So starting the beginning of December it was time for christmas festivities I was very excited for this. Really I had been waiting for winter since I got here...it just sounded like christmas time here would be nice. On December 1 we headed out to check out some christmas markets. First up was the one in Spandau which is supposed to be one of the biggest ones. I wasn't sure really what to expect, but I was hoping it would start snowing again to make it christmas magic, and just after we arrived it did start to snow! It had been freezing here and we have been bundling up with long underwear for the first time ever outside of camping which I am just so excited to live somewhere where it gets cold for the winter! Yes it is like -3 C which sounds cold, but somehow it is not too bad.
The market had a stage with people performing christmas songs so you could enjoy as you wandered.
There is also tons of food to be had at the markets. We had some fresh potato chips which were delicious.
And of course there is plenty of gluhwein of kinderpunsch (hot mulled wine or non-alcoholic hot punch). There are tons of gluhwein booths and lots of people crowded around them drinking and having fun. As with most places when you get your hot beverages you get it in an actual mug - no throw away cups. You pay a deposit and then when you take your cup back you get your deposit back (or you could keep the cup). I love that they do that here! Walking around with a mug of hot punch and looking at all the fun christmas decorations and eating lots of food with lots of other people while everyone is happy and it is snowing...it really is magical.
After wandering through the Spandau market we headed back towards home stopping at the Charlottenburg christmas market along the way. It was dark by the time we got there and is held in front of Charlottenburg Palace
They kept changing the light colors and stuff on the palace which is always fun. Apparently they like to make fun patterns with lights on buildings here. We missed the festival of lights this year as I was sick, but that is all that is - shining different patters and colors of lights on famous places in the city. Next year I will be ready! Really the Charlottenburg christmas market was my least favorite one because there were WAY too many people there. You could barely walk through it - it was like standing in like for something and shuffling through not really able to get anywhere and we didn't stay very long.
The following thursday I woke up to everything actually covered in snow! I was super excited as it had snowed every day and sometimes there would be a dusting on the plants in the morning, but it didn't last long. This day though it covered everything for the first time and was still snowing when I woke up! I don't know what it is about snow, but I love it. I woke up that morning tired and ugh and feeling really lazy. Then I walked into the kitchen and looked out the window and then it is just like SNOW!!!!! It is snowing!!! Cue me running around the house opening all the blinds so I can see all the snow and running around just SNOW!!! There is snow!!! It is crazy. I get a little crazy and instantly like super incredibly happy and energetic when I see it. So of course I immediately ate something quick and went out to have fun in the snow (cause I am use to Seattle where it is gone in a flash when we do get it so you must take advantage while you can).
I walked up to the park right by our house and it was snowing as I walked and along the way I passed a school and there were kids singing O'Tannenbaum and it was just really magical. Everything is magical! It really is amazing.
In the park there were a bunch of kids playing and throwing snowballs and making snow angels so I of course made one myself. I mean it is so much fun! The only downside is there are not any real hills here so no sledding. There are tiny hills that the small children sled down, but they are really tiny. The snow stuck around and kept getting more added to it.
That weekend we started off our christmas market fun at the Sony Center lego christmas which was fun.
I even got my photo taken with lego santa!
And Raymond was oh so happy to be there!
Afterwards we went across the street to the christmas market and saw santa! This guy had a segway with a little sled thing in front turned into reindeer and the segway looking like a slay. It was amazing. Oh the santa note - they are not very fat here. Like look at the one above - kid of scrawny for santa. A lot of times santa is also accompanied my a skimpily dressed angel as well. Fun I suppose, whenever I see them I just think how are you not freezing to death?
We stopped in the mall to eat some lunch just as a huge group of santas came through. Not sure what they were doing and I don't think they were having a bar crawl (it looked like they were tourists all dressed as santa).
After the Sony Center markets we headed up to Brandenburg Gate to look for the nostalgic christmas market. It was at the other end of the road, but we did get to see all the people dressed like characters out to take photos with people like in LA. There were some Star Wars guys, predator, some guards, Batman and Spiderman. It was odd.
The market was at the other end of the street, but we did get to walk down tree lined middle of the road and I really liked the outlines in lights.
The nostalgic christmas market was tiny so we headed over to Alexanderplatz to check out the ones there (and it started snowing along the way!).
Along the way there were also a ton of crows flying around. The black swarm that looks like bugs is really tons of crows!
It was getting pretty chilly by then so first things first - hot beverages! I love it. It is so much fun wandering with your hot beverages in the snow with all the christmas cheer around. The christmas markets are more fun that I thought they would be and I am enjoying christmas in general here a lot more than in the states. It feels more...it feels like it is more about getting together and having fun and being happy and hanging out and just nice instead of shop shop shop!! It is just....very different and I really like it. Feels more like everyone is in the holiday spirit, but it is not spend spend spend everything (unless it is on food and drinks!). It is hard to explain what I want to say but it is just nice.
The other thing at the christmas markets besides gluhwein, food, vendors, and musicians are rides! Tons and tons of rides. It is like a carnival at the christmas market.
They even have a fun haunted hause ride even though the sign above it states it is christmas fun...
That Sunday it was snowing like crazy all day so of course I had to keep dragging Raymond out of the house to go explore! It is more fun when it is not just myself.
We had at least 8 inches of snow and it was amazing (and stuck around until this past weekend when it got above freezing and started to melt). I love waking up and looking outside and seeing everything covered in white. I think one of the reasons I like snow so much is that it makes it peaceful and pretty. Like it muffles the noise of cars driving and stuff, and it makes everything brighter. You can walk around at night and see everything fine because the snow makes it brighter. Plus it is just fun! And so much better than cold rain. Even though it was in the low 20's upper teens here for a long while Raymond commented on how he likes this winter better than Seattle winter. At least you can walk around in this. We shall see how he feels after the full winter. I mean it is only December.
Last weekend we went to the last christmas market on our list - the Lucia christmas market which is a scandinavian market. It was fun and they had some off things like these big coats on heaters that you can sit on in the coat to warm up. Very strange. But not as magical since it was not snowing. Raymond commented on how it is not as fun without the snow as well so it must be true! We did watch some fun christmas movies and on Sunday I baked a ton of cookies. Really I don't know why I made so many as they are just for us. This week I have been planning out of christmas travels and buying all the tickets and such. We are heading out on Sat for Prague then on to Vienna, Salzburg, Munich and back home for New Years Eve (which is supposed to be huge here. One article says at midnight downtown is the biggest fireworks display you have ever seen and I can believe it. I mean they had a huge fireworks display for the grocery store opening down the street I cannot imagine what new years eve will be like). I'm very excited and it should be a lot of fun! I hope everyone has a good holiday and I will update again in the new year!
Oh one other thing before I sign off - we were out to eat last weekend and we were looking at the drink menu and found this:
More expensive specialty sodas incude Dr Pepper, A&W root beer, and my favorite Mountain Dew! It just made us laugh as...well I do like root beer, but Mountain Dew as a specialty is just funny.