Last night I was watching Eat. Pray. Love and one scene inspired me to capture my wanderlust in this blog. I have got a serious case of ‘the travel bug’ but whilst I’m working towards my PhD time and financial constraints are limiting my time abroad. But last September I visited Berlin for 5 days, and thought I’d like to share my experience with others, but hadn’t figured out a style or brand for this.
So this scene in Eat. Pray. Love …….
Julia Roberts’ character, Liz, was spending some time in the beautiful city of Rome (ironically the next city I’m due to visit this September) and having lunch with some of the people she had met there on her travels. The topic of conversation that grasped my attention was using ‘one word to define a city’, where the cast created the following examples:
New York – Ambition
London – Stuffy
Rome – Sex
I loved this!! I thought you could capture so much of a city using that single word. So this ‘one word definition’ I took as a personal challenge – I was going to create this travel blog to talk about all these cities I have visited and am going to visit using one word to define each of them in their own unique way (hence the blog title), starting with Berlin.
Now it seems obvious that when visiting the German capital it will be bursting with history of the Second World War and the Berlin Wall, and no surprise it was overflowing with art, culture and history. But it was fantastic and I learnt so much without having to traipse around museum after museum. Visiting the remains of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and the Holocaust memorial was so thought-provoking, so if you’re interested in learning a bit about history then I would thoroughly recommend those places. You can also learn a lot from the open-air East Side gallery and the array of different museums throughout the capital. But visiting these places makes you realise what the new, reunited and growing Berlin has to offer.
Berlin also has its iconic buildings of course; Bradenburg gate, Berlin cathedral, Reichstag and TV tower to name a few. Now although they’re these magnificent structures perfect for a selfie opportunity, there’s not much do to on the inside. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it!! Inside Berlin cathedral is truly stunning and the views from the top of the TV tower and the Reichstag dome are mind blowing.
Any self-respecting travel addict visiting Berlin would admire and photograph the beauty of the Bradenburg gate. But most people would probably only visit in the daytime, but on our first night there we were out exploring trying to find a nice place to eat and we decided to make a trip to this well-known landmark in the darkness. The surrounding lights just made it even more spectacular, so that’s another recommendation from me: visit the Bradenburg gate at night too.
Bradenburg Gate. Berlin Wall.
TV Tower. Victory Column.
Berlin Cathedral. Reichstag.
Holocaust Memorial. Checkpoint Charlie.
Now all these photos that I’ve shared are the ‘classic’ sightseeing spots of this amazing city. However, I went to the Olympiastadion on the outskirts of the city and I think it was my favourite memory of this trip, and I can’t emphasise how much I would recommend anyone and everyone to visit this underrated gem!
Standing at the gates of this commanding and majestic stadium as the sun set behind it was indescribable. It was truly stunning, powerful and emotive. But yet it was still full of history; the host of the 1936 Olympic Games, Adolf Hitler, Jesse Owens winning four gold medals and most recently a FIFA World Cup final. But it was the stadiums Olympic history that hit me the most. Walking around that Olympic park seeing the swimming pool and diving boards with the rows of wooden seats lining the pool, the commemorative plaques of all the winners of that games, reading of winners from countries that no longer existed and the Olympic bell really tugged at my heart strings. I remember looking back over my shoulder as we returned to our hotel at the end of the day at this incredible place just in awe of the beauty of its silence and its history. Any sports fan (and non sports fan for that matter) should visit and I hope you then understand where I’m coming from.
Then in complete contrast, my boyfriend and I returned on our last day of the trip to watch Bundesliga team Hertha Berlin play against FC Mainz. Seeing that stadium again in its modern day setting couldn’t have looked more different. The hustle and bustle of the match build up and the ultra fans was crazy. But I will never forget how magical that stadium was in the silence as the sun was setting.
Top tip: Get the Berlin WelcomeCard!!! This was a great purchase and so worth the £20 or so we paid for it. It was paid for before we left and we simply collected them at the airport. It gives you travel on U-bahn, S-bahn and buses throughout the city. There were discounts into major attractions such as the TV Tower, and gives you a map of the city and suggestions of tours, places to see and places to eat. It made it so much easier to plan our days and see what was available to make the most of our few days there.
So it’s goodbye to Berlin. This old city has a young heart and is one of the coolest, most efficient and diverse cities in Europe (and has some of the best nightlife on the continent too!). I strongly encourage anyone to visit this glorious and vibrant city and spend as much time exploring as you can (especially as Germany is a relatively cheap country to visit too).
Now it’s your turn! Please get in contact or comment if you have visited Berlin with any tips and tricks for any prospective tourists and I want to know your one word definitions. I’d love to hear them.
How do you define Berlin in one word?? 🇩🇪