Reader, I have not been abroad in 18 months thanks to a demanding work schedule. As soon as I left my job, it was time to start booking! Berlin has always been on my bucket list so naturally it’s where I had to go first. So here is the first of a few blogposts about my time in Berlin.
(Berlin’s Wettest July on Record!)
So the weather was not on my side during my trip according to the forecast. However it wasn’t going to dampen my spirits. Luckily on Tuesday there was enough dry(ish) weather to explore the city by foot.
I started my day at Breitscheidplatz, where my hotel was based. It is the main square of West Berlin and is full of shops, a plethora of smells and chatter from the endless streams of restaurants and coffee shops. The atmosphere was electric at all times of the day. I explored the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church. What a beautiful building which was severely damaged during World War II and the original spire has been left as a memorial to the destruction the city faced during the war. It is dubbed ‘The Hollow Tooth’ by Berliners.
(Left: Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Top Right: Breakfast. Bottom Right: Bullet and schrapnel damage on the church exterior)
Next it was off east to a cluster of the most popular sites in the city within minutes of each other. I started off at the Reichstag building and then down to the Brandenburg Gate and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It was particularly sad at the disrespect some tourists groups had jumping off the blocks and posing for photographs.
However a great secret throughout the city are the ‘Stolperstein‘ or ‘Stumbling Blocks’ which are small 4 inch brass plates with the names and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination and persecution. They are placed on the pavement by the individuals last known address or workplace before they fell victim to the atrocities of Nazi Germany.
(Left: Reichstag Building. Top Right: Brandenburg Gate.
Bottom Right: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe)
I started meandering through the streets, looking for St Hedwig’s Cathedral and ended up stumbling upon Gendarmenmarkt and the beautiful churches in the square: The Französischer Dom, Neue Kirche and The Konzerthaus. Around this part of town, it is so easy to get distracted by the beautiful architecture!
(Left: Französischer Dom. Top Right: Konzerthaus. Bottom Right: St. Hedwig’s Cathedral)
Having finally found St. Hedwig’s Cathedral, I made my way to Museum Island to explore the Berliner Dom. I have seen some incredible feats of design on my travels and I have to say this is one of the most beautiful. If you get the train from Alexanderplatz to Friedrichstrasse, as I did getting the train from the airport, you get a spectacular view of this cathedral as a nice introduction to the city.
(Berliner Dom with the TV Tower in the background)
Heavily damaged during World War II, it has undergone a painstaking restoration, finally the Wedding Church and Baptistery were opened in 1980 with the nave finally opening in 1993, which was televised nationwide.
(Top Left: The alter. Bottom Left: The Organ.
Top Right: The dome. Bottom Right: The Baptistery & Wedding Church)
As well as exploring the beautiful interior, I climbed up to the top of the dome. Reader, I am absolutely terrified of heights! But I climbed all 270 steps to the top and saw the most incredible view of the city. If was definitely a big accomplishment for myself and I am so glad that I took a photo, albeit with a very shaky hand to prove that I did it!
(View from the Top of the Dome)
After a lovely morning, it was time to have a spot of lunch and head to my next adventure. I can’t wait to tell you where I wandered off to.