… was cloudy!! We stayed in Berlin for eight days, with temperatures ranging from -12ºC to -5ºC and only four-five hours of sunshine overall. On the other hand we have never seen so much snow and so much ice… It’s not the best conditions to explore a city, but all in all it was worth the adventure.
We arrive in the late afternoon at the parking of the Olympic stadium [52.5153,13.24818], which is free of charge, at a short walk distance from the metro station and, the most important, outside the restricted/limited traffic area where we, with our Euro 0 car cannot enter.
As soon as we stepped outside we realized that it was cold. I mean serious cold not a joke! Just for the sake of curiosity we put our thermometer outside and in a few seconds it has dropped to -9ºC! The weather forecast didn’t look very promising but what could we do? Our heating system was working, we’re having plenty of gas, we decided that we could get by somehow for a few days… At least that’s what we’re hoping for …
We went to the subway station to control the prices. After not much thought we decided that we should opt for the weekly ticket, although it costs 30 € per person, given that the other options were much more expensive: the single-trip ticket costs 2.40€ and the daily 7€!
We went for sleeping with our heating thermostat set a 7ºC. The heating fan didn’t turn off all night!
In the morning we realized that, despite the 7ºC, the water in the kitchen pipes was frozen! Fortunately we carry 30-liter extra water in portable containers, so at least we solve the problem temporarily.
We went for a stroll downtown playing the tourists all day long and trying to adapt to the temperature. Just to make the matters worse, there was also wind … When we return to our motorhome we realized that there was a difference of at least 4ºC between the city and the parking lot probably because it was too exposed to the wind So we decided to move to one of the nearby residential streets to find a bit of shelter.
We found a nice little place [52.51138,13.25921], this time next to the Heerstrasse metro station.
In fact, during the night the heating fan was less restless, but the conditions were still not ideal. Our extra-virgin olive oil (our production after all!) was frozen and it was like butter!
The next day started with a heavy snowfall and everything became white that afterwards transformed into a thick layer of ice. What a fun…
At the end, the biggest problem wasn’t the frozen water pipes, but the battery, which with the heater fan at full speed began to surrender, forcing us to start our engine for at least twenty minutes every night .
For the rest and although everything was frozen, we still enjoyed the city as best as we could…
A visit to the remains of the Berlin Wall known as East Side gallery is a must!
The Museum of Film and Television in Potsdamer Platz, the area where the Berlinale also is hosted, is highly recommend to the cinema fans. The admission is 7€, while every Thursday from 16:00–20:00 the entrance is free. The exterior is quite impressive too …
The Brandenburg Gate, one of the city’s landmarks, is practically inevitable…
Equally inevitable is a visit to the Memorial to the Holocaust. It was very impressive although we found the approach a little cold… Anyway, it didn’t convince us much!
Then we visited the Reichstag Building (Bundestag) with the fabulous dome designed by Norman Foster. The visit is free of charge, but you need first to make a reservation via internet. Not to be missed!
The Museum Island and the adjoining Cathedral were transformed into a skating rink on natural ice!
And then there were these pipes everywhere, very photogenic and intriguing. Looking on the internet I finally found out what they are: Berlin’s subsoil is full of water so the pipes are used to transport the quantities that emerge from construction sites and to pour them into the channels. Mystery solved ;)
The last day we went to visit the flea market in Mauerpark, where you can find everything, often from the same seller!
Epilogue: despite the extreme temperatures, we didn’t suffer that much from the cold neither our camper van did. The only thing that was damaged was the bathroom shower, which has split because of the ice. For the rest we had no other problems. Berlin is an interesting city, but like all big cities is a little chaotic and you need a lot of time to move around. In addition, I would say that is not very welcoming and this is due to the fact that Berliners are quite grumpy and for the most part they refuse to make any effort to speak any other language but their own, sometimes screaming…
In short, we were not impressed that much, but it was worth it to see it… For now it is time for us to get back to more human friendly climates!