Thursday, 29 June 2017

My Guide On What To Do & See In Berlin


Berlin was the first stop on my backpacking trip around Europe, so I was unbelievably excited to go even if half of me thought it was going to blow. I'd heard such a mixed bag of reviews before I went. I jumped off the plane, somewhat apprehensively, found my Air BnB, fell to the bed for ten minutes, then picked myself up and went out to explore. Turns out, I love it!

I went for three nights, and I planned so many activities beforehand I was almost always on the move. My feet were killing me by the end of each night, but that’s how I know I’m doing my holiday right! So this is my guide to Berlin, basically almost everything I did whilst there.


Things To Do & See


Brandenburg Gate


It was a beautiful and happy touristy atmosphere. I took out my camera and snapped a few pictures, felt a bit guilty that I didn’t know much of the history, recovered quickly and got the boyfriend to take pictures of me posing in front of it. Turns out the gate became widely known as the symbol of the divide in Germany, as the Berlin Wall shut off access from both East and West Germany (I knew little on this topic but by the end of the trip I could teach a class).

Reichstag's Dome 


This is just to the side of the Brandenburg Gate, so pretty easy to do both of them in quick succession. i didn’t actually go inside the Reichstag's Dome, I just observed its beauty from the outside. You can go in but I believe you have to book it in advance so they can do a background check as it’s on top of the government building.

Holocaust Memorial


This is just a few minutes walk away from the Brandenburg Gate.

Also known as Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. This was so humbling and saddening. The memorial itself is amazingly designed. All of the blocks start off knee high then within a few seconds of walking they’re rising high above your head, you’re lost in a maze of cold, grey blocks you can’t see anything else. I found it all very symbolic.

There’s also the museum lying underneath the memorial, which is free. Here you are shown the story of the Nazi regime through a time line. The part that hit me most was a room with the diary extracts from Jewish people covering the floor. I didn’t realise how aware everybody was of what was happening.

Check Point Charlie


Checkpoint Charlie was first set up in August 1961, when communist East Germany divided Berlin into two with the Berlin wall. I knew of the wall, but had limited knowledge of the politics and history. Helpfully there is a detailed account on a stretch of wall just in view of Checkpoint Charlie. 

I honestly learnt so much this holiday!

Mauer Park


If you go to Berlin then I must insist that you spend a Sunday night there. And that is simply so you can spend your Sunday at Mauer park. On Sunday two very exciting things happen.

First of all the flea markets appear. I have never seen anything like it. They’re huge and sell just about anything. Clothes, trinkets, jewellery, accessories, cupboards, tables, lamps, stools, movies, books, musical instruments, vinyls, CD players, speakers, cameras, games, chess boards, the list is endless. There are also so many delicious looking food stalls. I had the most delicious vegan kebab!

The second exciting thing is something called Bear Pit Karaoke. It’s exactly what it says on the tin. There is a bear pit style seating area around a pit where one man and his brother host a karaoke session every Sunday. The characters you watch singing are incredible, from the quirky woman doing a brilliant rendition of Kate Bush’s Withering Heights, to the hippie guy surprising everyone with Britney’s One More Time. 

Please go and spend a Sunday afternoon in this park, you will not be disappointed!



East Side Gallery


Another history lesson for Laura. The East Side gallery is a 1.3km section of the Berlin wall that has been turned into a freedom memorial. I love that people have taken something that was intended for segregation and turned it into a beautiful and creative piece of art symbolising freedom. 

Friedrichshain


This is a beautiful district in East Berlin, just at the end of East Side Gallery. If you have seen pics of me standing in front of colourful walls on my social media channels, the picture was likely taken in this district somewhere. Vibrant and full of colour, this is a wonderful place to just wander and get lost.

TV Tower


You can pretty much see this from anywhere in Berlin, but put it on here so you know to keep your eye out for it!

Berliner Dom


By the time I got to the Berlin Cathedral I had walked thousands and thousands of steps. My feet were so tired. I needed to sit. I got here not knowing what to expect, thinking it would probably be a pretty building to admire. And it was, the architecture is absolutely stunning.

But it also has a decent sized patch of grass right outside where plenty of people were sat in groups, or on their own reading books. I actually ended up lying down on the grass for around an hour just soaking up the atmosphere.

Museum Island 


I didn’t actually have time to go inside any of the museums so i just walked through it admiring the buildings. Although I have been told that the Atlas museum is incredible so I’ll try to check that out on my next visit.




Some Places To Eat & Drink


Friedrichshain


I’ve already mentioned above that Friedrichshain as a fantastic place to get lost during the day. It's full of colourful walls, lively restaurants and many ice cream stalls. It is also world famous for it’s night life scene. There are absolutely tonnes of bars all within walking distance of each other. I had a brilliant night here, I followed a few people who were heading towards dark steps and found myself in the middle of some warehouse type buildings which had been turned into bars. 

Berliner Republik


This was a unique experience. Basically the price of your drink changes in line with the stock market. At one point sirens went off, the stock market (pretend) crashed and all of the beer prices plummeted. I was quick to get my round in then!

Burgermeister


Apparently this is not only the best burger you will have in Berlin, but the best burger you will have in Europe. I turned vegetarian on the 1st of January this year, but I am a big burger fan and I couldn’t resist trying the best burger in Europe! So I gave into temptation and yes, it was a pretty damn good burger! I’ve also heard Jospers is a good rival (in Friedrichshain). 

Torstsrasse 


We actually stayed on Torstrasse, or I think just next to it. It’s full of bars and restaurants, a bit more of a relaxed vibe. You’ll more likely find people sipping on wine after finishing a delicious meal rather than crazy party-goers. There are some pretty cool bars though. One of them is an oh-so-hipster bar called Mein Haus am See, with mezzanine seating and books adorning the walls.



So there’s my rather lengthy guide to what I got up to in Berlin. There is so much more I didn’t get a chance to explore so a return trips is definitely on the cards. Have you been to Berlin before? Where would you recommend going?


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