We land at Berlin’s Schonefeld Airport which was built around nineteen forty but we pass the new Billy Brandt airport which looks like Greek architecture. It was due to open in 2010 but now planned to open in 2020. Doesn’t sound like German efficiency. The German immigration takes a nano second to look at my passport let me in. Ah British you see, honest chap, wait till post Brexit. My wife with a Australian and Sri Lankan passport takes somewhat longer.
Our first visit to Berlin some decade ago was predominately a sight seeing hectic five days following the guide books and the very clear subway instructions to get about. Each morning we and our friends were out of the hotel by 9 am and exhausted arrived back to the hotel by 7 pm. Berlin is a great city to walk about but as I always say,
For the chaps in the group Berlin it is a chance to see all those places relating to the second world war and a then a divided city. The girls manage to start off well but by lunch time the shopping is their focus. We stop at the Brandenburg Gate quickly, wearing an American military jacket from the photographer who snaps away. Off to walk along side the remains of the Berlin wall snapping photos of various art and graffiti. The stories came to life when we did the Berlin tunnels and bunkers and then went to Check Point Charlie, and the overshadowing McDonalds. The best place to see a complete recent history of World War Two, the activities of Hitler and his regime, the persecution of the Jews is seen at the Topography of Terror outdoor and indoor museum. Its important to ensure you check out where to start your tour, as its easy to start at the post war section. Look out for the brass plaques on the pavements around the city relating to a location a Jewish family lived before they were taken away and to what concentration camp they were taken to.
The Grand Hirtenstrasse, built in 1842 with a stylish restaurant and a small fun club above was a great start to another night. Then a mad merc taxi drive to the bar in Stauffebergstraza, Hotel Maritime, with a great pianist and singer, nice bar, a few geriatrics but crap wine. Onto the Monkey Bar, but big line of people trying to get in and get upstairs in the small lift. This rocking bar faces the zoo. The the next night we hit Junction bar but too late for live music so on to Basement bar 20 people dancing, 20 others watching, music of the 80/90’s, cheap booze, DJ knew his stuff sitting in little booth with grills in front. Down to earth fun and mainly locals.
We just had to revisit the The Berlin Wall again before we leave but we couldn’t find some of the old graffiti we had photographed a decade earlier. We found some new wall art however. Our next visit will be focused on the pre world war two and more time in galleries and museums with a drive round town in an old trivant car.