Berlin is ALWAYS a city that people recommend as it has so much to offer. Train delays from Brussels meant that our time in Berlin was less than planned and we only had one full day in the city. But our train journey did pass through Cologne and as the cathedral is situated right outside the train station, it’s a beautiful place to change trains. A German choir were also singing right outside the station, which was probably one of the points where I realised how special our Interail trip would be.
Berlin’s public transport is incredibly smooth, a daily travel pass cost €8 and was definitely value for money with the amount of journeys that we used. Using the travel pass is the easiest way to make the most of the time that you have in the city.
FOOD AND DRINK
Berlin served us pretty well in terms of food and drink, there’s cafe’s and restaurants on nearly every corner. For our evening in Berlin, we visited Klunkerkranich for early evening drinks and Schlögl’s for dinner.
Klunkerkranich was a brilliant recommendation from one of our friends. A rooftop bar with incredible views of Berlin – what more could you want in good weather? It is located on top of a multi-storey car-park for the Neukölln Arcaden shopping centre so it is not the easiest place to find. But once you are there, it’s perfect for early evening drinks – there’s free entry before 4pm, affordable drinks (with a reusable cup deposit scheme) and decorated with deck chairs, a mini beach, with live music to begin with and a DJ in the evening.
Dinner wise, we wanted to sample the local cuisine and be fairly close to Alexanderplatz and found Schlögl’s through good reviews on TripAdvisor! The traditional schnitzel served here didn’t disappoint and was pretty good value for money, which was exactly what we wanted!
THE CITY’S HIGHLIGHTS
Based on the time that we had, we picked out the three main landmarks to make sure that we visited.
Berlin is full of history, so we began our tour with the East Side Gallery, where the art presented covers part of the Berlin Wall and celebrates its demise. The art is typically left up to your own interpretation and there is strong focus on peace and love throughout the wall.
Next stop was the Holocaust Memorial and to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and how I would feel. It is based near Brandenburg Gate and the architect’s design is an interesting concept, but it does make sense as you walk through the memorial. The blocks become larger the closer you are to the middle of the memorial, which is very thought provoking and left up to your own interpretation again. There is an information centre within the memorial, which includes personal documentation about individuals and families, making it very moving display.
Once we had reflected on the Holocaust Memorial, we moved onto Checkpoint Charlie which is a good place to visit as there is a area covered with information boards, including personal stories of successful and unsuccessful escape attempts. It is interesting to read through and a good landmark to visit, especially as there is a remnants of the wall to see.
We headed back to Alexanderplatz in the afternoon for a wander around the centre, admiring the architecture – the Cathedral is incredible and I could have sat by the river looking at it for hours!
With more time in Berlin, we would have been able to explore much more so it will be a city to return too!