Friday, July 6th, 2012
11.5.12 19 °C
My flight from Prague, Czech Republic to Berlin, Germany takes off at 8:10 am on the morning of Friday, July 6th, 2012 and lands at 9:15 am of the same day. My plane ticket cost €145.00, and unfortunately, this time I didn't have a window seat, so I chose to sleep for the one hour flight. Once we had landed, I took a taxi from the airport to my German accommodations, the Upstalsboom Hotel Friedrichshain, located in downtown Berlin. My room was quite lovely, and I was charged only €94 per night. One I settled in, changed my clothes, and had a quick snack from the in-hotel restaurant, I was ready to embark upon my sight-seeing journey around the beautiful city of Berlin.
My first stop was the Deutsches Historisches Museum, which translates into the German History Museum, only roughly 1.5 kilometers from my hotel. Admission was a fair €15, and tour groups were available at no cost. I decided to take one of the English translated guided tours, solely because if I were to try to explore this glorious museum on my own, I likely wouldn't get too far, as everything was written and presented in German. Throughout the tour, our group learned a great deal about the heritage and history of Germany, much of which was not common knowledge. I found that a great deal of the German culture is overlooked due to the country's involvement in WWII, and there truly is a lot to learn and explore, considering that Germany was a country, rich in history, long before WWII. The tour of the German History Museum left our group with a reinvigorated sense of German pride, despite the fact that I am virtually the furthest thing from German myself, haha.
My next stop for the day was the Dokumentationszentrum Berliner Mauer, or Berlin Wall Memorial. I had to take a cab to this location, because it's located roughly 10 kilometers from the city center, where I had just come from. Admission on to the grounds was free, and although the majority of the literature and information is in German, everyone visiting knew just what they were experiencing. I was also lucky enough to be able to view a short film about the history of the Berlin Wall, and its destruction. I took advantage of the opportunity to climb a look-out tower from which you can view a section of the Berlin Wall, giving me a clear idea about just how large the wall really was. The last thing I did before making my way back toward the city center for some lunch was spend some time in the extensive photo gallery, which really brought home the entire experience. I purchased a small piece of the Berlin Wall from the information center, and then said my silent goodbyes to what remains of the wall that meant and continues to mean so much.
When I arrived back near the heart of Berlin, I had built up quite the appetite, so I decided to grab a quick lunch at a local eatery called Altes Europa. It was a quaint little cafe style restaurant, where I ordered and received the most delicious dish, knödel, (dumplings) baked with mushrooms and spinach, which was only a mere €5! I learned quickly that the consistency of German food leaves anyone very, very full. All I wanted to do after finishing my first authentic German meal was roll over, and take a nap! But I knew I had to move on quickly, if I was to pack everything that I set out to into one fun-filled day!
My next stop was something I had been looking forward to since I began planning this dream trip around the world. I was headed to the Brohan Museum, located roughly 7 kilometers outside of the heart of Berlin. This museum is home to the works of Professor Karl H. Brohan, one of Germany's most decorated artists. Here, I witnessed the largest collection of Brohan pieces anywhere in the world, which was a great treat for me, as his art deco style is something I have tried to interpret and use as inspiration for various pieces of my own art work. Admission into this museum was € 9.50, but I easily would have paid more to be able to see and learn all that I did while visiting this important German site. There were guided tours available, even in English, but I chose to tour around the museum on my own, as much of the explanation mantles were also presented in English, and because I already knew so much about the life and works of Karl H. Brohan from my art and art history studies back home. I left this museum with all of my artistically saavy friends and teachers in mind, knowing that they would have loved to have been able to accompany me to this nearly surreal exhibition of Brohan works.
I hailed a taxi from the Brohan museum that took me directly to Tierpark, otherwise known as the sole Zoo located in Berlin. It's roughly 8.4 kilometers outside of the heart of the city, and admission to the zoo cost me an unbelievably low €2! I was more than excited to be able to compare the species and overall layout of this German zoo to the many I have encountered in my time. The Tierpark is home to more than 600 species of animals, and has one of the largest and most beautiful aquariums I have ever seen! I spent a decent chunk of time wandering around, and seeing all there was to see, and learn about different the species the zoo is home to. Although I had a quite satisfying and filling lunch back in the city center, not too long ago, I found myself feeling peckish again, so I grabbed a delicious link sausage on a bun from a vender within the Tierpark.
I headed back toward the direction of my hotel, and made my way to my next stop, the Berliner Dom, or Berlin Cathedral. Approaching this glorious homage to intricate architecture, I felt goosebumps crawl up my arms and legs. Even the hundreds of photos I snapped while visiting the cathedral do it absolutely no justice. I felt as though I was in a dream while only walking around the exterior of the gorgeous building. Admission into the main atrium of the cathedral cost me €8.00, and it was an additional €5.00 to enter the crypts, which I decided I had to do. There are no words to describe the beauty of the interior building, but luckily enough for me, photos were permitted both inside and outside the massive building. I, along with virtually everyone else visiting the Berlin Cathedral that day, seemed entirely entranced in its beauty and mystery of the crypts. It was getting fairly late in the evening, so I decided that it was about time to head to my last stop of the day, and then make my way back toward my accomodations, for a quick bite to eat, and a good night's rest.
Yet another cab took me roughly 6 kilometers outside of the city centre to my final German destination, the Story of Berlin Museum. The admission was a mere €8.00, and had I known I would be welcomed by the world's loveliest tour guide, I easily would have forked over more cash. The guided tour of the museum focused entirely on the history and heritage of the city of Berlin, and gave insight into it's beginnings, as well as where the citizens and government hopes to see it expand in the future. I was glad I chose to save this site as the last of my sight-seeing in Germany, as it certainly gave me a much greater appreciation of the city I had just spent a long day in. Being at the Story of Berlin Museum definitely is something that I recommend for anyone visiting the beautiful city, and I left feeling slightly German-er for the experience.
After a long day of sight-seeing and adventuring around gorgeous Berlin, Germany, it was nearly time for me to hit the hay once again. I decided against grabbing something to eat in the hotel atrium, because, let's face it, I was too darn tired. All of this traveling the exploring different parts of the world in such a short span of time was beginning to take a toll on me. Soon enough, I was fast asleep on my goose feather German pillow, dreaming dreams of my next destination, Rome!