Cod, Port Wine, & A Little Schnitzel: Part 2

Jan 26, 2019 Avatar Hilton Smith Hilton Smith
After leaving Porto, I was en route to Germany. I was delayed a day due to bad weather at my Lisbon connecting point. This was even with a 2.5-hour cushion. In the end, TAP provide me with a hotel and dinner until the next morning when I flew on to Berlin.

Berlin is like familiar friend with some changes over time but many previous visits. The city is always exciting, vibrant, and surprising. The Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market near the Regent Hotel was still going. I have been to many Christmas markets all over Europe. This one was worth the €1 admission by far. It was the “Beverly Hills” of Christmas markets with beautiful and large displays, enclosed dining areas, and upmarket merchandise. I have never seen one more elaborate.

Many activities in Berlin were to visit friends and catch up. There is always something new to see and do. This time was having lunch at the German Parliament Reichstag Building at the rooftop Kafer Restaurant. This has to be reserved in advance due to security issues. The upside, besides a tasty lunch of schnitzel, German potato salad, and the view, was that you can continue to explore the glass dome all the way to the top. This is well worth the time of a longer lunch.
Of course, no trip to Berlin is complete without a visit to the massive KaDeWe Department Store and the huge 6th floor dynamic food hall. The food is cooked in front of you (there are different areas for each type) and then you eat it or take it home. These are food and beverages from around the world. It can be very busy as it was this day. Nevertheless, it is a unique cultural aspect of Berlin and a great way to meet the locals.
There are well over 100 museums in the city. At night, many bars and clubs never close. This means Berlin deserves more than a few days for the first-time visitor. VisitBerlin is the official site of the city, and it is relevant, timely, and extremely objective. The opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport continues to be delayed, now going on six years. The rest of the city, however, is busy as ever. I have been to Berlin over 20 times, and there is still more to explore.
This was my first time there for New Year’s Eve. Locals can get fireworks beginning December 28 for several days. They use them all over the city, ringing with noise just after sundown December 31. It was a bit jarring at first, but I got used to it. I ended up on Unter den Linden approaching the Brandenburg Gate for a good view. This worked out well, and I had a nice panoramic view of the bursting lights. What a way to ring in 2019!

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