I know it’s not been long since I returned home from Belgium. But the travel bug bit me hard this summer and I decided that one short break just wasn’t enough for me. So on a last minute whim, I managed to book myself a 5-day break to the capital of Germany, Berlin. Of course, this resulted in me spending all of my money but I really couldn’t resist the deal we found on LastMinute.com for the city.
I’ve wanted to visit Berlin for a little while now, mainly because of the historical attractions of the city. I’ve always been a little bit of a history nerd, so the possibility of seeing things like the Berlin Wall for myself proved to be an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.
First of all let me say, Berlin is wonderful but very large, seemingly even more so when you attempt to do everything by foot – I managed a lot of walking during this trip. Although there was a really easily accessible tube in a similar form as what we’re used to in London, I preferred walking everywhere so that I could take in as much of the city as physically possible in my short five days. And in doing this, I also managed to stumble about sights that I didn’t even plan for.
One of the first things I really wanted to see was the Brandenburg Gate. Although it was previously inaccessible after the Second World War, the gate has now become a symbol of unity in the German city. And what a wonderfully designed symbol it is. It is a pedestrian zone and at night, it is lit up to appear majestic and makes it appear even more special than it does in the daylight.
Around the corner from the Gate is another top tourist attraction, the Reichstag building. Sadly, the building wasn’t open to viewings without an online pre-booking but as the weather was so lovely, I was lucky enough to be able to admire the building alongside many other tourists from the gardens opposite. I think we visited the gate and the Reichstag building every single day of our trip, not only because they were wonderful sights, but they were also very central to a lot of other buildings and venues that we were interested in seeing.
Throughout the whole of Berlin, there were numerous memorial sites, some of which I hadn’t even heard of before venturing to the city. Obviously, these memorial sites were there to remember the groups that had been affected by the Second World War. This included a memorial for the Soviet Army, a memorial for the Jews, a memorial for the Sinti and Roma of Europe and a memorial for the homosexual community. I loved how respectful these memorial sites were and they clearly attracted a lot of visitors. What was even better about these sites was that each had their very own leaflet, explaining how these groups had been affected and their history in Germany. Yeah, I told you, history nerd. My favourite site was the memorial for the Sinti and Roma. It is a beautifully peaceful site located in the gardens just behind the Reichstag building and couldn’t be a more fitting site for a memorial.
Of course, as I previously mentioned, I REALLY wanted to visit the Berlin wall. And there were traces of this across the whole of Berlin. A lot of sites which kept the wall intact were keen to explain the history of the wall. One of my favourites points of the trip was visiting an Eastern point of the wall which featured a Topography of Terror exhibition. This site was previously an institution of the Nazi regime, so it felt very fitting that it was now used to highlight the extreme measures of the Nazis.
Berlin really did make me fall in love with Germany and it was my first visit to the country. I would happily re-visit this city to take on different activities and soak up the culture a little more but I am so keen to explore the rest of the country. Even if the history stuff isn’t really your thing, there is so much to do in Berlin. The food is wonderful, the mall has an incredible amount of shopping options and it is such a bustling city that I’m sure you’ll find something to your taste.