What to do in Berlin?
Do not feel obliged to follow my advice, but here’s what I considered worth seeing during my time in Berlin.
1. Spreepark Berlin
An old and abandoned theme park in East-Berlin, the perfect setting for a horror scence, walking around its fence at night will give you a thrill already, but so much more lies behind the fence. Perhaps the spirits of dead circus artists?
Be aware that Spreepark Berlin is not meant as a tourist attraction (or maybe secretely it is, because why else would they not just break it all down). The park is guarded by a team four guards strong at least. There are rumours about dogs as well, but I have not seen then myself. If you climb over the fence, make sure you find a nice dark and quiet spot where you can do this. Stay off the main path, this is where the guards ride their bikes! Even if you think that your alone, you are probably not. Keep in mind that, especially in the dark, your vision may not be reliable and the guards are not dressed in neon-colours to make them easy to spot.
If you want to take pictures, go by day-time. Rules of being careful of the guards apply even more then. In case you were wondering what happens when you do get caught, usually nothing much. They escort you out, have their tough talk and threaten you with a fine. I have never heard someone actually getting one, but it still is trespassing.
You can get to Spreepark Berlin by taking the S-Bahn to Plänterwald or Treptower park and walk from there. It is about an half hour walk.
I like a beer once every while, I like social drinks, good (live) music and a bar. I am not the girl who spends long nights dancing till my legs feel like spaghettis, getting enough energy from a bunch of pills to get me through the weekend. I do go clubbing on very unusual occasions and I usually like it, but I take the nightlife relatively slow.
Depsite all that, or maybe because of it, I had an incredible night at the underground Berlin scene. The atmosphere, the impression and most of all the people just doing whatever. Amazing!
My underground Berlin expierence was at Suicide Circus. Another popular club is Tresor, but if you really want to go down there are so many ways to go!
3. Berlin Wall
How did you think you were possibly going to see Berlin without (accidentally or on purpose) seeing the Great Berlin Wall, that was once the border between East and West? Most of the wall has been taken down when East and west reunited, but the remains are decorated with impressive wall paintings. The best place to see the wall is at the East Side Gallery, where the largest part of the wall is still standing. Don’t underestimate its height! My original intention was to climb over the wall, to get the feeling of an East-German refugee, but how anyone managed to climb over, also dodging soldiers shooting them is a mystery. That wall is bloody damn steep and bloody damn high. Mission failed.
People nowadays play hide and seek between the blocks. The jump from block to block untill the guards tell them off. Those blocks are really high once you get to the middle, so block-hopping is a pretty dangerous job actually. The monument was created as a bit of a maze to give visitors the feeling of confusion and feeling lost that World War II captives might have suffered from.
It might be a better idea to respect the monument for what is therefore, in memorial to all those deceased in the second world war…
5. Reichstag Berlin
Not having registered beforehand, I could unfortunately not enjoy all the advantages of the Reichstag building, Germany’s parliament house. The parlement house is a beautiful building with a dome on top. As a visitor you can walk around the dome and even watch a photo-gallery about Berlin’s history! I could not do those last two things, because I wasn’t registered. The only advice I can give you, entry to the parliament house is free, but register before you go!
6. Brandenburger Tor
This is an old entrance gate to Berlin. This used to be the border of the city, where you had to pay toll to enter the city. The statue on top of the gate was once taken by Napoleon as war loot. It was returned to Germany eight years later.
Honestly, this is just a bridge over the Spree, it has an upper and a lower deck; one for traffic and one for pedestrians. The bridge was part of the border between West and East Berlin when the two were parted. I was intrigued by the architecture of the bridge. Not that I have any knowledge about the subject, but both the towers seem to contain different shapes. This is emphasised by the fact that both towers have another animal on top. I believe that one was an eagle, but I can’t remember the other one.
Yes, this is the train station, however, it is the largest one in Europe and its glass walls make it into a majestic building that you do want to see.
Undevoted as it sounds, I could not come up with a last place where I have actually been. Those two are however recommended by other people, so I need to make sure to include this next time I’m in Berlin.Checpoint Charlie is the reconstruction of the old guard’s house between the American and Russion zone of Berlin. Next to it is as museum about the wall.
Where to stay?
Happy Go Lucky Hotel
This is a hostel, not a hotel, but it is a rather large, clean and nice one. The building consists of three blocks, A, B and C with dorms, but they have single and double rooms too. I stayed in a four-bed dorm, which was really good for the price we were paying and moreover it had its own bathroom! That is quite unusual for a dorm-room at a backpackers place. At least, in many of my experiences I’ve had to gather my clean undies, pyjamas, tooth brush, shampoo, shower gel, towel and whatever else you need in preparation for a small tour in the bathroom in hostel hallways. Then you would either drop or forget something or there would be a long line-up at the showers when you were late for something. This private bathroom experience was absolutely ideal! Bed linen and blankets are supplied and a 24-hour reception service is present.
The location of the hostel was not bad. It is close to a cocktail bar with daily happy hour between certain hours, so that is a huge plus. It is not near any major attractions though, but that is easily solved. The well-established public transport service is your way to go!
Bucket list Berlin:
(all those things I didn’t get around to, but still want to).
1. Zombie-hospital in Weißensee
Ignoring the nightmares that deserted places give me, this is one that seems worth going to. No securety measures at all, so much easier to get into. However, an abandoned hospitol might still beat the adrenaline rush of an old theme park…
2. Re-do Spreepark Berlin
This park has left an impression and now that I know better what to expect and what to take care of I want do go again and see if I can take some pictures myself this time.
3. Club Tresor & Stattbad Wedding
The techno-underground scene has triggered me to explore more of it. Tresor is absolutely the most well-known techno club. Located in an old power plant, the location already has the ultimate vibe for a techno party.
Stattbad Wedding is a club in a buiding that has a history as a swimming pool. Another interesting location that is begging for exploration.
4. Checkpoint Charlie
It is a shame to have seen Berlin, but skipped one of its major war-attractions. War is pretty much what Germany is famous for, isn’t it?
5. Slot Charlotteburg
Castles and palaces are all over the world. At one point you have seen so many of them that they all look alike. Nevertheless, my last visit to an old palace has been a while, I think I’m ready for the next one.