While Susan was visiting us this year, we took a trip to Berlin! I had never been there before, but had heard lots of good things about the city in recent years.
We flew to Schönefeld early on the morning of Thursday 27 April. We took a train into town, and met Abi on the way. (She had gone there a few days earlier for a conveniently timed work trip.) We had a hotel on Anhalter Str., just a couple of blocks away from Checkpoint Charlie. After dropping our bags, we walked round there, and had lunch at the McDonalds overlooking the checkpoint. (Rather: everyone else had McDonalds. I had a currywurst next door.) In the afternoon we took a bus tour to give us an overview of the city. Later in the evening, when everyone else was tired, Abi and I took a walk up to Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburger Tor.
The next day, Abi and Fiona had booked themselves on a street art tour and workshop, while Alex and I visited the computer games museum. The following day Fiona was struggling, and she and I stayed in our room most of the day. In the evening Alex, Fiona, and I did make it out to see Guardians of the Galaxy at the Sony Centre, though. On Sunday Abi and I went out for a little wander before we checked out. Then we all then parked ourselves at a café opposite the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, from where we mounted various small expeditions until it was time to head to the airport for our flight back.
Overall impression: Berlin is a beautiful city, and I want to go back. The sensation of history of the place had a big impact on me while I was there. The city’s pride over being at the heart of modern European politics also shines through. Also, the scale of the place is huge. Some of the streets felt like they were built for giants, and underground stations often felt empty, like they had been built for a city with ten times the population. Thumbs down on Schönefeld airport, though. Nice public transport connections, but the facility itself is a hard-to-navigate dump.