Impressions of Berlin

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We’ve just got back from a holiday in Berlin and Prague. We flew into Berlin early Wednesday morning, spent four nights there before taking the train to Prague where we spent another three nights, flying back to Manchester Wednesday evening. We packed such a lot into our time in these two cities that it seemed like we were away for much longer than 8 days, and there’s a lot to write about so that I can relive what was a very enjoyable, but exhausting, trip.

Berlin exceeded our expectations. There was a lot to see and we could have spent another few days there. There were some things we ended up doing that hadn’t been on our pre-trip agenda and we didn’t get to see everything we’d originally planned to visit. So we’ll have to make so time for another trip.

We were lucky with the weather. Fine, but not too hot for sightseeing. These are my impressions of the city from our relatively brief visit.

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The city

  • A large city with things fairly spread out. But the excellent transportation system made it easy to get around and travel between them.
  • Really relaxed atmosphere.

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  • A lot on construction works going on for a new U Bahn line (which cuts right up the middle of Under den Linden, one of the main streets running from  and in front of the Rotes Rathaus) and new buildings. This had an impact on some of the sights.

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  • A lot of tourists around but it never felt that they overwhelmed the place, other than, perhaps, Museum Island over the weekend.

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  • There are plenty of reminders of the legacy of the Berlin wall and DDR, but Berliners seem to have dealt with it quite well.

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Transportation

  • It was very easy to get around on the U-Bahn and S-Bahn  networks, buses and trams that criss-crossed the city
  • Trains, trams and buses all ran at very regular intervals on the routes we used

File:Berlin- Bahnhof Westkreuz- Richtung Nord- S-Bahn Berlin DBAG-Baureihe 481 10.8.2009.jpg

(picture source Wikipedia)

  • Tickets were very reasonably priced and were transferable between the different modes of transport. We tended to get a one day ticket which meant that you saved if you made more than two journeys.
The people
  • I was surprised at how many people spoke fluent English – particularly younger people.
  • Almost everyone we came across were very friendly and helpful – although some older people could come across a little brusque at first.
Eating out

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  • Plenty of places to eat with plenty of choice from “Currywurst” and other street food stalls with lots of restaurants serving just about every style of food imaginable. Including plenty of sausages!

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  • We found the cost of eating out to be very reasonable – probably half the price of Copenhagen which we visited last year

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Architecture

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  • Much of Berlin was very badly damaged during WW2, but many of the old historic buildings have been repaired and restored.

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  • As would be expected with a dynamic, modern city, there is a mixture of styles from Baroque, neo-classical, Art Nouveau, Modernist and Modern. Some, like the Reichstag building, are a successful mix of a modern building inside a more “traditional” facade.

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  • As Berlin really only grew up in the 18th Century, there are no really old, Medieval buildings

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Museums and Galleries

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  • A wealth of museums and galleries dotted around the city.

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  • Most charge an entry fee, typically 10 Euros with some a little more and some a little less. We bought a 3 day museum pass which gave us entry into most museums and galleries for 24 Euros.
  • The galleries tended to open from10 a.m. until 6 p.m. with many of them having at least one evening when they were open late.

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  • Some art could be seen for free!

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  • Photographs were allowed in most of the galleries we visited.
  • In most cases, the staff in the Museums were friendly and helpful. Most, but not all spoke English.
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9 thoughts on “Impressions of Berlin

  1. I like your review. I haven`t been to Berlin and this review gives me a concise overview about what to see there. I bet that was a lovely train journey between Berlin and Prague. A great way to see two cities.

    • The train journey was a little chaotic at first but OK once we got going. The journey through the mountains between Dresden and the Czech Republic was through absolutely stunning scenery.

      • I recall, very many moons ago, taking a train from Germany to Austria. I imagine very similar summertime scenery. What a wonderful holiday-two cities and a train journey. Beats laying about on the beach any day.

      • A great, but exhausting holiday. But I’m not one for lying on beaches -can’t keep still for more than a few minutes! We’re thinking about Vienna for next week coupled with a visit to Saltzburg as we can get a flight there from Manchester.

      • Oh you`re living the life! As for me, I`m more than happy to be an armchair travel and listen to all your adventures. Austria here I come!

  2. I LOVE Berlin! I’ve visited once in 1968 and 3 times since the Wall fell. Where did you stay? Of course, I stayed in the west in 1968 but in Mitte on the 3 subsequent visits. Prague is still on the list!

    • We definitely want to return. A great city. We stayed in the Mitte on the Spree directly opposite the Berliner Dom – we had a great view of it from our bedroom window.

  3. Pingback: Back to Berlin | Down by the Dougie

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