Berlin, day 4
I’ll be leaving Berlin for Paris by train from the Hauptbahnhof, so I decided to do a ‘dry run’, to check how long it would take me to get there, and check out the station as well. It’s an amazingly BIG place. It took me about 30 minutes to get there, and another 20 minutes to fin the right platform, so I was glad that I made the effort to find out before I had to rush to catch the train. The S-bahn at Hauptbahnhof is located on the top floor of the station, while the international trains depart below ground, five levels lower.
I got back on the S-bahn for one of the expected highlights of my trip - the Kaiser Wilhelm church memorial, next to Kurfurstendamm.
I left the right station, but couldn’t seem to find it anywhere… until I realised that I was standing right in front of it… but it was completely covered in a screen because it’s in the middle of a two-year restoration! Not one of the references I had researched before leaving home had mentioned that. It was incredibly disappointing.
Since I was in that part of town, I wandered briefly along the Ku’Damm strip, but really, it’s just another shopping strip. I also checked out the KaDeWe department store, then caught the U-bahn a couple of stops to Nollendorferplatz, for a complete change of scenery. I picked up a delicious snack for lunch at a market there - some sort of flat-bread pizza with cream cheese instead of tomato. My mouth still waters just thinking about it.
Back on the S-bahn, I decided to jump out at Stadtmitte, and find the Gendarmenmarkt, which I had been unable to locate a day or so previously. This time, I found it immediately… and I found it magnificent. A truly splendid sight.
In the next block is the Berlin outlet of Galeries Lafayette, and continuing on up the road via a posh shopping strip gets you back to Friedrichsbahn, and thence to Museumsinsel. I stopped at the Altes Museum to see the fine collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities, and then, a bit worn out, headed for home on the tram.
Berlin, day 3
So much to see in Berlin, so little time!
I started with a train trip to Gesundbrunnen, to take a tour of a re-discovered Nazi bunker, which sits alongside an operational U-bahn station.
I then took took the U-bahn back to Alexanderplatz, and spent the afternoon exploring this vast square and the wider Mitte district. I visited the Galeria Kaufhof department store, the Marienkirche, the Neptunbrunnen, the Marx-Engels Forum, the Berliner Dom, and the disappointing DDR Museum, and gave up on a visit to the TV tower observation deck when I saw the length of the queue! And there’s still so much more to see. So much amazingness in such a small area; I’ll have to go back another day for more.
Finally, I returned to Friedrichshain late in the afternoon to stock up on groceries, and on the way, tried my first currywurst (delicious!) and picked up a slice of cherry tart for later.