For my first excursion of 2020, I had an overnight trip to the magnificent German capital city of Berlin. Although time was tight, I did manage to spend some time walking around the area close to my hotel, a walk which fortunately took in some of the city’s most famous landmarks. I have been to Berlin a couple of times before, and have strong memories particularly of my first visit, as it was on a school trip back in 1974 when the city, and country were still divided.
Thankfully, things are very different today, and armed with my iPhone camera (as I was limited to just hand luggage!), I tried to capture not only the iconic structures along the way, but also one or two hopefully more unusual shots.
Arriving at the city’s Schonefeld Airport, one of the first delights is this wonderful bierkeller / restaurant, adjacent to the terminals – what a great place to enjoy a stein and a bratwurst when you have time to kill.
From Schonefeld I took a train to Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Central Station – more of which a little later), and from there checked in to my nearby hotel, before setting off on my exploration.
Upon leaving the hotel, it’s a short stroll to reach Berlin’s River Spree, along which much of the walk was to take place. Crossing the river for the first time, I could see the flags atop Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag, in the distance; that became my first objective.
After walking around a kilometre I was in front of building’s original facade. This stunning structure was built in the late 1800’s; and features the dedication ‘Dem Deutschen Volke’ – To the German People.
The building had been the seat of the German Parliament until it suffered a bad fire in 1933. It then fell into disuse after World War II, but underwent a major reconstruction following German reunification in 1990. The current extended building, featuring the spectacular glass dome, was opened in 1999, when it once again became the home of the parliament, the Bundestag.
Whilst it is possible to tour the building, I had done this with Mrs E on a previous visit a few years ago, so after a few minutes enjoying the splendour of view, I moved on the short distance towards my next stop, Brandenburg Gate.
This famous structure was originally built in the late 1700’s, and is probably regarded as the city’s most iconic landmark. It is, as stated on its own website:
“A symbol of Berlin and German division during the Cold War, it is now a national symbol of peace and unity.“
Given its popularity it’s not easy to get a photo that excludes the many tourists who have the same idea, so having waited several minutes for a suitable opening, I gave up and decided that including some of my fellow visitors in the shot wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
After all that waiting in the cold of the early afternoon, it was time for a Starbucks!
The walk then became a bit of a ‘make it up as you go along’ exercise – I walked away from Brandenburg Gate, along Unter den Linden, past imposing buildings, including the European Commission offices.
Eventually, I turned down a side street that lead me back to the River Spree, and more wonderful views dominated again by the Reichstag, as I followed the path of the river.
Moving beyond the area of the Reichstag, the river lead me back towards Central Station, and my hotel.
This final part of the walk took me past ‘Cube Berlin’, an award winning modern office building featuring ‘inwardly folding glass panels’ that looked amazing, and created amazing reflections.
Later in the evening I returned to the Hauptbahnhof to plan the route to my meetings the following day; this amazing transportation hub has served the city since 2006.
The next day was work focused but I did manage to get a few shots, including the one that is perhaps my favourite photo of the trip – the final photo below.
It was a great couple of days; Berlin is such an exciting city to explore, I can’t wait to visit again!
Brandenburg Gate Website
Cube Berlin Website