My brother and I traveled to Berlin the weekend after the 25th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall. I haven’t traveled to many places (yet) but I have to say this has been one of my favorite places I have visited so far. I am a huge nerd when it comes to history and being able to stand exactly where a huge part of history took place was pretty mind-blowing.
My favorite part of the first day was visiting the Berlin Wall. This was the most moving experience I’ve ever had. Part of the Wall is still standing and in other parts there are poles resembling where the Wall once stood. Across the street, there’s the Berlin Wall Memorial Museum – I could have spent hours here. There’s information and biographies on people who have tried to escape East Berlin and who have died because of it. There’s also participatory pieces where you can write how you feel about the Berlin Wall, World War II, the destruction of the Wall, etc. and hang it on clipboards that are hanging from the ceiling. I read most of them and some of the things people wrote were exactly what I was thinking.
The Berlin Wall Memorial made us forget how hungry we were. So after we left we went to the BEST stake house I have EVER been to. The Block House, do you and your stomach a favor and enjoy dinner here if you’re visiting Berlin. The prices aren’t bad either! I had an amazing steak with mushroom sauce on the side (Corey had the garlic sauce on the side – also very good), and it came with a slide of their delicious garlic bread and a huge baked potato overflowing with their sour cream. There wasn’t a crumb left on my plate. Before we found the Block House, we were walking along Friedrichstrasse, which is the heart of a chic restaurant and entertainment district, is east Berlin’s main shopping street. This is a GREAT place for shopping! This area is beautiful.
The next day we started with the Memorial for Murdered Jews of Europe. It was a nice place to check out and it didn’t take long. It’s almost like a maze and you can go in whatever direction you want, but the deeper into the memorial you go, the higher up the walls become. There’s a museum under the memorial but it was closed due to renovations. However, I was told to visit the Memorial first before visiting Hitler’s bunker, or what’s left of it anyway. So that was the next stop. His underground bunker was destroyed, so you can’t go in it, but you can stand on top of it, which is now a parking lot. I never would have known it was even there if it weren’t for me researching before my trip.
After that we walked around and then visited the War and Clothing exhibition and the Staatliche Museum (read about it on my previous post here). One of my favorite things we stumbled on was a flea market located near the Staatliche Museum. It went on for a few blocks and they had the most interesting products and food. I was mesmerized, I wanted to buy and try everything. I bought spices, then Corey and I decided to try Turkish food that a guy was making on the street for 2.50 euro – that was the best decision we made the entire trip. It was so good I couldn’t get enough.
Afterwards we rested up at our hotel for a few hours and then visited the Reichstag Building but we went into the dome. We were at the top of the building overlooking Berlin and we were able to walk up the dome, it’s a spiral walk to the top but it was a great scene to check out. In the middle of the dome is a huge cone-like structure covered with mirrors going from the top to the bottom. Corey (again my architectural tour guide) told me that the purpose of it is because the bottom of the “cone” is pointing into a room where the German government and other governments meet. The purpose of the mirrors is so that people can see the reflection of the government and what they are going. Apparently, it’s becoming a very used technique in architecture. How awesome is that? Later we ended our night with a few drinks.
There were many places we wished we could have seen. A weekend wasn’t enough time! But I would love to go back one day.