The Violent Incident In Berlin 19.12.16

Today was a sad day for Berliners. A truck drove directly into one of the busiest Christmas markets, killing 12 people and injuring way more.

Having no idea what happened, I was at home when my phone suddenly exploded with messages from friends and family. I was informed about the situation and the first thing I did was to call my mother and let her know I was fine before she heard the news. After that, I calmed everyone else down, assuring them I was safe.

I started researching about what happened and how, since I was trying to gather as much information as possible for what happened. I was confused. Nothing seemed like a terrorist attack. Then the Facebook safety check appeared, stating that it was indeed a terrorist attack. But I did not believe it.

For the past 8 hours, I have been reading all the newspapers looking for updates. But nothing is clear so far. And then Instagram blew up with “Pray for Berlin” pictures.

Is it truly a terrorist attack or are people now used to them so much that they immediately believe everything is? Without any valid information, all types of media began providing false information. Each one had different facts. I don’t know more details. No one does at this point. The German police are quite efficient and I have faith they will figure this out.

What pains me, are my thoughts of all those people having a good time and all of a sudden losing their lives or their loved ones. During the Christmas holidays that everyone is so happy and let loose.

Yes, I could be there. I’ve been there quite a few times and I was planning on going back,  since it was a beautiful Christmas market. But I wasn’t there tonight. I was lucky and I can’t spend my time thinking “what If”. I am scared of many things, but I will not let this “new reality” keep me locked in my house. 

We all have to be more cautious. Sadly, this is the way things work nowadays. I wish that the people who lost their lives tonight find peace and the ones that stayed behind be strong.

10 Reasons to fall in love with Berlin at Christmas

Besides recent events that occurred in Berlin a few days ago, I stand by my choice to live here. No matter what, this city keeps on inspiring me daily, refreshing me and making me not regret a single moment of my life.

I Love Christmas…

I Love Berlin…

Christmas in Berlin is an amazing experience. Everyone should at least visit Berlin once during the winter holidays.

1. Christmas Markets

Even if you don’t plan on visiting any of Berlin’s Christmas markets, there is no chance you will miss them on your way around town. But then again, I cannot imagine someone coming to Berlin and not visiting at least 4 of them.

Each area has one Christmas market, with the biggest and most famous being the ones in Gendarmenmarkt, Alexanderplatz (& Alexa), Postdamer Platz and Gedächtniskirche in Charlottenburg.

20161126_180829
Sony Center
20161126_174841
Arkaden Mall

2. Christmas Decorations Around The City

During the winter holidays, Berlin will leave you speechless. Everything, and I mean everything is decorated. Stores, streets, even the trees. The decorations whether grand or not, they are beautiful and catch your eye in an instant.

20161126_193237-02
Alexanderplatz
20161126_181849
Postdamer Platz

3. Shop Till You Drop

It’s only normal that you will shop a lot during the holidays. Clothes, Christmas house decorations and presents. What better than combining your shopping with some great sales. It is not a secret that during this time of year, stores in Berlin offer some pretty good sales or offers. Put on your flats and take advantage of them.

20161126_175813
Arkaden Mall
img_20161210_200425
KaDeWe

4. Fireworks

We are not talking about just fireworks. Berliners really know how to deal with fireworks. On New Year’s Eve, at midnight wherever you are you will most likely experience a beautiful firework show. If possible, get somewhere high up to enjoy them and get amazing pictures.

I have already seen fireworks around the city at random times. Probably they are getting ready for New Years.

berlin-fireworks-for-wp_v2
by flyvictor.com

5. Botanical Garten

Open until 1st of January 2017, from 17:00 to 23:00 daily, you have to visit the Botanical Garden in Berlin. Every holiday season, the garden turns into a magical and breathtaking wonderland with illuminations and 3D decorations. There are various food tents and fireplaces all around.

156243
by inyourpocket.com
norfolk_54_990x660
by inyourpocket.com

6. Fun Activities

If you want to do something other than shopping and drinking, then you have choices. You can take your children to the Christmas markets and let them enjoy the carousels and ferris wheels. At Sony Center, there is a fairy that kids find fascinating.

You can visit Alexa mall in Alexanderplatz to see the big fun fair. Another choice is to go to the different events happening around town or go ice-skating in Postdamer Platz, the Botanical Garden or Alexanderplatz.

20161126_173852
Postdamer Platz
20161126_181154
Fairy Stella

7. Events

There are events happening in various areas of Berlin every single day. Whether you choose to visit Sony Center for the Enchanting Christmas Season to see the dance show for free or pay for THE ONE Grand show, the biggest show in Berlin at the moment, you will have a great time.

Museums also have events, with special exhibitions just for the holiday season. Bars have live shows or parties on specific days of the month. Dancing performances, live music, free tango and dance lessons, concerts and street food festivals are some of the top options.

maxresdefault
by berlin-welcomecard.de

8. New Year’s Eve

Once in your life, you have to experience a New Year’s Eve outside among thousands of people. Doing so in Berlin, will not disappoint you. From Brandenburg Tor until the Victory Column, live music, performances and artists wait for you. The shows begin at 19:00. You can visit before to see the rehearsals. Once it’s midnight, the sky fills with fireworks and around you people smile, laugh and hug.

Jahreswechsel 2013 - Brandenburger Tor
by berlin.de

9. Nightlife

Take your pick. Bars, restaurants, clubs, street food, live music. Nights in Berlin offer anything you want. Any kind of entertainment for any kind of culture. No matter where you go, all places are filled with people, even during weekdays, something not common in the rest of Germany.

image_2239
by bestclubsin.com

10. Sightseeing

Visiting Berlin during Christmas does not mean you only come for the markets and decorations. Above all, the sights are Berlin’s gem and are worth seeing all year long. From Museum Island to Victoria Park, all museums, parks and sights must become your choice for a break from all the Christmas craziness.

20160425_185926
Berlin Cathedral
20161113_145854
Victory Column

5 Best Christmas Markets in Berlin

During the holiday season, Berlin lights up everywhere and takes your breath away. There are Christmas markets all over town, some bigger than others. Being a first timer in Berlin at Christmas, of course, I had to visit all of them and see for myself if they are worth it.

 

5. Christmas Market in Alexanderplatz

Location: U Alexanderplatz

When:  21 November 2016 – 26 December 2016

Opening Times: 10:00 – 22:00  (Alexanderplatz)

Entrance: Free

What to do: Buy carved figures, drink Glühwein,buy glass or wooden ornaments and toys

There is nothing better than going to the heart of the city and spend some time in this Christmas Market. Definitely one of the busiest markets in Berlin. What makes it special is that it is in the centre of Berlin, giving you many choices regarding sights, food, shopping. Get on the second or third floor of Saturn for a view of the whole market. On the 24th of December, the market will be open from 10:00 – 14:00.

4. The Big Berlin Christmas Market at Alexa

Location: U Alexanderplatz

When:  21 November 2016 – 23 December 2016

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 13:00 – 22:00 / Sat-Sun 11:00 – 22:00

Entrance: Free

What to do: Get on the rides, buy lottery tickets, drink Glühwein, eat a lot

The Alexa market has a fun fair, filled with a lot of attractions to enjoy. It is for sure a great place to spend your day, especially for a family day out.  You get in the holiday spirit and have fun at the same time.

3. Winterworld at Postdamer Platz

Location: S Postdamer Platz Bahnhof

When: 04 November 2016 – 01 January 2017

Opening Times: 10:00 – 22:00

Entrance: Free

What to do: Go skating, buy textile products, buy all kinds of crafts and sweets

Truly a beautiful market on a very busy street of Berlin. Even though the market might seem small at first, it is not. If you start walking, you will find out that is way bigger, going all the way to Arkaden mall and Sony Center. Everything is decorated, even the trees on the street. The malls are beautifully decorated. On Christmas Eve, the market closes at 14:00. 

 

2. Weihnachtszauber at Gendarmenmarkt

Location:  Am Gendarmenmarkt 2, 10117 Berlin Mitte

When: 21 November 2016 – 31 December 2016

Opening Times: 11:00 – 22:00

Entrance:  1€  / free for children under 12

What to do: Try high-class dishes, see performances from renowned artists, find all the unique merchandisers, find the origami master

By far the most popular Christmas market in Berlin. It is surrounded by grand and amazing landmarks and it gives its visitors a feeling of warmth and elegance. There are so many unique merchandisers around the market, that specialise in a variety of crafts, such as an ivory carver, an embroiderer and a milliner among others, who provide high-quality goods. There is also an origami master, who you must definitely visit since his work is amazing.

Looking for something to eat? What better than a Michelin-star chef? What about more than one Michelin-star chefs? They prepare gourmet dishes for everyone and I recommend you try at least a dish from them.

 

1. 33rd Christmas Market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Location: Breitscheidplatz, 10789 Berlin Charlottenburg

When: 21 November 2016 – 01 January 2017

Opening Times: Sun-Thu 11:00 – 21:00

Fri-Sat 11:00 – 22:00

Entrance:  Free

What to do: Buy Christmas ornaments, buy winter clothes, eat caramelised nuts and homemade eggnog

Located between Kurfürstendamm and the Zoologischer Garten, this market is simply beautiful and so inviting. There are carousels for all children to have fun and all sorts of sausages for grownups. Walking outside the market, you will see some amazing decorations all around.

Special Opening Hours: 

24th December (Christmas eve): 11a.m. – 2p.m.
25th & 26th December (Christmas): 1p.m. – 9p.m.
31st December (New Year’s eve): 11a.m. – 2a.m.
1st January (New Year): 1p.m. – 9p.m.