It bears repeating; Berlin is huge. And when it comes to navigating the complexity of the city in twelve hours, there is no better guide than my aunt who has been living in Berlin since the 80’s. From the get-go, I made it known to her the places I wanted to see, but she went beyond my expectations.
I have always been fascinated with Germany. Specifically, its relevance to international politics and world order from WWI, WWII, and the Cold War era. Despite, being heavily damaged during the WWII, some of the historical structures are still palpable. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, for instance, is hard to miss when you go around the city. Instead of renovating or completely obliterating it, they built a new church alongside the ruined tower. The structure now serves as a tourist spot.
Looking at the Reichstag Building, where members of the parliament convene, one would surmise that Germans have the penchant for grandeur. Unfortunately, the line for the ticket going in was too long, so we had to skip the tour.
We directly went to see the Brandenburg Gate where an even greater number of tourists congregate. The Brandenburg Gate is a legit German icon. Many people flock to this area to see this highly symbolic structure.
Just a few minutes walk from the Brandenburg Gate, we passed by a field of dark grey blocks. Walking through this holocaust memorial relives scenes from the movie Schindler’s List. The Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe serves as a tribute to the six million Jews who died a horrible death.
An interesting way to explore around Brandenburg gate is to join a group on a big bike like the image below. Everybody gets to pedal while having a cold beer. What a cool way to explore the area.
To enjoy a breathtaking view of Berlin, we had to visit the Panoramapunkt. It is a viewing platform that offers 360 degrees panoramic view of Berlin. The platform offers majestic views over Berlin and is accessed by the fastest elevator in Europe. It also has a restaurant and a gallery. I highly recommend this one.
In the early afternoon, my aunt decided to bring me to Traverna. A beautiful and quiet place away from the busy and modern Berlin. This place is where Berliners go swimming and where the bourgeois get to showcase their opulence in their stylish yachts. There are several restaurants to choose from, but for some reasons we ended up in an Italian restaurant for some pizza and coffee. I wanted to drink beer but I also wanted to maintain my sobriety for few more hours of sightseeing.
In the afternoon, my cousin Yvonne joined us as we went to see the East Side Gallery. The gallery is a long stretch of the actual Berlin Wall covered in incredible artwork. It is a must-see when in Berlin.