Roadtrip Reflections (1): Berlin

Hi everyone,

As promised, I’m going to start the photoblog series of my September Roadtrip after delaying this for far too long. Just a recap: the roadtrip was split up into 3 parts. The first was in UK around Peak District National Park, which I have so much love for. The second was a 2-week circle around Germany. The 3rd was back in the UK in Scotland before venturing back down to London.

This Roadtrip Reflections series will begin from Germany because I’ve already done a detailed one on my Peak District adventures here: https://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/singapore-blog/2017/09/19/peak-district-national-park-%F0%9F%8F%9E%E2%9B%B0%F0%9F%87%AC%F0%9F%87%A7/

So let’s begin!

Berlin is the capital and also the largest city in Germany. It ranks just behind London as the 2nd most populated city in the EU (correct as of 2016). It’s 2 main airports are Tegel and Schönefeld. Tegel’s the main international airport so if you did what I did, you’re going to land in Schönefeld instead. I like the whole idea of having budget flights but their service almost always lets you down. Never once have I taken a RyanAir/easyJet flight without it being delayed by at least 90 minutes. So when our flight was due to land at 9pm in Berlin so that we could be in time to collect our car for the next 2 weeks, guess what happened? We landed at 10.45pm and had to call in to make the staff wait up for us, incurring an “out-of-office” charge of €60. Regardless, we got the car and were on our way, very late at night, starving, hoping to find some late-night food, which we eventually did, at Burgermeister Schlesisches Tor. Found in a refurbished public toilet at Kreuzberg, this was an absolute gem! The burger was ace too, although it could be hunger talking. So that was how we got into Berlin at night and in amongst that, I was planning how our next full day in Berlin’s city centre would be like.

Staying on the outside of Berlin’s city centre meant that the best option was for us to do a “park and ride” which is great when you can buy a small-group day-ticket (Kleingruppen-Tageskarte)! Knowing German helps! 😂 And so our day trip in Berlin began… here’s where the photos start coming in:

Almost every German city has a Fernsehturm (TV tower) and Berlin is no different. If you include the antenna, Der Berliner Fernsehturm is the tallest one in Germany. It’s found in Berlin-Mitte, near Alexanderplatz, which was where we began our day.

Strangely, we seemed to have brought the gloomy skies with us from England to Germany and as a result… the blue skies disappeared after mid-day as we ventured onto Museuminsel (Museum Island). That’s the Berlin Cathedral in the background and you’ll see a clearer view of it below.

The gloomy skies seemed to add a certain special tinge of colour to the cathedral too.

Beside the Berlin  Cathedral is the Pleasure Garden (Lustgarten) which is also where you’ll be able to see the Old Museum (Altes Museum), which used to be called the Royal Museum long ago. Along with all the historic buildings on Museum Island, they’re all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Talking about old stuff… Here’s an old Berliner Bus that stuck out among all the other buses. It’s not in service anymore and was probably rented for special use by some special people.

So after this, it was time to head to the other Berlin landmarks, the most famous of which is…

The Brandenburg Gate! This Neoclassical monument was built on the site which used to be the city gate during the reign of Frederick William II of Prussia, so it dates all the way back to before the 1800s.

Like it had been all day, the dark clouds would come in and out so I decided to wait on it for the sun to come out again. Makes quite a big difference, don’t you think?

This here is the Reichstag, which has “Dem Deutschen Volke” on the frieze, meaning “to the German people”. It was reconstructed in 1999, which included the glass dome you see at the back.

Next up is, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin between 1947-1991.

This isn’t the actual sign that used to be at this border… just a replica.

Talk about Summer being over…

Here’s a section of the Berlin wall found at the outdoor history museum known as the Topography of Terror. The rounded portion at the top of the wall made it impossible for people to climb it because there was no way for them to grip to the top and push themselves over.

Welcome now to Potsdamer Platz, a public square that is now surrounded by new and modern buildings. That clock you see there is a replica of the first traffic lights in Germany. You also see Deutscher Bahn’s HQ in the background.

And finally… The Oberbaum Bridge (OberbaumbrĂŒcke) that crosses Berlin’s River Spree. Shot in long exposure to capture the passing of an U-Bahn on the upper deck of this double-deck bridge. Because it used to divide East and West Berlin up, it’s now a powerful symbol for unity as it links Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain together.

Writing this post is another reminder why I should never keep these in the backlog for too long because it took me hours to pull up my photos and notes I had written on my roadtrip that would allow me to write this up. Then again, I’m glad I’ve written this out so that I can always refer back to this again of my day in Berlin.

Right then, this is the first of many. Next in this photoblog series is Hamburg! But I did venture out into London over the weekend so I might write about that soon. Let’s see what’s more interesting to write about next then. Until then, have a blessed rest of the week! God bless you! 🌈

Ben