We arrived in Berlin on the morning of the Royal Wedding, after a fun journey by train from Cambridge. We met Malcolm at St Pancras Station where we were taking the Eurostar to Paris.
From the Gare du Nord it is a quick walk to the Gare de L’Est and we stopped en route to buy some sandwiches and a bottle of wine: Malcom’s excellent French got us a free corkscrew too, so were were able to open it! The preparations turned out to be a very good idea as there was no buffet car on the sleeper train, even for the 14 hour journey to Berlin. We had three berths in the compartment and it was pretty comfortable, but no room to sit and natter so we were quite early to eat and bed. Malcolm was on top.
Decent sleep overnight but our Train was unfortunately an hour late when John and Andrew met us the main station. We had breakfast at a small bakers round the corner from their apartment in Penzlauerberg, close to Schönhauser Allee S-Bahn. We had a good, fresh and light lunch there, with cake! John went on to kindly sort out the keys for our rental apartment, while the rest of us headed in to see the sights of the city: everything it seems is one stop away on a train.
We started at an exhibition for the Berlin Wall at the Mauerpark at Bernauer Strasse, with a great ariel view of a preserved section of wall, with guard tower. There was some good video footage in the exhibition of people fleeing into the West as the wall went up. Walked from there to the Nordbahnhof, which still looks pretty much as it would have done when it closed in the 60’s. We headed next for the iconic Brandenburger Tor and a walk to the Reichstag, for a glimpse of the Norman Foster dome. The queue was rather too long and the day too hot to want to go inside.
Our Next stop was a welcome Haufbräu Weiße for us at the Bräuhaus which is part of the smart Sony Centre (next to the Legoland giraffe). Good weiße beer in a nice fun spot. We met up with John there, then walked past Checkpoint Charlie to the Terror Exhibition, which is a fascinating series of story boards about the history of Berlin and the Nazi Party, leading into the present day.
From there to Aleksanderplatz to see the Fernsehturm TV Tower, an icon of Berlin.
Walked from there to Rundschau in Bellevuestrasse, for Haxe in schwarzbiersauce, mit sauerkraut and brot. Massive slow-cooked pork knuckle with free beer. Lovely pork, but rather filling.
Michael, Malcolm, John and Andrew went out clubbing for the evening. I had an early evening, nursing a cold that I’ve had since I left home on Thursday. The apartment no. 4 at Rhinower Strasse 9, is smart and comfortable (also good value for money at £70 per night for the three of us). Impressive mural on our bedroom wall:
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