After years of learning about World War II and the Holocaust through school and my German classes I was really excited to see Berlin for the history as well as for the city it has flourished into. After arriving around midnight we checked into our hotel (yes our hotel, the one luxury we afforded ourselves!) We started the next day early and went to Potsdamer Platz, the Brandenburger Tor, Checkpoint Charlie, the Reichstag, the Jewish memorial, and a museum - it was a long day, but we did it all enthusiastically and in the rain. Unfortunately the weather was wet and windy the whole time we were in Berlin which was frustrating.
The flavor of Berlin is very unique - it's a city living with a very powerful past while also looking forward to the future. For example the Jewish memorial near Potsdamer Platz took up a huge square block. It was covered in rectangular granite blocks of all heights evenly placed in rows. The ground was also uneven which created a maze of dark, stark, blocks that were too tall to see over. There were signs noting that this was a memorial dedicated to the Jewish people but there was no architectural description or explanation of style - instead it was open for interpretation. Similar to this memorial I think the city of Berlin is hard to define because of its relationship with the past and present.
The next day we went to two museums in order to stay out of the rainy weather - the Gemäldegalerie and the Jewish museum. I would recommend both as great places to visit. We also stopped into a second hand store (I'm always looking for a deal) and it was fun to see what Germans wore in the 70's and 80's...That night we went to a very traditional German restaurant for some wurst and beer.
For our last day myself and another one of my traveling companions decided to venture outside of the city about a half hour to the castle town of Potsdam. The town hosts some pretty cool palaces as well as an adorable city center. We walked all around the Sanssouci grounds in what turned out to be a sunny and delightful day. Potsdam was actually my favorite part about my time in Berlin...and I wasn't technically in Berlin.
|My favorite spot in Potsdam|