This is one of those cities that must surely be on everyone’s bucket list. Its a place we have wanted to visit many times but like many other 9to5ers, it has often slipped off the itinerary. Thank goodness we made it this time. A city of such depth and contrast it is hard to not please.
We was in Berlin to participate in the annual half-marathon and boy was it busy. With an expected 35,000+ participants, makes it one of the largest events of its kind. The surge of visitors over the weekend didnt feel as though it swelled the city to make it uncomfortable either. Thankfully there is plenty to go around.
As a Englishman born and raised in Germany, I knew what I liked and currywurst and mettbrotchen (minced raw pork on a open bread roll – trust me, tastes much nicer than it sounds!)…and of course not forgetting the beer and plenty of it…
Currywurst was not the daily menu. Some better than others but thankfully found a cracking place a couple days before we was due to depart (which meant I could squeeze in at least another two!). The wurst was delicious and HUGE and curry sauce was to die for…
I wasn’t sure what to expect when planning for the trip. When thinking Rome, Paris, London etc you have images of striking iconic architecture. But Berlin…I couldn’t really apply an image, I couldn’t visually describe what I was to expect. On arrival, you certainly feel the history surrounding this cities vivid past.
Not necessarily the most visually striking of European cities but as I mentioned above, you quickly realise this place has such depth and contrast. Its like all of sudden being able to see colour.
We stayed in Alexander platz which is tourist central. Plenty of eateries, coffee shops and bars. The area feels open and energetic with easy access in and out and the city via the central train station just off the main square.
Head south of the River (or is west..!?) and you enter the busy shopping district. Full of stunning shops and and usual tourist trinket stores. But its this way you start to see the Berlin you read in history class.
Checkpoint charlie and the surprising well preserved wall (or parts of it!!). The history surrounding this area is astounding. You quickly realise how little you learnt in history class. For example (and probably showing now how thick I am), you heard of the Berlin Wall but where was it exactly. Did it literally run north to south of Berlin?? Well, this is a weird way is what I thought…I didnt actually consider the wall surrounded the city. Anyway, enough of my stupidity! We highly recommend buying a guided bus tour. We use these all the time as they are a great way to get around the city and listen to the audio guide as you cruise past some of the most tremendous architecture and history.
We have both travelled significantly across Europe for both business and pleasure and can without doubt put this firmly in the top 5 cities of Europe. The history, architecture, atmosphere, food, beer, people and just the openness and space make this place a warm and welcoming city. Scratch the surface on this beauty and quickly reveal gem that will appeal to a wealth a varying people. Whether you want, history, calm and relaxed city break or dance the night away to the early hours.. this is the city for you.