Saturday I managed to see some amazing places in Berlin. I got up rather late, as the days before were exhausting and I was disappointed to see, that it was raining. But anyways, there is nothing like bad weather for a traveller and I hit the road. First I got myself some breakfast to charge my batteries. Afterwards I walked a rather long distance through the streets of Berlin. First I walked towards the Spree-Insel, where the most famous museums of Berlin are located. They are located next to the Berlin Dom. Unfortunately they were rather busy, and as I had an appointment to visit the Reichstags-/Bundestag Building I decided to do something else. I took the Bus towards Brandenburger Tor.
Brandenburger Tor is the last gate remaining from the old city walls. It is probably the most famous landmark in Berlin and therefore was very busy. It was just on the Eastern Side of the Berlin Wall and the street towards East “Unter den Linden” got a major renovation after the German Unification. You can find the Hotel Adlon there, and there are also a lot of embassies located in this area: e.g. the French, the US or the Russian embassy.
After enjoying the buzzing atmosphere around the Brandenburger Tor I walked down about 200 meters to visit the Holocaust Memorial. This is a very impressive square, which is formed by 2711 concrete slabs. It was designed by Architect Peter Eisenmann and inaugurated in 2005 – 60 years after the end of World War II. I was very impressed by it, but there are also people around that seem to see it as a place to have fun. The fun definitely ends, if you enter the underground “Place of Information”, where you get insights into the lives of the murdered Jews. I was very impressed and it is a great reminder to what people are actually capable to do to other people.
Afterwards I headed towards the Reichstag-Building – the house of parliament in Germany. Nowadays its not Reichstag any more, but Bundestag, this is for well known historical reasons. I had a guided tour concentrating on the historical aspects of the building, which was very interesting.
One important thing: You need to book a tour at least two days before visiting the Bundestag: you will not get entry without this! Even if you only want to see the glass dome on top of it. I saw a lot of disappointed people, who could not enter the building. The entry and guided tours are for free – the registration is just for security reasons.
The modern Reichstag was replanned by Sir Norman Foster – he used the historical outer walls, but most of the other things were completely rebuild. On top of the building there is a glass dome, which allows great views over Berlin: do not miss out on that.
But I also recommend to make a tour – as you will see a lot of interesting things: Inside the building there are some graffitis left by Russian soldiers, after they stormed the building in April
1945, as an example. The plenary room itself looks smaller as in TV, but it is 1200 square meters and there are over 600 people in it during the parliaments sessions. Norman Foster also added a complete floor to the building – you can see the differences rather well. The dome on top is a very nice example of modern architecture and engineering, as
it serves not only design purposes, but also allows daylight to get into the plenary rooms (through a system of mirrors). It is open on top, to get fresh air into the building, but there is a rather smart system, to prevent water from soaking in.
I would like to give some thanks to people and blogs which helped me to find my way around Berlin:
t.on.air – who gave me some nice advice on where to walk in Berlin
“Come to Berlin” by Ana the Imp
The people from Roomsurfer Berlin, who where very helpful by giving some insider tips via Twitter.
Deaths Head and The Sickly child – her blog is great to read and she makes some great observations about Berlin
and “When Kath´s travelling” who wrote some great article, about her trip to Berlin