Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weihnachtsmarkt in Berlin

Christmas is coming, on St. Nicholas day I heard "Last Christmas" by Wham on the radio - it's a definite sign! In order to catch a bit of a Christmas spirit, we decided to go to Berlin. We've never seen the city in winter and everyone said it was remarkable in snow and lights. Luckily, Goethe Institut (where we both learn German) organised a trip to Weihnachtsmärkte in the capital city of Germany so we gladly put ourselves on a participants' list.

We arrived on the Hauptbahnhof - a newly built railway station that cost around 1 billion EUR. All right, it's quite a cost, but the result is stunning. It's really a very modern and pretty place (yes, a pretty railway station - how odd is that?). What I liked particularly was the huge Christmas tree placed in front of the glazed front.

The organisers prepared an itinerary for us:
- Hauptbahnhof,
- Reichstag,
- Brandenburger Tor,
- Sony Centre, Potsdamer Platz Weihnachtsmarkt,
- WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt

We did the whole route twice - at the day time and in the evening. With no doubt, the evening route was a more attractive one.

At the Reichstag (parliament building of Germany) we did a group photo and moved quite quickly to the Brandenburger Tor where we found a lot of wonders (like an ice sculpture, Mario Bros or a waving bear).

On our way to the first Christmas Market we passed by the remnants of the Berlin Wall, Lego street exhibition and Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

When we reached the first market it was relatively uncrowded. It was still bright and the weather was very cold. I liked the fact that I could stroll around the place quite freely. The stalls were superb! It was exactly what I thought of Weihnachtsmarkt. The aroma of Glühwein (mulled wine), apples in chocolate, hearts from gingerbread, hand-made marvels and freezing cold - it was all there!

At last a photo together...

After some time we went to see the other market - the one that is thought to be the most glamorous in whole Germany - WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt. Zauber in German means 'charm' and I find the name pretty descriptive. However, what I didn't like about this place was the crowd. It killed the atmosphere a bit, but I reckon that in the working week it must be a really amazing place.

Since it was really crowded, we decided to come back to the Potsdamer Platz Markt where we wanted to buy a souvenir (a wooden Christmas windmill spinning from the candles heat) and see everything again in the dark. It was worth it.

We finished the day (really tired and cold) by seeing again the monuments from the morning - but this time at night. The city looks so much different in the dark.

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