With the corona virus at the top of international news outlets agenda, my family were delighted to hear I was hopping on a plane for the weekend 40 minutes to Berlin the weekend before it went into lock-down. I’ve been looking forward to this before the outbreak of Corona virus was reported in Europe. I flew on Friday and flew back… As I’m writing this: 07:18 on Monday morning (and I’m still heading to work this morning at 9:00), the benefits of Copenhagen airport being 15 minutes away from work on the train.
Here is what we got up to and I recommend.
- Parliament building – The Reichstag
- Preregister and book day or sunset, bring an ID.
- The words “Dem Deutschen Volke” written on the front facade are made from melted french guns that were seized. The words mean, “For the German people.”
- The Reichstag was burnt internally on Monday 27 February 1933, precisely four weeks after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany
- The dome offers a spectacular 360º view of the city, and allows sunlight to emanate down to the floor of the parliamentary chambers. There are even electric features, which help regulate the amount of sunlight that filters into the space.
- The audio guide automatically feeds new information into your ear as you ascend and descend the dome’s ramp.
- Beautiful building located near the German Chancellery building, a hyper modern building. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt building, which was a gift from America houses artistic pieces representing culture outside Europe.
- Berlin wall
- The separation of Berlin happened in 1945 after the collapse of Germany in WW2. East Germany build (almost to completion) a wall during the course of one single night on August 13th, to stop its citizens from fleeing to the West. It was 43 kilometres long and ran through buildings who’s windows needed to be sealed and train stations that were closed and guarded from citizens boarding trains.
- Holocaust memorial
- Close to the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Berlin you will find the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. A peaceful and reflective space. The competition to design it was won by the New York architect Peter Eisenman. The memorial was ceremonially opened in 2005.
- Emperor William Memorial Church
- The Emperor William Memorial Church is a protestant church which was damaged in a bomb raid in 1943. The present building, which consists of a church with an attached foyer and a separate belfry with an attached chapel, was built between 1959 and 1963. What makes it interesting today is the damaged spire of the old church has been retained. The damaged spire is beautiful and a standing memory of the past. Although it was closed inside, I peered through the windows to see a golden mosaic on the roof.
- Berlin cathedral
- As captured in my Instagram stories (+ in Travel Highlights), the Berlin cathedral. A obvious choice for those visiting Berlin in search of culture, history and architectural art. The structure includes a large dome (below) and 270 steps take you to a 360 degree view of the city spreading out from the Museuminsel (Museum Island).
Don’t forget currywurst, pretzels and apfelstrudel.