I’m not exactly a history buff, but if there’s any place that’s going to strike a chord with me, Berlin is probably it. Five nights in Berlin seemed like plenty, but as I left I felt I’d barely scratched the surface. On our first day we took a bit of a self guided walking tour that enabled us to see a decent chunk of the inner city sights. Needless to say there was a fair bit of walking!
After a healthy and filling breakfast at Factory Girl, we weaved our way onto Museum Island for a bit of a looksee. We didn’t end up visiting any during our time, but there is about five or six world class museums, all in the convenient spot of a single island.
We laid eyes on the highly scaffolded cathedral before crossing the river back off the island and detoured via the Ritter Sport (Germany’s local chocolate) shop to Gendarmenmarkt, a beautiful and populated square. Here we basked in the sun until culture came calling and we began a fascinating afternoon in relation to Berlin’s history.
First stop was Checkpoint Charlie: one of the access points between East and West Berlin back when the wall was in force. We moved from here to the Topography of Terror, a free indoor and outdoor museum which had SO much information that only Andy survived the audio tour. We then saw Hitler’s bunker (a mere carpark nowadays) and the chilling Holocaust memorial – eery concrete blocks reminiscent of massive tomb stones.
We finished up at the Brandenburg Gate, backed by the expansive Tiergarten. Slowly we meandered home, exhausted from our massive day of sightseeing. Another (free) museum which I visited on another day and which lies in the city of town is the Palace of Tears. This museum was way more interactive and compact than the Topography of Terror (and if there was only time for one this would be my recommendation).
This was an intense first day but a great eye opener to Berlin’s rich history, culture and sheer size. The next few days would be slightly more chilled, covering some of Berlin’s other impressive sights.