Unlike North America it is useful to know that painkillers or any sort of medication even contact lens fluid cannot be purchased in drug stores. You have to visit an Apotheke. Fortunately there is no shortage. Even in the smallest of villages you will always find one, but you won't always find what you want. Opening hours are usually from 8:00 am until 2:00pm although alot have after hour services and at the ring of the bell you can get some service.
From the end of November Berlin is full of Christmas markets. You'll find the biggest around the Gedaechniskirche, at Gendarmenmarkt, at Schlossplatz, at Alexanderplatz and around the Opernpalais.
Besides the popular Gluehwein & cookies you can buy all kinds of souvenirs there.
I was lucky to find some street markets in Berlin. It's really a good sight with people, sellers, bidders, things all kinds displayed on the stalls/platforms/tables infront for everybody to see. It would be along a stretch of a street.
Antiques, books, CDs, old records, shirts, clothes, books, kitchenwares etc etc, are all being sold or trade at street markets.
Look for these markets, buy something that you might not find back home. I bought a bootleg CD of Nina Simone, like all her hits were carmped into one CD & cost me 5 Euros only. I didn't even bargain c'os I was so happy.
The street market that I went to Trodelmarkt was only opned on Saturday & Sunday. I am not sure about this though. The location, now I couldn't remember. I remember I was on my way walking to see The Victory Column, so it should be somewhere in that area ?
There's even a mobile toilet nearby if while choosing something, you have to 'go'. I think it was free !
A department store that is genuinely different
I had never heard of this store and as a man would never have visited except for "she who melts credit cards" leading me there.
It is an old-fashioned store with a modern feel that really is not like Galeries Lafayette or Selfridges.
Prices in Germany are very low and we were tempted to buy everything in sight but as we were travelling light were luckily restrained.
My favourite part was at the top where the "eateries" were. They cannot be descibed as restaurants, as most were counters with high stools, each counter with its own type of food.
They were packed with Berliners, always a good sign and I was sorry that we had already eaten and did not sample the menus.
Next time in Berlin we will definitely head there for a meal. We did not buy anything this time.
Safe nighttime public transportation
I would like to underline that I found metro stations at night or even early morning safe in Berlin. I didn't see any sleeping poors or beggars there. Only some a little bit amused groups of young folks.
In the early evening I went underground to the Fredrichstra?e station which became an infamous frontier station and the so called "Tears Palace" as the boarder control point was built on the North side of the station in 1961 when the border between the GDR (German Democratic Republic, what was known as East Germany) and the West (Federal Republic) was closed and the notorious Berlin Wall was erected sealing in West Berlin. People leaving the GDR had to pass through the Tears Palace to get to the West.