Latest posts by Heidi Greenstein (see all)
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Arriving into Schonefeld Airport is an experience in itself, as this airport still resembles Eastern Europe in all possible ways. The long drab, grey corridors that seem endless until you meet the passport officer who is as stern as the airport. But once into the fresh air, it is easy to make your way into Berlin.
I find the express RB14 or express RE7 the quickest option. Have some Euro ready to purchase your ticket as the card machines just do not always work. Also, it is a good idea to buy a day ticket (€7.70) for zones A,B and C (depending on arrival time) as this allows access to all modes of transport for your day. Zone C includes the airport area so you would only need a ticket that incorporates this zone for the journey to and from the airport.
If in Berlin on a Tuesday you have an opportunity to watch a free concert at Berlin Philharmonica in the Potsdam Platz area. Find a place in the foyer and spend an hour listening to world class musicians. The concert starts at 13:00 but I’d suggest getting there in time to find a good, comfortable spot.
The Sony Centre in the Potsdam area is worthwhile structure to see. The centre is on a site within the former East Berlin and was a no-go wasteland. It is now a wonderful example of modern architecture. It contains shops, restaurants, a conference centre, art and film museums, an IMAX theatre, a Legoland Discovery Centre. If you want some retail therapy, I’d suggest finding Marlene Dietrich Strasse in the theatre area of Potsdam Platz and The Mall of Berlin.
Making my way back to my hotel (situated in Alexander Platz),I walked through Gendarmenmarkt. – a magnificent square in Berlin and the site of an architectural ensemble including the Konzerthaus (concert hall) and the French and German Cathedrals.
Berlin’s Museum Island
Museum Island contains five world-renowned museums on an island in River Spree right in the heart of Berlin’s city centre. These museums house vast art collections. The many highlights include the bust of Nefertiti and the Pergamon Altar.
I chose a rainy day to visit the Alte Museum which houses Romantic and Impressionist masterpieces with art by Rodin, Monet, Monat, Max Liebermann, John Constable to name a few. Travellers tip – a combi-ticket can be bought allowing access to all 5 museums.
The Reichstad Dome tour is an absolute must. Booking must be made online and well in advance to ensure entry. The dome design is superb and the recorded commentary gives excellent insight to the area and history of Berlin. The Reichstad building is close to Brandenburg Gate so these sights can be visited together. I would have gladly paid for this attraction. As it is FREE, it makes it all the more reason to visit.
Berlin’s trendy café and restaurant scene
Another worthwhile visit is to the trendy area of Prenzlauer Berg. Numerous restaurants and coffee shops line the streets. Anna Blume was just a delightful cafe where breakfast/brunch options are spectacular. In fact , any time of the day, pop in for cake and coffee or a fab meal. Schlomo’s bagel shop was another good choice with delicious bagels over filled with the tastiest of options. Rose Garden on Schonhauser Allee(Rosa-Luxemburg Platz) is a trendy self service restaurant with numerous fresh salads, soup, sandwiches, cakes etc.
Kreuzberg is a bustling district with day and night markets ,various restaurants and dessert bars. We tried Kimchi BBQ where the food is cooked on your own bbq set up on your table. It was fabulous. Markethulle Neun is a must on a Thursday night with loads of street food option suitable to every dietary taste and requirement.
Wonder Waffel is great to visit. Choose your toppings with fruits and type of chocolate to create a unique waffle. They write your name on the plate to make it even more personalised. The concept is fab and it’s so good! Definitely worth the calories!
Look out for my Jewish Berlin travel blog