Kicking off 2017’s travels, I took a weekend break to Berlin to celebrate my birthday. We flew out from Manchester to Berlin with Easyjet on Saturday morning (around 6am!) and back on Sunday night around 11pm. It was a whirlwind trip, but you probably know by now that if anyone can get the most out of a quick city break, I definitely can!
A morning arrival
We landed around 10am and headed straight for the airport station. The ticket machine queues are huge, be warned, nobody seems to know how to use them.
Nevertheless, we figured out 1. how to use the machine and 2. how to get to our hotel near checkpoint charlie.
We stayed at Checkpoint Charlie Gat, a modern hotel with a strange cat theme, and decided the easiest way to fit everything in was going to be to start with the furthest ‘site’.
So we started at…
The Olympic Stadium
(U-bahn stop: Olympia-Stadion, U2)
We didn’t venture in, but we had a day travel ticket, so it wasn’t a wasted journey. I’ve actually visited before, but Scott had never even visited Germany and being a huge sports fan and all…
(U-bahn stop: Mehringdamm, U6/7)
A 5.30am breakfast meant we were well and truly ready for food! Unfortunately, they didn’t do a veggie currywurst, but the chips and mayo was brilliant!
Mehringdamm is a beautiful suburban area, most notably home to the gay museum and a cafe. Much of the area was destroyed by bombing in the 1940’s, but you’d never guess now.
(U-bahn stop: Checkpoint Charlie, U6)
We only briefly stopped at the Berlin wall. The weather, though cold, was holding up and we expected it might be better to go to the Topography of Terror museum next the wall the next day.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
(U-bahn stop: MohrenstraBe, U2)
This important memorial has been in the news a lot lately for all the wrong reasons – people are taking silly selfies here and jumping from block to block. I’m sad to say I did actually see plenty of this, couples sticking their tongues out in photos stood in the middle of the memorial. Running across the blocks. It was crazy.
The memorial, dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, was finished in December 2004.
Brandenburg Gate & The Reichstag
(U-bahn stop: Brandenburger Tor, U55)
My Dad and Grandparents lived in Berlin in 70’s for some time, and it was crazy to think that this was the same gate they could not cross back then.
I last visited here in the summer, when there were bands playing in the lead up to the gate. This time it was filled with memorials and slogans calling for peace and love. The gate is one of the most significant Berlin landmarks and played a huge part in the city’s history. It, like the wall coming down, is both a symbol of division and unity.
I’d done the Reichstag tour on my previous visit, but we still couldn’t not walk over for a peak while we were in the area!
TV Tower – Berliner Fernsehturm
(U-bahn stop: Alexanderplatz, U2/5/8)
I had a little birthday treat up my sleeve (courtesy of Scott’s
dolla euro). We booked to eat up the top of the TV tower. The food was brilliant, the cocktails were amazing and the view was stunning.
The Sphere restaurant rotates, so you really get a good view of all the major Berlin sites. I was honestly expecting to be rushed through, and that was not the case at all. It does cost around 20 euro to reserve a table, but that’s not much more than the cost to go up the TV tower anyway.
We fit in a gluhwein and craft beer in a bar just below after, but the early morning flight meant it was definitely time to head to bed after!
(U-bahn stop: U Kochstr./Checkpoint Charlie, U6)
A must on any tourists list. The checkpoint, along with the wall, symbolises the divide of the Berlin (and Germany) of the past. Next to the landmark, there is a little area with lots of information on the checkpoint, including the people who died trying to cross sides and those who were successful.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
(U-bahn stop: Berlin Zoologischer Garten, U1/2/9)
We were adamant that one thing we definitely wanted to do in Berlin was to pay our respects to the victims of the Berlin market tragedy only the month before. The events unfolded by Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, so off we headed.
The church itself has a lot of history to it, although not our intended reason for heading to Bikini.
(U-bahn stop: Nollendorfplatz, U1/2/3/4)
I spotted lots of street art on the way to the Olympic stadium the day before, and promised myself I could go street art snapping the day after. I wrote a blog post all about this though!
Topography of terror
(U-bahn stop: Stadtmitte, U6)
If you do anything in Berlin, visit here. The museum is incredible and offers a lot in the way of Germany’s history and Europe under the Nazis. It’s free to enter, and you can spend hours walking around and learning all about the horrors of our not-so-distant history. I really urge anyone in the city to check it out.
With that, our whirlwind 36 hours were over and we were on our flight back to Manchester. Berlin is an amazing city, rich in history and culture, and it won’t be long before I’m itching to go back again!