Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Three Days in Berlin

During my daughter's second spring break, after King's Day we spend three full days in Berlin! We had such a wonderful time. We left on a Tuesday got there late afternoon/early evening and then left Friday morning-early! If you didn't see it already make sure you check out What I Ate in Berlin for the full foodie recap! :)
We took a train from Amsterdam to Berlin. We took the ICE (Inter City Express), it was 6 hours. We ate breakfast and had coffee on the train and had a few snacks...we had a late/lunch early dinner when we got in.

Our accommodations were Hotel Gat Pointe Charlie. I highly recommend this hotel. The staff was friendly and very helpful. In the evening the bar is quite populated and the bartenders make great drinks (alcoholic and non) and the desster is delicious as well. Our room was spacious and the colour scheme is a fun one! It is located very close to all the big tourist attractions and several malls.

Sorry for the blurry photo, we had been dancing around in the rain ;)

My teenager didn't believe me when I told her it was a cat hotel, she thought for sure I was messing something up...but, meet General Cat up there...his eye is always watching. 

I forgot to take photos of our room but we had a nice queen size bed and more than enough room to move around for the two of us. Like I said above, I highly recommend!

There was really cute art outside the hotel...

This reminded us of a Katamari Ball!

This lights up blue at night.

The night we got in we took a bus to a more local area of town, to see what we had for dinner click here...otherwise enjoy the walking tour.

We love the street art on this building, it is basically a political piece, I think it is made to look like a monopoly board where different parts of the city are up for sale. Interesting piece. What was even more interesting is this part of town was covered in graffiti...I mean covered! Everything from buildings to playground equipment. It seemed to be just a regular, nice middle class type neighborhood. To put this into perspective for my international readers where I come from if an area has this much graffiti it is usually a very bad area that you do not want to be in...but we felt perfectly safe. Any of my German readers, maybe some of you are from Berlin and can clarify as to why there is so much graffiti? Those I talked to about it didn't seem to think it a big deal.

A church.

The Owl Restaurant...I have no idea what it is really called but it sort of made us wish we had waited to eat just 'cause it was so cute!

These seemed to be in the shapes of different body parts...and they had graffiti...

Colorful shoes hanging from a beam in the gorgeous Oberbaum Bridge! I am in love with this structure. 

My girl in one of the arches.

Oberbaum Bridge from the middle of what was once a "no mans land" when the wall existed.

Then, as we continued our walk we found the East Side Gallery! I was so stoked to come across this as I did not think it was in this spot...from my research I thought it was much closer to our hotel, so I was really glad we came over to this side of town. 
 The East Side Gallery was formed shortly after the wall fell. I've seen a few different writings on the matter, but basically local artists were called upon to come down and paint a section of the wall with something meaningful to them. Many of these wound up being quite political and I loved them all! I wish I could show you the whole wall, but you much go see it yourself.

(Sadly, I've recently read some of the Gallery may have been destroyed in 2013 when they tore sections down to build luxury apartments. Not quite sure where those were built because we passed what looked to be an abandoned building with no windows...they weren't even boarded up it was frightening.)

I loved this poem next to this piece...

This has to be my absolute favorite piece! I am assuming this was a gate to get in and out of the "no mans land" back in the day so to turn it in to a locks of love gate surrounded by this beautiful rainbow of turbulent colors is so lovely to me.

I just thought this was hilarious. 

So, I didn't take a photo of the actual piece he painted, but I love the poem he put to his piece. This is by Kunjappu, go check out his work. These are definitely words to live by everyday.

I don't think this piece requires much is a beautiful memorial.

My favorite I think.

Just some random street art...I think I'll buy it! :)

This is the sunset facing Alexanderplatz.

After the East Side Gallery we caught a bus back to our hotel area. During the day we could have walked, but with the sun having set it was just easier to take a bus.

We decided to get up close to Checkpoint Charlie Since during the day it is  surrounded heavily by tourists and there are some guys standing there waiting to charge you somewhere between €2-5 to take a photo with them. No thanks.

The flag.

Crummy picture of the inside.

After Checkpoint Charlie we wandered around a bit and came across Gendarmenmarkt. This has two beautiful "twin" is German, one is French.
The German Church.

The concert house.

The French Church.

I felt as though this sign was very German. haha

After breakfast the first morning the Gendarmenmarkt was the first place we headed to get some day time photos!

The square. You see the statue, the Concert House, and the French Church.

The statue and the concert house.

After the Gendermanmarkt we made our way toward Museum Island. We came across the Lustgarten, which is home to a museum and a cathedral. This Lustgarten was home to many a parade and rally.

I loved this door on the side of the cathedral.

The Spree River

One of the Museums


This Humpty Dumpty Sculpture really freaked us out.

After seeing that weird Humpty Dumpty sculpture we settled on seeing the German History Museum. This was a great choice because the kiddo really wanted to dive into some Germanic history since most of it is fairly recent. The price is very affordable as well, €8 for 16+, free for under 16!

One of the first truly memorable displays were these four paintings representing the four quarters in Germany in the time period of the 1500s. I stupidly didn't take a photo of the plaque as I usually do, but if you can read German go here, there will be a bit more information.
This was January, February, and March.

April, May, and June

July, August, and September.

October, November, and December.

I loved this ship model.

Some old currency.

Here is where we get in to the WWII stuff...

I really liked this series of prints, the are all equally powerful. If I had to pick one I would say the one on the far left of the allied forces breaking apart the symbol of oppression is my favorite. The one on the far right is extremely powerful as well.

I wavered back and forth whether or not to post this, but it was powerful for my teenager to see as she hasn't seen any movies dealing with WWII, so for her to see this image really brought into perspective how horrible life was in the concentration camps.

How cool are these manhole covers?! Each cover I noticed was designed like this.

How adorable are these street signs?! These were the only ones I saw like this.

After lunch we walked some more and happened upon Alexanderplatz. I didn't realize what a big square this was...there are neat sculptures and tons and tons of shopping. They also have a TK Max which is like a TJ Max...but they serve wine there. haha
This is a world clock.

It was pretty neat the top piece actually moves.

Loved these fountains and all the shopping behind me.

It is a fountain of Neptune guarding is sea. Complete with trident.

Front of Neptunbrunnen

I love all the sculpture pieces surrounding the fountain.

After our time spent in Alexanderplatz we wandered back toward our hotel and discovered this traveling library. The funny thing...somewhere behind all that construction is the book burning memorial.

 This traveling library travels through Germany and Austria.
Pretty nice set up with the bean bags and hammocks.

After this we decided to do dessert first and went to Fassbender and can read about our experience in the cafe here....but here is our experience in-store...

It is located in this really cute very European building...

Inside there are all sorts of chocolate sculptures! They were phenomenal.

Chocolate volcano. I think this was the least impressive one as it wasn't very bubbly. 

A Berlin Bear! (check back tomorrow for more on this)

Fassbender and Rausch

I wanted to take this home! He was so cute!

Picking out her chocolates!

Last one before we left.

That night we grabbed a bite to eat at the McDonald's by our hotel, it had a pretty nice view.
This was the old sign marking that you were leaving the American sector. 

I don't remember this being up the whole time we were there. But, meaningful nonetheless.

Full view of Checkpoint Charlie from the patio.

We went back to the hotel and got a good nights rest so we could get an early start the next day. Our first stop was a photo booth...

It took a while to get our photos, this looked just like the ones we had growing up so it is an antique! Plus, was only €2 total bargain!

Our next stop was the Topography of Terror. I expected this to be a lot more gruesome memorial, but it was quite informative.

A sculpture peering through the wall. There were a couple of these in this area of the city.

Overview of the Topography of Terror.

Reading through lots of info, trying not to get rained on.

This was probably the craziest piece of propaganda I saw. It was a poem in primary school books modeled after the "Our Father" prayer. The kiddo and I discussed how the design was so much like some of her primary school workbooks and how she could see that this would be appealing for children to look at. She said it reminded her a lot of some of the stuff she used to get excited to get to simply because of the design.

Some history of the Olympic Games being held there.

Now that we've talked about some bad stuff, here is a bear holding a wiener :)

Next we were making our way to the Holocaust Memorial but happened upon this cool art installation.
It was a temporary exhibit celebrating the fall of the wall. The men represent openness.

So many green men walking!

One of the men close up.

Giving the man a flower.

We finally made our way to the Holocaust Memorial.
 This memorial has raised some controversy thought of as "unnecessary" by some and also because it only commemorates the Jews lost during the Holocaust.
 Each of these concrete pillars represents those lost during those horrible years.

Next we made our way to the Brandenburg Gate. 

Next up was the long walk to the Victory Column. We learned at the German History Museum that this had been located outside the old city palace (if I remember correctly at the very least this was not it's original location) and was moved to this location in the WWII era.
Landmark on our way to the column.

Our first view of the column.

A bit of the park on our way back from the column.

It was very lush and green.

These markings were all over the city marking where the wall was...

 We of course had to do something silly...someone did get a good laugh out of it she walked by and said that was the goofiest thing she'd seen someone do there...
 In case you don't get it she was modeling after some of the sculptures we'd seen, pressing against the wall...
 Pretending to climb the wall...
...and finally, peering through the wall. 

We popped into a mall because it had started pouring down rain!

After this we made our way back over to the Brandenburg Gate area to see it after the rain.

We had a really wonderful time and would highly recommend spending a couple of days there...especially if you are really interesting in diving deeper into German History.


  1. Wow! What an amazing trip! You really packed it full of great sights, thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures!

    1. Thanks Krista! It really was amazing, I feel so lucky to have been able to plan such a wonderful trip.

  2. Berlin is one of the places I've always wanted to visit and thanks to you I had a mini vacation this morning,

    Thanks for sharing your photos.


    1. YAY! I am so glad...part of why I share so much about each place is to kind of give people a mini-vacation, or to inspire people to want to visit each place. I love traveling and learning about different cultures and just want to share that with others! :)