Berlin Travel Blog› entry 1 of 5 › view all entries
So it was overcast and slightly intimidating when I first landed in this city - the imposing square grey buildings lining the streets and the weight of history here is heavy. The buildings are impressive, but the overwhelming impression is that they are meant to intimidate. Having said that, I really liked Berlin, it had many hidden beauties once one looked past the initial images, and there's something to be said for the absolute efficiency and orderliness with which everything is run. People even wait for the little green man to appear before crossing the roads, which amazed me and made me feel like such a hooligan as I darted across between bouts of traffic!
Climbing the Reichstag dome was an experience, getting in being the fun part! The queues are massive and they shunt you along into lines and then small enclosures before passing through the mandatory security check and finally allowing you up the lifts to the dome.
My favourite part of the city by far was the Tiergarten, an endless expanse of parkland bisected by a couple of major roads, incongruous in itself! The changing colour of the leaves (it was autumn) was breathtaking, and the pictures do not do it justice at all. I spent a good hour just wandering around the various paths in there, but be careful if you're a girl alone not to go too far in away from the more busy spots, as I had a slightly alarming encounter with an old man who wouldn't stop following me around. Albeit, he probably couldn't have chased me very far anyway given the way he was wheezing just walking after me!
I stayed in Mitte in the east of the city, which has lots of cool bars and restaurants around it.
Checkpoint Charlie is surprising in the way that it seems so innocuous - I thought there would be far more fanfare surrounding it than there is. On the walls around it is the history of the Berlin Wall and the situation surrounding it, I couldn't help but sympathise with the plight of those who lived with it.
Finally, Bebelplatz was probably the place that brought me closest to tears, with it's plaque to commemorate the burning of the books. The square is massive and surrounded by graceful old buildings, but to think that something like that took place there not so very long ago really came home to me in that space.
After all this sobering and depressive commentary, I need to end on a light note - Berlin is NOT all gloomy and depressing, I actually found it to be a really fun city, and the Mitte district really came to life at night. I thoroughly enjoyed myself there, and valued the experience and appreciated the sights. Go, go, go!