The first Irish-German Eskimo in Berlin

After a gloriously long autumn, it seems that winter has finally hit Berlin. Despite spending five years in Central/Eastern/Northern Europe, I was still woefully unprepared so an emergency winter coat-buying mission was in order.

20141128_160945[1]I was very pleased with my purchase, until a homeless man started pointing and laughing, saying, “Ha ha ha, es ist ein kleine Eskimo!” Then he asked me for money. I gave it to him as I thought insulting someone was rather a unique way to beg.

Later that week, I was taking some rubbish out to the bins – I know, I’m so German. One of my neighbours was there trying to turn a cardboard box the size of a bed into the size of a matchbox. So engrossed in his task was he that he didn’t hear me approach and jumped about a foot in the air when I let the lid of the bin fall.

Deciding that almost giving the poor man a heart attack wasn’t enough, I proceeded to hop from foot to foot, waving my hands around going “Woooo, ich bin der kleine Eskimooooo…” He didn’t look impressed but he might have been laughing on the inside. It was dark and my hood was over my eyes from all the hopping about so I couldn’t really tell.

Anyway, it seems that despite not being a fan of winter, or Christmas for that matter, I’m coping with it slightly better in Germany. I put this down to the fact that the Germans – as with most things – do Christmas well.

While parents are busy beating the crap out of each other over “Frozen” dolls in my home town in Ireland, the Germans are cheerily setting up wonderful Christmas markets and getting merrily sloshed on Glühwein. I know where I’d rather be.

I went to my first Christmas market, at Potsdamer Platz, a couple of weeks ago with an Australian girl I work with. To say that we were stupidly excited would be a massive understatement. We were worse than kids – kids on Glühwein.

But I actually recommend going to your first German Christmas market with another foreigner. That was you can be ridiculously over-enthusiastic about everything and freak the Germans out no end.

Sheila: Germany is AWESOME! 

Manfred: Really? Germany??

Me: YES! 

Sheila: And Germans are AWESOME!

Me: YES! They’re so friendly and helpful and amazing! 

Ulf: Germans? Really??

Sheila: YES!

Me: And Glühwein is fantastic! 

Continue this line of conversation until you’ve cleared the wine hut – we did.

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The great thing about Germans is that hot wine alone isn’t alcoholic enough for them. No, they have to add more alcohol to it. So far, I’ve had Glühwein with rum, amaretto, brandy, and a cheeky little cherry Glühwein with vanilla vodka. Not all in the same glass, you understand.

One was my friend's - I swear.
One was my friend’s – I swear.

It seems there are 60 Christmas markets in Berlin. So far, I’ve been to three – at Potsdamer Platz, Gendarmenmarkt, and Holy Heimat (hipster heaven Christmas market) in Friedrichshain. I’m not sure I’ll manage another 57 of them before I go back to Ireland for Christmas, but I’m going to have a bloody good time trying.

 

 

 

 

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104 thoughts on “The first Irish-German Eskimo in Berlin”

  1. That market looks fantastic! If you ever get to Toronto, the only reason I would recommend coming in the winter would be to experience the Christmas Market in the Distillery District (a trendy area that is built in and around old distillery factories). Loads of booze-tasting stations and charming shops. You’d love it!

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  2. Your coat looks exactly like the one I used to wear in northern New York state … you should be able to zip it all the up the hood so only your eyes can be seen. Funny looking in some ways, but very practical in a very cold clime. So do the markets sell handcrafted items? Everything is so commercial in the US and 99.9% of what we buy is made in China. I miss the Christmases of my childhood when I would get one toy and the rest of the presents were underwear and school clothes 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mam used to get an orange back in the day! 🙂
      Yes, there’s loads of handcrafted stuff – jewellery, wooden household objects and ornaments, woolly hats and socks, etc. It’s all just so damn cute 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When I read the title, I thought you’d talk about international ice-cream. How disappointing!

    But now that you’re considered an Eskimo, maybe it could be worth committing a little more, and starting to eat meat and fish frozen and raw, drinking the blood of sea mammals, and consuming this wonderful invention:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igunaq ? 🙂

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      1. By the way, how is it going with Duolingo? I’ve seen you hacking away at the owl in my friends feed, have you reached the ‘Adverbs 2’ skill yet? 😉

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          1. If you complete Adverbs 1 and 2 – and don’t go crazy, you can safely say that you’ve won Duolingo. 🙂 They might have been improved a little since I did them, but from what I’ve heard they are still the hardest skills in the German tree, brace yourself!

            Speaking of crazy, I’ve been doing 3–4 daily lessons, too, lately – ever since Swedish was released. And you’ve got to love a language in which ‘tack’ means ‘thanks’, ‘slut’ means ‘[an] end’, and ‘glass’ means ‘ice cream’. 😉

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              1. Still, if I ever go to Sweden, I’ll watch the desserts: I somehow suspect that ‘glass’ as ‘ice cream’ is just someone trying to warn us about a nasty national prank the Swedes have prepared for anyone who dares step in their country. 🙂 (Getting smashed in the head with a beer glass must be pretty bad, too, just not as insidious. 😉 )

                Oh, and I have to ask for your professional opinion (I assume you know something about this), especially since you’ve met me in person. I am applying for an academic IELTS exam – some master programmes I’m hoping of getting into require certification regardless of who you are – do you think that I can actually scrape up at least 7.5 points in every category, or the 170-something euros they ask will be better spent on my Van Gogh and Fabergé egg collection? 🙂

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  4. I see a common theme in the photos of you in this post. 🙂

    I’ve heard the Christmas markets in Germany are legendary! What kinds of things do they sell? Is it mostly crafts like the markets here in NYC? Or food? (She asked hopefully)

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    1. A lot of handcrafted wooden stuff and jewellery, and LOADS of food – and it’s really cheap too! It’s possible to get an actual meal for around €4, then there are the roast chestnuts, all different kinds of marzipan, gingerbread cookies, etc. It’s all very festive!

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  5. Wow – that sounds awesome Linda. carting around your own mug of alcohol and refilling it anyhwere in the city – such a neat idea. We here in Canada are much more anal about where alcohol can be consumed – basically bars, bowling alleys, private partys, professional sports arenas and such. Not at any markets and never in a public place other than those liscenced. And here in Ontario only wine can be bought retail anywhere except a gov’t Liquor Stores (except beer, but then only at gov’t sanctioned Beer Stores) We need to loosen up a bit. It sure sounds like Germans have got that part nailed.

    Love your new coat! You do have some features like an Eskimo – other than the fur hood. Ha! You would feel right at home here in Canada in the winter.

    Have a great trip back home and a great Christmas Linda! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must ask my mam if we had an Eskimo milkman back in 1977 😉
      Man, Canada sounds a bit dull! Technically there are lots of places you can’t drink in Germany, but everyone just ignores it 😉 And liquor stores are open 24 hours as far as I can tell – as are some bars!

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  6. You look great in that coat! Snug as a bug, as they say. .. gluhwein sounds a lot like glogg. My ex was a Swede. I became quite the gloggmaster when I was married. Although some friends entered our home vertically and may have departed horizontally. 😉

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  7. Wow, 80 Christmas markets with glühwein at them all?? Very jealous. Have checked out a couple of markets here but they’re pretty tacky and I didn’t find any mulled wine. Am going to visit an Austrian bakery next week so I’m pinning all my (festive alcohol) hopes on that 🙂

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  8. hahaha awesome, bot the Eskimo part and how you are enjoying yourself at the Christmas Markets here in Germany!! I am happy you are happy in Berlin 😀
    Ohh wait until you see my post with my top 10 Christmas Markets in Munich this weekend 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Christmas anywhere in Europe sounds so much better than the US. Here it is all about fighting over the “Frozen” dolls. And there is no glühwein. We do have a semi-dairy product falsely known as eggnog, to which one can add whiskey, but that’s about as good as it gets.

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    1. I’ve never actually tried eggnog despite hearing about it a lot! I think it’s the egg in the title that puts me off – eggy cocktail… 😦 Think I’d just stick with the whiskey!

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    2. I respectfully disagree. There are lots of wonderful Christmas markets and events in the US. It’s such a huge and diverse country…. And eggnog is delicious, but only if you like creamy drinks. Linda may prefer mulled cider with moonshine – tasty and will knock you on your @#%.

      Still, Germany looks like a great place for holiday fun! Love the eskimo coat (and the homeless guy with character). 🙂

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      1. Of course, Kelly. I should have made it clear that I was speaking about where I live in the US, not the entire country. But I have lived in four states in the South and the Midwest, and I never saw a European-style Christmas market. Most Christmas shopping by Americans is done at malls or big-box stores, a much less pleasant experience.

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  10. Sounds divine! The perfect buildup to our escape from the desert this coming Friday 🙂 We’re off for a little pre-Christmas vacation to Nice for a couple of nights followed by a visit to Vienna’s Christmas markets. Yes! Hoping to swap sand for snow. And Turkish coffee for gluwhein. 🙂

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  11. So, have you rubbed any one’s nose with your nose lately? You know, Eskimo kiss! 🙂 haha

    I would love to be in Germany right now and go to as many Christmas markets as possible. Maybe the 60 in Berlin would do – I would go to two or three a day!! Have I mentioned that I love Chrismtas yet? 🙂

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    1. Ha, I’m starting to get that feeling! 60 in Berlin should see you worn out with it all, I reckon – or maybe not!
      No Eskimo kissing for me – yet – maybe I’ll nab someone under the mistletoe 🙂

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    1. Isn’t it just! It makes winter so much more tolerable 🙂
      The ones in Munich must be stunning – such a beautiful backdrop! I’m hoping to go to one at a palace here this week – should be nice 😉

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        1. I think there’s one in Dublin now as well but I haven’t heard any reports! I guess every city in Europe has a ‘German’ Christmas market now but I think you’re probably right about pale imitations! 🙂

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        1. I guess there’s only so many of them you can visit – your task sounds far more doable! If I get to take in another 3 or 4, I’ll be happy enough! There’s one at Charlottenburg Palace that I really want to go to, then maybe Alexanderplatz as I pass through quite a bit anyway, and my students have recommended another couple but I need to look at my notes again!

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  12. Oh man, I wish the U.S. would get on board with Weihnachtmarkts and Gluehwein! I’ve never visited Germany in the winter – because of the cold. The bathrooms in Oma’s house are not heated, so I don’t quite fancy freezing my bum off on a midnight toilet run while on vacation. 😉 Maybe if I could keep a personal stash of Gluehwein in the bathrooms, I could manage the cold there! Have a glass (or two) of Gluehwein for me!

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