We arrived in Berlin via an overnight train from Budapest and I had actually had a good nights sleep! A 20 minute bus ride got us near to our hotel, The Circus Hotel on the corner of Rosenthalerplatz. Leaving our bags behind I grabbed my map and went out to explore.
There’s so much to see and do in Berlin. We decided to start with the iconic Brandenberg Gate. After wandering about and getting a little lost we jumped onto the U-Bahn subway. We quickly discovered this is the best way to get around. The Brandonberg gate is a site of many historical events. Previously representing the divide between East and West Germany, it now stands as a symbol of Unity. We took a look at the Reichstag building, admiring the architecture and the large centre dome.
Next to the Pariser Platz is a large park where there are memorials to the victims of National Socialism. A pool where a fresh flowers is placed at the centre daily to remember the Sinti and Roma victims. Also a concrete cuboid containing a window to a short film in memory of the homosexual victims.
After a pleasant walk through the park we came to the Holocaust memorial and museum. Access to the maze is free and it is a place for reflection and remembrance.
A short walk away is the location where Hitlers bunker had originally been. Now an apartment building, there is a plaque and information board in the car park but nothing else. From here we headed across to the beautiful Berlin square of Gendarmenmarkt where the French and German Cathedrals and the “Konzerthaus’ stand.
We started our first evening with some beers at Mein Haus am See. A great bustling bar with vintage sofas and right around the corner from our hotel. Initially I had planned to eat at the German beer hall Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt, however we didn’t book and were turned away. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we found Zur Letzten Instanz. The oldest restaurant in Berlin opened in 1621! We were squeezed in without a reservation and were sat upstairs in the corner. The food is typical traditional German and the beer was great too!
The following day we made our way to Checkpoint Charlie and the museum here. There are so many museums in Berlin and we did not have time to see them all. The small history museum gave us a flavour of Berlin’s history.
We then headed across the city to the East side. I was surprised that still today there is such a difference in the architecture from West to East. Here I visited the East side gallery. A 1.3 km section of the Berlin wall painted by artists from around the world. The wall was painted in 1990 to express the changes and freedom in the world.
To our delight we discovered that on our last night in Berlin Oktoberfest was kicking off. German beer being my very favourite I was happy to get involved in some glass clinking and beer drinking! There were plenty of long tables, stalls selling goods and food. Even a strongman game. I enjoyed eating curry-wurst and drinking from steins in the festival atmosphere. A great way to end my time in Berlin!