The first impression of Berlin is how green it is , there is an abundance of tree lined streets and parks galore. It certainly gives a welcoming feel to a city.
Our hotel Adina in Hackescher Markt is in a great spot to walk to many of the attractions and there are restaurants of many cuisines to choose from nearby too.
It’s is located near the famous Alexander Platz where the massive Berlin Tower dominates the skyline of this very low rise city.
We arrived late in the afternoon but were pretty tired so hit the sack to adjust and then were able to rise early for a wander around the Museum island and the DOM cathedral before breakfast.
We checked out the waterfront sculptures depicting the carefree life of children which was just beautiful.
and then the interior of the DOM which was very impressive well as Museum island before heading off on our exploration past the two bridges and some fabulous sculptures.
The Dom was under renovation on the exterior but inside was stunning and the statutes on the Island bridge were a picture of the homage to the antiquities.
The Yellow hop on hop off bus took us to a few places further afield but it was also very frustrating at times, we waited at stops that the bus didn’t stop at and it certainly fell short on many others that we have ventured on in many other cities around the world .
The highlights were the stop off at the Brandenburg Gate which was smaller than expected but also very impressive. We walked past the highly guarded British and USA embassies and then to the amazing monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This massive concrete block park with undulating contours and blocks of varied sizing evoked very high emotions and can be interpreted in what ever way you see it.
We jumped back on the bus and drove through and along the edge of the enormous Tiergarten Central Park, or forest as it mostly is and then visited the huge Berlin flea markets before heading out towards the Charlottenburg Palace.
We continued around the loop past areas where there was up to 80% total destruction from allied bombing in some of the best Art Nouveau neighborhoods in the world but so little left of the amazing design fest that once was.
The Europa Centre and the Bikini Berlin 1960’s resurgence areas do West Berlin were fascinating and then it was onto the more recent redevelopment of Potsdamer Platz into a vibrant modern hub of glass and steel designer buildings dominated by the very green SONY centre.
The street services lids were really very special in Berlin
The ferry ride along the river gave us another aspect of the places we’d either walked or bussed to, it was very pleasant sitting back and taking in the area from the water, as we were averaging around 10kms a day in walking.
We passed the huge Reichstag buildings and the new government buildings spanning the river and saw another side of the redevelopment of the united Berlin.
We went down to the river to the James Simon park and had a drink with the locals on the deck chairs overlooking to river bank as the sun started to sink and then went for a stroll along the river looking for the ferry dock but were given a bum steer and ended up in the wrong direction but it was ok as we explored new areas and ended up back on the river in a really nice rebuilt/restored neighborhood and had diner by the river. We strolled through the Marx-Engles forum and checked out the statues they erected in honor of the lads.
There are many many museums and galleries in Berlin and we only scratched the surface , a return visit will give more opportunities to visit more another day. The ones we did visit, the Pergamon and the Neues were certainly up there with some of the best we’ve seen on our travels.
The ancient civilisations, especially the Balablonian and Egyptian sections were amazing considering it was all pieced together from ceramic fragments and then reconstructed was incredible.
Every time we visit ancient museums we continue to marvel at the ingenuity of design especially in jewellery as well as the miniatures.
We loved the Vietnamese food available , the chicken Ban Mai was up there with the best. We went back for take away again and also enjoyed a couple of other Asian dining experience in Berlin. We ventured further the next day visiting a few old wall spots as well which was amazing and to see the actually breakthrough points in photo and video displays really made it so real.
We wandered through a big market place and had another Vietnamese lunch at a very important breakthrough place for the Berlin Wall.
We then ended up down at the river at the Eastside gallery and saw the 1km long art works and the two walls with no mans land in between beside the river. The various works were truly inspirational with hundreds of images celebrating the fall of the wall.
We explored close to our apartment and found some amazing street art along the arcades and shops beneath the railway line.
There was also a stunning Art Deco housing complex nearby, now artist retreat and commercial space nearby hidden behind a modern building that was a real eye opener.
We decided to scrape the hop on hop off bus as it was too limiting and got a taxi out to Bikini Berlin which was a 1960’s shopping and commercial precinct which has had a new makeover and turned into a great new centre with pop up designer shops and a great atmosphere and then onto Kaiser Williheim church remains and new 60’s funky chapel and then the Ka De We shopping centre that was built in 1906 but not much of its original features are left due to war damage.
Our last day we caught the train out to Potsdam to visit the myriad of Royal summer Palaces that are spread out over an area of about 10sq kilometers and consists of 15 separate palaces of various sizes, periods and styles. The most famous being Sanssouci palace with its single level design and sumptuous interiors.
Our favorite of them all was the Roman Empire inspired Orangarie Palace with its majestic arches and porticos.
There was one room in particular that amazed us the most and it featured this amazing array of Abyssinian green crystal made into all kinds of furniture features.
The whole palace was dedicated to the Renaissance artist Raffael with his depictions of the granduer of Ancient Rome so there are reproductions all through the Palace which show exactly where the design came from.
We had to visit the DDR museum which was really worth it as it was a great insight into life in a communist regime.
Our last night we just wandered around in the heat locally and took in a bit more of the Alexanderplatz to say our farewells to this fascinating city.