James and I both have an insane amount of vacation days to take off before our contracts end (I have 16.5 days for my 4-month contract, crazy!), so we planned a little vacation to Berlin.
James has always wanted to go and after reading up on it a bit, he convinced me as well. We managed to find this fantastic apartment through airbnb.com and the owner agreed to let us bring Henry!
We stayed in the Kreuzburg district of Berlin, which is also the former American zone.
We planned on taking public transportation from the airport to our apartment, but after the bus dropped us off early because of a demonstration, we decided a taxi would be much easier. Once we got settled in we managed to figure out the U-Bahn and S-Bahn systems, it took us a while though! (PS: You can’t use French debit cards to buy tickets from the machines! Boo!)
We didn’t do much the first day we were there because our flight left super early from Paris, we basically just walked around the neighborhood and ate cheap falafel and kebab. We got up early on our second day in Berlin and did an amazing walking tour of the city through Insider Tours. Our guide was super good and explained a ton of Berlin’s history while taking us to all the major monuments. The only downside was it was absolutely freezing. The whole tour lasted about four hours and we had a little coffee break about half-way through.
Here are some highlights of what we saw!
The Berlin Cathedral:
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also very moving and somber. The memorial continues underground with historical information and exhibits, but unfortunately it was closed when we were there.
The former Luftwaffe (Nazi) building:
The Bradenburg Gate:
We decided to go back to the Pergamom museum (located on the museum island). It’s a little expensive, but what they have is totally worth it. Can you believe they reassembled the Pergamom alter from the Acropolis in Greece??
Plus the Istar Gate (Babylon):
We also checked out the super interactive DDR museum and really loved it. It’s smaller and was quite crowded, but you definitely get a feel of what East Berlin was like during the Cold War.
We decided to go to the Reichstag (the parliment building) at night so we could see the city lights, but the fog kind of crushed our plans. You absolutely need to reserve online before you go. Since we were there in November we were able to reserve the day before, but in the summer months you should plan on reserving at least a couple of weeks in advance.
For German food we headed to Max & Moritz, a recommendation from our tour guide that just happened to be within walking distance of our apartment. I had gulasch with spatzle and James order the wiener schnitzel, it was great! Plus the restaurant was really cute.
Another night we went to Henne, a very basic restaurant known for its chicken. Well, basically all you can order is chicken, but wow is it good! President Kennedy also ate here during his trip to Berlin, fancy!
And of course, we couldn’t leave without taking Henry’s picture at the Brandenburg Gate. He’s quite the world traveler!
For our last day we were planning on going to a flea market, but it was canceled (lame), so instead we walked around the beautiful Tiergarten.
We really had a wonderful time and learned so much about Berlin’s history. I would absolutely love to go back, but maybe in the warmer months. 🙂