"Three Days in Berlin." Berlin by Openseas
Berlin Travel Guide: 6,982 reviews and 15,640 photos
Wednesday 27th April
An early morning start as Peter had to attend a meeting and I had to pack our bags for Berlin. I met Peter at the hotel restaurant Zuria and had an enormous lunch with the Cigre people as usual it was a typical Spanish lunch.Four courses which included anchovy salad, spaghetti bolognaise, steak, and sweets and coffee, so I don’t think we will be having dinner tonight. We left the hotel after lunch and caught a taxi to the airport and our flight to Madrid left at 2.30pm and we had a two hour wait in Madrid before flying to Berlin with Iberia Airlines. We arrived at the Estrel Hotel around 10.30pm and booked into our room, the hotel is enormous and it looks like a casino which is miles from the centre of Berlin.
Thursday 28th April
In the morning we had an early breakfast, Peter showered and dressed for work and I packed the bags as I have decided after Peter’s meeting we are going to move to another hotel. The room was incredibly hot and stuffy so I decided to go downstairs to the coffee shop and have an espresso and read up on Berlin. Peter finished really early so we were able to catch a taxi into the city and find a new hotel.
We decided on the Hotel Kastanienhof in the suburb of Mitte which is actually in East Berlin. The Hotels in Berlin are very expensive and this hotel offered a great price and although it was only a three star it was exceptional value as the room was extremely large with enormous windows which could be easily opened.
Mitte is a lively modern and unique suburb; it is Berlin’s birthplace and is filled with wonderful museums, historic monuments like checkpoint Charlie, remains of the wall and bars, restaurants, cafés and clubs - the heart of Berlin's nightlife. It is also the district of alternative galleries and artistic experimentation.
In the years after the fall of the Wall, a unique sub-culture sprung up in the area around Hackescher Markt and Oranienburg Strafe. Art collectives and squatters moved into the empty, run-down buildings and brought new, alternative impulses to the area.
After unpacking into our room 36 we decided to catch the Tour Bus around Berlin it is a two hour tour which included some interesting sights like the Brandenburger Tor which is the symbol of the city and also for a long time the symbol of the partition of Germany, it is the most important classical building in Other sights included The Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. The wall was construction commenced in August 13th 1961.It was initially a temporary barrier, but then became the “perfect” border, an almost insurmountable obstacle that brought unending suffering. It was also often used as an artistic documentation of the emotions the inhumanity of the Wall triggered. The opening on November 9th 1989 released a wave of joy and freedom.
The history of Checkpoint Charlie is also amazing ten days after closing the border on August 13, 1961 tourists from abroad, diplomats and the military personnel of the Western Powers were only allowed to enter East Berlin via the crossing point at Berlin Friedrichstrasse.
Soon the US military police opened the third checkpoint at Friedrichstrasse. The other two checkpoints were Helmstedt at the West German-East German border and Dreilinden at the West Berlin and East Germany border. Based on the phonetic alphabet the Helmstedt checkpoint was called Alpha, Dreilinden Checkpoint Bravo and the checkpoint at Friedrichstrasse got the name Charlie.
The main function of the checkpoint was to register and inform members of the Western Military Forces before entering East Berlin. Foreign tourists were also informed but not checked in the West.
The German authorities in West and East Berlin were not allowed to check any members of the Allied Military Forces in Berlin and in Germany.
The other impressive monuments were Berlin Cathedral and Marienkirche. They are only about 250 metres apart from each other; each building is exemplary of a period and its history in Berlin. The Gothic Marienkirche is one of Berlin’s oldest churches and was built in 1270 and was formerly known as Schlossplatz is a great example of Wilhelmine Berlin and it served as the court church and burial grounds of the Hohenzollens.
I guess the most interesting part of the tour was around Checkpoint Charlie and the crosses where pictures of the deceased were hung up for display as a remembrance to those who lost their lives trying to escape over the wall.
After doing our little tour we walked to have drinks at the Grand Westin Hotel which was really elaborate and expensive in Mitte. It was very enjoyable eating the nibbles whilst relaxing with a glass of wine from all the hectic days’ activities. We had dinner at the famous Berlin Hotel which was rather ordinary.
Friday 1st May
Telephone ringing oops we had slept in and the cleaners wanted to do our room so we hurried and packed our bags and checked out. We then took a taxi to the city to Eurocar to hire a car to drive to Frankfurt, only to be told that no car was available for the weekend. So Peter then rang the airport and they had a black Passat for hire so we drove off in a taxi to pick it up at the airport.
So with our maps in toe we managed to find the right freeway to Hannover. The freeway is amazing as there is no speed limit so most Germans drive around 200mph (you just seem to hear them and not see them!) but overall they are excellent drivers and very polite.
We arrived at Hanover around 4.30pm after a very long and tedious drive and booked into the Sheraton Hotel (room 210) a lovely spacious room with massive tall windows, the hotel reminds me a school but it is very good value at 80euros. After having a shower we headed down to the hotel restaurant and had dinner. I had a ham rocket salad entree with fish and vegetables for the main which was really pleasant. Peter had his favourite liver and fish and finished off with a good cup of coffee before retiring to our room to watch a movie.
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