Germany – Berlin Part 1

Free Walking Tour

In the morning we made some omelettes and then rushed off to the Free Walking Tour with the Sandeman’s company. This was our first free walking tour and we both really loved it. We got to tick off a lot of things on our to do list. The places we stopped at were:

1. Brandenburg Gate; to be honest, it was way more epic than we were expecting.

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2. Just up the road from Brandenburg Gate we saw the Jewish Holocaust Memorial. It was surprisingly interesting given that it’s just blocks. The layout and earthworks gave the Memorial an eerie tone.

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3. We moved onto what is now a carpark, it seemed pretty boring until our guide told us that the spot where we were standing was where Hitler committed suicide. Underneath the carpark was his old bunker. Unfortunately the bunker has been filled.

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4. A short walk saw us at part of the Berlin Wall and into West Germany (the part just outside of Topography of Terror).

5. After a short coffee break we then walked to the Luftwaffe Ministry building (one of the few Nazi buildings still intact and used to this day – gigantic!)

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6. We then onto Checkpoint Charlie which is very touristy, nothing too special, it was sandwiched between a KFC and McDonalds. We didn’t get photos with the guards.

7. Our 7th stop was the Berlin Concert Hall and the French and German Chapel.

8. The final stop on our 3 hour tour was Humboldt University, focusing on the memorial for the book burnings.

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Alexanderplatz & Rosenthalplatz

After the tour we had a quick look through the book sales at the University; in remembrance of the book burnings the students sell secondhand books every afternoon. We then walked to the TV Tower, and couldn’t be bothered paying 13EU just to got to the top.

Someone from our Hostel said to visit Alexanderplatz (expensive) and Rosenthalplatz (cheap) for food so we decided to walk around those areas. Alexanderplatz is a shopping district with some very nice restaurants. We weren’t really window shopping so we kinda skimmed the area and went to Rosenthalplatz. It was okay, we ended up getting kebabs (across from the Circus Hostel) which wasn’t bad, but not great. On our way back to the hostel we saw a bakery, so we bought some donuts (Ricky went crazy over the Jam Berlin Baller).

Donuts & The Olympic Stadium

The next morning we woke up to school kids screaming ‘Aleee’, so naturally we both woke up super cranky. We hadn’t realised but our hostel is a popular booking place for school groups, so that came as a shock during happy hour. We spent the morning applying for jobs, and had a break by going to the local bakery tucked away in a marketplace.

The lady was super nice and helped me with the pronunciation of what I wanted, while telling Ricky his pronunciation was ‘Superb’, Ricky was in his element when he tried a spritzkuchen.

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Later on in the afternoon we caught 2 trains (U9 → U2, AB Zone) to get to the Olympic Stadium. The stadium was actually really impressive and the electronic guide was well worth the 4EU; which you can share between 2 people.

The park around the stadium is nice, but nothing really special. We both think it would be worthwhile doing a night trip to the stadium to see everything lit up.

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After this we came home, did some food shopping, accidentally bought super expensive sausages and then had kebabs for dinner again. It wasn’t that filling for Ricky so when we got back to the Hostel I made some pasta and we had some tea, apples and stroopwaffels as well.

East Side Gallery, Computer Museum and Topography of Terror

We woke up ridiculously early, so decided to get on with the day and cooked breakfast, applied for jobs and then headed off to the East Side Gallery. We took two trains to get there, so it was relatively easy. The wall itself is very underwhelming, we had expected big things from the artwork, but it was really average. Safe to say, Bogota in Colombia had higher quality street artists.

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After walking up and down the East Side Gallery we walked about 1.5kms to the Computerspiele museum. It was a nice break from all the heavy historical stuff and we got to play some of the games.

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We then took the train back towards the city centre and went to Topography of Terror. We would highly recommend you go to this free exhibit, we spent just over two hours there and we definitely rushed it, you could easily stay there for hours.

We were both completely mentally drained by the end of it. Our final stop for the day was the Reichstag building. The building is very impressive, although you have to book in advance to get in, if you didn’t want to wait in the 2 hour queue. We couldn’t cope with the thought of standing in line or making the trek back out there so we didn’t bother.

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On the bus ride home we made the mistake of sitting behind a psychopathic child who had to be entertained every 5 seconds or hell in the form of screams and tears would be released.

Berlin Notes

  • We had a shared dorm in Amstel Hostel (it wasn’t too bad, if you don’t mind having happy hour next to 1,000 Students; lots of schools book accommodation there for their trips.)
  • When you go grocery shopping in Berlin make sure you buy fruit and veg from the markets, actual supermarkets were a bit pricey.
  • Kantstrasse is apparently the high end restaurant area if that floats your boat.
  • BRING YOUR STUDENT ID, even if it’s expired, lots of cheap discounts for students.
  • Rittersport chocolate will change your life.

 

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