In Search of Berlin's Past...
Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
14Trip End May 03, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Motel One Berlin Mitte
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
The train reached Berlin Lichtenberg Station at 745am. After which we alighted to take the S-bahn which was free to Jannowitzbrucke, and then buy a ticket (EUR1.40) to take the U-bahn to Maritzplatz station where our accommodation - Motel One - was located.
The hotel was very conveniently located near the U-bahn station. As we were too early, there were no rooms available. Hence, we had to keep the luggage in the luggage room first, and then re-pack our day pack before we embark on our city tour.
We went to the train station and bought the day ticket for Zones A & B for EUR6.30
There's a free audio guide service which was supposed to start automatically when we reached the 'bottom of the dome'. I'm quite impressed as it really happened when we are at the bottom of the 'dome' waiting to walk up.
The glass cupola rises 155 feet above the ground. Inside the dome, a cone of 360 mirrors reflects natural light into the legislative chamber below. It is said that during certain times of the day, when the light is reflected at a certain angle, you can see the happenings within the legislative chamber. There were some exhibits at the foot of the cupola and we made one circle before going outside to train to defy the strong winds and snapped some photos before we took the lift down to the ground floor.
A row of slate slabs stood near the place where we queued to go in to visit the Reichstag.
Belin Souvenir Shop, which was opposite the Reichstag, caught our eye and we spent some time here buying souvenirs for ourselves and our friends. I bought another book (about the Berlin Wall at EUR9.95), a collar pin, a magnet which is a fragment of the Berlin Wall (don't know if its real or fake), a couple of postcards, and all these amounted to EUR50.41! I think if I continue to swipe my Credit Card, I would become "Brokeback Moutain" - Broke and Back with a Mountain of debts.....
We walked through the TierGarten and reached Brandenburg Tor. My oh My! I've only seen this magnificent gate in a postcard sent to me by a Postcrossing friend. When I saw the gate in front of me, I almost couldn't believe that I'm actually here in Berlin!!! We only realised that the Berlin Wall was actually erected near the Brandenburg Tor when we saw a man taking photos of the floor. When we walked to the spot to see what he was snapping about, we saw a strip of different coloured tiles on the road that read "Berliner Mauer 1961-1989".
After crossing through the Brandenburg Tor, we arrived at the Pariser Platz, so named after the Prussians defeated Napolean in 1813
Air Berlin had a convoy of cabs with their advertisements coming round into the Platz, and some air stewardesses alighted, with a luggage in one hand, and distributed chocolates with another hand!
We also saw Hotel Adlon, and after reading my Lonely Planet guide, we found out that this was where Michael Jackson dangled his baby out of the window! GULP!
We strolled up and down the Unter den Linden, trying to look for food to fill our stomachs, and finally settled down at "Einstein", a rather classy looking cafeteria. We ordered the Grand Cafe Breakfast or 2 (EUR15), and each a cup of cappuccino (EUR7.60) and then decided that we should take the bus 100 to go to Zoo S-Bahn (although we were not intending to visit the zoo since Knut the Polar Bear died ... sob sob....).
We followed the directions to Kurfursendamm 207-208 in search of the "Story of Berlin", but discovered the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which was going through some major restoration works
After that, we found Hard Rock Cafe, but it was rather disappointing as the merchandise were quite limited. I bought a T-shirt & a collar pin and left in search for "Story of Berlin".
We found "The Story of Berlin" hidden in a 'department store' but the ticket price is EUR10, and we thought its more worthwhile to spend it on Haus am Checkpoint Charlie instead. Hence we headed to the subway station to buy water first before taking the train to Kochstr to visit Haus am Checkpoint Charlie (admission is EUR12.50).
I didn't really like the exhibits as they were very messy, and I have to spend a lot of time reading the wordy texts. Some of them were so high up the wall that it made reading so difficult. However, I could imagine the great relief people felt when the wall came down because so many people made attempts to escape the wall - some were successful, some were unlucky.
The famous poster of a young American soldier facing east and a young Soviet soldier facing west still stood by the Checkpoint Charlie Street Scene. The guard station hosts some actors who dress up as American guards posing for photos. Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous since a lot of foreigners used to pass through this stretch to visit East Berlin in the past. There's some photo exhibits across the road telling the story of the Wall.
We settled dinner at this eatery "Checkpoint Curry 207" which was directly opposite the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. The curry wurst + chips + drink comes at EUR5 and the homemade ketchup actually was very tasty!
After that, we took the train back to our hotel where we needed an early rest since tomorrow is going to be a rush!