab with a baby seat, but with luck there were a couple other parents in the same situation who were from Berlin, so they called us a cab and we were on our way! as we drove to our hotel it started to sink in where we were, just how much history and change the city has gone through over it’s 775 years. our hotel was terrific, centrally located, very reasonable rates, and had everything we needed – dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, fridge, stove, oven. absolutely perfect for our small family.

over the next few days we tackled the subway system and started to figure our way around. at some point both zippers on my jacket broke and I bought a cheap replacement at H&M for 25 Euro. My wife became a fan of the Ampelmännchen – a traffic light figure only found in East Berlin. She even made up an Ampelmann song at one point.

this trip we didn’t lug a big camera and gear along, we just brought our iPhones. in addition to always having a camera on-hand, we were able to very quickly share photos from our trip with people back home, which was pretty cool.

Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market Berlin

Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market Berlin

We also got out to enjoy the berlin sea life center and aquadome (world’s largest cylindrical aquarium), the berlin zoo, yet another christmas market, checkpoint charlie, and madam tussaud’s wax museum. I have always had reservations about going to tussaud’s (find it a little creepy) but we had a blast there! it is so touristy to take goofy posed pictures with wax celebrities but fun nonetheless.

At Madam Tussauds in Berlin

At Madam Tussauds in Berlin

throughout our excursions our son was strapped to me (as pictured above) or my wife with a ergobaby baby carrier. though we might end the days a little sore, having him travel in such a way that we could have our hands free, where he was warm and cozy and often lulled to sleep by the movement, and not needing to lug a stroller with us was amazing. we did bring an umbrella stroller along but  honestly it could have stayed at home.

at the end of our three days in berlin we both were in agreement we could have stayed longer. as the taxi driver taking us back to the airport confirmed – “I have lived in Berlin 15 years and don’t imagine I have begun to see and know of all the things to do here”. Berlin is a city that will draw us back without a doubt.

As we reached security at the airport for our flight to Stockholm, Sweden, the security agent asked if we were all set to enjoy our new year’s eve in Paris. I answered that we were headed to Stockholm, not Paris. “Paris would be a lot more fun though, no?”

I guess I will have to do more traveling and find out for myself 🙂