Our couple of days in Berlin has been nothing short of magnificent. It’s also been a city of contrast, filled with historical sites of importance and significance, stunning architecture and buildings, and mesmerising Christmas markets that truly take your breath away.
Berlin is the first stop on our fabulous three week holiday in Europe, chasing a ‘White Christmas’, a winter playground and a holiday filled with culture. Without a doubt, Berlin has delivered and kicked things off with a bang.
Most people – adults and children alike – would be aware of the horrors of World War I and World War II and have been taught in school about these two modern history periods of importance, and the impact they had on the world at large. To see some of the places that relate to these events has been fantastic and a real eye-opening experience.
We have visited the Reichstag (German Parliament Building), walked under The Brandenburg Gate and visited the Holocaust Memorial and Museum. Checkpoint Charlie was the only way to enter between East Berlin and West Berlin for many years and the remnants of the Berlin Wall can still be seen today. The Topographie des Terrors tells the story of the Gestapo, secret service police and the horrors of WWII and this is one of the many exhibits to take in. Berlin is definitely one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever visited and it’s easy to educate yourself on its fascinating history as many of the sites and exhibits are free to enter, or a nominal fee for those aren’t.
The Christmas Markets were one of the main reasons for our visit to Berlin and I was surprised to find that there are lots of them to choose from. The most beautiful is the Gendarmenmarkt as the quaint stalls are set in a Square that is home to the Konzerthaus (Concert House) and Franzosischer Dom Church, which are lit up with colourful lights and provide an amazing backdrop. There are stalls aplenty offering crafts and Christmas goodies, cheese, pretzels, roasted chestnuts, gluhwein, hot punch, beers and glasses of Verve, all at a great price. You can also eat bratwurst to your heart’s content.
The city is filled with small cafes and restaurants that are traditional and rustic, or modern and fresh. The food is fantastic, curry wurst is the specialty and definitely worth trying and the bratwurst, bread, cakes, pastries and pretzels are terrific. Meals are inexpensive so eating out is a must.
Berlin has been amazing and I’m so glad we have started our European Christmas adventure here; we’re learnt so much and also experienced one of Europe’s most diverse, interesting and beautiful cities.
Next stop is Prague!