Saturday, 21 February 2015

Berlin - Days 1 & 2


Reichstag building

After no sleep, a grumpy taxi driver and a very turbulent flight, we arrived in Berlin at around 10am local time on Tuesday morning. We then spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to buy train tickets/find the right platform, but eventually we arrived at our hotel - although we couldn't check in for another four hours, and their luggage room was full so they made us leave all our bags in somebody's bedroom... In all honesty, the hotel (Meininger Hotel) was a bit rubbish. The rooms were ridiculously small, especially to be shared by four people, and we had to make our own beds when we got there; literally, putting the sheet/duvet cover/pillow case on the bed ourselves. The staff were rude and the drains smelled disgusting - it's more of a hostel than a hotel, really, and I don't know how it got it's 3-star rating.

But anyway, the hotel was just somewhere to sleep and have breakfast, so it didn't matter too much and we spent the first afternoon wandering the city trying to find the Topography of Terror museum. Being terrible map readers, we managed to navigate in such a way that took us past major landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and Checkpoint Charlie. Berlin is such a fascinating place filled with such a rich history, it was so amazing to be able to see so much in one day, even if it was completely by accident! The museum was fab too, and so informative.

The Brandenburg Gate

Part of the Berlin Wall

Bubbles in the park

We made our way back to the hotel in late afternoon, becoming experts in German public transport, and collected our luggage/made our beds/had a nap. The original plan was to nap until 7ish and then find somewhere to eat, but we all seemed to crawl into our bunks full clothed and not emerge until our 7am alarm the next morning ... Oops.

On Wednesday morning we stumbled down to breakfast, bleary-eyed but well rested after having around 12 hours sleep (highly recommend), and I had a bowl of cucumber and some bread rolls, along with the best orange juice I've ever tasted. We headed straight to the Reichstag, which is the home of the German Parliament, and we were given a tour which would have been exceptionally interesting if I understood the nature of German politics. The cherry on the cake, though, was the dome which is on top of the building, offering panoramic views of the city and brilliant light for selfies.

The dome atop the Reichstag

Taking advantage of the good lighting...

After that we headed off on the longest train journey/walk to Sachsenhausen, a World War 2 concentration camp. I've been to Auschwitz twice, so I sort of knew what to expect, in a way, but the whole concept of visiting a concentration camp is both mentally and physically draining. We didn't get to see all of it, because we had a visit scheduled shortly after, but it was so interesting and truly worthwhile.

Sachsenhausen

Blue skies

Our next visit was to RBB, Berlin's public radio station, where we got a tour of the radio recording suites and also their TV studio. Take That had been there for an interview the day before, and I was so gutted to have missed out on bumping into them! Nevertheless it was interesting to see how public radio works in a city like Berlin, and they gave us free lanyards. Wahooo. We ate at a lovely American style diner called Andy's Bar, which I would highly recommend - the pizza was to die for, and my friend said her steak was in the top 10 of all the steaks she ever eaten.

All smiles on day one 

Checkpoint Charlie

The first two days of our trip were a busy whirlwind of trains, long talks and fast food, but it was a great start to a lovely week. Keep your eyes peeled for days 3 & 4 if you're interested!


9 comments:

  1. Berlin is such an amazing city! There's so much history there. I absolutely love it. If you get a chance, head to Kreuzberg on a night time. There's tonnes of unique little bars. Enjoy your next couple of days!

    Antonia x | Fifi and the Diamonds

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    1. Aw I'm already home, but thank you anyway!! xx

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  2. this looks fantastic! i'm visiting berlin in a couple of weeks so this post is perfect x

    http://the-dress-diaries.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. I really want to go to Berlin mainly because all the history there! Seems like a nice place.
    Shame about the hotel though! better luck next time..

    Elizabeth - http://diaryofagirl10.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Yeah it is sooo interesting!!! Ugh I know, never staying in that chain again haha x

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  4. It sounds as though you have had an amazing time! :) xxx

    thejulyjournal.com

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  5. I went to Berlin a few years ago and loved it. Sachsenhausen is so sad, I saw it all and I felt numb afterwards as I didn't know what to feel! Aside from that, it sounds like you had a fab time!

    Laura x
    www.laurahadley.co.uk

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