Berlin - A hippie capital of Europe

We are returning to Europe for our next adventure. This time we are heading to Berlin, a capital city of Germany. Ever since I had a pleasure of visiting Berlin for the first time, it has been one of my favourite cities. It's one of those cities where almost anyone can find something for themself. I have visited Berlin three times and I hope to do it again soon. My latest trip to the city was in May of 2016, when I stayed for 3 days. I decided to visit a friend Nina that lives in the city, before longer trip to Portugal. I flew from Dubai to Munich where I took a connecting flight to Berlin Tegel Airport. I flew with Air Berlin, an airline that went bankrupt in 2017.

German flag, Central Station, Chancellery, Bundestag, Pariser Platz, Brandenburg Gate

During my stay I met a friend that recently moved to the city for studies and wanted to explore it, but never had a chance to do so earlier. I took over the role of travel guide and we started our journey. Best way to move around the city is the extensive network of metro lines. It is fast and reliable. First stop on the way was Tiergarten, Berlin's largest park. Many sights can be seen in the very close proximity. We walked from Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) towards famous Brandenburg Gate. On this short walk we passed German Chancellery building and Reichstag or Bundestag building (German parliament). Bundestag was at the time open to visitors. Entrance to dome and roof terrace was free of charge but online registration had to be done. Visits are no longer possible until further notice due to Coronavirus. Brandenburg Gate is located on Pariser Platz. This is square full of iconic buildings. One of those is Hotel Adlon Kempinski. Hotel is featured in a 2011 Liam Neeson movie, called Unknown. Other important buildings include embassies of US, UK, France and Russia. Each of these countries once controlled part of Berlin during cold war times. Parts controlled by US, UK and France were located in West Germany and Russian controlled in East Germany.

We walked on the Strasse des 17 Juni or 17th of June street until we reached Siegessaule or Victory Column. Street got its name from uprising against the regime in the former East Germany. This street has been used for huge events such as Love Parade, Live 8 concert or as a starting point of Berlin Marathon. Some events in the past attracted over million visitors. Between the river Spree and Victory Column, Schloss Bellevue can be seen. This beautiful building is a classical presidential residence. Sadly it is not possible to visit and see the building from the inside.

Next on our journey was the Potsdamer Platz where every year Berlin Film Festival or Berlinale is taking place. On the Potsdamer Straße it is possible to walk on the Boulevard der Stars, a memorial to German movie stars. Just a few meters away a very interesting German Spy Museum is open for visitors. Those interested in historical events such as holocaust can visit either Memorial to Murdered Jews of Europe, located just two streets away or the Jewish Museum located two metro stops away.

Checkpoint Charlie, East Side Gallery, Ampelmann, Oberbaum bridge

Our journey continued next day at Checkpoint Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie was the border between Soviet (Russian) and American sector of Berlin. Tourists can pose with American soldiers and even get a stamp in their passport. It is also possible to visit Checkpoint Charlie museum. Another interesting museum nearby is Museum of Communication. Mentioned museum is the oldest postal museum in the world. It opened its doors in 1872.

Next it was time to explore the East Side Gallery, one of last remaining places where Berlin Wall is still intact. East Side Gallery is located right next to Mercedes Benz Arena and is the place where some of the most iconic images from Berlin can be found. This area is one of my favourite parts of the city as it is a mixture of old and new. Lots of good bars are restaurants are in the area and other two sights worth mentioning are Molecule Man and Oberbaum Bridge.

Berlin Cathedral, Berlin Radio Tower, Alexanderplatz, picnic culture in Berlin

Some of other sights I recommend to visit include old Tempelhof airport field now converted to public park, Alexanderplatz with its radio tower (one of the best viewing points in the city), Berlin Zoo, Berlin Cathedral and many more. I recommend a stay at least three to four days long to be able fully explore and feel the vibe of the city. Some of the pictures seen in this article are provided by Nina Gabrovec a friend of mine living in the city for past couple of years.

Timelapse of Alexanderplatz

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed. Next is New York city.

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