tom911 tours the Christmas Markets in Germany

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  1. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    December 1

    Started with a late morning departure in UA 757 F from SFO to DEN, then a connection to Lufthansa 747 business class DEN-FRA, and then LH Airbus FRA-TXL. Selected a veal dish on the 747 as my dinner option. Watched one movie (Contagion), listened to their Advent music channel, and slept a couple hours

    December 2-3-4

    Arrived Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) just after 1330. Caught the TXL bus into Berlin Hauptbahnhof, then two train connections over to the nearest train station (Anhalter Bahnhof). An all-day transit ticket at 6.3 euros will cover all bus and train connections in this area (Zone A-B).

    Spent 3 nights at the ETAP hotel at a 45 euro weekend rate and 39 euro weekday rate with wifi included. Continental breakfast was 6 euros extra. This hotel concept offers minimum amenities in the room so I'd only stay here again if my plan was to be out most of the day. I miss not having a chair to rest in and kick my feet up. They did have an LCD TV. On the same block there is a Novotel Suites and Ibis. A block away there is a Holiday Inn Express I've used before. Plenty of cafes and restaurants, and Potsdamerplatz, an area with a shopping mall, casino, and high end hotels, is just a 5 minute walk away.

    Over my three days here I visited five different Christmas Markets, but only took photos of three.

    First, my favorite in Berlin at Charlottenburg Palace which I visited at night:

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    Next stop is the area around the Rathaus (Town Hall) and Alexanderplatz, just a few minutes from each other:

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    I also did a day trip out to Potsdam which can be done with a Zone ABC daily transit pass. This market ran about a mile straight down the main shopping district and had a lot more atmosphere than the ones in Berlin. I also did some hiking out in Sanssoucci Park which is filled with palaces. Ran into both hail and rain there.

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  2. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Potsdam - continued

    [​IMG]

    December 5-6

    Took a train from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to Dresden for 19 euros advance purchase. In Dresden I was again at an ETAP hotel, and this one was located atop a shopping center on the pedestrian route in from Dresden Hauptbahnhof. Rate here was 45 euros a night. I did not purchase the continental breakfast. Wi-fi was included. Besides instant access to the huge shopping mall, one of the two major Christmas Markets was right on the corner.

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    Frauenkirche, on the square behind the new Opera House, was also open to the public:

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  3. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Dec 7-8

    Hour train ride from Dresden to Leipzig at 19 euros (all of these bought on the DeutscheBahn web site before departure). In Leipzig I was at Motel One, a chain with properties in Germany and Austria, at 59 euros a night. Continental breakfast was 7.5 euros extra (this one included sliced meats where the ETAP at 6 euros did not). Wi-fi included as well as an LCD TV in the room.

    Since my first visit to Leipzig about 15 years ago, the one thing that still fascinates me here is the train station with 26 tracks, reported to be the biggest train station in Europe. There is a 3 story shopping arcade in the station.

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    In Dresden I visited Thomaskirche, where Bach is buried (a choir and orchestra practiced 45 mins while I was there so I stayed and listened), and also the Christmas Markets which started right outside the hotel door:

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  4. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    December 9

    Took an ICE train from Leipzig to Frankfurt (34 euros, 3.5 hours) and finished the weekend there at the new Holiday Inn Express not far from Frankfurt Bahnhof on Elbestrasse (62 euros a night, free continental breakfast, one day free wifi as Platinum and then 5 euros a day, though Starbucks is available and free in Frankfurt). The Christmas Market there was jam packed, though, and not conducive at all to take photos. Returned home on LH/UA after a 2.5 hour mechanical at FRA on Monday, December 12. Again I just watched one movie (The Help) and my lunch choice was the cooked goose with red cabbage. Very tasty! Lost my confirmed F seat DEN-SFO due to arriving late and was rebooked in an economy minus window seat for the last segment. Had my Samsung tablet along and provided my own video for most of the trip.

    ALL photos from this trip are in the featured galleries linked below. When they're moved out of there they'll be in the Europe/Germany section.
     
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  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Nice pictures!
     
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  6. Jett Rink
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    As usual, Tom, you did a bang-up job!
     
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  7. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Thanks to both of you. It was a fun trip as I really do enjoy riding the trains in Germany, particularly the high speed ICE trains when I can fit one in as I did Leipzig-Frankfurt. German Rail (DeutscheBahn) makes it so easy to book on line and I've done that for a few years now. This was my first experience with both ETAP and Motel One and I can see both of those franchises, which serve budget travelers, easily fitting into my travel plans in the future.

    An ICE train at the Leipzig train station:

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    Motel One in Leipzig, right in the city center:

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    And, finally, some carolers in Leipzig:

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  8. Mangy
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    Mangy Gold Member

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    Thanks for the trip report Tom. Informative with some nice pix. It looked like you had a good time
     
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  9. MLW20
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    Very interesting report with some nice photos!
     
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  10. LiveLaughLoveTravel
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    LiveLaughLoveTravel Silver Member

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    Wonderful trip report, thank you for sharing.. looks so fun!
     
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