Victoria Travels - Pit Stop

Berlin Travel Blog

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Victoria East meets Victoria West.
How to see Berlin in a day - go on a walking tour!  Lasted about 8 and an half hours.  Very sore feet now.  Hopefully i'll be able to add a photo soon - forgot to bring the cable downstairs with me.

Berlin - very cheap, very easy to get around, and just about everyone speaks english so no embarressing standing around not knowing whats going on!  Berlin feels very safe although all the graffitti makes you feel abit wary.  It is everywhere, whether the area is run down (east berlin) or newly painted!  It's a nice city to walk around - mainly because you can easily walk around and not have to get public transport if you don't want.
All the way from belfast to find a chocolate Titanic!
  Saying that, the subway is easy and cheap to use, as are trams.  Oh, on the cost, a train ticket on the airport express plus the metro cost 2.10euro (Oops, tried putting in the euro symbol but all i did was change the keyboard to russian and then couldn't get it changed back!  The airport train trip tooks between 40mins and an hour! 

Walking tour I took was with brewersberlintours.  The guide met us at the hostel I was staying at (The Eastseven) and took us to meet with the rest of the tour group.  Our actual tour guide for the day, Victoria, was very enthusiastic and knew her stuff about Berlin.  There should be photo of her - my first Victoria photo! 

Started off in East Berlin, making note of various places where bombs had fallen and the ground is still bare (as in no new buildings on it).
Er... is there something to do with football this summer?
  I know at home the developers would be wanting to fill it up but there seems to be abit of a reluctance here to fix up East Berlin.  Many buildings look old and ramsackle though all they probably need is a lick of paint.  Some beautiful builidngs.  It is still very easy to see all the shrapnel and bullet holes in the buildings.

Berlin has really cool looking green and red men for crossing the road.  I really should have taken a photo.  I think the East Berlin crossing men are fatter than the West Berlin, but that could be the other way around.  The little green men have peaked caps and look very jolly, even without having a face so to speak off! 

What else can I remember.... We saw the only jewish secondary school at which both girls and boys attend.
Brandenburg Gate.
  When school is in session, it is heavily guarded by police and there are lots of cameras.  As are the synagogues.  So there is still some hostile feeling towards the Jews, or else the Berliners are really trying very hard to make up for what happened.  Later on in the day we saw the memorial to the Jewish people.  It's quite strange... lots and lots of granite blocks of differing sizes.  It's like a maze.  You can walk right down into it (not that you realise you will go down and be towered over by the blocks from the start of the memorial). It is quite errie and you do feel isolated and alone which is partly what the memorial is supposed to represent. 

We saw the current American embassy, where you are not allowed to get closer than 200m or so and no photos and no standing around talking!  It is patrolled by not-too-happy policemen.
Reichstag
  The americans are doing up a building where they are going to move to.  I think it may actually have been where they originally where but don't quote me on that.  They are going to have some difficulties with their security procedures.  The Brandenburg gate is closer than 200m, the Brandenburg Gate is one of the most photographed places in Berlin.  I'm not sure if the Americans realise that the Brandenburg gate will not be moving!

The road up to the Brandenburg gate has a nice 'park' all the way up the middle.  Our guide pointed out that every one of the trees here was a Nazi flag during Hilter's time.  That would have been very very very scary. A lot of flags! (And thats an understatement!)  There is obviously going to be something to do with the Football this summer going on in front of the Gate as they were erected a giant football!  I don't know exactly what it is going to be for - maybe some sort of exclusive box or something.
Can't escape equations even on holiday!
  The Gate itself is pretty big!  Greek style, with a goddess on top in a carriage with 4 horses.  I'm trying to remember which Goddess is (currently) is representing.  It started as peace I think and then became power maybe, but she doesn't seem to have lived up to her name in relation to Berlin!

The Riechstag is a pretty impressive building.  It would be nice to have a look inside.  You can see the glass dome that covers the 'council room' (again I can't remember the correct name).  You can walk (circle) up into the dome.  The dome looks down into the council room so any Berliners can see and I presume hear what the politicians are doing and thus the Berlin people will not be lied to again. 

We also saw various libraries and theatres and churches, all of these seem to be part of some pedestrian square or other.
Down to the Brandenburg Gate.
  Ver beautiful buildings.  Very peaceful squares.  We saw the library where the Nazis took the books to burn and sttod in the square where that horrific bonfire would have been.  There is a memorial right in the middle of the square - you have to walk over to if because you wouldn't realise it is there although it is very poigant.  There is a room below the square which is filled with floor to ceiling bookcases.  They are all empty but there is enough room for every single book that was burned.  I was quite moved by it.

As we made our way around Berlin, we were following the line the Berlin wall took.  On the ground this is shown by a couple of rows of cobbles.  So you could walk all the way around the 'wall' by yourself.
East Berlin
  I found that Berlin is trying very hard to remember the past 'in the right way'.  Not forget it but also not to keep dragging its heels about what happened.

Every so often around the city we would see a fantastically beautiful old building. A good guess would be that it was built during the time of Baron von Bismarck.  Someone will probably correct me, as again I've forgotten my history, but he won major reparations from France (I think) during a war which he started although he also won.  (Was this the Prussian War? There have been so many......) Anyway, he got so much money he really didn't know what to do with it, so he commissioned all these highly decorated buildings.  They are very pretty.

Towards the end of the tour our guide brought so to a chocolatier.
Memorial to the Jewish people.
  Chocolate of all sorts... ranging in cocoa solid percentage from about 33% up to 75% or so.  Yummy.  You could buy some small tasters of each for 15cents each.  There, were bars of chocolate and then a counter with various chocolate sweets and chocolate covered fruits.  You could even buy some hot chocolate to drink, milk or dark, with added cream or steamed milk or espresso.  Although you may know me as loving my chocolate, I really don't like hot chocolate, even if it is made properly with good chocolate.  Chocolate should be cold, from the fridge and relative hard so it melts in the mouth.  Anyway, the others said the hot chocolate was fantastic.  I'm, not sure if they appreciated my hot chocolate fact about my home town - Hans Sloan created hot chocolate as we know it today (since he didn't like it in its original form).
Berlin Wall from the East side.
Also at the Chocolatiers, they had huge chocolate models or various important things and places, like the Reichstag and also the Titanic!  So I thought I should include a photo of the famous ship to relate this blog with Belfast.

Ok, what else.  Ah.. german efficiency.  Berlin is one of the greenest cities I've ever been in. Part of this is due to the Berliners having an active treeplanting plan.  The only thing is that they may have gone overboard alittle - they have counted every single tree in the city and also given it a number tag!  I've included a photo showing tree number 1!  It was also quite strange to head off the street behind the Brandenburg Gate into a wood.  I wouldn't call it a park but most definietly a wood.
TV tower - East Berlin!
  Very pleasant.

Right, I think I've exhausted my memory of Berlin things.  I now want to go back and get a more relaxed view of the city.  They are of course getting prepared for the World Cup and that was quite obvious.  T-Mobile is obviously doing alot of the sponsoring as there were some poor germans having to run around in bright luminous pink lycra jumpsuits and with their top half covered by a giant football!  The tv tower also now has a giant football around it, with pink sections - this can be seen from just about everwhere in the city.  Still it is a good thing to aim towards if you get lost!
Supigirl says:
didn't know that my capital is so interesting. haven't really been there and I hated history in school, therefore won't correct you cos I don't know better. Interesting to see it from your point of view
Posted on: Jun 11, 2007
travelman727 says:
Great article about one of the world's most fascinating cities! I only had 24 hours to see Berlin; your writings and photos bring back back happy memories.
Posted on: Oct 18, 2006
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Victoria East meets Victoria West.
Victoria East meets Victoria West.
All the way from belfast to find a…
All the way from belfast to find …
Er... is there something to do wit…
Er... is there something to do wi…
Brandenburg Gate.
Brandenburg Gate.
Reichstag
Reichstag
Cant escape equations even on hol…
Can't escape equations even on ho…
Down to the Brandenburg Gate.
Down to the Brandenburg Gate.
East Berlin
East Berlin
Memorial to the Jewish people.
Memorial to the Jewish people.
Berlin Wall from the East side.
Berlin Wall from the East side.
TV tower - East Berlin!
TV tower - East Berlin!
Checkpoint Charlie.
Checkpoint Charlie.
Inside the Memorial to the Jewish …
Inside the Memorial to the Jewish…
Strange art on the Berlin Wall.
Strange art on the Berlin Wall.
Doh, Cant remember what this is!
Doh, Can't remember what this is!
German efficiency - all the trees …
German efficiency - all the trees…
Berlin Cathedral
Berlin Cathedral
Berlin
photo by: CFD