After Christmas, I went back to Berlin for a couple of days, and happily there was one Christmas market that was still open: the one at Gendarmenmarkt. It happened to be a very nice one — not coincidentally, because I think only a nice ones could sustain itself after Christmas — in a place surrounded by a concert hall and a two famous churches that now operate as museums. Here’s a photo-

The Christmas Market at Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt on December 18, 2013

A view of the Christmas Market at Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt on December 18, 2013

Having visited Christmas markets at Gendarmenmarkt and a few other places, I better understand the appeal of Christmas markets.  They are cheery and sociable, and a great place to visit with friends.  While they’re cold because they’re outdoors, there are usually mulled wine and space heaters and other such things to help you keep warm.  And if you come with a hat and warm enough clothes, it’s hard not to forget about the weather and enjoy the time walking and talking and seeing everything that’s there for sale, from wine to sausages, chocolate to cheese, to Christmas ornaments and other crafts.  Here are a couple more photos-

The Christmas Market at Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt on December 18, 2013

Guys cooking sausages on a spinning grill at the Christmas Market at Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt

The Christmas Market at Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt on December 18, 2013

The outdoor concert stage at the Christmas Market at Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt on December 18, 2013.  Ironically, the building in the background in front of which they constructed this temporary stage is a concert hall, which has a much nicer (and warmer!) stage.