Its been a while since my last post, I have been doing a lot of traveling (I know that’s no excuse!). Having just left Berlin after spending a month there over New Years, I can honestly say I never thought that I would fall so deeply in love with this city. As much as London has always been my favorite city in Europe, Berlin is quickly becoming a close second. New years was in the air with fireworks going off in the streets and people drinking and the temperature dropped to -15°C at night.
I will start with the places I went and then write a separate blog post about my experience at Berghain. Berlin is home to many historical sights which are amazing to visit and the Berlin Victory Column (Siegessäule) was my favorite experience. I highly recommend climbing to the top, the views are worth it despite the onslaught that will commence on your body as you ascend, we decided to climb at sunset and we weren’t disappointed. You may also decide that you no longer like people after the climb as the further you go the stupider people seem to get and you end up wanting to launch a total stranger down a spiral staircase.
A short walk from the Victory Column is the Brandenburg Gate which is also stunning, the first time I went it wasn’t visible due to the New Years stage, however, the second time it had snowed slightly making it picturesque. You can spend a good ten minutes here desperately trying to take the perfect Instagram picture that doesn’t include the tens of other tourists attempting to do the same, good luck with that.
Another amazing site to see is the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom). This was truly breathtaking from every angle, we didn’t go inside, as always I am a budget traveler and choose which activities I partake in wisely. I have been inside many cathedrals so this did not interest me greatly. One of the things that surprised me about the Cathedral is that it isn’t lit up at night which is a shame as it is beautiful. On a side note, the Raddison Blu hotel is near here and it’s worth wandering in to see the enormous fish tank.
Sunday afternoon (the only one not spent at Berghain) I decided to go for a walkabout. Most shops aren’t open on a Sunday even in Alexanderplatz (coming from a retail buying background I thought I would browse a bit) so I went to Museum Island. This is situated just to the side of the Berliner Dom and houses several museums. The Egypt exhibition appealed to me so I checked that out. This area includes beautiful architecture and an equally nice view of the dom. Also enjoy the old toothless Russian ladies playing the accordion and grinning at you.
Make sure you go up the Fernseheturm but book tickets, otherwise you will have to wait in line and queues can get quite long. The views are spectacular and its one of the tallest buildings in Europe, due to Berlin’s lack of skyscrapers you can see for miles.
Unfortunately for us the day we actually went up was not very clear however there were some days when you could not even see the top of the Fernsehturm so the ever optimists counted themselves lucky. You can grab a drink at the top at Panorama Bar, ironically it has the same name as a bar in Berghain.
On to the Reichstag building, this building has an impressive and colourful history which you can learn about (via free headset) by booking a tour of the glass dome. We chose to go up at night to get a different view of the city. The whole dome is actually open air which you would not expect so make sure you dress warm. Oh, and the entrance is worse than airport security so prepare yourself for that.
Being in the city where the kebab was invented you have to get one. The best kebab place (which I have on good authority from the locals) is ‘Original Gemuse Kebap Servets’, you will need Leopoldplatz station. It was by far the best kebab I have had in my life and I wasn’t even drunk for this one!
Another good place my friends took me was Kreuzburger in Prenzlauerberg, they make amazing burgers with funny names and a good selection of chips!
Take a trip to Warschauer Strasse station to see the iconic view pictured below and then to walk along the Berlin wall and admire the art and graffiti. This area gets quite busy so again pictures are tough. There’s a guy along here who claims to legally stamp your passport with an old Berlin stamp however he had such a crowd I didn’t investigate further let me know if you have better luck!
Pictured below is Warschauer Strasse station again and on the right Berghain which I have written a separate blog post on as it deserves it. A few other places of interest include checkpoint charlie, Olympic stadium and the many Berlin bears which are scattered around the city.
One of the final places I will write about is the Naturkundemuseum because you have to pay a visit to Tristan Otto the real t-rex! His head is kept in a separate glass display case, however, the rest of him is pictured below. He looks amazing in the flesh…
There are so many other amazing things to see at this museum including an exhibition on taxidermy, preserved animals, rock collection and some space-related displays. You could spend hours here which is probably where I should have gone instead of the Egypt exhibition on my never-ending Sunday!
So one missing pair of converse and one punctured waterbed later it was time to leave Berlin on to the next adventure. I would love to hear about your experiences in Berlin especially about places I haven’t been and could possibly see on my trip later in the year.
Thanks for reading!