Berlin 2013


None of you will know, because I was M.I.A. at the time, but I went to Berlin in November with my boyfriend. We stayed for a week in the Hotel Palace Berlin (a 5* if I do say so myself! ;] … we got it cheap) and did lots of cultural stuff.

So, here we are, leaving on a jet plane.

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The day after we arrived, we did a walking tour all around Berlin, which was really useful because from then on we knew where we were going and what we’d like to do. The tour took us past the Berlin wall, which was really interesting to see.065

We were also shown the memorial to the Jews who died during the holocaust. Some people don’t like the memorial, but I think it’s great. You can walk around through it, and it feels very oppressive when you get right into the middle.

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On the Monday we went to the Berlin Zoo….unfortunately it was a miserable day so there weren’t many people around, but the animals were still cool! The gorilla terrified me by whacking his fist against the glass of his enclosure…they’re very strong!

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The food was excellent, both at the hotel and elsewhere (see how huge the pastries are!)

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On the Tuesday we went to Museum Island because they had some cool exhibitions (Egyptian, Roman, Greek).

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And then we went to a German Christmas Market (we went towards the end of November), which sold amazing consumables including rosemary potatoes (or Kartoffel) and real German gluhwein! (mulled wine).

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On the Wednesday we went to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. It was an absolutely freezing day, and we were told that in the depths of winter temperatures could plummet to minus 25 degrees C. I can’t begin to imagine what that must have felt like.

‘Arbeit Mach Frie’ means ‘Work Makes You Free’

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The sign saying ‘Neutrale Zone’ indicated an area where the prisoners couldn’t walk. If they did, they would be shot. Sometimes guards would take a prisoner’s hat and throw it onto the Neutrale Zone. They would then order the prisoner to pick it up. Both standing in that zone, and ignoring a guard’s order would result in you being shot, so there was no way to survive that sort of encounter.

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We were shown living quarters, prison cells, and even the remains of the building where a small gas chamber used to be situated.

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On the Thursday we just had a day wandering around and soaking up the rest of the sights before leaving on the Friday.

All in all, a brilliant week. I’d highly recommend Berlin as a city break, and I’m sure that in the summer it’d be wonderful as well!

 

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