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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A lot of tourists around but it never felt that they overwhelmed the place, other than, perhaps, Museum Island over the weekend.
- There are plenty of reminders of the legacy of the Berlin wall and DDR, but Berliners seem to have dealt with it quite well.
- 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
(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.
- 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.
- 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!
- We found the cost of eating out to be very reasonable – probably half the price of Copenhagen which we visited last year
- Much of Berlin was very badly damaged during WW2, but many of the old historic buildings have been repaired and restored.
- 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.
- As Berlin really only grew up in the 18th Century, there are no really old, Medieval buildings
Museums and Galleries
- A wealth of museums and galleries dotted around the city.
- 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.
- Some art could be seen for free!
- 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.