Berlin photo essay

by tillieandcoco

Dear Coco,

This year we accidentally spent Christmas in a hotel in Berlin. Our flight to Riga on the 20th of December was cancelled by Heathrow, who didn’t invest in enough snow ploughs after the last two years of bitterly cold winter warnings. We found a flight out of Stanstead a few days later, spent three days in Berlin, and from there flew to Kaunas (Lithuania) on Boxing Day, where we were collected in a nice warm car.

What a wonderful city Berlin is! I tend to judge cities by their transport systems, and Berlin did not disappoint. Trains are on time and capacious, with carriages set aside with extra room for bicycles, luggage, prams and wheelchairs. No one seemed to mind speaking English. One of the first things I noticed was that this is a city not afraid of the dark. We arrived late in the afternoon (which felt much later owing to the night sky) and caught the S-Bahn, which took us on a long journey through East Berlin and West. The city revealed little of itself in the streetlights, the inside of the train felt like the only lit thing.

Unfortunately for us, Berlin shut down on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, and all the places we wanted to see would not open again until the new year. Oh no! We contemplated a Christmas Kebab before happening upon one solitary bar in a street across the way from our hotel, which glowed quietly in the slushy, snowed-in surrounds of a city asleep. It sold huge schnitzels and salads with mayonnaise! Incredibly open throughout the festive season, we had Christmas dinner there the next day (goulash this time) followed by Christmas markets for Glühwein. 
Here is a Berlin photo essay for you. Happy new year!

Berlin S-Bahn. Note the bicycle sign on the window.
A bicycle defeated by snow.
Glühwein, in last year’s mug.
Berlin U-Bahn, with Brandenburg Gate motifs on the windows. 
Berlin U-Bahn on Christmas Eve. 
Gorgeous bicycle parks on Karl Marx Allee – a monumental
street built by the GDR in the 1950s in Socialist
Classicism style. I love.