Christmas-ing in Berlin

Traveling is like a conquest. 

I don't know about you, but I get a different "high" when I am in a new place. Starting from planning a trip to landing at the destination, the experience gives a different sense of accomplishment that no awards or recognition can offer.

Funny that Google Maps is taking note of my journey, whether near or far. It detected that in 2022 alone, I visited nine countries, 40 cities, and 318 places. Whoah! I never even thought of tracing that. 

This is primarily because my family is fond of traveling. Our most recent one was in Germany. We spent our Christmas in Berlin then we returned to Warsaw for New Year.

Someone said that Berlin, the capital, is not a clean city. On the contrary, we found it otherwise. It was not bad. To be fair. In Europe, it is common to see writings on the walls. I've seen more vandalism in Warsaw. 

Enough of the dirt. What's more interesting is that one evening, we saw a fox hiding between the scooters in the parking lot across the Hauptbahnhof (Germany's national train system) station. It looked as if it was lost. We did not dare take a photo because it could attack us. Seeing it was a surprise!

The huge Christmas tree at a Hauptbahnhof entrance.

Since it was Christmas, we included Berlin's Christmas markets in our itinerary. We stopped by Gendarmenmarkt, a famous square. We also went to Alexanderplatz Christmas Market. It was a series of evenings full of German fares such as bratwurst, currywurst, mulled wine (although Warsaw has it, too), pretzels, hot cocoa, and pastries. 

When it comes to the prices of food, people pay in euros in Germany. They do not use Deutschmark anymore. I could say that commodity prices are relatively reasonable. One could have a decent meal at eateries for 5 euros. If you eat at Christmas markets, you can peg around 15 euros per person to try the main meals. If you add desserts, it would cost more, of course. Restaurant food prices are different. One person would pay around 10 euros to 19 euros (a big plate of meat and vegetables) with drinks. Remember to add a 10% tip. 

We walked the whole time because we wanted to burn calories. It meant walking for more than three kilometers a day. I could not forget that my health watch recorded 22000+ steps in one day. Despite the cold weather and the three layers of clothing, we pushed through walking. Temperatures dropped to 0 but climbed as high as 12 degrees Celsius. 

Almost all the touristy places in Berlin are within our reach. Reichstag, or the Parliament Building, is one of them. One can enter free of charge. Just line up at the reservation booth located not far from the building. The one who processed our booking is a Filipina. Of course, we spoke in Tagalog as she asked all the questions from the form. We just presented our passports, and everything was taken from there. Our stay at Reichstag was a good two hours. We used a recorded guide in English as we toured from the bottom to the top of the building. A 360-degree view of Berlin awaits anyone who reaches the top of the Reichstag.

The facade of Reichstag

Inside Reichstag

As we walked to Potsdamer Platz, we saw Haagen Dazs. The boys wanted to stop by to rest and for some ice cream even though it was almost dinner time. So, we did.

My crepe for about 7.50 euros.

Their shake for about 9 euros each.

Then we headed to the nearby Mall of Berlin, a huge attraction in itself because of the glittery Christmas decorations. The crowd was mostly kids and families.

Our deal with desserts is not over. We usually search for chocolate factories or museums in our destinations. When in Berlin, you must go to where Ritter Sport began. So we did. Watch this short video.

We realized that the trip to Germany was a walk down History Lane. Why? My boys are both History buffs, especially the War stuff. So, we went to the Jewish Memorial, where we got a bit melancholic. The horrendous details about the Holocaust victims were depressing. The three of us felt that our energies were zapped after that stopover. It was also the only attraction we stopped by that required us to wear masks.

Then we also toured the location of what remains of the Berlin Wall. We proceeded to the museum across the street where the wall remnants stand. 

We rode a five-hour train to Berlin from Warsaw hoping to see some nice views. We saw forests, vast green lands, residential areas, and industrial parks along the way. Nothing Swiss-like or panoramic grandeur. It's alright. Next time, we'll try the plane.

If you have specific questions about going to Berlin or any particular experience about traveling there, you may post them as comments below.

Meanwhile, here's a brief video of that trip.

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