Ich bin ein Berliner. I certainly feel like a doughnut having eaten out for 3 meals a day for the last 3 weeks, often with 3 course dinners! Must diet before Christmas! We had successfully navigated our way through the rail replacement bus service and arrived in Berlin. Perhaps the most anticipated hotel of the holiday, if any of you spoke to Dave prior to our departure you may have heard about the aquarium. The hotel has the largest cylindrical aquarium in the world. I’m not sure how many aquariums are cylindrical so I’ll reserve judgement on that but it is sizeable and we had a wonderful view of it from the room. If you looked at a certain angle it even looked like our room was underwater!
For dinner, we were fed up of the same old meat and veg so we opted for a Chinese restaurant, highly rated on trip advisor of course. As has become the theme of the honeymoon we had gyoza to start (pot stickers) – Dave reckoned that these were the best of the holiday. He then had a beef dish which had to come with a warning that it was a hot dish, I enjoyed a chicken and peanut dish.
No hotel breakfast in Berlin for the first couple of days (long story) so the next morning we took a quick walk around the block, I had a more traditional pain au chocolat. Dave had some weird cheese and spinach pancake – obviously. Off we popped to the Pergamon museum for a taste of Syrian architecture. Sadly they were renovating it and it didn’t seem quite worth the entry fee. We did get to see some interesting Islamic art and sculpture but I’d suggest if you’ve been to the V&A and the British museum in London then you needn’t bother.
Next stop was a short walk around the tiergarten which brought us to the reichstag which we had a tour of the following day, the Brandenburg gate, the Jewish memorial and the soviet memorial. A quick lunch at an australian restaurant at the Sony centre and we were ready to go again.
The afternoon was to take a slightly more morbid turn, it seems most of the things we visited in Berlin were a little morbid. We visited the medical history museum which had a temporary exhibition for criminal pathology. It also unused many dry and wet samples from cadavers displaying melanoma, subdural haematomas, birth defects, tumours and much more. It was very interesting! Due to the nature of the museum no photos were permitted.
In the evening we opted for a modest pizza as neither of us were feeling particularly well – we seem to have come down with colds. Too much of a good thing!
We awoke the to warm climate Berlin had to offer – a delightful zero degrees. After a quick waffle and coffee we headed towards the reichstag. I would highly recommend this for anyone visiting Berlin. A free audio tour of the dome providing views across the city (you do need to register online before your visit). It talked us through the history of the reichstag and how it evolved into what it is today through 2 world wars and the separation of east and west Germany. The centre of the dome itself is covered in mirrors which provide natural light to the plenary hall beneath the dome. Not to mention it proves a fascinating view from within the dome.
A return to morbidity. The topography of terror museum, which was free to enter FYI, gave an insight into the horrors of the crimes of murder and the despicable mass executions carried out by the Nazi regime. With horrifying photos of the moments before, during, and after death it did not make for an easy morning. It was extremely interesting despite this. It also presents the longest section of the Berlin wall which is still in place.
After a quick lunch we headed to the checkpoint Charlie museum. A painful reminder of the split between east and west. The museum documents much about the wall, escape attempts and the consequences of those who were caught (spoiler alert – they were mostly killed). Sadly we’d done quite a lot of reading already that day so we had Museum fatigue. We spoiled ourselves with a crepe each and returned to the hotel for some respite before heading out for dinner.
Following a recommendation from the guys in charge of the Taste of Prague tour we scooted over to a different part of town for a street food festival at MarktHalle neun. There was so much interesting food and drink, if only it was in moseley! Uruguay, Egypt, oysters, waffles, tapas and much more. Dave enjoyed a sandwich called the Green Bay cheese and I had a meat and cheese plate. Dave also had an oyster, because at €2.50 why wouldn’t you?!
The following day we visited the DDR museum which offers a view of what life was like in East Germany. Apparently nudity was a big thing (which we were already aware of this due to the requirement to be nude in the spa at the hotel – we remained perfectly British in our swimwear). It showed a mock up of a flat and I was able to print out recipes – one of which is Edam on bread with tea!
As we’ve become quite accustom to walking huge distances we then traversed the, larger than expected, tiergarten to see the victory column, take a peek at the Kaiser-Wilhelm church and as we were in the vicinity the city aquarium. The victory column used to sit in front of the reichstag building but was moved to the centre of tiergarten.
The aquarium was quite impressive, I don’t think it was as large as the one in Vienna’s zoo though. We got to see some baby sea horses, an octopus, some pretty active horseshoe crabs and many larger versions of fish I had when I was younger – danios, gourami, clown loaches, pleas, tetras, red tailed sharks – the lot!
On the walk back we took in sights of the Brandenburg gate again and past the Berliner Dom- the city’s cathedral. We didn’t make the obligatory church visit this time however.
The final dinner of the megamoon was had at a place around the corner called kantine deluxe. You are given a tablet computer to order your food and collect it from a desk like restaurant Argos. Fun! Schnitzel for me, a club sandwich with a surprise egg for Dave.
The end of the honeymoon is upon us. All that remains is our final hotel breakfast (I genuinely can’t wait for some normal cereal at home with old faithful semiskimmed milk!) and a flight from Berlin-tegel to Birmingham.