What can I say about my lightning quick time in Berlin? Well to start with it was wonderful. After 24 hours in the city I came back to London exhausted but thoroughly satisfied – and craving more time there! I had to hugely prioritise what I saw because I was spending most of the evening in the theatre so my future Berlin-to-do list is massive now. I clocked up over 15 miles on the pedometer so it’s no wonder my legs felt like jello the next day.
To start with I walked around city centre, toodling around Potsdamer Platz before making the 10 minute walk over to where Checkpoint Charlie is. It’s hard to believe that the city was divided despite the fact that the wall came down and reunification happened in my lifetime. Then off to where some larger sections of the wall remain. I read that when the wall first came down, everyone wanted it all destroyed immediately, but as time wore on people wanted to save some of it for posterity – a reminder of the past and the promise of the future.
Then it was off to see the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building and followed up by a very long, but stunningly beautiful autumnal walk through the Tiergarten. I also chased a pretzel seller around the park because those massive soft pretzels the size of my torso truly hold the key to my heart. Pretzel + Amanda = True Love.
By that point in time, I only had a short bit of time to fill before needing to head out to the theatre in the Mitte district, so I spent my remaining tourist time queuing for and wandering around the Holocaust Memorial Museum. It’s appearance is striking – the massive sloping field in the centre of Berlin covered in thousands of stelae in various heights. The memorial museum itself is subterranean underneath all these structures. Though photos are allowed within the museum, I didn’t take any. It felt wrong. And I don’t really have words to sum up the feelings of grief and tragedy that permeates throughout. There were several times that I was in tears but it’s so important to remember.
I found Berlin such an interesting study in contrasts; you can aesthetically tell the difference between large portions of East Berlin and West Berlin. You can see the profits and benefits and huge leaps of prosperity that Germany and in particular Berlin has had with strong economic growth whilst at the same time, walk by buildings that have huge amounts of bullet damage from the second World War.
Things that I definitely want to do upon a future trip to Berlin: get a chance to explore the museums on Museum Island, look at Berlin from the top of the Kollhoff tower in Potsdamer Platz, explore Markthalle 9, and eat at a ton of other restaurants.
I found Berlin fairly easy to navigate (which is a huge shout because I get Marcus Brody lost) and the public transit excellent!
What are your favourite things to do in Berlin?