Berlin at Christmas is a wonderful place to be. The bitterly cold breeze passing through those wide concrete streets is offset by the warm Christmas markets serving up slow cooked Bratwerst’s and spicy and sometimes fairly potent Glühwein.
Getting around was easy with the trains running to precise times, once you find out how to use the train ticket. Unlike in the UK where you buy a ticket to travel that is valid at the point of sale. In Berlin you buy a ticket from a dumb dispenser and have to activate it on one of the many small red boxes dotted around the station. This only became apparent after being told off, by what appeared to be a member of the general public. Finding out later that he was indeed a ticket inspector dressed in plain clothing.
The Melia Berlin hotel is a good choice of hotel if you’re thinking of paying a visit as it was centrally located and has a good mix of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops near by and is situated right on the river Spree. Being a British couple and being away from blighty, it wasn’t too long before the cravings for a nice cup of tea set in. But be warned, it is not easy trying to find a proper cup of tea in this city.
The hotel (and every café visited) only serves Earl Grey and when you ask for milk with it, you will get some funny looks. The next port of call in the search for tea was Mcdonalds..Mcdonalds restaurants are the same around the world right?.. wrong! The Mcdonalds in Berlin only serves fruit tea. Just so you know!
Venturing out and about around the city there are some interesting shops and cafes to be found. One of the must see (and must try) places in the city was the Fassbender Rausch chocolate shop. It appears that there isn’t anything that cannot be made out of chocolate, which is evident by the flying aeroplanes overhead, the Reichstag monument, cars shoes and animals that are available to purchase here. There are also little tasting trays and a restaurant upstairs serving up all manner of chocolatey meals.
The Christmas markets themselves were very busy with cabins full of festive trinkets with food and drink on offer throughout. One of the markets even had a fun fair with a big wheel and an ice rink which is a great way to break up the walking. Not every market has rides so you will need to do some research. Before going be sure to check out the visit Berlin which has details on most of the markets in and around Berlin.
Overall the weekend in Berlin was very enjoyable, with the only thing missing being some snow!