Berlin is a special place. So much history has swept through this capital city, it is only but a ghost of its former self. Berlin looks very different from the rest of Germany; from the rest of Europe even. The landscape have been bombed to bits throughout several wars, leaving very little of the typical "old world charm" seen in surrounding countries. But just because Berlin has lost many of its frescoed walls, does not mean Berlin has lost its beauty. In fact, I felt the true beauty was in that of its modern inhabitants. Warm, progressive, inviting and streamlined; this was Berlin!
If you only have 48 hours in this awesome city, this is what you do ......
Visit the East Side Gallery: The East Side Gallery is a mural and memorial on a 1 mile stretch of the Berlin Wall. This remaining portion of the wall can be found in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg on MülhenstraBe. Take your time with all 105 works along the wall and really read into the emancipation message shared with each beautiful piece. There is no fee or entrance to view the gallery, it is simply a public monument for all to marvel.
Typography of Terror: With Germany, there is no escaping it's notorious past. It was the home of the worlds most powerful dictator who left a devastating footprint on history and human-kind. Berlin had seen the terrors of war continuously throughout the 20th century and instead of continuing to let it reign power over their lives today, Berliners have stared it in the face, turned fiercely way from the ideals of the past and proven that with love, compassion, and strength they could take their heritage back and create a brighter future for the modern German. The Typography of Terror is a indoor/outdoor historical museum located on the previous site of the Gestapo and SS Office during the 3rd Reicht. This space is a maze of visual displays chronologically guiding you through the rise and fall of the Hitler Regime as well as a portion of the Berlin Wall with relics shining light on their fight to freedom during the Cold War. Advisory: As the internal exhibit progresses the content becomes far more graphic. I can assume you expect that knowing the atrocities of WW2 but I figured I would still mention. This is a building dedicated to the acknowledgment of Germany's troubled past through comprehensive displays.
This FREE museum has guided tours and all of its written exhibitions in both German and English. Definitely a place to visit if you should seek solace with the ones lost and communities effected during those portions of history.
Other notable sites: The Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews for Europe.
THE WHERE TO's:
Where to grab a drink: KASCHK! Artisanal coffee by day and Bier pourers by night. I had one of the best nights of my life here in Prenzlauer Berg. Be sure to head downstairs to the basement for some shuffleboard fun! After you started with a few tall and cheap German craft beers, head to Brut around the corner for a classic cocktail. After a good nights rest, head to Roamers Coffee & Booze for a pick me up and idyllic storefront!
Where to grab a bite: Curry at the Wall! When in Berlin you must try their staple dish - currywurst! Besides wursts, Berlin is actually quite the cultural culinary city. We had delicious Thai food at Thai Window Asia, and even felt at home with some American fare across town in Gleimviertel at The Bird, ordering yummy Brooklyn style burgers and chops! Be ready for cash only and a strict medium-cook on your burger. Many places we visited in Europe WERE NOT into the "well done" option.
Where to shop: Berlin has EXCEPTIONAL flea markets. A stroll through the city on any given day can lead you to the treasures and trinkets of your dreams. Some information about the local flea markets and their schedules can be found here.
With only 48 hours, this should surely give you LOTS to do around Berlin. In my opinion, this is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. The people are kind and eager to interact with travelers. The history: rich and important. The art, music and youth scene: abundant. No matter what you do, give into the adventure! Happy travels!
Preserve Your Penny:
- Every site that I have listed above is a FREE attraction to explore. The Reichstag is the only landmark where you need to preregister before entry (being that it is the current parliament building of Berlin) - other than that bit of logistics, visiting the Reichstag dome is still free!
- You get a lot of BANG for you BUCK when it comes to drinking German beer! No need for fancy cocktails most days! Find yourself a biergarten and make the most of your day enjoying the weather and sharing some sips with friends!