What can I say about Berlin? So many things, as you might expect. It was my first time visiting this great city and I spent three days there, mostly visiting museums and walking around. I also got to hang out with my good friend Michel, as he had gone back home to Germany back in March.
I will be making a few separate posts about the museums I was allowed to take pictures at, which I will hopefully be sharing in the next few weeks as well. My adventure started when I arrived at Schonefeld Airport, where my friend picked me up from. Thankfully, as I don’t really speak German and having a native speaker always makes life a lot easier, although it was probably just me that was too worried for no reason, as most people will understand and speak English. The train station is right next to the airport and has connections to the city centre as well as other surrounding areas. I got a 72hr ticket that cost me around 24 Euros and there I went.
On the day that I arrived we didn’t do much – just dropped off my bags, went to the supermarket to stock up on pizza and beer and just enjoyed the warm end of day sun from the balcony. It was a good thing that we did that because the next day was pretty full!
Got on the train to Alexanderplatz and went for a wander in the area. Above you can see the TV tower, which can be seen from everywhere else in the city, as geographically it is a very flat area. It’s pretty good sometimes, to use as a reference when you’re moving around. On the first day we visited the DDR Museum and the Ramones Museum. I will make separate posts about these.
Marx & Engels, the left-wing philosophers have a big statue in the centre, which seems to be a place of pilgrimage for left-wing and antifa groups from across the world, as can be attested by the number of stickers in the area.
One of the things I liked the most about Berlin was the fact that there is art pretty much everywhere. Sculptures or street art, there’s always something interesting to look at.
We had lovely weather and for the first time in a long time I was able to walk around just wearing a t-shirt until late in the evening, which is something that very rarely happens in the UK for me.
The Holocaust Memorial, as you may have guessed, is dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. That is my friend Michel taking photos. He also took a nice photo of me:
Pacman! Eat them up, yum yum.
Riding the underground in Berlin is a much less stressful experience than doing it in London. This was probably the fullest I’ve seen on the 3 days that I was there, which was also a weekend.
The stations might not be the most modern ever but they’re spacious, airy and there is no such thing as ticket gates.
Jump to the third day: second day was very hot and we spent most of the time in museums where I couldn’t take any photos. Those were the Museum fur Fotografie, where the Helmut Newton collection was just absolutely breathtaking and the Bauhaus Archiv, where I had design induced orgasms. At the Bauhaus Archiv I got caught taking a quick snap with my phone and the lady followed me for the rest of the time… it was a little bit annoying. I don’t understand what the issue is, especially if you get given free WiFi access, as I was quite happy to post on my social media channels about the museum, which can only be good, right? Some people even get paid to do this for brands… Missed opportunities, I suppose.
These shoes were made for walking, and that’s just what I did. I walked on average (according to my phone app) 7 miles every day, which was a bit complicated in 30 degrees of heat. I lost 3 pounds but I put them all back on after a week back home in London. I swear that there’s something in the air in this place that just makes you fat.
On the third day and after a visit to the flea market (will post separately about it), we decided to go find fresher parts of town and headed to the riverfront and went looking for the Badeschiff. Eventually we found it but as we weren’t really prepared we just explored the area around it, as there was loads of things to see, from people enjoying the River Spree on their canoes, abandoned ships and lots and lots of street art.
My main impressions of Berlin are:
- Two in three restaurants are Italian. We actually started paying attention to this and were amazed how many of them there are.
- The city is a lot wider and spacious, compared to London.
- There’s a lot of modern architecture to look at and although Berlin exists since the 13th century, I didn’t see a lot of old buildings. The oldest I have seen must have been from around the 18th century.
- I did see the Brandenburg gate, which has become a symbol of the reunification of both Germanies in 1989, but as I was there during the UEFA Cup Final, I didn’t get a chance to get too close as it was full of Barca and Juventus supporters.
- When it’s hot, it’s a great idea to head down to the East Side Gallery, get a beer on the way there (very cheap, paid around 3 euros for two), sit near the water and enjoy the view.
- There’s a lot of tourists and there are some tourist hotspots, such as Check Point Charlie, but it’s not as bad as Central London.
- It’s a much more laid back city, even for the fact that has a lot less people per square meter than London.
- In terms of style, people seem to be a lot more relaxed.
- Berlin is very famous for its nightlife but I didn’t see any of it – after walking 7 miles on average every day it was difficult to have the energy to go out clubbing.
Hope you enjoyed this quick tour of Berlin, I hope to go back again next year! Have you been to Berlin?