What do I have to say about Berlin that hasn’t already been told a million times in hundreds of different travel websites? What information do I give you about a city that has such a significant history? such a terrible one? Berlin is so full of teeth-crunching anger, beautiful hope, resurrection, war, art, science, love, opulence, dreadful scary power and is by far the most vibrant and fantastically alive city that I have ever been to. The feelings that you feel in a short period of time makes you dizzy.
Berlin was one of the ‘must-dos’ on our list. So, when a free weekend made its available, we jumped at the chance. We went to Berlin without a plan in our head. We booked a hostel close to the center and hoped we could explore the city, as we usually do, by foot. But, we hadn’t accounted for the cold. Well, we had, but not really.
The first night, after we arrived there, we head out to explore our surroundings. By the corners of certain roads, were golden bricks with the names of the Jews who had lived on the road, when they were born, which concentration camp they were taken and when they died. I found these golden drops of history very humbling. The sheer number of these bring you to tears.
Warning: This is going to be a rather long post. But I hope you enjoy the pictures!
It is an instagram photo. Please pardon the quality.
The next day, we decided to explore the main street. We walked from Alexenderplatz till the Brandenburg gate. Like I mentioned earlier, it was cold. But we took buses, bus numbers 100 and 200 cover all the major landmarks and are cheaper than the hop on and hop off buses. They are double-decker and the front seats of the upper deck is awesome if you don’t want to get off too many times.
The iconic Brandenburg Gate
The next day we took one of the walking tours that start from the Brandenburg Gate. They are many such walking tours and is the best starting point when you are confused about where to begin. Our guide (I forget his name) was very entertaining and the tour, although a little long, was very informative.
He walked us though most of the historical sites of Berlin.
The holocaust memorial
The parking lot, which was Hitlers bunker.
On the island of Museums
The Berlin Cathedral
The Babelplatz memorial made me mourn the loss of knowledge and I thought of it often. It was in the same year, 1933, that Einstein moved from Berlin to the US.
The place in Babelplatz where all the books were burnt.
After the walk we wondered around, took pictures, went aboard the bus 100 and explored more.
If you have the time, you can go up to the glass dome. But you have to book for that online before you arrive there. We hadn’t. Sigh! So I took pictures of people and entertained myself.
A couple dancing in the snow.
German Star Wars!
Berlin is beautiful! So crisp and full of life. The people there are fantastic and of course, the food! Currywurst, fries and cheap beer at every corner. Yum.
Also, It had some of the most interesting buildings that I’d seen.
- Also, everywhere I looked in Berlin, something was being built. Blue and pink pipes diverting drinking water and drainage from construction sites were seen everywhere and so were the big bad cranes! The thing I remember noticing throughout our trip is the renovations and constructions that were happening everywhere in Berlin. No photo could be taken without a conspicuous crane jutting out in the background. It is amazing, how many of the buildings are new in Berlin with most of the city’s old buildings bombed down during the WW II.
Pubs in Berlin are aweeesaaamm. But many of them allow smoking inside. So, if you are a non smoker or if you prefer your best threads not to smell like burnt-up pieces of crap, wear clothes you aren’t too attached to or, also you could not care and just enjoy the beer. I didn’t take my camera out thinking my phone will work just fine. But guess which idiot forgot to charge the above mentioned phone! Ta dah!
Cafe Bar: The only and last picture that I could take that night.
Which post about Berlin is complete without the mention of, you guessed it, the Berlin wall?
Although most of the wall has been broken down, you can still see parts of them in few parts of the city. The longest is the East Side gallery. It is a 1.3 km long section and contains 105 works from artists all over the world. The gallery sees a lot of tourists and although quite festive, patience may wear thin by the end.
The Berlin wall had two walls with a space in between . The two parts of the wall are visible here
Another part of the wall, which we found near the topography of terror museum is without all the colour and it more stark.
The pipe-like lining of the wall was to discourage climbers. So that they don’t find a hold to pull themselves up.
When I looked at The Wall, I thought that it didn’t look foreboding or even the least bit intimidating, but during the occupation, it was one of the most scary places. It decided your fate. The power that the no-so-tall wall wielded is amazing.
So there! I’m done!
Oh when you are in Berlin, don’t forget to keep your eye out for amazing graffiti and the traffic signals.
And I leave you with some parting shots of Berlin.