I may have gone to Berlin a little while ago, but I thought you might still be interested in hearing about it.
Most of the sights I saw in Berlin were concentrated in the area between Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz. Just walking down the street to the hostel, we passed Humboldt University, Bebelplatz, the Holocaust Memorial, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Museuminsel, and the Berliner Dom (a cathedral).
We ate lunch by the huge Fernsehturm (Television Tower) in Alexanderplatz, where there were lots of shops selling clothes and touristy knickknacks. If you walk past the massive amount of construction being done, you can see the Rathaus (the old courthouse) and head over to the Nikolikirche (St. Nicholas’ Church). The area over there is much quieter than the surrounding areas, and you can get great views of the river Spree. I also liked the cool statue in the square of St. George and the Dragon.
The food stands in Berlin were surprisingly excellent. Pretty much everywhere we went there were little stands selling Currywurst or Doner. Guys even stood on street corners wearing Bratwurst grills on their backs. Even better, all of these “snacks” were cheap and filling. I became quite attached to Doner during my time there. Every stand had a different recipe for this Turkish, bread, meat, and vegetable pocket, but they were all delicious.
One day while in Berlin we got tickets to Museuminsel. You can buy one ticket that is good all day at all the museums on the island, plus several others in Berlin. We visited the Old National Gallery and the New Museum. The National Gallery was full of beautiful paintings, featuring a huge selection of works by Adolf Menzel and even some French Impressionists, and a special exhibit of sculptures by Bugatti. He was the brother of the famous automaker, and sculpted amazing animals out of bronze. It was interesting to learn how his lifelike animals were connected with the rising popularity of public zoos in the late 1800’s.
The New Museum, ironically, held mostly ancient artifacts. The most impressive collection was their Egyptology collection. I had no idea that Berlin has long been one of the centers around the world for Egyptology studies. The building itself was also an attraction. After World War II it was rebuilt, but the ruins of the old building were left and simply built around. I thought the effect was captivating. We had no time or energy left to explore the other museums around, but I hope to see the Pergamon on my next trip. It was mostly closed for remolding this time.
Berlin is a big city, brimming with sights both old and new to visit. I had a great time getting a small taste for the city