Easily one of my favourite places in the whole world
15.09.2014 - 17.09.2014
Ok first something needs to be addressed. I am not travelling anymore. I am settled at my University in Hatfield, England. In fact I have been settled for so long that my room has had a chance to become messy and then clean again at LEAST seven times. Messy has most definitely won for the time being, and the room will likely stay that way until I feel like I am living in enough of my own filth to clean it. You may think I am exaggerating. I am really not… I am a disgusting human...
…. I am also getting side-tracked. I had most of these posts written but I got incredibly, supremely, stupendously LAZY and never edited/published them. So long story short, you are getting the rest of my trip very delayed. But they are going up, and I will continue to write now that I am all settled in as an Aussie girl in an English world. Ok now for one of my favourite cities in the world. I am talking top 5 favourite….
… Drumroll please (and ignore the fact that the name of the city is in the title of the blog)… BERLIN!!!
I feel like Germany is one of the most underrated countries in Europe. Unless you are going in late September- early October where tourists galore gather in Munich for endless litres of beer and chanting, no one seems excited about it. Well, you should be! This country is amazing, as is its capital. It’s true that the city took a beating during the war, so it’s missing a lot of the historical buildings that a lot of cities in Europe have. However, what it lacks in pretty old buildings, it makes up for tenfold in history and atmosphere. Not to mention, you can find PLENTY of amazing architecture if you are willing to venture a little further into Germany.
First tip: go on a walking tour. Even if it isn’t your thing. Even if you would rather sit in a German beer house eat schnitzel and drink till you can’t stand up straight (which coincidentally is tip number 2), GO ON A WALKING TOUR. You can walk around the city yourself or tag along on any of the dozen companies that are extremely cheap and really great quality. The history in this city just can’t be missed. People think they know all about Germany’s involvement in the world wars, but forget that German has a masssssive history before and after the mid-20th century. Germany has let the Berlin retain all of its scars and its beauty marks so that everyone can appreciate the city for what it is. Germany is one of the only countries in the world that I feel has faced their history head on. You can ask them anything, and they take pride in how far Germany has come recovering from some really dark days.
Now for the aforementioned tip two: go to a beer house. I went to Hofbräu Berlin and had an amazing time. If beer isn’t normally your thing, order a radler (half beer and half lemonade). The beer is great, the food is great, and you just feel like you are really experiencing Germany. I will admit that from experience the beer hall wasn’t quite as good as those in Munich, so you should definitely check out both. Back to the food, go for some pork knuckle, a schnitzel, or even what I tried which was pickled pork. It came in a jar and the lovely waitress told me that people either love it or hate it. Lucky I was feeling like taking a risk that day because it is one of my favourite meals that I have had in Europe to date (and I have eaten A LOT of food at this stage of my travels).
Third tip: check out the museums. Berlin is a city full of them. They actually have an island (not surprisingly called ‘Museum Island’) where all of the museums sit. This is tip number three because I know that being smothered in history is not for everyone. So if you don’t like museums, and you’re pretty sure that won’t change... fair enough. If you, like me, love a healthy dose of museum time on your travels, this city has some of the best quality museums that I have ever come across. Keeping in mind that Berlin has more than 170 museums; here are my top three (in order of preference). First, the Pergamon Museum. The Pergamon is full of artefacts from all over Europe that have been discovered by German archaeologists, and is really worth a look. Second, the Topography of Terrors. This is a series of photographs and documents that were collected during the period of the holocaust. It is a free museum, and the gallery gives an amazing insight into the mentality of the Nazi army, and the impact of the holocaust on all of the countries across Europe that had civilians taken to camps. Third is the German Historical Museum or ‘Deutsches Historisches Museum’. This museum gives a really well-rounded view of German History in its entirety, which I think is really important, as a lot of museums neglect the history of Germany before and after the world wars.
Tip four: GO TO THE EASTSIDE GALLERY!! If you don’t know what that is, it is the largest portion of the Berlin wall left standing after communist East Berlin reunited with capitalist West Berlin who had been separated by the 155km wall for 30 years. See!!?? How can anyone say Berlin history isn’t interesting? If that little snippet didn’t make you want to know more about the Berlin wall YOU’RE CRAZY! Anyway, after the wall came down artists from across the world came to the city to paint a portion of the wall. This became known as the eastside gallery. Walking along it is pretty surreal. It has some amazing pieces of art that you will probably recognize once you see them, and it is definitely worth spending some time here.
Ok as usual, the length of this entry is getting excessive, so I am gonna give some quick tips before I sum up. Go to the zoo, it is one of the best in Europe and will make you feel like a small child again in the best possible way. Go to the ‘Ritter Sport’ store where you can pick the ingredients for your own chocolate bar. Go to checkpoint Charlie because you will regret it if you don’t but be prepared to be disappointed when you do (you will understand when you see it). Oh, and check out the nightlife! I had a great time out and about in Berlin. The music is great and the alcohol is pretty cheap. Tourists can’t ask for much more than that.
Well…. I think I am done here. Oh there is more. There is sooooo much more! But you know what? Go check it out yourself! I’ll meet you there.
Till next time.