Finally – my first trip to the capital city of Germany! Chris was playing Berlin the day after Christmas so me and my parents adventured the Deutsch Bahn (train) one last time during their visit, and we spent a couple days in Berlin!
One of the better parts about traveling with parents is being able to stay in nice hotels (a break from the usual airbnb’s I’ve been used to). My dad booked us a room at the Hilton right at one of Berlin’s main squares – Gendarmenmarkt and our room looked right out on the German Cathedral and Christmas market! Another appealing reason going to Berlin the days after Christmas is because unlike the rest of Germany, Berlin keeps their Christmas markets open until December 31st! All others ended the day before Christmas. So, we were able to get one last round of white glühwein and hot chocolate with Bailey’s.
After we hit the Christmas markets, I led the way to check out Checkpoint Charlie, the only crossing point between the wall of East and West Berlin that was controlled by the Allies. There, murals were up with timelines of what went down in Berlin during the Cold War and recognition of those who risked their lives trying to escape East Berlin’s tyranny.
After we visited Checkpoint Charlie we took a walk to the Brandenburg Tor, or gate. This famous landmark in Berlin had lots of tourists, however, gates ruined any good picture taking moments as they are setting up with their New Years celebration here! After checking this out, we walked over to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – a huge memorial site that resembles a cemetery. This was a dark but powerful way to honor the victims in WWII.
By nightfall, we headed over to get ready for Chris’ hockey game. Going to the game, I obviously knew we were headed to the Mercedes-Benz Arena, however, we were all in shock when we arrived – it’s such a beautiful building! It was exciting being able to watch Chris play in such an amazing arena, with a full house of fans and one of the most extra pre-game shows I’ve ever seen. I’ll attach some videos below! Chris’ team ended up losing against the Eisbären Berlin, but the best part about it all, was that there was a Five Guys two steps outside of the arena – so it was actually a win for all of us. It’s funny the things you start to miss when you’ve been deprived of them while living in a foreign country!
The next day I decided to take it easy on myself and parents and instead of trying to run around Berlin, the same size as NYC, we sat on the hop-on-hop-off tour busses. We are glad we did it because there is so much history that goes along with the buildings all throughout the city, that if we didn’t have a tour guide, we would have missed a lot. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time before we had to catch our train home to be able to do an alternate route, but there is always next time! I know I definitely will be back in this awesome city. Oh and how could I forget – we made a stop at the Berlin Cathedral. There, my mom and I lit a candle for grandma and I decided to force my parents to climb to the top of the dome! Both of them wanted to kill me, but I know I’m glad we did it – when in Berlin, right?
Today, my parents left to go back home to Buffalo. They spent two weeks with me here in Germany and I am satisfied in all the things we were able to do in such a short amount of time! Between the car rides, long train rides, learning about German culture, DEL hockey games, grocery shopping & Christmas markets, I think that their first trip to Germany was a success. Ending it in Berlin was a great way to finish off their journey here.