In Berlin on a budget: day 1 you could read that I explored das Mitte/the center of Berlin on my first day. For my second day, I walked around in the eastern part of the city.
How I spent my 5 days in Berlin
If you take a look at the picture bellow, I’m pretty sure most of you will recognise this graffiti painting.
It’s called ‘My God, help me to survive this deadly love’. Made by Dmitri Vrubel. East side Gallery is the place where you can find the longest remaining piece of the Berlin Wall. It’s funny how a simple wall, can have so much meaning, can move so many people. I enjoyed seeing the works of art displayed on it.
When you arrive at Alexanderplatz you can see the Fernsehturm. It became sort of a competition between East and West Berlin, to have the nicest, the highest building. Well in the East they built this tower of 368 meters high. (you will see it if you scroll down to the picture of the Dom) Nearby is das Nikolaiviertel, I strolled around in the cosy streets. Again a different feel here. This is the oldest part of Berlin, where the first habitants settled themselves. What you also see here is the typical buildings of East Germany. It gives an odd effect. I took a lunch break enjoying the view on the river Spree.
In the afternoon I moved up north, to das Scheunenviertel. From the cosy Hackescher Markt I walked towards the Memorial Jewish cemetary (Jüdischer Friedhof). When you enter you see Denkmal Jüdische Opfer des Faschismus from Will Lammert. I find it a beautiful work. What I’ve noticed in Belgium before, I also noticed here. People lay stones on the gates, at the statue, I’ve also seen it on tombstones. It must have a special meaning, but I’m not sure what exactly.
This is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Berlin, the buildings around it were used to imprison Jews for deportation. The Nazis almost completely ruined the tombstones, so there is not much left. During the second World War, this became the Jewish quarter. As I said before, you gotta look down in Berlin. The streets are filled with these:
As I saw the buildings round me, I could see the holes bullets made. Berlin’s history is still very present here.
Hackeschen Höfe is a nice complex with cosy courtyards. The architecture is in Jugendstil, and you can find many restaurants and shops here. Before leaving das Scheunenviertel, I passed along das Neue Synagoge.
A bridge brought me to Museuminsel, which means museum island. Not hard to guess, but this is an island in the river Spree with museums on it, I think five but not sure.
The buildings here remind me of the Roman architecture. Which I of course love. Very grand, columns, eagles etc. There is a beautiful square with a view on the Berliner Dom.
Before heading back to my apartment, I went back to the Brandenburger Tor to see the Soviet War Memorial.
I got up a bot earlier, this time I moved a bit further away, to Schloss Charlottenburg. Ofcourse they had to work on the building when I got there. Nevertheless it was pretty and reminded me a lot of my trip to Vienna!
When you go to the back you’ll find a beautiful and really big park. A very peaceful spot, ideal to wander around.
After lunch I visited Reichstag, the parlement of Berlin. A visit is free, however make reservations online! As you can see the building is a mix of old and new. I really like it a lot. You get access to the roof which gives you stunning views over the city. With an audio guide you walk your way up the dome and get to know more about the building and what you see around you. I found out it’s very ecological, the warmth (and yes it is hot in there) is used to heat the building. In the middle you’ll notice mirrors, who direct the light into the room(s) bellow.
I think I slept really well, afterwards I visited the free exhibition Topographie des Terrors. It is located at the former headquarters of the Gestapo and SS. This exhibition is extremely interesting, I stayed here a couple of hours but could have spent even more! You get to know how the Nazis came into power. How did they use the media. Ofcourse a lot about the genocide of the Jews. But not only Jews, disabled people, gay people, gypsies, etc. It takes you all the way to the trials of former guards and so on.
What I like about the Germans is that they pay attention to this part of their history. It is important to learn, it can happen in any country!
Sleeping and food
I rented an Airbnb apartment, which wasn’t expensive at all and very good! The advantage of having an own kitchen is of course that you save a lot on food aswell. Nearby is a shopping center, when you go to level -1 you’ll find a big supermarket. You can park your car for free in the street if you have one. Be aware to avoid the center with your car, I believe you need to pay a tax if you drive there.
You have two U-bahn (subway) stations nearby. Berlin is very big. I could do everything from my itinerary by using the U- and S- Bahn. Even Potsdam and Sachsenhausen! If you are with more than 2 persons I advice you to take a group ticket, this is cheaper than getting individual ones per day. If you are staying in Berlin you get yourself the AB ticket. this is 7 euros a day. The one for a small group is 17,30. If you go outside of Berlin, for instance to Potsdamn take the (A)BC ticket (7,60 and 17,80). A week ticket is 37,20 (ABC). More information: go to this site
I made this trip during the Easter holiday in April 2016.