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Second visit to Berlin Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Posted by Ian Cole in Europe 2016, Ian C, The Ians on Tour.

Here we are on the third stop of The Ians On Tour – Europ 2016 is Berlin, Germany. This is our second visit to the city; we first visited on our epic European trip in 2013.

We arrived from Prague on Sunday. We’ve gone a bit upmarket this time, staying at the Walldorf Astoria. Very glam-or-ous, well located.  

Sunday we did the usual settling in, checked out the area, then went for dinner to a nearby restaurant we’d really enjoyed on our last visit. Unfortunately it wasn’t the same. Sometimes you can’t go back. 

So on Monday we got out and about. We caught the very handy 100 bus, which crosses the city and passes near many popular sites, all the way to Alexanderplatz, the heart of old East Berlin. 

The centrepiece of Alexanderplatz is Fernsehturm (TV tower), built by East Germany in the 1960s. 

From there, we wandered down Unter den Linden, the main boulevard running from near Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate. 

Along the way we stopped in at the Ampelmann Shop for souvenirs. As we wrote on the 2013 trip, Ampelmann is the very cute walk/don’t walk lights used in East Berlin and now across all of central Berlin. 

After stopping for a beer and snack at one of the several cafes in the middle of Unter den Linden, we finally arrived at the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate).  Though the area was crowded, it seemed less tourist trap than on our last visit. 

Next a short S-Bahn ride to Gedenkskätte Berliner Mauer, one of the few remaining sections of the Berlin Wall, and the only one showing the full extent of the various “defensive” levels of the barrier, including the no man’s land between the inner (eastern) and outer (western) walls, and a guard tower. 

It’s located at Bernauer Straße, famous for many escapes from East Berlin due to the fact that the front walls of the houses were actually the border, until the houses were first sealed off then demolished for construction of the wall. It’s also the site of the famous church that was in the no man’s land for many years, until it was demolished. 

In the rest of the city, the wall is marked by lines and plagues on the footpaths and roads. 

Monday afternoon we found Schleusenkrug, a lovely beer garden not far from the hotel, for a few 0,5l Berliner Kindls, one of several beers we’ve been enjoying here. 
Tuesday it was time for some culture. Armed with our Museum Pass we first visited the Neues Museum (New Museum, new as in 1855, compared to the old museum nearby), with mostly Egyptian antiquities, including the famous bust of Nefertiti. 

The museum itself was fascinating, having been destroyed in World War II. It was not rebuilt and reopened until 2009. You can clearly see new construction alongside pieces of the original building restored. 

Next we visited Alte Nationalgalarie (Old National Gallery), filled with mostly German art of the 19th century, with some French impressionists. 

Then it was time to stop for some lunch and a couple of beers at the Ampelmann Reastaurant. Yes, the merchandise continues with a restaurant and even branded beer!

Tuesday night the culture continued when we went to see Cabaret – Das Musical, the Broadway musical in German. Didn’t understand a word of the dialogue, but a few of the songs were in English, and we’re familiar enough with the story. Das Leben ist ein Kabarett, alt chum!

Today we visited Märkisches Museum | Stadtmuseum Berlin (city museum), a very interesting though slightly disorganised history of Berlin in a gothic-style building. 

After that, we headed further into the eastern side of the city, walking up Karl-Marx-Allee, a long, wide boulevard built as Stalinallee in the 1950s, still to this day lined with imposing Soviet-era buildings, though many have been renovated and modernised. 

The afternoon ended back at Schleusenkrug, followed by German cuisine at Die Berliner Republik near Friedrichstraße station. It’s a lovely area; in 2013, we dined at the restaurant next door. 

But then, due to night track work (as far as we could figure)  we had to take the S-Bahn in the wrong direction to Alrxsnderplatz, the the U-Bahn across the city back to the hotel. 



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