Muskaan Vaidya, 20 years old.
Lovers of snow, mountains and the colder temperatures have little dilemmas when booking their Christmas vacations. Living in Switzerland, we are spoiled for choices for slopes we can ski or snowboard from. But those like me, who want to cling to the warmer weather have their work cut out.
Despite the undeniable magic of the snowflakes sprinkling from the sky and turning into little diamonds when they catch the sunrays, some of us are happier just witnessing this from our windows as we warm our hands with a cup of hot chocolate.
Last Christmas, with the need to escape the bitterly cold temperatures and find a place warm enough to heat up my toes and fingertips, the research began. And it lead to Berlin.
The planned holiday was about 7 days long: 4 days to discover the streets and charms of Berlin, and tr 3 to be tucked into the oasis of Tropical Islands.
The arrival at Tegel airport was a nightmare. With its circular design, we kept walking in circles (mostly in the wrong direction) to get to where we wanted to be. But finally, the bus to the Airbnb we booked was located and we hopped on. The route already showed us glimpses of the sights we’d come to admire for the next few days.
The 4 days in Berlin had sub-zero temperatures on occasion and the gusts of wind, it wasn’t exactly right for a perfect stroll through the streets. Needless to say, a hot chocolate was mandatory to warm up.
But Berlin of course delivered its charms. The architecture, the streets (and shopping) were great. Food options could be found aplenty, and prices quite reasonable (especially, as Swiss tourists). Lots of vegetarian options could be found just a short walk from our Airbnb near the Samariterplatz. Our location was quite close to the heart of the city.
We planned to take it a little easy since we also had to factor in wrong trains and time spent looking for the correct platforms during the holiday. So, the items on our list in Berlin were just a handful, the main highlights being the Brandenburgertor, Charlottenburg Palace, and the Berlin Wall Memorial.
Getting to the Tropical Islands with the public transport was quite easy. The train we took was a direct one and got us to the location in just under an hour. Upon arriving at the station, we were supposed to find a bus waiting for us, but later realised that it had probably just left. The next one was scheduled for about 30 minutes later. I was surprised that the bus schedule wasn’t synchronised with the train arrivals.
Built inside a good-sized dome, Tropical Islands tries to fit all under one roof. The temperature controlled tropical interiors had our thick and fluffy coats left behind. The multiple heated pools with their waterfalls enticed us to step in and not leave until our stomachs were rumbling with hunger.
The inside, built to look like a forest, gave off the right tropical vibes. Complete with sand, slushies, ball pools, gaming areas, and play areas created as an island in one of the pools, it is the full package for children and quite the dream beach holiday.
Adults could dabble into these attractions sharing the excitement with the little ones, in addition to stealing a quiet moment by immersing into several of the spa, sauna and massage experiences.
While a stay of about 3 days was enough to explore all areas in the dome and revisit the favourites, some might prefer to extend the stay to soak themselves in the warm water for longer.
The food, though not the tastiest for vegetarians, but was not completely disappointing. Breakfast, however, was a treat and quite filling.
One let-down was the advertisement on the website claiming ‘365 days of sunshine’ thanks to some lighting technology within the dome. Upon entering, it decidedly wasn’t recreating any type of sunshine within. However, this wasn’t exactly a damper on the mood.
Accommodation options were available within the dome, at higher prices, as can be expected. We opted to rent a “mobile home” which was a short bus ride away from the dome itself (bus ride inclusive as a service). While this meant leaving the dome a little earlier to get the last running bus, it never felt like we missed out. The next day, arrival was simply planned a tad early to beat the crowds and make the most of the day.
So for the summer-bugs seeking warmer weather this Christmas, I hope this suggestion allowing you to warm up your toes comes in time. If not, it is never too early to book for the next Christmas break!
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