Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Berlin, Germany

After spending some time in Sevilla, I finished out the long weekend by flying to Berlin for a day via Ryan Air.  I was all alone.  I didn't know German.  But, I did have a plan.  I could go straight from the airport via train to my hostel.  And then, halfway there, the train broke down.  Everyone was evacuated from the train and service was discontinued until further notice....or so I gathered in my limited knowledge of the language.  What's a girl to do??  I followed the crowd to a nearby bus terminal.  I was a little too scared to try a bus since I had limited ability to communicate and wasn't all that clear about where I was exactly at the moment.  I opted for a cab.  I hadn't planned on the high fare, but in my circumstances, it seemed like the best option.  And I safely arrived at my hostel just in time for the afternoon walking tour of the city!  Perfect timing!

Clockwise - hostel; Mandy, a new friend I met on the walking tour; my unprepared and tired feet at the end of the tour
Our first stop was Berlin's Museumsinsel (Museum Island) with lots of nice historic buildings.

Clockwise: Berlin Cathedral, Deutscher Dom, Kathe Kollwitz sculpture in Neue Wache, Altes Museum
We didn't have a chance to spend much time there, but I was able to see a few things and soak up a lot of information.  First, we heard an interesting story at the Berlin Cathedral. The gold cross topper (pictured in the foreground) had not yet been placed on the top of the Dome.  Our tour guide indicated it was for lack of funding.  In the meantime, it just sat out in front of the Cathedral.  Next, we headed over to the Gendarmenmarkt.  There is a marble statue of Friedrich Schiller in the center of the square.  After seeing a handful of historic Cathedrals, we were able to visit the interior of the Neue Wache to view the Käthe Kollwitz sculpture Mother with her Dead Son - a World War II war memorial. There is a hole directly above the statue that allows snow, rain, and sunshine to pour down on the statue.  Finally, we came to Altes Museum.  You can tell that the columns are patched together with a couple different colors.  This was due to damage during WWII according to our guide.

From Museum Island, we made our way to Checkpoint Charlie.  This was an interesting experience.  I can't imagine what life must have been like back during its active use.

Left: Berlin Wall; Top Right: tip top of the Reichstag Building; Bottom Right: Brandenburg Gate
Our next stop was the most anticipated of the entire day for me - the Berlin Wall!  I had always wanted to check it out in person.  While it wasn't quite as impressive as I had imagined, it was neat to be able to take a few minutes to reflect on why the wall was even there in the first place.  Lots of history on this walking tour!!   

Top: Hilter's Bunker; Bottom: Holocaust Memorial
Our tour ended nearby the Holocaust Memorial.  We were able to see the area of land above the Fuherbunker where Hilter spent his last few months.  This was nearby the Brandenburg Gate as well.

After the tour, Mandy and I had dinner at a nearby pub and walked back to the hostel.  It had been an interesting, but long day for me.  I would have enjoyed checking out the Olympiastadion, but unfortunately I had to head back to the States the next morning.  Guess I'll have to check that out next time :)

Do you enjoy walking tours when you travel to new cities?

Linking up with Helene for Travel Tuesdays!
Helene in Between

Andrea :)


  1. I am dying to go to Germany!! This looks amazing. how was Ryan air? I have never tried it before.

    1. Jumping in here - I flew Ryan Air after buying a groupon to Poland, and they were pretty good. The groupon mandated that we only take hand luggage (so no horrors about lost baggage that I've heard others had). It's definitely no frills, but after bad weather in the Krakow airport delayed our flight out and threatened cancellation, they carted the entire flight by coach bus to a different airport to get us home the same day. I was miserable at the time, but looking back, it's pretty awesome that they coordinated that!

  2. Those pictures are gorgeous! I cannot wait to go to Germany some day, I have so much heritage there.


  3. I missed Berlin on my current trip, and am regretting it! Your pictures look awesome. Did you do the Sandeman's free English walking tours, by chance? I just did them in London, Paris, and Amsterdam and loved each tour guide/tour.

  4. Wow! The Mother with dead son statue must be very moving when it's submitted to the elements...can you imagine it covered in a dusting of snow?

    Check point Charlie is interesting, and I am glad that they still leave it there. History is so important!