Christmas market weekend in Basel, Switzerland

It’s Christmas market time! Last year, we visited Berlin and had a blast at the Christmas markets all over town. This year, we decided on the Basel area in Switzerland in combination with a day tour to Colmar in the French Alsace area. We had a great weekend!

As always, there’s a map at the bottom of the page with the sights and directions.

Christmas market at Barfüsserplatz, Basel

How to get there

The EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg is conveniently located right where three countries meet: Switzerland, France and Germany. We hopped on a quick and cheap flight from Copenhagen with Easyjet. On arrival, we took the Swiss exit and the airport bus to Basel. There is also a separate exit to the French/German areas since those countries are part of the European Union which Switzerland is not.

A major advantage in Basel is that a card for the public transport network is included in the hotel stay. This also included the bus trip to and from the airport. No one checked our tickets but it would be alright to show the hotel reservation if so needed. We got our real Basel card when we checked in and used the trams and buses in Basel a couple of times during our weekend.

Where to stay

We wanted to stay close to the railway station in Basel since we were taking a day trip to France. The airport bus stops at the central station and there are several hotels around the bus and tram square next to it. We chose Hotel Euler at the furthest end of the square from the railway station and were mostly happy with our choice. The location and breakfast was great but the rooms could have been more soundproofed. We heard every noice from the hallway, including the piano player who played nightly in the lounge. The rooms were nicely decorated and very clean, so overall a good choice.

The train station is located a few tram stops from the old city of Basel. Since we got the Basel card for free from the hotel, it was easy to either take the tram or walk to the old parts of Basel.

Christmas markets in Basel

Basel has several Christmas markets and we went to two of them, both located in the old town: Barfüsserplatz  and Münsterplatz. They are close to each other, an easy tram ride (just a few stops) or even a walk away from the train station.

The Christmas markets had similar vendors, all lined up in the squares and alleys in their cute booths. Lights and Santas everywhere, and of course lots of glühwein. You get a souvenir porcelain cup by paying a deposit of a few Swiss marks. If you don’t want to keep it after your visit to the markets, just return it before leaving and you get your money back. A refill of glühwein was 5 Swiss franks in most booths.

What to eat at the Basel Christmas markets

For dinner, we had the Swiss specialty raqlette which consists of boiled potatoes, mushrooms and pickles covered in melted cheese. The cheese is melted from a huge block of Swiss cheese and the dish is made to order. It’s a comforting dish perfect for the winter evenings. You can also have cheese fondue at some of the market stalls.

We also had an alpine hot dog one day for lunch. It was basically a hot dog in bread covered with cheese and sauerkraut. Tasty!

The food in the markets stalls is not cheap. The price was usually around 10-15 Swiss franks, which is about the same in euros. You won’t get a big portion either. Switzerland is definitely more expensive than the neighboring countries.

Sightseeing in Basel

Apart from the Christmas markets, the Basel old town is great to just wander around in. City of Basel: Five walking tours around Basel provides easy to follow walks with signs on buildings and street corners.

The streets have pretty buildings and you can also walk along the river and take the boat across if you feel like it. The beautiful red city hall is a must to see and don’t forget to go inside the gates to the courtyard with its statues (we didn’t go inside the actual building since it was closed). The Münster cathedral is right next to the Münsterplatz Christmas market. A bit further away is the Spalen tower which is one of the old city gates.

There are also museums of course but we were happy taking a self guided walk following the Basel city signs and then warming up with glühwein at the Christmas markets. There are chocolate shops and cafés scattered throughout the areas as well. If you wander off too far, just take the tram back to where you started. Do remember that Sundays are rest days in Switzerland so most stores will be closed.

Four days in and around Kotor bay, Montenegro

This summer, we spent a bit more than a week exploring northern Montenegro, the Dubrovnik area in Croatia and also some of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Here is where we stayed, what we did and where we ate our delicious meals in Montenegro.

Morning coffee on the balcony overlooking the bay of Kotor

How to get to Kotor, Montenegro

We started and ended our trip in Dubrovnik airport where we picked up our rental car. I highly recommend getting a car for the Kotor bay area, but get a small one. The roads around the bay are narrow, in fact so narrow that there was barely room for two cars to meet. Be prepared to go slow and take care on the curvy road around the bay and in the small towns.

The road goes along the coastline of Kotor bay

We usually rely on offline Google maps when we go on road trips. The map itself worked well in Montenegro and it was very easy to find the way to Kotor. However, the drives took longer than the estimated driving times because of the narrow road and the traffic situation. You will also need to add time for waiting in line at the borders – first for leaving Croatia and then entering Montenegro. For us it took about a hour in total but that was on a weekday in the mid-morning. I hear that the wait can be much longer at weekends and also at other times during the day.

You will also need a green card which you get from your rental car company when you tell them (and most likely pay a fee) you’re taking the car outside of Croatia. Beware that there is also a ferry fee for taking the car on any ferries, including the short rides on road ferries in Montenegro.

Waiting at the border to Montenegro…

So, remember to get a small car, bring the green card, factor in the border checkpoints and most of all, don’t forget your patience on the road and you’ll be fine. And you will want to take it slow because the drive is a beautiful one! The view from the road overlooking the Kotor bay is amazing and there are viewpoints along the way. So take your time and savor the experience.

Kotor bay

Kotor bay is very pretty and kind of peculiar since it looks very much like the Norse fjords. The bay is surrounded by steep mountains and there are small towns scattered along the coastline. You will also see lots of mussel and oyster farms on the drive south towards Kotor. You will also quickly discover that Kotor bay is not a beach place. There are a few small ones, like in Perast and outside Muo, but otherwise you enter the nice, clean water from the concrete decks next to the road. If you want the beach experience, Budva is an easy drive away.

Kotor old town

Kotor is located in the very south of the Kotor bay. The old town is kind of like a smaller Dubrovnik with stone buildings, surrounded by city walls towards the ocean and the mountains with the fort San Giovanni very visible. In front of the main gate is the marina, where there are lots of sightseeing boats, giant luxurious yachts and also cruise ships in various sizes. The cruise ships are fun to watch enter and leave the narrow bay, but time your visits to the old town to when there are not several thousand day visitors from a large ship.

You do not want (or even can) take your car inside the old town. There are parking spaces outside the wall if you choose to stay in a hotel inside.

More on Kotor town below, with restaurants and sights.

Where to stay around Kotor

Since we had a car and wanted to explore the bay as well as Kotor town, we decided to stay in Muo for easy access. Muo is a residential area right across the bay from Kotor old town. It takes about 10-15 minutes to walk to the main city gate from Muo and there are restaurants, a bakery and a grocery store along the way.

We rented a great studio apartment via AirBnB with an amazing view of the bay and Kotor old town from the balcony. This is where we stayed (no ad, just because we liked it)! The apartment had private parking, otherwise you will park your car on the street (once again, get a small car!). Muo was very quiet by night which suited us perfectly. We walked into town for dinner most nights.

Eating out in Kotor

We were in Kotor for four nights and ate at different restaurants every night. Some of the restaurants were very popular so I recommend looking around during the day and then making a reservation for dinner.

  • Konoba Scala Santa – our favorite restaurant in Kotor! The restaurant is located in a small square with a cute cat family keeping you company while you dine in great food. This seems to be one of the more popular restaurants in Kotor and we had to make a reservation to get a table. I had a very filling shrimp and truffle gnocchi dish and my husband said his steak was among the best he’s had. Decently priced Montenegrin wine (€18 seemed to be the standard price).
  • Konoba Trpeza – a fish restaurant with cozy ambiance and seats outside close to one of the squares. A bit more pricy than the restaurants nearby but good food and excellent service. I had the bussara mussels.
  • Przun – a restaurant on yet another square. Nice meal with good atmosphere. The food was good, the drinks could have been better.
  • BBQ Tanjga – a bbq restaurant located outside the city walls, to the south, across the road from the supermarket. It’s a popular, small place with seating in the garden. You order at the counter and expect a line, especially at dinner time. We had takeaway: a mixed plate of meat (chicken, sausages, skewers) with sauces, salad and fries. The food was definitely cheaper than other restaurants (even when eating in, same prices) and ok. It wasn’t the best meal we’ve ever had but it wasn’t bad either.

What to do in Kotor old town

  • Get lost in the narrow alleys of the old town while you’re looking at all the pretty buildings, flowers and squares. Enjoy the street music, the cats and the people!
  • Enjoy the cats. They are everywhere and they love to be fed. Most of them will probably be sleeping in the shade or just hanging around on the city walls. There is also a small cat museum where you can look at printed cat stuff and pet the resident cats. Kotor loves cats!
  • Walk up to the fort on the mountainside. The stairs are steep but it’s worth the effort! I would not recommend going up there in the middle of the day since the heat will probably exhaust you by then, so choose between early morning and closer to sunset. However, you don’t want it to be pitch black when you go up or down as the stairs are in bad shape in some places. We went at the end of the day and enjoyed the sunset over the bay. On the way up, you will pass a church where there is water and other drinks for sale.
  • Stroll through the market outside the city walls, next to the marina.
  • Have a drink at one of the restaurants in one of the many squares. Just looking at the people passing through is fun.

Want to explore the area? Stay tuned!

Exploring northern Sardinia and Corsica from Alghero

I would definitely recommend renting a car for at least a few days when you’re on holiday in Sardinia. There is so much to see outside of the beach town areas. You might be surprised though of how big of an island Sardinia is. Driving across the island from for example Alghero to the capital of Cagliari on the south coast would take at least half a day. We mostly stayed on the northwest part of the island and explored the surrounding areas. However, if you feel like visiting France, the island of Corsica is a day trip away! 

If you are looking for information about Alghero and the nearby area >>>
A sunny summer week in Alghero, Sardinia (Italy)

La Pelosa beach and Stintino

In the very northwest corner of Sardinia is the very pretty beach of La pelosa. It has turquoise water and beautiful white sand. However, it’s crowded so choose your time for a visit wisely. I’ve heard that it’s absolutely packed on weekends in high season. We were there on a Monday afternoon in late June and it was pretty crowded then as well. The beach itself is pretty small and only takes a few minutes to walk across. There are cafés and beach bars. 

La Pelosa beach in June

The Sardinian authorities are very protective of their sandy beaches. When visiting La Pelosa, you are not allowed to put your towel down directly on the sand. Then you risk a hefty fine! We didn’t know and within five minutes of us arriving to the beach, the beach police came up to us and told us to very quickly remove our towels, otherwise the fine would be 100 euros for each towel. We went up to the beach bar and bought beach mats made of bast for 4-5 euros each. The mats are also sold by individual vendors on the beach road. So, don’t ignore the signs of the mandatory beach mats! You can also rent chairs and umbrellas although they are expensive (25-30 euros for the set). 

Don’t forget your beach mat, it really is mandatory!

After a few delightful hours on the beach, we drove down to the small fishing village of Stintino. We had dinner by the harbor and then wandered in the village for a while. 

Stintino harbor

Bosa and the coastal road to get there 

Bosa is a very cute town about an hour south of Alghero. It has a river, historical houses and a fort. We went to the Tuesday market and then had lunch in one of the quiet, pretty streets. The walk along the river was very nice as we saw the colorful houses further up on the hill from a distance. Across the river from the main town is a row of houses that used to be the tannery area. Apparently, they were placed across the river because of the industry smell. 

For lunch, we had the special sandwich of Sardinian bistoccu bread. It was kind of like a large crispy toast with different toppings, very tasty.

Old tannery houses in Bosa
Bosa from a distance

The road to Bosa from Alghero is absolutely beautiful and should not be missed on any trip to Sardinia! It runs along the sea with pretty views of the cliffs and nearby areas on basically every turn. There are view points and parking places along the way so take your time! 

The coastal road from Alghero to Bosa

Nuraghe settlement of Santu Antine

An hour inland from Alghero and Bosa is the nuraghe settlement of Santu Antine. It is the main settlement of the nuraghe valley, which is where many of the nuraghe round stone towers with surrounding villages were located. The nuraghe buildings are common across Sardinia and were developed during the Nuragic age about 1900-730 BC. The towers vary in height.

Inside the multistory tower, you can enter the cool walkways as well

In Santu Antine, you pay a fee of 6 euros to visit and go inside the multistory nuraghe building. You can walk up the different stairways and into the tower rooms. It’s a very comfortable temperature inside the stone walls. I think they have guided tours as well. From the top of the tower you can see the surrounding valley and other smaller towers. 

We were joined by a friendly dog who seems to live on the premises

A museum five minutes away by car is also included. It contains some information material and also some objects found while excavating the nuraghe ruins. I think the museum is still being developed so most of the explanations were in Italian although we were given a sheet with a short description in English. 

More information about Nuraghe Santu Antine (in Italian)

Corsica (France)

The French island of Corsica is only a 50 min ferry ride from the harbor in Santa Teresa di Gallura in northern Sardinia. It does take more than two hours to drive there from Alghero so be prepared for a long day. You can take your car across but you won’t need it in Bonifacio where most streets are pedestrian only.

On the way from Alghero, you can have a quick detour to the Elephant rock which is a burial place by the road that looks like an elephant. It’s near Castelsardo and well signposted from the road.

The elephant rock near Castelsardo

The ferries to Corsica are equipped with a solar deck where you can enjoy the view of the islands and the strait. We had a very comfortable ride to the harbor in Bonifacio. Once there, the marina had lots of expensive looking yachts and nice looking restaurants along the water.

Once you go up the stone steps to the upper town (haute ville), you will enter the old fortification with narrow streets and cute alleys. There are excellent view points as well along the walls and the cliffs. The cemetery is located right by the cliff edge and consists of small mausoleums above ground, well worth a visit for the great views at least. Corsica is definitely an island I would like to spend more time on, although it was (at least in Bonifacio) considerably more expensive than Alghero/Sardinia.

More information about taking the ferry to Corsica from Sardinia

On Corsica, don’t miss the speciality beer Pietra ambrée which is made with chestnuts. As in Sardinia, the myrtle berry is very popular and you can find for example ice cream and liqueurs made with it. Otherwise, practice your French and have some nice French wine!

One spring week on Malta

When we were going somewhere for a week in late May 2018 to celebrate my husband’s birthday, he only had two requests (yes, I’m the travel planner): he wanted to go somewhere he hadn’t visited before and a bit of sunshine and warm weather was preferable. So I zoomed in on southern Europe and since we’ve been to Italy, Spain and France quite a lot, we ended up going to Malta! Although it had never really been on my travel radar, we had a great week with lots of sights, sunshine and seafood. It really was the perfect destination for a week in pre-summer.

Malta is an island nation and consists of three islands: the main island of Malta (where the capital of Valletta is situated), the smaller and greener island of Gozo and the tiny island of Comino in between. We spent our holiday on Gozo and in Valletta, but since Malta is so small it is easy to get around by car. We also visited Comino on a day trip.

Gozo

The one and only airport on Malta is located close to Valletta. We had arranged for a rental car beforehand and since we were going to start our holiday on the island of Gozo, we went straight to the ferry harbor in Cirkewwa in the northwest corner of Malta. The main roads on Malta are mostly in good shape but sometimes narrow so we were definitely happy to have a small car.

The drive to the harbor was easy and we were on the ferry without any difficulties. You don’t pay for the ferry to Gozo but for the return ticket (two-way) going back to Malta. The ferries to Gozo leave regularly and take about 30 minutes, just enough to leave the car and admire the view of the islands from the deck.

From the port on Gozo, we drove straight on to the small fishing village of Xlendi where we had reservations at the Hotel San Andrea. Xlendi is situated by a bay with few restaurants, a small beach and cliffs with ladders into the sea. We had a room on the 4th floor with balcony overlooking the quiet cove and the cliffs and loved the view! The hotel itself was fairly basic but had a great location.

Our days on Gozo were spent exploring the island by foot on the cliffs or by car. Even though everything on the island was within a 30 minute drive, there was a lot to see and discover. Gozo is greener than the main island of Malta and has steep cliffs into the sea.

Among other things, we visited the Ġgantija tempels in Xagħra, which is a UNESCO world heritage site from around 3600 bc. Along the coast at Marsalforn, there are salt flats run by local families and amazing sandstone formations. Gozo’s most famous sight used to be the Azure window (remember the Khaleesi wedding in Game of Thrones?) but it unfortunately collapsed into the sea after a storm a few years ago. The area is definitely worth a visit though since you can swim in a shallow lagun and then take a boat tour along the coast below the cliffs and into caves.

The main town on Gozo is called Ir-Rabat (or Victoria) and has a well preserved fort to discover. Don’t miss the roof terrace of the restaurant Ta’ Rikardu inside the fort – the food was great and the view amazing!

At night, we walked on the promenad along the cove and ate at one of the fish restaurants. We usually chose wines from Gozo as well that went well along the fish and seafood. All in all, we had great days on Gozo. Since we were there before the main holiday season, it wasn’t crowded but the weather was great. The water was a bit cold but fine for shorter dips.

Comino

On the way back to the island of Malta, we parked our car at the port on Gozo and took a smaller boat to the island of Comino. Comino is a tiny island mostly uninhabited and is famous for its blue lagoon. It really was a pretty sight with turquoise water and white sand. The island had great views from cliffs as well.

However, it was really crowded and I can only imagine how it must be in high season. There are boat tours from Valletta and they seem really popular. We stayed on Comino for a few hours and then took the boat back to Gozo. And then it was time to take the ferry to Malta.

Malta

We were on Malta to celebrate my husband’s birthday and therefore had booked ourselves into the very fancy Grand Hotel Excelsior right outside the city walls and the old town of Valletta. It was a great choice of hotel with free indoor parking and we were even upgraded to a larger room with our own sun terrass overlooking the sea. The hotel has a pool and even a tiny man-made beach.

Valletta was the European culture capital of 2018 and we could tell that work had been done to make the city prettier. We spent our time in the old part of the city and enjoyed walking on the squares and in the narrow streets. There are many historic sites from different centuries, everything from the golden, garish St John’s Co-Cathedral to museums and guided tours that focus on Malta’s importance for the allied troops during the second world war. We visited the Lascaris War Rooms where the invasion of Sicily was planned, and had an excellent tour much due to the very knowledgable guide.

One day we drove north on Malta and had a peek at Popeye’s village, which is where the Popeye movie was shot in 1980. It is now a small amusement park. For us, it was enough to see it from a distance with its pretty houses. We went to the Golden bay beach, and also to Mdina, the so called quiet town in the middle of the island. It was very nice to walk around in the old city center surrounded by walls and have a drink at the Fontanella tea garden with an exceptional view.

A visit to the small fishing village of Marsaxlokk near Valletta is a must! We arrived late in the afternoon and had a nice walk along the quay. The traditional fishing boats of Malta are colorful and have eyes painted on them. We had a great fish dinner at one of the many restaurants with tables right by the water.

And food wise, we had so many nice meals on Malta. Lots of fish and seafood of course, but also rabbit. It was mainly rustic home cooked food with the seasonal ingredients in focus, and we had local wines and beers with it. For soft drinks, the Maltese love “Kinnie” which is bitter but refreshing.

In conclusion…

We were very positively surprised by Malta! Although we didn’t rush, we saw and experienced a lot of things on our one week trip. The drives were easy (once you’re used to driving on the left side of the road), the distances short and English is one of the main languages.

Weatherwise, we were there at the end of May and had temperatures from about 24 C to more than 30 C. The sea was cool but manageable for short dips. In high season, you get the warm sea but it is probably much harder to walk and drive around in the heat and the crowds.

A winter weekend in Berlin

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Although Berlin is only a few hours away from our home in Malmö, I realized I hadn’t been there since… well, since the year after the wall came down. And I wasn’t very old at the time so my memories of Berlin were kind of non-existent. Add the fact that Berlin is a perfect weekend destination, and we decided to spend the first weekend of December 2018 there. It turned out to be a great mini-vacation with lots of Christmas markets, glühwein, sightseeing and of course curry wurst.

Hackescher Markt

After a short flight on the Friday afternoon, we arrived at Schönefelt airport. We picked up 48 hour Berlin city tour cards from the tourist agency at the airport and then walked to the train station to get to Berlin-Mitte. The city tour card included all public transportation for 48 hours, including to and from the airport. Very convenient as Berlin is a pretty spread out city.

For our stay, we had decided on the Monbijou hotel in the Hackescher Markt station area which was easy to get to by train. The hotel was perfect for us – cozy, clean and close to everything.

By this time, we were hungry and longing for dinner so we just dumped our bags and went for our first curry wurst, the quintessential food of Berlin. Luckily (or well planned), one of the top currywurst restaurants was just around the corner from the hotel: Curry 61. We had a generous serving with french fries, mayo and their special sauce and a beer of course. Their wall art is worth the visit itself.

Since it was the beginning of the holiday season, the Christmas markets were in full swing. They all have pretty much the same setup: small shops with handicrafts, food and snacks. Some of the markets have an iceskating rink as well. Our first night in Berlin, we went to two markets: one near the Rathaus and one on Alexanderplatz. Our favorite was definitely the market near the Rathaus and St Mary’s church since it was smaller and cozier. We had glühwein to keep us warm in the rain, and also found some chili candied almonds that I actually went back for on Sunday before going home. So good.

Sightseeing tour

The next day (Saturday) was dedicated to sightseeing in Berlin. We had a quick breakfast in a coffee shop in the Hackescher markt station (love the German pastries!). Then we were off to our first stop of the day: the Bundestag building. We had booked free tickets to a specifik time slot and everything was right on time. After a check-in and security check, the guards will escort the group into the Bundestag building and then up to the dome. There you can walk around in and up the dome for as long as you please. Beautifully constructed dome and interesting to see the bundestag room below.

Inside the dome of the Bundestag

After an hour or so in the dome, we walked to the Holocaust memorial (the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europa) located very close to Brandenburger Tor. It truly is a place for remembrance and contemplation, so go there when you’re in Berlin and just wander around the stone pillars.

We then went to the Brandenburger Tor square to have a coffee and then go on a free tour. There are probably several tours to choose from but we had booked with Sandeman. It was very popular this sunny Saturday. Somehow we ended up in the group with the most popular tour guide so the group just kept expanding. He did the tour very well though, and we saw lots of things along the way. If you have a few hours to spare, a guided tour is a good way to get most of the sights done. You can always go back to places that interest you the most.

When the tour ended on Bebelplatz, we kept walking north towards the Berlin wall memorial. We had lunch at this retro, artsy café close to the golden synagogue, a very good borstj soup for me with – you guessed it – beer. The café was so retro it didn’t even have wifi… quite a rarity these days.

We arrived at the Berlin Wall memorial (Gedänkstätte Berliner Mauer) in the afternoon and walked around the indoor and outdoor exhibits. It is very well presented with different buildings showing different aspects of and life situations in the East German era. Definitely take your time and walk along the wall on both sides of the street. There are memorials and ruins as well as the exhibits.

We then took a tram/train combo to the Tiergarten park and made our way by foot to the Victory column. You can see this golden landmark from all over Berlin and it sits right in the middle of a giant roundabout. Don’t try to cross the street, instead use the underground walkways. We bought tickets and climbed up the tower. From the observation deck, 51 meters up, you can see most of Berlin. Since it got dark while we were there, all the lights around the city was twinkling which was very pretty.

With dark came the need for more Christmas markets, so we took a bus to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church. Around the two church buildings (one bombed ruin, one modern), there were lots of Christmas market booths at the Breitscheidplatz. We bought some glühwein and wandered around for a while. On a sad note, on the steps of the church there were flowers and candles to remember the victims of the 2016 truck attack that took place in the market. We could only imagine the horror that must have been that night in the very crowded marketplace.

The Breitscheidplatz Christmas market around the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church

After a while, we walked along the brightly decorated Kürfurstendamm street and then took the metro to Gendarmenmarkt.

The Christmas market on Gendarmenmarkt square is perhaps one of the most famous markets in Berlin. There was a line to get in since they charged an entry fee (1 € I think), but we bought glühwein and the line moved quickly. Inside the market area, there was a big stage where they had concerts, a Russian choir when we were there. We finally (because by then we needed food and not just glühwein!) had dinner at one of the market restaurants. I had a traditional plate of kale, mushrooms, sausage and sour cream, all washed down with a beer. And then we walked around some more and bought some gifts.

And then it was back to the hotel with a walk through a lit up museum island (museum insel). Lots of walking that day and lots of glühwein…

East side gallery

The next morning was grey and gloomy, but we were quickly on our way to the East side gallery in the Friedrichshain area. This open-air gallery is located near the river Spree and consists of a 1,3 kilometer stretch of the Berlin Wall, covered in murals by different artists. The murals were painted in 1990 and are in good shape. We walked along the wall along with a lot of other people and took pictures along the way.

When we had reached the end of the wall, we took the train back to central Berlin and went to the Topography of Terror Documentation Center. It’s located right by a remaining sector of the wall but focuses on the horrors and evils that took place during the Nazi era. The building stands where the SS had its main office which was destroyed after the war. The center houses an exhibit which contains a lot of information and photos.

Our final hours in Berlin were spent on Checkpoint Charlie, which is a reconstructed checkpoint where you can pay to get your photos taken with fake guards. We didn’t. And then we just had to go back to the first Christmas market by the Rathaus (city hall) to buy more chili almonds and also skate on the ice rink around the Neptun fountain. When dusk set in, we were back on the train to the airport.

To sum it up, we had a great weekend in Berlin. The city is so full of history that everywhere you go, there is something new to read and learn. We ate excellent curry wurst a couple of times and will remember the glühwein fondly. Also, Berlin is a perfect weekend city since the public transport system makes it easy to get around.

If you have any questions about Berlin, let me know!