Vacation! Part 1/2 – Berlin

German Word of the Day:


Urlaub

n.; vacation, holiday


I know it’s been a long time since I last published anything – sorry!  I have a good reason though: my host family and I were hitting the open road for school break.  Packed snug in a wohnwagon, or travel trailer, we visited seven different German cities in two weeks.  There’s more I could say than would possibly fit into one post, so I’ll write about Berlin here, and I’ll write about the rest later this week.

So, Berlin…. Now, in general, big cities are not my favorite travel destinations, but the German Hauptstadt (capital city) won me over.  Berlin is bubbling with history, is a wonderful mix of old and new attractions, and is full of glass architecture and gardens and all sorts of nice aesthetic things. We spent a whole week here, so I think it’s fair to say that I’ve seen everything and am now qualified to be your digital tour guide.

First, let’s get over with the required pictures of the Brandenburg Tor, the Berlin TV tower, and, of course, a pretzel vendor:

img_2109

img_2267

img_2100

So, aside from eating fresh Bretzeln in front of the Brandenburg gate, what else can you do in Berlin?  Well, for one thing, you ride the train a lot.  But it’s cool, because the train stations are all totally different and generally look really interesting, like this one:

Not-entirely-atypical wall art at a train station in Berlin.

Now that you’re on the train with your pretzels, you can stop at a jillion super cool places, like the Berlin Zoo.

p1020230
You can pet the fluffy sheep, so 10/10 would recommend.
img_2202
Who doesn’t like penguins?

And then, of course, you can hit the shops.  If you know me you know that I’m not the world’s biggest shopper, but there were a couple of stores that my family may have had a hard time dragging me out of:

img_2142
A Christmas store… open ALL YEAR ROUND… who needs drugs when you have things like this??
img_2210
And this, my friends, is a store devoted entirely to the stop-and-go figures on pedestrian traffic lights.

 

If you’re ready for some stuff that’s more serious, there is a whole sector of Berlin pretty much devoted to World War II and the separation of Germany, and particularly the Berlin Wall.

img_2154
This is the view from what used to be East Berlin, looking across to West Berlin. To escape from Communist-Russia-controlled East Berlin, you had to cross one wall, then a “no-man’s land” area flooded with search lights where armed guards were commanded to shoot trespassers on sight, and then scramble over another wall topped by barbed wire. Amazingly, many people succeeded in this. Tragically, more did not.

 

img_2148
The Wall.
img_2294
This is “Checkpoint Charlie”, one of the heavily inspected routes that allowed people to cross between the American and Russian sectors of Berlin in the decades following WWII.

 

The last place we visited during our week in Berlin was Potsdam, which is technically a separate city but is essentially a part of Berlin.  In it is the famous Schloss Sanssouci (aka this palace here) which would be a terrific place to meander through while reading Jane Austin, but alas, our schedule was too tight.

p1020273
My host sister and me in front of Schloss Sanssouci (say that fast ten times).

img_2287

img_2278
What to see next? Potsdam is chock full of gorgeous buildings, neighborhoods, and gardens that escaped the destruction of World War II.

Well, that’s all I’ve got on Berlin.  Like I said, I’ll get a post out on Week Two of Vacation soon.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a picture of this beautiful waffle:

img_2155
You’re welcome.

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Vacation! Part 1/2 – Berlin

  1. What a medley of unique experiences and attractions!

    I see a theme emerging here: Mia, host-sister, and small hooved animals. Let’s see more of these pictures (it’s like Hula Girl)!!

    Like

  2. What a wonderful experience. Glad to hear that you are having a great time. Seymour, Karin, Adam, and I were in Berlin years ago. The wall was still there and we went through Check Point Charlie. East Berlin was very desolate. The Russian army was everywhere. Nice to see the change. Really enjoy your blogs. Love Aunt Dorine

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s