Friday, 24 April 2015

Berlin Day 4

Day 4 was our last day in Berlin and we were very sad to be leaving. There was still so much that we wanted to see and do, but unfortunately not enough time! We couldn't go to Berlin and not visit Checkpoint Charlie or see the Berlin Wall, so thats where we decided to spend our last day.  Checkpoint Charlie is the well known crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin, unfortunately places like Macdonalds have popped up making it feel slightly less authentic which is a bit of a shame.

Next to Checkpoint Charlie there is an area with some history of the war and an old section of the Berlin Wall. We then made our way to the Topography of Terror which is a museum all about the Nazi Third Reich. It is located in the same place as the former Gestapo HQ building and is full of pictures, stories and videos that make this a very interesting visit. Beware, you will need a good couple of hours if you want to make the most of this museum.

We hadn't spend much time on Museum Island (yes they do have an entire island dedicated to museums) so we decided to spend our last few hours there. Unfortunately we had not factored enough time to actually enter any of the museums but we did have a quick visit to the Cathedral, which is absolutely stunning.

It was then time to head to the airport and make our way back to the UK. Overall we had a great time in Berlin and would love to go back. It only takes around 1hr 30min to get there from London, therefore a great place to visit, even if it's just for the weekend.

Have you ever been to Berlin? If so, what did you think?

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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Berlin Day 3

Day 3 was our last full day in Berlin, and since we had a rather intense day yesterday we decided to have a more relaxing day. We made our way over to West Berlin to visit the zoo, which had many animals that we hadn't seen before! We then did a bit of shopping, hitting the famous Kaufhaus des Westerns along with a few other beauty stores that I managed to slip into ;) For lunch we visited a quaint little restaurant called 1900 Cafe Bistro, which was a lovely stop. 

We then got the S’bahn all the way over to Treptower park, which is home to a huge Soviet War Memorial. We took lots of photos here as it was a very interesting memorial, and the sun was beginning to set making for some very nice photos! On our way back to the hotel we walked past Museum Island and managed to get some pretty photos of the Cathedral.

That night we had some cocktails at the hotel bar, went for dinner at a nearby German restaurant and made our way to a secret bar that we had heard about through Tripadvisor. From the outside you wouldn’t know that Cantina in der Bar Tausend existed, there is no sign above the door, it just looks like an old iron door with a small window. We took our chances, knocked on the door and were greeted by a man in a suit. He did not say much, we asked if we could come in for a drink and he asked if we had been before. He then invited us in, showed us to the cloakroom and mentioned no photos are allowed. We walked into the bar, which is nestled under the bridge of the train sation, and ordered our drinks. At first it was a little intimidating, but after a while we loved the vibe! We ended up staying quite late and stumbled back to our hotel, which luckily was only a stones throw away. Definitely check it out if you are in Berlin (it is shut on a Sunday, which confused us at first when trying to find the secret door!).

Find out about our last day in Berlin in my next post.

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Monday, 20 April 2015

Berlin Day 2

Day 2 we were up bright and early to visit the Reichstag; the seat of the German Parliament. This was recommended by everyone we spoke to and I can see why. The building is beautiful and the dome itself is very unusual. Unforuntately we went up on a bit of a gloomy day, but you do get some nice views of Berlin. Make sure you prebook before you travel otherwise you will not be allowed in. We then went for some breakfast at the Flamingo Fresh Food Bar where you can pick up some delicious snacks and sandwiches. The owner was also super friendly and chatty which is always a nice touch.

Having looked at places to visit on Tripadvisor, we came across the Designpanopitkum. Although we had read the reviews, we didn't really know what to expect. As soon as we entered, Vlad - the owner of the museum had us laughing non stop. He sure is a character. Essentially, Vlad collects various objects that have a real life use, and places them randomly throughout the museum in a different form. It may sound odd, and yes I admit it is a little unsual, however it is there to encourage imagination and to get you thinking about the way you look at things. If you are after something that is a little different this is the place to go.

We then caught the U-bahn north to take a tour around the Gesundbrunnen Bunker; a real life bunker that was used in World War 2. You enter via the subway station, taking you deep underground. The tour guide really gives you a sense of what it would have been like during an air raid. Many of the rooms are in their original form, including a room with glow in the dark paint that still works to this day! Unfortunately you couldn't take any photos, but it was really a good experience. We then grabbed some lunch at a place called ATAME, and had some amazing tapas.

Having refuelled, we made our way to visit two of the smaller museums, the Silent Heroes Memorial Center and Otto Weidt's Workshop for the Blind. Tucked away down a side street, these are worth a quick stop to look around, we did them both in just over an hour. We then stopped and had some drinks in a cool little bar, which reminded me of Shoreditch, and slowly made our way back to the hotel.

That evening we decided on an Italian called Muret La Barba, where we spent most of our night drinking lots of wine and eating pasta. See what we got up to on day 3 in my next post :)

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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Berlin Day 1

For Christmas I surprised my boyfriend with a trip to Berlin at the end of February. On the first day we arrived around 1pm and made our way to the hotel. We stayed at the Melia Berlin, located in East Berlin, which I would highly recommend. It was in a great location, close to both the train and tube station and many tourist attractions. We decided to take our first day relatively easy so we set out to find some lunch. We made our way down to the Brandenburg Gate; one of Germanys best known landmarks.

We then had a wander around Tiergarten; a huge 210 hectare park. As it is so big, we only managed to see a small section of the park before we decided to head towards the Holocaust Memorial. On our way we came across a Soviet War Memorial.

From the outside the Holocaust Memorial looks like a large number of blocks, but once inside you realise just how big some of them are. We also visited the exhibitio, which is underneath the memorial, and hired audio guides. It is a very moving exhibition that documents the war, with stories of families caught up in the Holocaust.

We still hadn't had found somewhere to have lunch, so we stopped off at a very typical German pub and shared a currywurst and chips. I do love a curry, but unfortunately I wasn't so keen on the sausage! Later that evening we went to Hans im Gl├╝ck, the German version of GBK, and had a pretty chilled out evening.

See what we got up to on day 2 in my next post :)

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