The one hour City Cruise on the River Spree showed us Berlin from a different perspective as we passed through the historic city centre; the Nikolaiviertel – the birthplace of the city. On our midday cruise we saw the magnificent buildings of The Museum Island and other historical and modern buildings such as the Berlin Cathedral and the seat of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. We passed by Tiergarten, which was once the hunting grounds for the Prussian kings before it was transformed into the city’s largest park in the 18th century. Today the green heart of the city is bordered by the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz and Berlin’s Zoo.
Trivia time – in some photos you may notice pink or blue pipes running around areas of the city. Because Berlin is built on a swamp, these pipes are used to dispose of waste from building sites to prevent clogging. Many buildings are on wooden piers as they are in Venice.
SPANDAU AND ITS CHRISTMAS MARKET
SPANDAU is situated at the confluence
Of the Havel and Spree Rivers and was originally the site of a fortress. With its old quarter and citadel, Berlin-SPANDAU offers remarkable monuments. It has a wealth of beautiful countryside featuring water, meadows, forests and fields and has developed from an old established industrial centre into a modern centre for the service industry with new shopping centres, hotels and restaurants. Its old quarter is one of the most traditional areas for shopping in the German capital.
(I even bought a hat!!)
The 14th century Protestant Church of Saint Nicholas is the oldest Gothic church in Berlin and the birthplace of the Reformation in Berlin and Brandenburg.
The Christmas Market at SPANDAU is the largest in Berlin (only 30 minutes by train) with over 400 stalls. It is especially known for its Nativity with live animals.
We were there between 15:00 and 17:00. The Christmas lights were sparkling, it was bitingly cold and there was a very fine drizzle but not enough for an umbrella.
TODAY ‘S FOOD REPORT
We found a cafe named Pure Origins and, true to its name, it was serving very wholesome food. Its client base appeared to be students, and business men in suits. It was a good place to be, and the food was good too!