Patience and kindness here, please....uncertain plans. My holiday travel plans are probably changing last moment. Mexico is becoming Germany. I fly standby and I am considering finally going to Berlin for the first time next week. (Yes, I totally understand that it's very late for a holiday trip.
I have read posts and really need some guidance, which I so appreciate. I can't book an apartment more than a day or so before a flight, as I may not get a seat. I plan to stay about 2 weeks. I spend a lot of time in Italy and this will be my first trip to Germany (not counting half-day layovers.)
I am traveling sola, 50's, female, friendly/meet people easily, love contemporary art galleries/museums/openings; some history but I don't want to be overwhelmed by the tragedy of atrocities---the "top" places will suffice only because I know it will be terribly emotional for me. I enjoy many foods other than what I probably wrongly stereotype as "German," wine/vodka drinks, one-off boutiques and design. I am a night person, dining around 9-10pm. Enjoy a drink and dinner for a couple of hours, a nice bar (not pubs probably). I'm well past my hardcore nightclub years.
1. Safety--Mitte, PB, ok even rather late at night? I'll pay attention to my instincts, but is there anything specifically to be aware of?
2. Assuming I can get an apartment in Mitte, do I stay near Hackesher market? I am trying to Google map this, and can't get a grasp of the areas, which seem to overlap. Good "atmosphere" but not extremely scruffy. West Berlin seems too shiny and vanilla for me...perhaps I'm wrong? Sounds like the urban apartment site is the way to go in Berlin vs airbnb/Venere/Booking.com?
3. Considering using my 2 free Hyatt nights at the Hyatt Berlin on nights they have availability. Has anyone stayed there and enjoyed it? I was going to use them in London in April (where I've also never been--I travel south, Mediterranean normally) , but is Berlin Hyatt a good use instead?
4. Communal table restaurants that you recommend? Budget is relative--I like gyro dives, curry houses, vegetarian, steakhouse, sushi, prix fixe is easy, fusion--I have a fairly wide budget range, but not too romantic a place, as I'm alone.
5. NY Eve--I'm normally not one for outdoor throngs, but the Berlin party sounds like fun. Which location is best for me to stay in to be near the main event? In my 50's, I want to know that there's an easy toilet nearby! :-)
6. Do you buy a weekly transport pass, or individual metro/train tickets? I've read on TA that there are daily passes. Anything to know like "you must validate tickets before boarding" type things?
7. Do the boutique 50%+ sales start right after Christmas, or in January like Italy?
I am genuinely grateful for your help and advice. I hope I get the flight. If not, I'll use your info when I go after the holidays.
Thank you and happy holidays.