If you follow me on Instagram or you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I took a trip to Berlin last month. I had to go to the Czech Embassy there for my Visa appointment (yes, I had to leave the Czech Republic to apply for a Visa...strange, I know), so I decided to make a weekend of it. I am in Europe, after all. :)
I traveled to Berlin by bus. So far I have used Student Agency for my travel outside of Prague and I haven't had any issues with them. They are extremely affordable. I did choose to stay at a hotel instead of a hostel for this trip. The hotel I stayed at was called Hotel M68. It was in a really great location...right across the road from the beautiful Museum of Communication and within walking distance of all of the major sights. The hotel itself was okay. It felt like a strange combination of a hotel and hostel in one because the bathroom was actually down the hall instead of in the room itself. It personally didn't bother me too much, but people who expect more from accommodation may feel differently. However, the location and price made everything worth it to me.
Through word of mouth and basic research, I had heard that Berlin is one of the most unique European cities. Now, I can testify that "unique" is actually the perfect word to describe it. Upon first glance, it doesn't have the same obvious beauty that Prague and Vienna have, but that doesn't mean it isn't charming. The city is a perfect mixture of history, creativity, and modern function. The architecture is a mixture of new and old, and there is always something new to catch your eye when walking down the street.
The attraction I was most excited to see was the Brandenburg Gate. This structure is described as a "symbol of German unity." The statue at the top of the gate represents the Goddess of Victory, and it is easy to see that it was inspired by Greek architecture. The gate was damaged during World War II, but fortunately not completely destroyed. It really was an awesome thing to see in person. I was surrounded by hundreds of other tourists while viewing it, but it still didn't take away from the experience.
The same day that I saw the Brandenburg Gate, I also paid a visit to Reichstag, which is the German parliament building. The building itself is massive, and has overwhelmingly beautiful architecture. What makes it even cooler though, is the dome like viewing point that is at the top of the building. (Sadly I was not able to fully capture it in any of my photos.) Reservations have to be made a couple of weeks in advance to actually go into the building, so I was not able to do that. Still, viewing it from the outside and walking around the grounds was an experience in itself.
Just a short walk from Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate was the Holocaust Memorial, also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The monument is visually intriguing, consisting of a vast area covered with rectangular concrete pillars of different heights. It almost feels like a maze, and is there to visually remind people of the lives that were lost during the Holocaust.
Some of the other interesting historical sites I was able to see included:
*Checkpoint Charlie, which is a representation of the famous border crossing between East and West Germany
*The Topography of Terror exhibition which portrays a timeline and historical information of Germany under Nazi rule
*And numerous other sites...some beautiful, some fun, and some thought provoking.
Berlin is a city that I will always be grateful that I was able to visit. Although I am still very new to the experience of traveling Europe, I would say that this city is one that you wouldn't want to overlook. I give it two thumbs up.
Have you been to Berlin? What was your favorite part?
Happy almost Friday! :)