This weekend I packed my backpack again for the weekend. My friend, Esme, and I wanted to begin the month of December with Christmas markets in Germany. This energetic capital city was high on our list to visit because of its historical significance.
We did a free walking tour (per usual). Our guide was new, but he did an okay job. The most important thing was walking around and familiarising ourselves with the city. Berlin was huge, so we ended up using the U-Bahn and S-Bahn quite a bit.
Mother with Her Dead Son memorial was especially intriguing to me. As you can see, there is an open skylight above making her exposed to the varied Berlin weather. She commemorates the victims of war and tyranny. The unique symbolism is shown as she faces the elements day-in and day-out.
This is one of the best Jewish memorials that I’ve ever seen. It’s situated near the Brandenburg Gate. There was a large area of pillars at fluctuating levels where you could freely walk. The memorial is open for interpretation, but I understood it to represent the slow and distinct progression of war and terror. The ground seemed to rise and fall without a strict pattern as you traveled to the center. You could easily lose track of the people around you as they disappeared around the corners and down the continuous aisles. I also thought that it was colder and darker as you reached the center as less light was able to peer over the taller pillars. Disappearance, lost, fear, darkness are all a part of war and tragedy and represented beautifully here.
The Brandenburg Gate was stunning. During the day and the night. Esme and I soaked up the festive Christmas decorations all around the square.
On Saturday, we started our day properly with coffee and breakfast. Distrikt Coffee delivered both. They had delicious filter coffee and buttermilk pancakes. It had been way too long since I’ve eaten pancakes, even longer since they were that good. I’ll be dreaming about those pancakes for weeks to come.
After filling up on pancakes and coffee, we hit the streets for some street art. East Side Gallery is a memorial that uses a part of the original Berlin Wall. in 1990, 105 artists were invited to add their interpretations and expressions of freedom and hope for the future. Below are just a few examples of these iconic pieces of public art.
We had missed most of the Christmas Markets on Friday night, so we weren’t going to miss them a second time. From about 5:00 until 9:00pm we market hopped. Our absolute favorite was Berliner Weihnachtszeit near Alexanderplatz. The atmostphere was energetic with a ferris wheel, ice skating rink, carousel, and even a Santa and reindeer announcement every hour. Esme and I purchased our hot cocoa with our keepsake Christmas mugs that we enjoyed around a nice fire pit for warmth. Afterwards, we watched people attempt ice skating while one particular 8-year-old was showing off her incredible ice skating skills… she clearly has a future in figure skating.
After being on our feet all day long, we returned to our hostel and settled in for another night of rest before our flight the next day. Until next time, Germany!