The city that once had a dividing wall. Germany’s capital and also the country’s largest city. That’s Berlin. I’ve been once before. This time round I could revisit favourite places and explore new sites. I was struck by all the construction. Berlin is being renovated and there is building works around every corner. A city of contrast – new and old, modern and ancient, nature and tech, young and old…
My favourite Berlin things were:
- The Berlin Bears stole my heart. The artistic project Buddy Bear started in 2001 and emulates the cows of Zurich and New York. The bears definitely warms the heart of those passing by.
- Cafe am Neuensee in the Tiergarten. Two favourites. Beer garden combined with park environment. And there’s pizza. Limited but wholesome menu. The strawberry cheesecake was off the chart. To counter the effect of beer, pizza and cheesecake try rowing on the adjacent lake.
- 210 hectares of inner-city garden makes the Tiergarten one of Germany’s biggest urban gardens. The origin of this lush recreational space can be traced back to 1527. Ancient.
- The Berlin Wall went up in 1961 and came down in 1989. Today the East Side Gallery is a memory to the division and everything that went with it. Painted in 1990 and stretching 1,3km with more than 100 paintings the East Side Gallery is possibly the longest lasting open air gallery in the world. Linked to this history is Checkpoint Charlie. This was the border crossing between East and West and the scene of many spy stories and featured in 2 James Bond movies.
- The historical Brandenburgh Gate was again my first stop in Berlin. Construction started in 1788 with the design inspired by the Acropolis in Athens. When the Berlin Wall went up the Brandenburgh Gate stood in an exclusion zone and could not be accessed by visitors nor locals. Today this impressive building is a symbol of reunification.
- Museum Island. A UNESCO world heritage site hosting six museums of which the Altes Museum (Old Museum) was completed in 1830. Really old!
- Zollpackhof Restaurant and Beer Garden. Close to the main station and the Reichstag, right next to the river Spree this beer garden has good views, great beer and traditional German food.
- Close to Alexanderplatz and Museum Island is the Berlin TV Tower or Fernsehturm. Constructed between 1965 and 1969 this tower has the best views of Berlin and is a landmark for navigation. Not so old this one.
- The Main Station or Hauptbahnhof. An impressive building with many shops in addition to the trains and busses that will take you anywhere in Europe. Almost.
- Motel One Hauptbahnhof – so very central and so convenient. The beautiful garden is a big plus.
One day I will go back to explore Berlin some more. There is so much more.