(2 1/2 MINUTE READ)
Berlin is a busy, loud city that only seems to fall to sleep in the early hours of the weekend.
But once a year something almost magical happens and the city becomes silent. Christmas time.
It’s the same old story every year. Summer seems endless and when fall arrives and the days and nights get colder we enjoy the first hot chocolates, movie nights, and snuggle up at home. The end of the year creeps inevitably closer and before we know it, Christmas is just around the corner. So Berlin sees thousands of people storming the stores after work and on weekends, hunting presents, attending pre-Christmas parties, sipping mulled wine at Christmas markets and trying to be festive and jolly in between. The hustle and bustle of pre-Christmas time.
What is particular about Berlin is that it has been attracting a great number of people from other parts of Germany and the rest of the world who have been moving to the capital as permanent or temporary residents in the last decades. So as December 24th and the Christmas Holidays come closer something extraordinary happens: Thousands and thousands are fleeing the city, driving home for Christmas.
And while shops close for the holidays, trains get packed and streets leading out of the city jammed Berlin increasingly calms down.
Time seems to stop for a moment. It feels like a soft blanket being laid over the city, covering it gently with a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere.
Maybe you stay here because your family is in Berlin, or perhaps you’ve decided to stay in town with a few close friends, or even by yourself for some truly quiet time. Find a restaurant that is open and dine among others that also stayed behind in the city. Exchange looks with the few people you meet. A new feeling of community and of mutual understanding arises.
The city belongs to you at Christmas.
Take long walks through almost deserted parks, breathe in the clear, calm December air, the foggy, calm mood conveys to you. Peace of mind. Stroll in the middle of streets with no cars. (If you do drive a car, enjoy the rare moments of finding parking spots instantly!) Sit in a café for a long time, sip a hot chocolate, read a book, dream. Take your time to stroll through the city center and then on to the museums island, admire the old, imposing buildings and structures. Did you know many museums are open during the holidays? Finally, you find the time to visit a few, and this time no need to worry about masses of people who had the same idea. Go to the movies, pick a classic and enjoy sitting in an almost deserted theater. A rare and good experience, I can tell you! And do we need to mention public transport?
Oh, holy silent days and nights! Soak in the silence, the peace.
And prepare yourself for what comes soon, when everybody returns after two days with their families, stressed. And with them masses of people that love Berlin for something else: its nightlife. Shops open again, coffee shops, streets and bars are packed again and people head out to celebrate the total opposite: New Years in Berlin. And that is when most of the first mentioned Berliners pack up their things and flee the city themselves, for a few more quiet days and nights somewhere in the countryside, far away from the bright lights of this once again crowded, crazy metropolis.