Oh, how time flies! A few weeks ago I was just planning my winter vacation. Now, I’m here. Packing bags, unpacking, checking train schedules, looking for directions….such the life as a traveller and I’m loving it!For four days, my friends and I from U.S. travelled to Berlin. Berlin has been on my top 10 list of cities to visit in Europe. It’s true. As I’ve pictured it, the art scene is epic. To me, Berlin exudes creativity. Aside from its history, there’s a lot of things to see relating to design and art.
One of the things I enjoyed was The Berlin Wall. It’s basically an open-air gallery with mounts of colorful, interesting and unique graffitis that you can view on a wall. My friends and I spent a good 2 full hours here on our first day. We took photos and looked at the different artworks. Here are some of my favorite pieces below.The Kiss or The Kiss of Death by Dmitry Vrubel. If you don’t already know, The Berlin Wall was a divider to keep people from immigrating to the west side. First, they started by placing the barb wires and then, the wall was built. They say, there are about 5,075 people who escaped and they were usually the ones from the first few weeks before the wall was created. The wall eventually fell in 1989.
Oberbaum Bridge locks
Here, you’ll see the Oberbaum Bridge
. It was built in 1895 which, linked the two districts Kreuzberg & Friedrichshain. We walked through here to get to The Berlin Wall. We came at the right time that day. It wasn’t too cold nor was it raining.
On our 2nd day in Berlin, I’ve decided to put us on a free walking tour much like what I did in Zurich. Since Berlin is rich in history and arts, it was a good idea to have a better understanding about the past or get a gest of what others had to say about the city. I can assure you it was very informative.
At some point, we made a quick stop at Checkpoint Charlie
. During the Cold War, this was the main entry and a departing point. Today, you will see uniformed men standing in the middle of the street (see above photo) “role-playing”. Of course, the photos and the soldiers are all fake. The originals are kept elsewhere.
The Brandenburg Gate
was an 18th century neoclassical triumphal art which, today symbolise German’s unity. We ended up in this location several times as, it is a central area for everything. To the left side from this view is Hotel Aldon, a very exclusive hotel where, Michael Jackson stayed in and had that weird baby scenario happen. To the right from this view is Starbucks. You can hit a lot of spots from here on.
The Dome. It was one of those on my list of things to do in Belrin. Luckily, I read a bit about Berlin prior to our trip and made reservations to enter The Dome. I highly suggest doing this ahead of time as the wait for reservations in person takes up to 2 hours long. The only down side was that our reservation time slot was at night and we were unable to see a view of the city. Make sure to do this during day time, if you can. Regardless, it is still amazing to see the interior design and its structure. It’s worth to see and it is FREE.
Shop at the Alexander Platz area. There are tonze of shopping stores around here and most of them are affordable. Between the TV tower and the building on the above photo is a mini playground. We discovered this spot while waiting for my friend and we ended up jumping on one of the mini trampolines attached to the ground. The TV Tower
. No, we didn’t end up going up on this but, I am sure the view is spectacular.The Memorial Site
is a must-see. Created in 2005, the site is made of blocks at different levels and to this day, its significance remains unknown. No one really knows why the designer created the blocks the way it is. It’s left for the person looking into it to have their own interpretation so, there’s no right or wrong answer.
Afterwards, go to the free museum below the site. It goes over the history of the holocaust. Depending on the time, you might have to wait in line to get in. Although, it is worth the wait.
For a nice walk and view, go around Lustgarten
. It’s a picturesque spot and a perfect route to get away from the busy crowd.
Eat at one of the outdoor markets and watch kids ice-skate or, order a local hot chocolate here. You won’t regret it.
At the Alex Weihnachtsmarkt
. Be prepared for crowds and lots of drinking & eating. This is near the mall so, it’s bound to be pact of people.
Wonder through The Mall of Berlin
Make a reservation and eat at Zimt & Zurker Kaffee Haus
. They have a fantastic breakfast selection.
Or, take a break at The Digital Eatery
Then, enjoy a good salad with steak for dinner at Fleischerei Restaurant
A few things to note:
We flew in to Tegen Airport and we took a bus to get to the city center which took about 45-60 minutes long.
I say, the transportation is very reliable in Berlin. We never had issues with it and we bought the Welcome Card pass that was good to use for 5 days on any transportation in the city. Also, you only need to have it stamped once and the rest of the time you can just hop on or off. The cost is about 35 euros. It can be purchased at the information booth at the airport when you arrive or in one of the ticket machines.