place. Just 5 days before our visit to this historic city of Germany, ISIS decided that people of Berlin don’t deserve to have a Merry Christmas. Strange how a terrorist group gets to decide the fate of people. All this was in the NEWS, we were taken aback and started searching if our flights were cancelled or anything. They weren’t, and it was announced that what has happened, has happened, and that life will resume and move forward for Berlin.
We knew everything will be fine, and life will be normal for the public here. But, we still thought things will be a little low key, and shops will be shut when we landed here. However, places were open (only till 6-6:30 in the evening, but still open), and everything actually seemed to be going the way it should be during Christmas. So, ISIS couldn’t really dampen the spirits of most people of Berlin.
We got here on 24.12 in the afternoon. The first thing we did was buy a Berlin Welcome Card. This card is for EUR. 35.50 per person, and it lets you travel for five days using any mode of public transport in Berlin. So, basically it is a ticket for every tram, train, bus, etc. There are two kinds of cards actually, one lets you use any public transport within Berlin (the one which says A+B), but the second one lets you go to Potsdam too (the one which says A+B+C). We got a ticket for just A+B, and now we got to buy a separate ticket for Potsdam. So be sure of what you want. Apart from this, the welcome card also lets you avail some discount at certain tourist attractions.
The next thing we did was check into our hotel or rather a hostel, Sleepcheap hostel, which is centrally located. The Subway Station or the S-Bahn of Westend is walking distance (150 meters) from the hostel. It is very easy to get to the hostel from Tegel airport. Google maps gives you various ways of getting here from the airport. So choose the best option that suits you. I would recommend this place because of its location, it easy to reach wherever you need to via public transport. And if you just need a place to crash at night, then this works well and cheap. You can book a bed in a dormitory with shared bathroom for as cheap as EUR.10 per night, per person. Or, you can book a private room with an ensuite for about EUR. 60 per night.
After checking in, and resting for a bit, we headed to Gendarmenmarkt. The main attraction for us here was Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt. This is a rustic restaurant cum beer pub. From the hostel we first took S41 to Wedding, and then from Wedding, U6 to Franzosische Strabe. We further walked 170 meters to Augustiner. You get traditional German food here which includes traditional preparations of sausages, fish, apple strudels, and of course some variety for vegetarians as well. We wanted the complete German experience, so here’s what we ordered..
Few other images..
Stepping out of Augustiner, we realized that we are in a historical sight in Berlin City. The Gendarmenmarkt is a historic square with the former Royal Theatre and the Deutscher Dom (The German Cathedral) right there. We have the habit of stumbling upon new places unknowingly, and that is what happened in Berlin as well. We only saw the cathedral from the outside, which was very beautiful with its lights on in the evening. There was a Christmas market going on there too, which shut by 6 pm, being Christmas eve.
It was around 6:15 pm when we got out of Augustiner. We were looking for a grocery store, but our efforts were pointless since everything was shut!
We didn’t have anything left to do but to go back to our room, and we didn’t really want to do that. It was only 7 pm (even after our search for any open store) for crying out loud. So, we went back to Augustiner..
Well we left for the hostel by 8 pm. It was dark, cold, and with hardly any people around you. If you’re coming down to Berlin for Christmas, you might want to do all the sight seeing and explorations well within 6 pm. Or else, just eat and go to sleep.
This is it. The first evening in Berlin. Merry Christmas!
🙂 🙂 🙂