So I have been MIA from my blog lately, sorry about that! I have been meaning to write about my Berlin trip for ages now but never seem to get around to it. There was a long weekend here in February and the GerMann and I decided to go on a city break to Berlin. Neither of us had ever been there but had heard amazing things about it.
Firstly, we were expecting it to be cold that time of year. I had come across this article when I was researching the trip beforehand. From first hand experience I can confirm that Berlin is VERY COLD in February! It also snowed one of the days we were there.
What were my impressions of Berlin before visiting? Well the Brandenburg Gates came to mind of course and the Berlin wall, but also images of a built-up city with lots of concrete and graffiti but also a sort of cool trendy artistic vibe.
We arrived late on the Saturday and were flying back on the Tuesday, so we only really had two full days. Of course we didn't get to see everything Berlin has to offer. We saw the Brandenburg Gates, including the Holocaust memorial nearby, we visited the DDR museum, we spent a morning exploring Museum Island, we did the Berlin Unterwelt tour, we went to the Reichstag and we did our own little pub crawl.
The TV tower:
The Berlin Unterwelt tour was recommended to me by a friend. We arrived about fifteen minutes before the start only to find the English speaking tour booked out. So we booked ourselves on the German speaking one starting an hour later and went off to a cafe for a snack in the meantime. Now I didn't understand everything in the tour but it was still very interesting. You aren't allowed take any photos though unfortunately so I can't put any up on the blog.
Basically during World War two whenever there were bomb scares, as many people as could fit would hide out in this underground bunker built beside the underground train station. It gave the impression of safely though it actually was not built well enough that it could have withstood a bomb. You could walk through all the various rooms for instance a medical area, the Nazi quarters and so on. It reminded me a bit of a prison and I also felt a bit claustrophobic! Some of the air-strikes would go on for hours and the people would be underground in these airtight rooms that were gradually running out of oxygen.
In order to visit the Reichstag, you need to first register online at least three days in advance. You also have to decide then whether you are going to do the tour and what time slot you will aim for. There is some security once you arrive at the Reichstag at your allocated time, just like in an airport, but it went quickly for us, and the Reichstag is definitely worth seeing. It's free to visit and that includes an audio guide.
View from the top:
We spent an enjoyable few hours one morning exploring museum island.
The DDR museum is very small- I think it only took us about 45 minutes to look at everything, but it was interesting. I would have hated to live in the DDR I can tell you!
We were staying in a hotel in East Berlin a few underground stops away from the centre. We got a good deal through Animod.
This is how the traffic light green men look in Berlin, I love it:
Even though the weather was very cold in Berlin, it was dry and sunny and we really enjoyed our trip and would recommend Berlin to anyone. I imagine it would be even nicer there when the weather is a bit warmer as I did see lots of outdoor tables and beer gardens that were closed while we were visiting. Even though it is a big city, it never felt that overcrowded unlike Munich, though granted I have only visited Munich in the Summertime.
Spring has certainly arrived in Germany and the weather has been fantastic lately which has been putting me in a great mood. I was also very happy to make the Top 100 International Exchange & Experience Blogs of 2012 list- my blog is at number 65! So thanks again to everyone who voted for me!