Berlin, capital of the Germany, is an ideal tourist city break vacation destination. I was not looking forward to visiting Berlin. Apart from the Brandenberg Gate and Check Point Charlie I did not think there would be much to see. Boy was I wrong.
I was shocked how attractive Berlin city is. The best parts were in the old East Berlin. Prior to the wall coming down a trip to West Berlin would have been very disappointing as most of the best bits were on the Communist side.
If you go to Berlin looking for the Berlin wall you are going to be very disappointed as nearly all sections of it have been demolished and erased from the landscape. There are lots of hotels, motels and guest houses to suit all pockets.
The division of the city has benefited the preservation of the old parts of the city. The western side of the city has been ruined by developers building high rise tower blocks and shopping complexes on the old bomb sites.
When the wall came down the new government of the united Germany transferred the capital back to Berlin and started a restoration program. They have achieved a marvel. Imposing pastel painted Prussian German Imperial buildings now line wide majestic boulevards that lead to the renovated Brandenburg gate.
Traveling to Berlin is very easy. The Airport has its own railway station and you can travel to the heart of Berlin with ease. Try a coffee and marzipan filled croissants, whilst you are waiting for the train. They sell them in the little kiosks on the platform. Take the train to Alexanderplaz Railway Station in the center of the city. If you are lucky there may be a market operating in the square near the TV mast.
Fernsehturm TV Tower - The toothpick
The Fernsehturm is an impressive. It soars above the skyline of Berlin like a giant golf ball skewered on a concrete spike, topped with a red and white flashing lights. It was the pride of the old DDR east German regime and part of their attempt to show the west that they were better than them.
It was designed to be an architectural political statement. There is a viewing platform, 200 meters up the 365 meter tower. The German words 'fern' and 'seh' literally mean far and see. Joined together they become 'fernsehen',the German word for television. It is both a television tower, and a far seeing tower. You can see as far as 40 km on a clear day. It costs just under 10 euros to be rocketed up in the lifts that travel at 6 meters per second.
Get there early as you might have a long wait. The views are excellent. The huge clear windows are angled down onto the city to give the greatest field of view possible. Do not use the cafe or rotating restaurant at the top of the tower. They are mediocre but very expensive. The tower is open 9.00 am to 1.00 am, from March until October, and then 10.00 am to midnight the rest of the year.