Just like Laura, I’ve just come back from a city break but went slightly further afield than Glasgow, Berlin. I’ve been meaning to go ever since I lived in Germany many moons ago but just never got round to it; but now that I have, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Berlin has so much to offer that it was impossible for me to do everything I wanted to in three days, but I’d like to share the highlights of my trip.
The first thing that struck me when we arrived late Thursday evening was the efficiency of the S-Bahn (the over-ground train) and the U-Bahn (the underground). The second thing was that it felt completely safe walking to our accommodation. We plumped for an apartment instead of a hotel which was a little pricier, but in a good location. Contrary to the forecast, we had glorious weather so decided to go on a six-and-a-half-hour walking tour with an organised tour company. Our guide was highly knowledgeable about the sights as well as the history of Berlin and of course the atrocities of the Nazi party. Our tour was in the Mitte (the area in the centre of the city) we visited the Reichstag and spent a long time at the impressive Brandenburg Gate which I’ve seen so many times in photographs and TV footage that it was impossible not to conjure up images whilst standing there. It is now a symbol of German unification. We then moved on to the controversial Holocaust Memorial designed by Peter Eisenmann, on first sight it struck me as an austere grave-yard in the middle of the city but as I was wandering through the grid of giant concrete blocks I felt differently about it. I’m not sure I like it as a piece of art but it’s certainly thought-provoking. We saw actors in American and Russian uniforms at the replica of Checkpoint Charlie having their photos taken with tourists and we stood on the bridge over the river Spree looking out to the beautiful museums on Museum Island. The walking tour included many other sights and it is a great way to get your bearings, I can thoroughly recommend it.
Over the next two days we went sight-seeing all over Berlin by U-Bahn and on foot. Berlin has a rich and interesting history, Frederick the Great and in fact many Fredericks feature quite heavily in Berlin’s history and my one of my favourite buildings is the royal baroque palace, Schloss Charlottenburg. It is set in beautiful gardens and has been restored to perfection, the new wing is particularly stunning, and you can just imagine the aristocracy waltzing around the golden gallery.
Of course food and drink play a big part in any holiday, naturally we felt obliged to sample the delights of black bread sandwiches and curry wurst (curried sausage) but for our evening meals we preferred Italian restaurants, of which there were plenty. Food and drink were really reasonably priced and affordable for the badly battered British pound, we also found an excellent jazz club which played late into the night which meant getting up the next day was a little difficult!!
Berlin is a fantastic city where old meets new, it is a city that shows its history sympathetically to both the host and the visitor. I will definitely return and if you haven’t visited it yet then you should, it’s an eclectic city with plenty to offer everyone.
To mean to do something – (phr.v) to have the intention of doing something
To get round to something – (phr.v) to do something after waiting for a while
To strike someone – (phr.v) to occur to someone, to instantly think something
To plump for something – (phr.v) to choose
Pricey – (adj) expensive
Contrary to – (adj) opposite to
Glorious – (adj) fantastic
Highly-knowledgeable – (col) having a lot of knowledge about something
Atrocities – (n) extremely cruel and violent actions
To conjure something up – (phr.v) to bring a thought into one’s mind
Austere – (adj) plain and simple without decoration
Contraversial - (adj) causing a lot of disagreement
Graveyard – (n) cemetery
To wander – (v) to walk around with little purpose
Thought-provoking – (adj) something that makes you think seriously about something
To get one’s bearings – (exp) to understand where you are and the direction of things
Replica - (n) copy of something
To thoroughly recommend – (col) to completely recommend something
To feature heavily – (col) to be present or appear a number of times
to restore – (v) to return something to its previous state
Stunning – (adj)extremely attractive or beautiful
To waltz – (v) a type of dance for couples
To feel obliged to do something – (exp)to feel you should do something
To sample the delights of something – (exp) to try something (usually food or drinks)
Badly battered – (adj) badly damaged (informal)
Eclectic – (adj)including a mixture of different things and people
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