Berlin is one of the cities in my “Places-to-Visit” list. And this year, I am happy to tick the box. However, one day was not enough to see what the city has to offer. It will definitely be in our list of “Places to Visit Again.”
Berlin as Germany’s Seat of Government
As the country’s capital, the city is home to major government offices, economic and finance institutions, and diplomatic offices. The moment we got out of the central station, the panoramic view of the federal government buildings welcomed us.
As we walked farther, our eyes feast with amazing architecture of mixed modern and classic buildings.
Remembering the Wall
Across the Reichstags building is a green fence and white crosses with names, and pictures. This space is a memorial site for the people who died because they tried to cross the wall. It was also the starting point where I felt the heavy past of the city.
On the street are two lines of small rectangular cobblestones. This was the former site of the Berlin wall. As we crossed the street, I felt heavy when I looked back at the names of those who died trying to cross these same lines.
Not far is the infamous Brandenburg Gate with over 200 years of history. This gate was a symbol of the divided East and West of the city – geographically and politically. In front of the city’s only remaining town gate is the Strasse des 17. Juni (17th of June Street) with the Victory Column at the far end. The name refers to the 17 June 1953 uprising in East Germany. The gate and the street now serve as the country’s reunification symbol.
A few meters away from the Brandenburg Gate is the Holocaust Memorial Site. It is dedicated for the victims of World War 2 genocide. At first glance, the rectangular concrete slabs look like park benches. But as you walk across to the other side, the slabs become taller. There is a feeling as if you are walking inside them. These slabs are arranged in grid pattern similar to those in the cemetery.
The Rich History of the East and Its Vibrant Present
My impression of East Berlin was far different from those I usually see in the old movies compared to its actual beautiful architecture. This part of the city is lined up with gorgeous facades, statues, and plazas.
A Chocolate Paradise
One of my must-try while in Berlin are the chocolate stores at the shopping district near Gendarmenmarkt Plaza. There is the first Ritter Sport flagship store where you can make your own version of their chocolate.
The Rausch Chocolate House, behind the German Tower of Gendarmenmarkt has displays of the city’s historic buildings in chocolate.
A Bus Ride to the Westside
With a couple of hours still before we head back to Hamm, my husband and I decided to explore the other side of the city. From Bebelplatz, we took the bus going to Zoo Station. Seating on the upper deck of the bus gave us a good perspective of the city’s tourists and historical spots.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, one day is not enough to enjoy all things city has to offer. On the other hand, spending a day here is just as amazing.