Back on the train from Prague to Berlin, and now that we are in West Europe train tickets/getting around are now much more expensive. Arrived into Berlin in the afternoon, we had an apartment booked in Wedding which was just a quick bus ride from the Hauptbanhof.
It was a really cool apartment and a quick walk to the metro but the wifi conked out after 2 days, which is really frustrating as you can’t plan things or look up how to get anywhere or what to do! Anyway we survived living in the dark ages 😛 The metro takes you pretty much anywhere you want to go. Spent a day in Friedrichshain wandering about and visited East Side Gallery which was really neat- it’s the largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall and is covered in art.
We spent another day walking from Check Point Charlie through to the Topography of Terrors, where the Gestapo and SS headquarters used to be and is now a really well done museum, past the Holocaust memorial and to the Brandenburg gate. A stroll or ride through Tiergarten, which is a must 🙂 It was pretty average weather while we were there but the mist and rain was pretty cool in the park.
It is mind blowingly crazy the amount of recent history here! I would highly recomend the walking tours. We didn’t do one but during my first time in Berlin we did and it was really really good! There is really bucket loads of history for Berlin/Germany but here are a few facts:
- In 1933, the darkest chapters in Berlin’s history had begun. Adolf Hitler seized power, becoming German Chancellor. Soon after this, he initiated a programme of persecution against communists, political opponents, Jews and many others.
- On September 1st 1939, Hitler attacked Poland and began the Second World War.
- Hitler’s advance was stopped by the Russian Army at Moscow and Stalingrad, and in 1943 the Allied forces began to bomb Berlin, destroying at least a third of the city’s historic buildings and living-space.
- From 1961, Berlin was divided in 2 parts, East Berlin and West Berlin, separated by a great stone wall, Berlin Wall. This wall made the travel between East Germany and West Germany impossible until late 1989.
- The wall was built to stop Germans in the communist East side from fleeing into the democratic West side in search of better pay and life. The wall totally encircled West Berlin.
- Checkpoint Charlie was the name given by the Western Allies for the crossing point between east and west during the cold war. You can get your passport stamped if you go and visit the checkpoint today for a few Euro.
- The Brandenburg gate was built between 1788 and 1791 as a key entry point to the city of Berlin. It is topped with a statue known as the “Quadriga” which depicted a statue of the goddess of victory driving a chariot pulled by 4 horses.
- The Victory statue was built to celebrate Prussias victory in the German-Danish war in 1864. In an additional 2 years the German war against Austria and the Franco-Prussian War were added to the monument. These three victories are commemorated by the three original segments, onto which a bronze sculpture was placed. It is a 8.3 metre high bronze sculpture weighing 35 tonnes.
Definitely worth a visit to Berlin if you are in the vicinity! 🙂