On my return from Australia in the summer I made a mini promise to myself/set myself a challenge to visit more countries and I made a start this half term with a visit to Berlin. The more I think about the more I wonder why I’ve never been to Germany before: it’s relatively close to England and I did GCSE German so surely it seems a more natural choice than France or Spain. But for whatever reason this was my first trip to Germany and I loved it!
Berlin is a gorgeous city. The architecture is beautiful, especially the pre war buildings and buildings on the West side of the city, it is insanely green and leafy and it’s surprisingly cheap. In fact the whole of Germany seems pretty green, as we flew over it I was amazed at the sheer amount of forest. We stayed on the West side of the city, which was good but meant a looooong walk to any of the main sites, such as the Reichstag Building (photo at the top). I don’t mind walking but even I think we walked way too far on the first day.
To save our legs a little bit and to ensure we saw as much of Berlin as possible we bought two day tickets for a Hop On/Hop Off bus (one of my favourite things and again so cheap) and off we went. Driving past and stopping at places like Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral (pictured above), a few museums, including Topography of Terror which we visited and East Side Gallery.
East Side Gallery is a section of the Berlin Wall that has been turned into an art gallery, which is a pretty cool use of something that was seen as a horrible and inhumane feature of the city. And it was here that I had the best curry wurst of my trip. In fact I think I only lived on curry wurst, bratwurst and mulled wine all holiday.
I was pretty desperate to visit the zoo, as I have a childlike obsession with just watching animals for hours. We spent at least six hours at Berlin Zoo (my boyfriend is a lucky guy) and it was pretty amazing. Although I would definitely recommend it, I’m not sure about some of the animal enclosures, they looked a bit dated. My sister’s favourite animal is a gorilla, so in every zoo I visit I make it my mission to get at least one good gorilla shot for her; this one looks particularly pleased. On my zoo travels I have noticed that elephants and giraffes always seem to get the best houses with the most beautiful and often oldest buildings in the grounds. I have seen many of their houses dating back to the mid 20th century, I wonder why that is? So far I have noticed it at London Zoo, Berlin Zoo and Taronga Zoo, but who knows where next.
Of course any visit to a new country/place means a new interest in books about or set in that place and Berlin has been no exception. I picked up a great little book about The Berlin Wall to educate me on way it was built and I have added a huge amount of fictional books to my Amazon wish list. As always I’m open to suggestions on any books or films you think I should read based in or around Berlin. I’m determined to learn more about the history and culture of the city.
I think Berlin will definitely be on my ‘return to’ list for travelling. The next question is, where to go next?