I arrived into the Berlin HBF station and made my way to the Hampton Inn in Alexanderplatz via subway. I’m in town for four days this, making Berlin the first significant city on my tour of Europe.
Getting around the city is pretty easy, particularly from Alexanderplatz. Between the subways, trams, and busses, there are plenty of options to take you anywhere in the city, all of which can be accessed via the city’s convenient transit app. I purchased a 7 day pass from it, even though I will obviously not need all 7 days. I’ve generally found its mentally easier just to overpay for these things by a little rather than having to worry did I put enough money on my card
Alexanderplatz is also easy to locate, after all there is a giant tv tower in the middle of it, that soars over the rest of the city. After getting checked into the hotel, I had lunch/dinner at Mio, located at the base of the tower.
After this, I roamed around the concrete plaza a bit more before checking into the hotel for the night.
The next day my highlight was the bus tour. It was a hop on hop off bus, which I could have caught outside the hotel, but instead, I took the subway to Potsdamer Platz first, where I checked out a section of the Berlin Wall. From the looks of it, it was built entirely out of old chewing gum, no wonder Ronald Regan wanted that thing torn down.
I wandered into the Tiergarten then, where there is a war memorial to the Soviet troops who died in the battle of Berlin, to reclaim the city from the Nazi’s and end the war in Europe.
After that, I headed over to the Victory Column to catch the bus. This was a bit of an unusual hop on stop, and they didn’t really know what to do with me or my ticket there. Anyhow, once I got to the next big stop, which was technically the beginning of the line, I think, since it was labeled as stop 1, I was able to get my ticket redeemed and a proper set of headphones for the guided tour.
Taking the bus tour of Berlin gave me a good overview of the city, and the division that once existed between East and West, and how the four Allied powers shaped the city after the war.
The following day I started off with trying to find a Starbucks location that was open at 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday, and I ended up walking over to Hackescher Market, where they were also setting up a community market for the day.
After Starbucks, I headed over to the DDR Museum. The museum required a pre purchased ticket and selecting a time slot. However, once I got there, there was clearly no attempt at social distancing, and the exhibits were very hands on, with a lot of touching of surfaces and whatnot. This then got me thinking, I really don’t want to get COVID after 1 week into a 6 week sabbatical, so I did what I could, masked up, and used a shit ton of hand sanitizer. No signs of covid yet, so I guess that’s a good sign.
I had lunch, a Cesar Wrap from a chain health food store, Dean and David, which was fine for chain food, and affordable, then walked across the street to Monbijoupark park for people watching, which has become one of my favorite activities for this trip.
Then, I caught a train back to the main train station to checkout the Reichstag building and Brandenburg Gate complex. Evidently, I arrived about the same time as a large demonstration against high energy prices and pushing for more green energy.
I then took a walk down the boulevard connecting Brandenburg Gate to Alexanderplatz, before settling down for a pizza for dinner. I had originally wanted to go to an Irish pub I had spotted in Hackescher Market, but the place was quite crowded so I went to the pizza place instead. The pizza had quite a bit of arugula on it, so I think that should could as my vegetables for today.
The following day I took another walk, this one from Brandenburg gate through the Tiergarten and on to Charlottetonburger Gate, on the other side of the park. After that I stoped by a street market for a Zucchinipuffer sandwich for lunch. Looking on the internet, it appears this is just a zucchini fritter, converted to sandwich form for consumption in street markets. Never the less, it was a quite tasty lunch for only five euros.
I then got on the train at Tiergarten station and headed over to East Side Gallery, the largest section of the wall that remains. I had gone past it previously as part of the hop on hop off bus tour, and decided I should take a closer look. After hanging out here for an hour or so, doing some more people watching, I got back on the bus to the hotel in Alexanderplatz, got rid of some clothing layers, as it was starting to get a bit warm, and headed back to the Irish bar that I had tried to go to the night before for a Guinness or two. However, the Hot Spurs were playing, and losing to Newcastle, so I made it three.
After that, I got on the tram back to the hotel, as this was my last night in Berlin. I didn’t sleep that well that night as I was somewhat trying to mentally figure out how to get from Prague, my destination the next day, to the west side of the continent, even though I still have over two weeks to get there, and my hermit travel period is barley a quarter the way through.
The following day however I got up early for my last hotel breakfast for at least the next couple of days, as I did not book the breakfast in Prague, and took the tram back to the train station.
Hotel check out time was at noon however my train to Prague didn’t leave until 3, so I threw my belongs into a train station locker, four euros for keeping my stuff for a little over two hours seems a bit excessive, but it did relieve me of the hassle of having to lug my stuff around for an additional two hours.
I found a Pret-A-Mange for lunch, and then had lunch next to the Borg cube that was built next to the train station, before going for one last walk through the Tiergarten.
At three then, I got on the train and was off to Prague.