After successfully completing the Race for Life, I had a quick meal out with my parents to celebrate and then I got the train down to Hertfordshire to stay at my boyfriend’s house for the night. We had a 6am plane to catch from Luton Airport, its destination: Berlin!
My boyfriend and I were deciding where to go on our first holiday together and we were originally looking to go somewhere in the UK. We wanted to go on a city break, so we were looking at places we’d never been to before. Glasgow was our decided destination, until we realised that for the same price, we could go to Berlin. So Berlin it was!
My boyfriend had been to Berlin before, but he was happy to go again, and it was quite nice to have someone who knew their way around the city and main attractions.
We landed at Schoenefeld Airport and before making our way to the hotel, we picked up a travel card for 28.70 euros each. Known as the Berlin WelcomeCard, we both received a handy guide book, maps and a ticket which was valid for trains (S-Bahn), trams and buses for zones A, B and C, and lasted for 72 hours from validation. This ticket also entitled us to discounts in shops, restaurants and tourist attractions- it was very handy!
The hotel we stayed in was only 15 minutes away from Alexanderplatz via tram, and there were several trams which we could get, so we didn’t have to wait for long at all. I must admit, I much prefer the transport system and links in Berlin compared to London. Every form of transport ran on time, they were all very efficient and even though it was often very busy like it gets in London, it didn’t feel as hectic as London; the atmosphere was much more relaxed.
Alexanderplatz was the first tourist attraction we visited, one of the main parts of Berlin. You can see the World Clock, the Town Hall, but what stands out most is the iconic TV tower. We went up the tower on our final night and enjoyed a Sex on the Beach cocktail, while looking at the stunning views of Berlin from 207 metres high!
One part of Berlin which I really admired was Hackescher Markt, a square located close to Alexanderplatz which has restaurants and shops, and a lovely shopping area with small boutique shops. We also found where the Anne Frank Museum is, down a sort of alleyway where there is a lot of creative graffiti covering the buildings.
The hottest day of our city break was spent at Berlin zoo, which is one of the best in the world (this is not an overstatement!). I saw many animals I had never seen at a zoo before, including hippos, ostriches, panthers, jaguars and a grizzly bear. Unfortunately I did not get to see any polar bears, but it was 31 degrees, so I don’t blame them for staying inside where it’s cool! There is also an aquarium, which was pretty cool with other creatures such as insects and amphibians.
I love visiting churches and cathedrals, so my boyfriend and I went into two cathedrals. The first one we visited was close to the zoo, and is called the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The majority of it was bombed during the Second World War, but the part of it which remains is like a small museum, and there is a new modern church beside it.
I was greatly amazed by Berliner Dom, which is located on Museum Island. This stunning cathedral was interesting to discover, and it was really cool to walk around the outside walkway around the dome at the top of the cathedral!
It was fascinating to see parts of the Berlin wall around the city, in particular the East Side Gallery. There seems to be a lot of graffiti around Berlin, as I mentioned before, but it seems to be celebrated. There was some stunning graffiti/artwork on the East Side Gallery.
My boyfriend and I made our own marks on part of the wall.
If you ever wonder which side of Berlin you are in, you only need to look at the pedestrian traffic lights. Even though Berlin is no longer divided into East and West by the wall, the traffic lights indicate whether you are in the former West or East side of Berlin. The Ampelmannchen is a man wearing a hat, and means little traffic light man, which is on the pedestrian traffic lights in the East side of Berlin, while the West side of Berlin has the standard looking green and red man.
It really surprised me how close some of the attractions were together, such as Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie, and Bradenburg Gate and the Jewish Memorial. We did end up going back close to attractions we had previously visited, but that wasn’t a problem.
I am now in love with Currywurst after trying it on our first day! Currywurst is a sliced sausage in a sauce which I would describe as BBQ flavoured with a hint of curry. I had it twice while I was in Berlin, and will definitely have it again when I hope to visit Germany again at some point in the future.
On the way back to the airport to return to the UK, we made a stop at a train station called Plänterwald. It turned out that about 20 minutes away from the station, there was an abandoned theme park. My boyfriend wanted to see this last time he went to Berlin, so he was thrilled that we got to have an explore.
We walked around the perimeter of the park, which had a green fence going all around it and had warning signs not to go in. We could see a few rides, such as a log flume and a merry go round. The creepiest part of the abandoned theme park though was the ferris wheel, which was still moving! I think it was the wind which was making it move, and it made screeching noises- it felt like being at the movie set of a horror film! Seeing an abandoned theme park is not something you do everyday, so it was pretty cool to see it.
My boyfriend and I had three fun packed days of exploring the fantastic city of Berlin. I’d love to go back again, or try somewhere like Munich. I’d definitely like to go on another city break in the near future!
Happy reading and blogging!