Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Travel - 72 hours in Berlin

This is a picture of the Berlin Dom

This is a picture of the Bundestag in Berlin

This is a picture of The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

this is a photo of the berlin wall

This is a picture of currywurst

This is a picture of a glass of hot gluhwein


This is an interior photo of a bedroom at the Andels by Vienna House Hotel in Berlin


Berlin has been described as “poor, but sexy” and that's a description I certainly agree with after spending some time in the city a couple of weeks ago. It isn't as pretty as Rome, Budapest or cities I've recently visited like Salzburg but it has its own unique charm and a interesting history linked to World War II and the Cold War. Almost 90% of Berlin was destroyed during World War II and because East Berlin was under Soviet rule for over 40 years after World War II, Communist or Stalinist architecture can be seen in many buildings and monuments in what once was East Germany. Not always breathtaking in terms of beauty but very interesting. 

The city has attracted many artists and writers; David Bowie and Iggy Pop notably lived in Berlin (you can read more about this here). Berlin has a really young and creative vibe and doesn't feel very stereotypically German at all.

We were able to get some really cheap Flybe flights from Cardiff for around £30 each way and picked up the Berlin WelcomeCard when we arrived at Berlin Tegel airport. For 27.50 Euro we were able to travel around the city on trams, buses and the underground for 72 hours and get discounts on over 200 attractions.

See & Do


Martyn and I only had three days in the German capitol so we knew that we would need to cram in as much as possible. On our first day we headed to Alexanderplatz for a Fat Tire Bike Tours to take in as many of the main sights in one day as we could. Our tour group of 10 set out with our tour guide and headed off for a whistle stop tour of the sights. 


Our itinerary included stops at Bebelplatz, the site of the Nazi book-burning in 1933 (look out for the memorial in the floor); Gendarmenmarkt, where you can find the French and German Cathedrals; Checkpoint Charlie, the former border crossing between East and West Berlin during the Cold War; the Topography of Terrors, the site where the Nazi Gestapo and SS headquarters once stood; the Berlin Wall, one of the small sections still standing; the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Holocaust Memorial); the Bundestag, home to Germany’s parliament; and Brandenburger Tor/Gate. After a quick pitstop for lunch we had time to squeeze in museum island which is an ensemble of five world-renowned museums and the Berlin Cathedral on an island in River Spree and the Victory Column before heading back to Alexanderplatz to end the tour and hand our bikes back in. 

I would highly recommend this tour and you get a 25% discount if you have WelcomeCard. The tour was a great way to quickly get a feel for the city and get our bearings. Berlin is a very bike-friendly city so I never felt scared when cycling on the road, even in the shared bus and bike lanes. The only downside was wobbly legs after a few hours of cycling. 

Eat & Drink

Currywurst is a dish you can find served on pretty much every street in Berlin. For those of you who haven't tried it before it's German sausage topped with ketchup and a dusting of curry powder. It normal comes served with a side fries too. Currywurst and another Berlin favourite, the kebeb aren't exactly gourmet but they hit the spot after a day of sightseeing and are delicious street food options. 

The story of currywurst can be traced back to a lady named Herta Heuwer. Supplies were very low after the war and Berlin struggled to get back on its feet. In 1949, after she obtained ketchup and curry powder from British soldiers in Germany in exchange for alcohol she mixed these ingredients and came up with the now famous currywurst. This inexpensive meal quickly became a firm favourite with the builders and labourers helping to rebuild the city after the war because it was cheap, filling and tasty. My favourite currywurst of the trip came from Curry61 and had a particularly fruity sauce. They also serve up veggie currywurst too and prices range from about 3-5 Euro. 

Other food highlights include Scheers Shnitzel located close to the East Side Gallery where you can get a great lunch for around 5 Euro including Schnitzel, fries and a side salad or double up on the schnitzel for 9 Euro. They also stocked my favourite Austrian soft drink called Almdudler which you have to try if you visit Scheers. 

The Kaufhaus des Westens, always known as KaDeWe, is continental Europe’s largest department store and has an impressive food hall with 34,000 different foods on sale. The food hall takes up the store’s entire sixth floor and is a labyrinth of tasty treats. I loved strolling around this store and browsing all the incredibly appetising food. 

If you're visiting Berlin in the summer taking time out in a beer garden is a must. It was a little chilly when we visited Schleusenkrug beer garden so sat myself by a heater and I ordered a Gluhwein to warm up and Martyn chose a Allgäuer Büble Bier. It's located in the Teirgarten and the perfect place to try some German food and drink huge beers. 

Stay

We stayed at Andel's by Vienna House which had stylish rooms, a spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant and sky bar with fantastic views across the city. The service was friendly, the breakfast was amazing (there were mini Berliner doughnuts and waffles!) and it was only a few stops away from Alexanderplatz on the tram. The hotel was perfect for myself and Martyn and cost around £63 a night. I would recommend a stay here if you would like somewhere quiet to stay, if you're looking for a little more action and late nights out you might want to find a cool Airbnb in Kreuzberg. 

I'm going to do another post sharing some of my favourite sights and attractions in Berlin because I just couldn't fit them all in to one post. 
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Gemma
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5 comments:

  1. I love Berlin and I'd so love to go back. One of my highlights was climbing the Victory Column which had fantastic views of the city.

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  2. I am loving the photos here. I have always wanted to visit Berlin.

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  3. I've always wanted to visit Berlin. It looks incredible!

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  4. I've never been in Berlin, but it's on my list. I think I would visit it on summer though :) I love the pics you took x

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  5. Honestly my favourite ever city! I've only been twice but I'm dying to go again next year. Beautiful photos xxx

    Sophie Elizabeth
    www.popcornandglitter.co.uk

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