Berlin is one of the most complex and historical cities. It was the first major city I ever visited in Europe back in 2007 and still remains one of my favorites. For being only an 80-minute train ride away from Hamburg, I hadn’t been back to Berlin for almost 4 years! After attending a conference in the city a few weeks ago, I decided to stay an extra day and reminisce by doing some of my favorite touristy activities. Although I’ve now visited about 8 times since 2007, the city never gets old to me – constantly changing and reinventing itself. If you only have 2 days in Berlin, this is the perfect itinerary to introduce you to Berlin and the most popular landmarks.
I love London and Paris just as much as the next person but sometimes I find the cities way too touristy and overwhelming! You can’t walk more than 10 feet without running into another American. Throughout my travels in Europe, I’ve come across some great cities and regions that offer similar experiences to those touristy cities…without the tourists! And most of the time, these places are significantly cheaper than the touristy destination. So go visit some of these alternative European city breaks before the secret is out and tourists start to overwhelm them!
25 years! 25 years ago, the Berlin Wall fell (also known as der Mauerfall in German or literally “the wall fall”). Although there had been rising protests in East Germany in the months leading up to November 1989, no one actually thought the wall would fall and Germany would be reunified. In an amazing series of events (read my blog post from last year: here), the wall fell on November 9, 1989 and the process to reunify Germany began.
Here we are 25 years later. Germany is not only reunified but a global superpower. Both the President and Chancellor of Germany are originally from East Germany and the generation of children growing up in Germany right now never knew a divided country.
Berlin is one of my favorite cities in all of Europe. It’s a mixture of old, new, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Prussia history, USSR history, and the modern 21st century. I’ve now visited the city 4 times and every time I visit Berlin, it feels like an entirely new city to me.
I meant to post this yesterday, but Germany celebrated 24 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall yesterday!
One of the more poignant and recognizable features of Berlin, and the Berlin Wall, is the Brandenburg Gate. I’ve had the opportunity to go to Berlin a few times in the past 5 years and I always take a new picture of the Brandenburg Gate. The Berlin Wall ran right next to the Brandenburg Gate and divided the city of Berlin for almost 30 years. During the fall of the wall, the gate was one of the more iconic images on the news. JFK and Reagan both gave famous political speeches in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
Today, October 3rd, is the Day of German Unity, which celebrates the formal reunification of Germany on this date in 1990! Because it is a federal holiday, people spent the day enjoying the sunshine and gorgeous weather in Heidelberg by hiking and sitting in the cafes that line the Hauptstrasse (Main Street).