Berlin was my first trip outside of the country (unless you count Vancouver) ever! David and I left early last week so we could spend some time in the city, touring the museums, site-seeing, etc.
I won't even go into the drama that ensued with American Airlines on the trip over there. It is what it is; I've let go of it! However, when we finally got to Berlin (36 hours late), we checked into the Westin Grand Hotel and it was beautiful! Their Heavenly Beds (that's the brand) are to DIE for!! Unfortunately, with the time difference, I was not able to sleep for any amount of time worth mentioning. My sleep schedule was totally screwed up. However, that did not stop us from touring the city. The hotel was right smack in the middle of "tourist" central. So I loaded up the camera and Bear and David and we headed out to see Berlin. Our first stop was the Holocaust Museum. Incredible; moving; left me speechless. Simple in design; however, even in it's simple design, it made the most incredible impression on me. And across the street from it was the memorial to the homosexuals that lost their lives during the same time due to their being gay. Unfortunately, it has been vandalized a few times, but it is still up and it was great to see it! We then walked over to the American Embassy - nothing to report there. But over the next couple of days we saw The Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, The Berliner Cathedral, The Altes Museum by Schinkel, The Marienkirche, The Red Town Hall, The World Clock, the Konzerthaus and Franzosicher Dom, the Alte Bibliothok at Beblplatz, The Humbolt University, the Reichstag, and the Siegessaule. (And if I mispelled anything, I'm sorry.) We walked everywhere we went and needless to say, it was alot of walking!!! But I would not have done it any other way.
Oh, and for those of you who want to know: There is a Starbucks on every corner in Berlin, too!
Thursday evening we had the official opening reception for Folsom Europe. This is where we finally were able to meet all of the organizers for the event. It was held at the The Axel Hotel (which is the hotel David and I moved to on Friday so we could be right beside the street fair on Saturday and near the bars). We had a great time, and the picture posted here is of myself, Rauf (Mr. Europe Leather), Kitty (manager of the Axel Hotel), Frank Casper (German Mr. Leather) and Stefan Casper (Mr. Fetish NRW).
On Friday, we were able to tour some more and we actually went on the "Leather Tour Bus". We visited many of the same sights we had already visited; however, what was so fun about it was the fact that we got to sit in front of Donal and Jack and spend some time together. (Photo inset).
On Friday evening, was the Perverts Party; however, we didn't stay long and ended up back at the local bar and had a great time there.
Saturday was the street fair. The weather was a tad on the cool side; however, David and I thought it was wonderful. It was a welcomed relief from the Texas weather! So David and I threw on our chaps, jock and vest and headed out the door. For the most part, everyone pretty much wore alot of leather. We were surprised by that; however, by no means take it as we were disappointed. Good looking men were EVERYWHERE! The battery on my camera went dead I was taking so many photos! You can view many of the photos from the fair (that we took) at www.flickr.com/iml2009. The organizers of the event did a fantastic job at putting the fair on and it was a hot mess! (In the south, a "hot mess" is a huge compliment!!) I also had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Deaf Leather Germany, Rachid El Ouaghli. He is a terrific man and I wish him and his future husband, Branko, all the best in their upcoming marriage happening in October!!
Saturday evening we had dinner with Frank. Tim also joined us. Tim was the official photographer for Folsom Europe. Later that evening was the Pig Party. Again, crowded and we only stayed a bit before heading out to the bars again. Enjoyed it as always.
Sunday was a day of rest actually. We toured some and had dinner that evening with Rauf, Mark, Ross and Stig. It was a great meal and the company was awesome. After we finished dinner, the restaurant brought us shots of vodka. I'm not sure what kind of vodka it was, but as I shot it, I felt it go down my throat, my back, the crack of my ass, damn! That was some potent vodka!!
Then Monday we headed home. An uneventful flight (thankfully). I find it amusing that I fly a larger plane to Chicago than I do to London. I'm sure there is a reason . . .
Berlin proved to be amazing. The culture is terrific and it made for a great trip. I am thrilled that David was able to make the trip with me. He isn't able to make most of the trips; however, making my first European trip with me was priceless. We don't get to travel together again until Key West for Thanksgiving and then not again until February when we head to Sydney, Australia. After that, it's not until IML in May.
Next is the Mr. Houston Leather contest this weekend. I'm looking forward to the event. If any of you are going to be in town, make sure to come by the Ripcord and say hello!!
Your Leather Brother, Jeffrey