Sunday, 23 November 2008

Berlin Christmas Markets 2008

Wheinachtsmarkt stall, Berlin 2008, by Andie

Today is Totensontag, the Sunday before advent, when the dead are commorated. The protestant version of the Catholic All Souls Day, but more importantly for the sensation-seeking atheist it is the traditional Sunday after which the Christmas Markets (Weihnachtsmarkten) open. Hooray!

Below are a selection of the largest, but many many smaller ones are all over Berlin and Potsdam. Wherever you pop up to on an S-Bahn it seems like a fair-ride or bratwurst stand have sprung up nearby. Enjoy!


  • Weihnachtsmarkt an der Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche - Christmas  market at the  Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
    Next to Budapester Straße, near the Zoologischer Garten U- and S-Bahnhof
    see map.
    24.11.2008 – 01.01.2009. Sun - Thu 11 am - 9 pm. Fri - Sat 11 am - 10 pm.
    more info

  • Weihnachtsmarkt vor dem Schloss Charlottenburg - Christmas market in front of Charlottenburg Castle.
    Schloss Charlottenburg, Spandauer Damm
    see map.
    26.11.2008 – 28.12.2008 Mon - Thu 2 am - 10 pm Fri - Sun 12 am - 10 pm 24.12.: closed
    25./26.12.: 12 am – 8 pm.
    more info 


  • Chanukka-Markt - Hanukkah Market (Chanukka-Markt).
    At the Jewish Museum Berlin, Lindenstraße, in the Glass Courtyard
    see map.
    30.11.2008 – 31.12.2008 Mon - Sun 12 am - 6 pm 24.12.: closed.
    more info

  • Kultur-Weihnachtsmarkt - Culture and Christmas market, with artists, clowns, musicians, and theatre.
    On Marheinekeplatz
    see map.
    27.11.2008 – 23.12.2008 Mon – Fri 3 – 10 pm Sat/Sun/holidays 11 am – 10 pm.
    more info


  • Wintertraum ums Alexa - A Vision of Winter around Alexa.
    from the new Alexa shopping centre by Alexanderplatz, along Alexanderstraße to Jannowitzbrücke.
    see map.
    24.11.2008 – 4.1.2009 Mon-Fri 1 – 10 pm Sat/Sun 10 am – 10 pm

  • Berliner Weihnachtszeit - Berliner Christmas Time.
    In front of the Rotes Rathaus (Red Town Hall), including a skating rink around the Neptune fountain.
    see map.
    24.11.2008 – 28.12.2008 Mon - Thu, Sun 12 am - 9 pm Fri/Sat 12 am - 10 pm 24.12.: closed 25./26.12.: 12 am-10 pm.
    more info

  • Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Alexanderplatz - Winter market on the Alexanderplatz.
    see map.
    24.11.2008 – 28.12.2008 Daily 10 am - 10 pm
    more info

  • Weihnachtsmarkt am Opernpalais - Winter market at the Opernpalais.
    Eastern end of Unter den Linden.
    see map.
    24.11.2008 – 28.12.2008 Mon - Thu 12 am – 9:30 pm Fri - Sat 11 am - 10 pm Sun 11 am – 9:30 pm 24.12.: closed 25.-27.12.: 11:30 am – 9pm 28.12. 11:30 am - 8 pm
    more info

  • WeihnachtsZauber - Yuletide Enchantment.
    On Gendarmenmarkt.
    see map.
    24.11.2008 – 31.12.2008 Mon-Thu, Sun 11 am - 10 pm Fri/Sat 11 am - 11 pm 24.12. 11 am - 6 pm 25./26.12. 11 am - 10pm New Year’s Eve 11 am - 11 pm
    more info.

  • Winterwelt auf dem Potsdamer Platz - Winter World on the Potsdamer Platz.
    Potsdamer Platz
    see map.
    01.11.2008 – 04.01.2009 traditional Christmas market 24.11. - 28.12.2008 Daily 10 am - 10 pm, Advent Saturdays 10 am - midnight.
    more info

  • Weihnachtsmarkt im Sony Center - Christmas market in the Sony Center
    Potsdamer Str., off of Potsdamer Platz
    see map.
    27.11.2008 – 04.01.2009 Mon-Thu 2 – 9 pm Fri 2 – 10 pm Sat 12 am – 10 pm Sun 12 am – 8 pm 24.12.: closed 25./26./31.12.: 12 am – 10 pm 1.1.: 12 am – 8 pm
    more info

  • Ice rink on Bebelpatz (next to the Opernpalais market) and Eisbahn (ice road) of white-lit trees up the Unter den Linden.
    see map.
    27.11.2008 – 4.1.2009 Sun-Thu 10 am - 10 pm Fri/Sat 10 am – 11 pm
    more info

  • Berliner Umwelt- und Weihnachtsmarkt - Environmental and Christmas market
    see map.
    Weekends leading up to Christmas; 29./30.11.2008 06./07.12.2008 13./14.12.2008 20./21.12.2008 Sat 12 am - 9 pm Sun 1 - 7 pm.
    more info.

Prenzlauer Berg

  • Adventsökomarkt rund um den Kollwitzplatz - Advent Sunday eco-market around Kollwitzplatz.
    see map.
    30.11.2008, 07.12.2008, 14.12.2008, 21.12.2008. Sun 12 am - 6 pm
    more info

  • Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt, at the Kulturbrauerei. >> more info


  • Advent Sunday only market on Winterfeldtplatz


  • Spandauer Weihnachtsmarkt in the Old Town (Altstadt Spandeau). >> more info

  • Kinderweihnachtsmarkt, Christmas market especially for children, at the Citadel (Zitadelle Spandau). >> more info


  • Alt Köpenick Christmas market, on the Schlossplatz Köpenick


  • Markt der Kontinente - Market of the Continents, at the Dahlem Museums. >> more info

  • Adventsmarkt der Domäne Dahlem - Advent Sunday markets, at the Domain Dahlem open air agricultural museum. >> more info

  • Märchenhafter Weihnachtsmarkt am Jagdschloss Grunewald - Magical Fairytale Christmas Market at the Grunewald Hunting Lodge. >> more info


Today we woke up to a covering of snow! All very wintery and Christmassy:

Though Tosca wasn't so impressed and sheltered in the barbecue:

It was so cold that we had arctic wolves:

and even brown bears:

and polar bears in the garden!:

Well no, obviously not. The last three photos I took at Berlin Zoo, where we have bought a yearly ticket. So now we could go and see Knut the polar bear every day!

Here's another photo of our house in the first snows of winter:

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Happy New (Celtic) Year!

Today is Samhain (Scots 'Samhuinn' or Irish 'Oíche Shamhna'); the beginning of a new annual cycle in the celtic/pagan Weltanschauung. So of course yesterday evening was that spooky festival to mark the transition from light into dark, from life into death, known as 'hallowe'en. So how cool was it that in Brandenburg where we live(and in most former East German states) 31st October is a national holiday?!

Or rather, yesterday was a holiday to mark Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg on 31st October 1517 and thereby starting the Reformation. Nowadays he would have published them to his blog and poked his Facebook Friends to read them. Maybe. Anyhows, there are a lot of pumpkins around the village and the door-bell kept ringing throughout the evening. Seems fair; Germany gave the UK and America most of its Gemütlichkeit Christmas traditions, whilst the USA reciprocates with kids wandering around in the dark dressed as mass-murderers and corpses, operating a Mafia style protection racket. You give us da' sweets and da' house no gets hurt. Capiche? Though then again the Süßes oder Saures (trick-or-treat) tradition started with the Celtic folk, who once occupied most of Western Europe including Germany, and who took it to America (in the Irish, Welsh and Scottish emigrations), who have reimported it back to the European continent. So what goes around, comes around I guess. Or so the received knowledge goes (i.e. Wikipedia), but when I were a lad nay high to a grasshopper's knee in Yorkshire in the Sixties we trick or treated: turnip lanterns rather than pumpkins, but all the same.

Sowieso, we didn't answer the door-bell last night, and found in the morning that the gate-post and bell-push were covered with a sticky-sweet lemony goo. Maybe it was lemon curd, in which case couldn't they have at least left us the jar of it? It's been a long time since we've had that on our toast.

Other notable events:
we had a nameplate engraved and we have fixed it above our letter-box on the gate-post. Apparently it is a necessity to have your name on the letter-box otherwise you might not get your post delivered. Up until now we have had a hand-written announcement of our residency, which has elicited some curiosity amongst the locals. If only we had left it another day before screwing the shiny new name-plate on, because it is now covered with yellow goo (see above)!

The terrace and 'Sockel' are now finished at last! That's after about two months when the builder estimated it would be done in a week. However, rain has run down the Sockel facing in places and washed it off before it dried. The builder will not be paid until it is 'fertig'.

I joined the local library! All it took was my passport and twelve Euro annual fee, and I can now get out as many books as I want. Unfortunately, they are all in German for some reason. First off then, the librarian is ordering me a 'German for Beginners' language course Hörbuch I can pick up next week.

Yesterday was the event of the final flight from Tempelhof Airport. It has an interesting history: the name 'Tempelhof' itself is becuase it is on land owned by the Knights Templar in mediaeval times (Dan Brown take note). From being a parade ground for the Prussian army it became the site where the first demonstration of the practicality of mechanised flight took place (by the Frenchman Armand Zipfel), in the same year but BEFORE the Wright brothers. Germany's national airline, Lufthansa, was founded here in 1926. Architecturally though it is that Nazi visionary of a pan-European Germania we have to thank (or otherwise), Albert Speer, for Templehof airport's stark neo-classical-pruned-harshlessly-to-its-basics design. I admit to have an emotional response to its history and its role in the Berlin Airlift, but frankly I think it is an unattractive collection of buildings with no future useful function other than as a monument to Nazi intellectual jejuneness and later to a divided Berlin. Let the Air Bridge sculpture and the tree monuments to those who died bringing supplies into West Berlin survive, but turn Templehof airfield into a green park for the people of Berlin and let the hangar buildings crumble into a Romantik neo-classical ruin.
Here are a few of my photos of Tempelhof Airport taken this week: