Monday, 13 March 2017

Berlin: Episode I

Towards the end of February I embarked on another German adventure (following January's excursion), this time with my family, and this time to Berlin.  Having visited around 4 years before on a school trip, I was more than excited to go back and see all the sights with an extra bit of life experience in tow, and no teachers to set the itinerary.

We arrived to a beautifully bright and bitterly cold day, making our way out of arrivals and onto the train station platform where we attempted to make some sense of where we were and where we needed to be - the apartment we had booked for our trip which was located in the region of 'Bernauer Straße'.

A train, a tube, some (very) broken German and a short walk later, we arrived at our destination: a simple but spacious apartment filled with afternoon sun and complete with balcony.  

After a much needed cup of tea (you'll never catch my mother without her own teabags when we're abroad) we ventured out to the first destination on our rather lengthy list - Checkpoint Charlie.  This was one of the most famous crossing points between East and West Berlin during the war. 

There wasn't a great deal to see around Checkpoint Charlie, but it's worth a quick visit for sure, especially as there are on-street photo booths to have fun with...

... you can see my enthusiasm really peaks in the latter half of the shots (haha).

From there, we took a short walk towards another landmark, the Brandenburg Gate.  

A neoclassical monument, suitably impressive by day or night.

The next day was grey and drizzly.  Which meant, of course, we had golden buttery croissants and fresh fruit for breakfast.

Before gearing up for the rain and checking out our most local tourist attraction: the Berlin Wall Memorial located on our doorstep at Bernauer Strasse.

Plenty of audio visual treats here, including recorded testimonies from residents who had lived on Bernauer Strasse during the time of the Berlin wall, and huge images of the street during the 60s and 70s.

Then we headed towards the tram to go and visit the Stasi Museum.

Unfortunately, there was a no photo policy inside, unless you paid for a photo pass, which I thought was probably reserved for the hardcore photographers, ie. not me (however I did take a couple of sneaky snaps on my phone - see below)! But the Stasi museum is also well worth a visit if you're in the city.  The building itself used to be part of the headquarters of the Ministry for State Security, and there's quite a few rooms laid out exactly as it would've been back in the day. 

And that completes episode 1 of my Berlin diaries.  There'll be another one or two coming your way soon - but you'll have to bear with me, I've also got a couple of dissertations to write.  The life of a student, eh!

Ruby x