Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter Wonderland in Germany

Nothing like a huge Christmas tree and a nativity scene with live animals, to put everybody in the Christmas mood.
I think that Spandau is the largest European Christmas market. It has a wonderful atmosphere of Christmas cheer. The Spandau “Altstadt” is still steeped in centuries of traditions in evidence visable the old part of the city. It is a borough (Bezirk) of Berlin along the western bank of the Havel River.
The market is full of art, culture, crafts, food and street vendors peddling all kinds of interesting wares This year it is held from November 26 until December 23. The entrance of the upscale department store KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westens) was spectacularly decorated for the festivities.
Visitors swarm along the 200 market stalls in the area of the Carl-Schurz-Stasse and during the advents weekend the number of stands in the “Altstadt” reach around 400 booths. Santa visits the market every afternoon and there are free shows on the podium. Unter de Linden trees (where the trees are not linden trees) is beautifully lit, this year,.. and don’t miss the Alexander Platz decorations.
Honingmond Hotel Altstadt Spandau is closest to the Xmas market action. They have doublé rooms for 80 Euros but I prefer the modern bathrooms at the Crowne Plaza Berlin. The CrownePlaza is hotel is located in the heart of the city of Berlin, in proximity to Kurfürstendamm, the renowned Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche (memorial church), the KaDeWe shopping mall. Olympic stadium and the zoo. Another Spandau hotel is the Hotel Altstadt Wasserstr . It lies beside the river Spree within the district's picturesque Old Town.
If you have rented a car, it is convenient to park at the Courtyard Berlin Teltow on Warthestrasse (west of the city) but when I stay at the full Marriott Berlin in the center, I prefer to rely on public transport.

Get into the Christmas spirit at The Westin Grand, Berlin in the heart of Germany´s capital – where the historic boulevard Unter den Linden meets the Friedrichstrasse. They have a Winterzauber (winter Package) can be booked with a rate plan WMTRMNG for EUR 187.75 for 2 nights with breakfast AND a 48 hours City Card for free use of public transport but be sure to ask for a newly decorated room. It is a SPG Category 4 presently, but I like it best. A 5-minute walk takes you to the underground and S-Bahn stations, which connects you to the whole city.
Don’t be afraid of getting lost because it is such a cosmopolitan city, full of expats that you can always ask directions in English.


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