2 Days in Berlin

Throughout my trip so far, Berlin is the one place to which I feel I owed more time.  Sure, I got a chance to see all of the major sights and to sample of few of their culinary additions, but I wasn’t in town long enough to get a feel for the culture or the people.  If fact, I didn’t even get a chance to check out whether or not the night-owl, club-hopping reputation that Belin now carries with it is true (not that I’m really much of a club-hopper).  I think Germany is going to pop back up on my itinerary again in a month or so, so hopefully I’ll be able to spend a little more time digging into what life is like for those who live here, but until then, I’ll just have to make do with what initial impressions I gleaned from 2 days of walking around, pounding the pavement.

The Siergessaule, a momument commemorating past Prussian military victories

To start off, Berlin is big — really big — both in the city’s layout and in the scale of what there is to see.  Fortunately, they have a very intuitive and well-run metro system to shuttle folks like myself to far-flung spots all over the city, savings the soles of my shoes from even more abuse.

Berlin is also a tricky city to write about, as there are a great number of connotations that come to mind when mentioning the headquarters of a country that has had quiet a checkered past over the last century.  To its credit, the city has taken on a much more youthful feel, but every few blocks, it still drops a reminder of past events, creating a very mixed, ambiguous aire to the place.

The majority of the sights are roughly lined up on an East-West corridor, with the Siergessaule (in the above picture) marking the Westernmost point in Tiergarten and the Fersehturm (below) marking the Easternmost point.  Though they are too far apart to show via pictures, there is a great scene in which you can stand at either of these two points, look down spacious and tree-lined boulevard known as the Unter den Linden, through the Brandenburger Tor (the second picture below) and see the other off in the distance.

Fernsehturm (the TV Tower) with Alexanderplatz at the base

The most significant of the many city gates across Berlin, this one marking the line between East and West Germany

The Berliner Dom (or Berlin Cathedral) overlooks the area known as Museum Island

Reichstaggebaude (Parliament Building) with its famous glass dome

As mentioned previously, it is difficult to walk more than a few blocks without running into a historical landmark dating back to World War II or the years shortly thereafter.  These tend to take on a more sombre tone than the rest of the museums and cathedrals, and even despite the hordes of camera-toting tourists (myself included), it is difficult to overlook their significance.

The longest remaining strech of the Berlin Wall, dividing East and West Germany

The infamous sign outside the Checkpoint Charlie station

My favorite sight in Berlin, however, has to be the Holocaust Memorial: a sea of 2,711 concrete columns of varying heights that creates and almost wavelike pattern in the middle of the city.  Anyone is free to wander through the columns, allowing the view to constantly change with the ungulating terrain.

Many of the columns are 2-3 times my own height

Besides the war memorials and the scenic towers and gates, Berlin can also be a great city to eat and drink in, as well.  Though the cuisine tends towards a nearly infinite variety of wursts (sausages) and lager beers, it is one of the easiest cities to eat in that I’ve visited, as there are restaurants, food vendors, shops, stalls, and even men carrying around portable grills everywhere, and always at the ready to sate your appetite.

Konnopke’s Imbiss, a wurst stand set up underneath the metro tracks

I received a tip that they served some of the best Currywurst in town, so I had to investigate

A traditional German restaurant, though apparently I haven’t adjusted to the normal eating times of the locals

Schnitzel: a pork cutlet pounded flat, breaded, then fried (served with potatoes, of course)

If you can’t find someone willing to sell you a Wurst, you’re not trying very hard

Though not as renowned as the those in Munich, Berlin still boasts quite a few beer halls in which you can indulge your need for crisp, refreshing lagers:

Prater Beer Hall, Berlin’s oldest

Enjoying a Schwarzbeer while the sun sets

Hefeweizen: a cloudy and yeasty German wheat beer that can take on banana and even bublegum notes

One last point that I found interesting in regards to Berlin: the locals here apparently have an infatuation with what is known as a Donner Kebab, as there are vendors everywhere and lines stringing out of all of them.  Essentially a Turkish invention, this cheap, gyro-like concoction is the perfect “put you to bed” food for a whole nation of late-night lager drinkers.

My donner kebab being prepared

I promise that I really am watching my cholesterol — it’s just that I’m showing you pictures of all of the fun, though infrequent, induglences

About andrewamiet

I'm a 29 (now 31) year-old former desk jockey who is now making my way around the world, experiencing all of the sights, sounds, tastes, people, and culture that the world has to offer.

One Response to “2 Days in Berlin”

  1. Hi Andrew,
    Seeing you with all that food reminds me of the summers you and your brother spent eating your way
    through the WCC pool snack bar. You are a legend, my boy. To say nothing of the stress
    you put on your father’s monthly account. Ha. We still laugh about that.

    Travel safe.
    Mike Reardon

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