Tag Archives: Berlin

Midsommar in Berlin

Thirty degrees, sunny weather, cold beer and girdles of flowers of the head. At the 24th June Berlin celebrated his Midsommar Festival with a real pole.

 

 

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A Scandinavian tradition

Midsommar or in English “Midsummer” marked the summer solstice, it is the day when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky. Midsummer will especially celebrate by Northern Europe as Scandinavia and – very especially – Sweden. These countries have a short summer time. However, in the North in midsummer, it seemed as the sun doesn’t set. It is the lightest night of the year. In Scandinavia, people celebrate midsummer on a Friday between 19th and 25th June.

 

 

Flowers under the sleeping pillow

This special midsummer festival in Berlin started in 2012. Every year different bands and DJs play music and invite to dance. Furthermore, the organisers offer a flower wreath workshop,  a pole, traditional dances and games. In the beginning of the festival, the visitors can SDC11831create their own girdles of flowers (“midsommmarkrans”). I and a friend also tried our best. However, if you want to create a girdle of flowers, you should be in time. We came two hours after the beginning and had our problems to get flowers and wire. I am afraid, that was the reason why my flowers looked a little bit withered.

Actually, I read about a tradition. It says that you should pick up seven different flowers on your way home. If you put these flowers under your pillow, you will meet your future love in your dreams. Actually, I tried it, however, I can’t remember my dreams of that night. Damn. Perhaps I will give it a second change next year.

 

 

Dance as a frog or play flute

Similar to the maypole the Scandinavians also have a traditional pole, the “midsommarstång”. The people dance around the pole. However, you can also dance without a tree. The midsummer guide of the festival said there are different styles of dances. One is the “Små grodorna”, translated it means something as “The small SDC11871frogs”. The guide says you should imitate frogs (and also pigs, elephants and so on). Another dance is “Vi äro musikanter” translated as “We are the musicians” and the dancing rules for this is imitating violinists, trumpeters and other musicians. Another tradition is some typical games as the egg-and-spoon-race, sack race or the nail driving. Furthermore, in the back of the garden were waiting a small Finnish sauna (and a bathtub full of ice cubes).

The festival also offers a lot of food trucks and small food waggons. They offered traditional food as Köttbullar, however, also -not so typical for the midsummer – fries, waffles and Brazilian pancakes.

 

 

Tickets for free in Berlin

I can strongly recommend the event. I have to confess, I never visit a midsummer festival in Sweden (or anywhere else in Scandinavia), so I’m pretty sure I missed the best midsummer feasts. However, the festival was really nice, the weather was great, it was fun to create girdles of flowers and me and my friends liked the Scandinavian folk music. One little lead in the end: If you want to go to the midsommar festival of Berlin, you should register before because then you will get a ticket for free. If you buy a ticket at the box office, you have to pay ten euros.

Official page of “Midsommar Festival” in Berlin

 

 

 

Food Market in Berlin

I love to taste new dishes from foreign countries or eat some meals I already know from my last vacation (it remembers good times there). That’s why I was really happy when I hear about the food market at the “Görlitzer Bahnhof” in Berlin.

 

Arepas

 

From Switzerland to Peru …

In Berlin, you have the opportunity to choose between different food markets. I was with a friend at the “Markthalle Neun” (Eisenbahnstraße 42/43, Berlin-Kreuzberg) nearby the “Görtlitzer Bahnhof” (U1) and wanted to taste some foreign dishes. The market opens every Thursday between 17.00 – 22.00 o’clock (5pm-10pm). You can find all kinds of different food from all over the world. From Switzerland to Peru, from Vietnam to Italy, you can choose between different stalls with dishes from special countries. 

Sommerrolle

Our first dish was something Asian, they called it “Sommerrolle” (translated in English it means something like summer roll). It’s filled rice paper with tofu, pepper, cucumber, rice noodles, Chinese cabbage and fresh herbs with peanut-hoisin sauce. It was really tasty. My friend bought something like Samosa filled with meat from an African stall. 

 

The location of the food market: Markthalle Neun
"Sommerrolle" at one of the Asian Stalls
Kimshi, a typical dish from Korea
A Naanwich with meat from the Indian stall
A place to sit, drink wine and relax
Little delicious cakes
My desert: Mousse au chocolat in a fluffy waffle

 

Naan bread + Sandwich = Naanwich

It was really hard to decide what to eat because there were so many creative dishes which looked so delicious. In the end, we decided to eat a “Naanwich”, the word combines Naan bread (typical Indian bread) and of course the word sandwich. So you will already guess that it’s Indian food. You could choose between meat (12 hours cooked pork) and tikka cheese (paneer) combined with salad, different vegetables, coriander and mint yoghurt sauce rolled in bread. Not easy to eat, but it was really good (actually, I really love Indian food).

 

 

Fluffy waffles filled with Mousse au chocolat

My friend decided to taste some of the wines they offered. I wanted to save my money for a desert. I forgot the name of the dish, but it was kind of a special waffle (very fluffy) rolled until it looked like an ice-cream wafer and filled with Mousse au chocolat. You could, of course, choose between different fillings like Baileys, strawberry, banana, Nutella or just very common with sugar and cinnamon. The evening was very nice, why we will come again and after the closing hours we went into the next bar to drink a beer. 

Official page: Markthalle Neun

 

 

Japanese Christmas Market in Berlin

In Japan live about 2 percent Christians. So for sure it wouldn’t be the first country you would associate with Christmas. But this fact doesn’t keep Berlin from organising a Japanese Christmas market. What you can find there? Please scroll down …

 

 

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At the weekend of the second advent I had visited the Japanese Christmas market together with my flatmates (Sometimes we’re kind of Asia nerds). The market was in a big hall in Alt-Treptow in Berlin. The first look wasn’t really Christmassy (neither the second). There were a lot of different booths with typical Japanese stuff like soft toys, pictures, little action figures and accessories. You found hand-made kimonos and self-made art. The vendors were different people from Germany or Japan, who came to the market to present and sell special things.

Beautiful kimonos
Japanese art
Try sumo wrestling
Thuna-Don and Zenzai
Japanese curry with rice
Made in Japan
Korokke (related to croquette)
Yakitori (chicken)
Gyoza
And of course, there were many different booths with Japanese food. In Germany is a big trend to eat vegan, so there were also a lot of possibilities to have dishes without animal products. Of course they had a lot of meals with rice like Japanese Curry or Thuna Don. The last one is a rice bowl with marinated tuna Sashimi. Other little things were Yakitori (chicken) or different crepes with Salmond-Teriyaki, Kimchi-Cheese or Matcha-Atzuki. They also sell kind of Hot Dogs with specific food like Kimchi, Wasabi and Teriyaki. Okonomiyaki reminded me to a big pancake, I think you could compare it with each other. Of course you could eat typical food like Sushi and Japanese soap. They also sell Zenzai. It’s a sweet red bean soup. 

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My Gyoza

It was really hard to choose only one dish from the big offer. I decided to try Gyoza. It’s thinly rolled pieces of pastry filled with meat (pork) or vegetables (vegetarian). If you know the German “Maulentaschen” you will know, what I mean. You eat it with soya sauce. It was really delicious, but I waited for one hour to get them because the food needs a lot of time and many people wanted to eat them. But I was lucky because the seller gave me one Gyoza more. Thanks to the hospitable Japanese.

 

 

 

Christmas Markets Berlin Pt.II

Christmas markets at the Kurfürstendamm, Alexanderplatz and nearby the Rotem Rathaus in Berlin. I tell you where you find a rink for ice skating and real snow, which doesn’t depend on the weather.

 

 

What is a Christmas Market?
Christmas markets are street markets during the weeks if Advent. These kind of markets are really typical for Germany, but also Austria, South Tyrol (Northern Italy) and some eastern regions in France. The history goes back to Late Middle Ages of German-Speaking parts in Europe. Christmas markets have a lot of different stalls which sell all kinds of things, also typical Christmas dishes as German gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”), candied almonds, a variety of sausages (“Bratwurst”) and hot mulled wine (“Glühwein”).

 

City-Christmas market at the Gedächtniskirche

One of the most famous churches in Berlin is the “Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche” at the Kurfürstendamm in Charlottenburg.

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I really enjoyed the mood of the Christmas market there, because of the thousand beautiful lights in the trees and above. Really typical for the markets in Berlin are the big Christmas pyramids with candles and figures from the nativity scene. Above the pyramid is a wheel, which turns around.

The entry of the "City Weihnachtsmarkt"
The Christmas tree at the entry
"Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche" (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) is in the thick of the market
A carpet of lights
The Christmas Pyramid
 
A big Christmas ball ornament

Christmas Market at the Alexanderplatz

The Christmas Market of the Alexanderplatz has many different food booths with typical German sausages, French Crêpes and sugared almonds.
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Furthermore, the stallholders sell different Christmas stuff like candles, star lamps, soap, clothes or all other kinds of things for decorating or design your home. It has a big carousel for children nearby the ‘World Time Clock’ and a really cool Christmas pyramid. One floor is a little indoor room, where you can drink your hot mulled wine. Around of the pyramid are tiny fireplaces. One of the highlights is the snow which falls down from the pyramid at every full hour. And this snow will fall without matter if it’s cold enough or not (the snow is foam).
The "World Time Clock" in front of the Christmas Pyramid at the Alexanderplatz
Snow and the Television Tower in the background
Snow at the Christmas pyramid
Alexanderplatz

 

Christmas Market at the Rotes Rathaus

Not far away from the Christmas market at the Alexanderplatz you will find the next big market.

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It’s near by the Rothem Rathaus (red town hall). It has a big wheel and a skating rink around the fountain (Neptunbrunnen) for ice skating. One special menu in Berlin is warm green cabbage. Normally it will be served with sausages. Another particular dish is Lángos from Hungary and fried apples.

Different decorations and lights
A big wheel at the Christmas market of Rothes Rathaus
... fried apples
 

 

 

Christmas Markets Berlin Pt.I

Berlin has over 50 Christmas markets, one of them is the Scandinavian Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt with Glögg, Feuerzangenbowle and the “Open-Air-Mantel-Heizung”. Another one is at the castle of Charlottenburg and the Potsdamer Platz.

 

 

What is a Christmas Market?
Christmas markets are street markets during the weeks if Advent. These kind of markets are really typical for Germany, but also Austria, South Tyrol (Northern Italy) and some eastern regions in France. The history goes back to Late Middle Ages of German-Speaking parts in Europe. Christmas markets have a lot of different stalls which sell all kinds of things, also typical Christmas dishes as German gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”), candied almonds, a variety of sausages (“Bratwurst”) and hot mulled wine (“Glühwein”).

 

 

Lucia Christmas Market

I just moved to Berlin a few weeks ago. The capital of Germany has a lot of different Christmas markets and I want to try to discover some of them the next weeks until Christmas.

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The first Christmas market I visited was the “Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt” in Prenzlauer Berg. You can find him at the “Kulturbrauerei” at the Subway Stop “Eberswalder Straße”.

The market gets his name from Lucia from Scandinavia, she brings the lights on the 13th December (in English it’s the Saint Lucy’s Day). Of course, you will also get here some Scandinavian drinks like Glögg. But of course you can also drink the typical hot mulled wine, you can buy at every German Christmas market. Or another choice could be “Feuerzangenbowle”. The drink is named after the pliers above it. It’s hot mulled wine with rum-soaked sugarloaf, which has a blue flame.  

When you easily feel cold you should visit the “Open-Air-Mantel-Heizung”. Visitors can wear one of the coats, which are combined with heaters, which get their warmth from an oven nearby.  

A stall with different candles and decoration
 
 
"Feuerzangenbowle" (hot mulled wine with rum-soaked sugarloaf above)
Open-Air-Mantel-Heizung
Open-Air-Mantel-Heizung

 

Christmas Market at the Castle of Charlottenburg

Charlottenburg is one of the most expensive districts, however, in my opinion also one of the fancier ones. It has different Christmas markets, one of them is at the castle of Charlottenburg near the train station “Westend”.

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The Christmas market is really large and has one little section especially for children with different carousels, a little roller coaster and a special train.

However, the market has also a lot of different stalls where the (international) holders sell Christmas decorations, candles, accessories or also arts and crafts. You will also find an offer of a  variety of food. Germany is really famous for its large selection of sausages, you should give it a try. Though, the market offers even more particular Christmas dishes as German gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”), bread from a wood stove, of course, hot mulled wine and pan-fried mushrooms.

Beside a Christmas pyramid, the market has also a crib and of course the castle, which will be illuminated the whole night in different colours.

 
A Crib which reports the story of Christmas
A train full of candies
 
 
Christmas decorations
Christmas pyramid
The castle of Charlottenburg
The castle of Charlottenburg

“Winterworld” Christmas Market at the Potsdamer Platz

The “Potsdamer Platz” is one of the most famous places for tourists to visit. It also has a Christmas market, or actually two, because it is separated. You can reach the markets really easy with trains and the subway (the station names are also “Potsdamer Platz”).

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The Christmas market has a large toboggan run out of ice (however, it costs money per ride). You can also try ice stock sport and ice-skate a small rink. An Austrian cabin (“Salzburger Schmankerl’ Hüttn”) offers a variety of typical food from our neighbour country. Beside “Obazda” (savoury cheese spread – also typical for Bavaria), “Brettljause” (a wood plate with different meat and sausages), goulash, “Kasnocken” (as the German version of “Käsespätzle” – spaetzles with cheese), also sweet dishes as “Kaiserschmarrn” (sugared and cut-up pancake, typical with raisins), Sacher cake and apple strudel.

One of my favourite candies at the market at Potsdamer Platz was “Schneeballen” (means snowballs, photo above). I didn’t know the dish before. It is like a really large and round cake with chocolate glazing and filled with different topics. I had one with white chocolate and filled with nougat. I don’t want to make too many covered advertising, though it was really tasty.

Besides all the food Potsdamer Platz is also a good opportunity to go shopping. A large shopping mall is full of golden lights and decoration, in my opinion, it’s a little kitschy (but hey, it’s Christmas). Also really kitschy is a big colourful Christmas tree with tonnes of lights in front of the Theatre of Potsdamer Platz. Last but not least, the stallholders also sell different things as clothes, Christmas decorations, lights or handmade woollen hats.

A toboggan run out of ice
The kitschy Christmas tree ...
 
 
 
Shopping mall ...
Inside the shopping mall
The Christmas tree in front of the Theatre at Potsdamer Platz
"Schneeballen" - snowballs, out of chocolate