I have to say I love Berlin. In 2018, I visited the city for the third time. Hopefully not the last one either.
The first time was in 1988. Then the Berlin wall remained and was a kind of excursion destination tragically enough. I remember peeking into East Berlin from a lookout point at Checkpoint Charlie. It was a sad sight with the watchtower and the wide gravel strip between the wall and the houses on the other side. Went by train there and passed through an East German border crossing to West Berlin. The border guards came on board and checked the passport with machine guns on their shoulders.
The second time was in the autumn of 2012. At that time, Berlin had been united for a long time and it was not noticed that it had even been divided. Of course, Checkpoint Charlie was still there. Nowadays as a tourist trap. The small guardhouse (fake, not the original) is on site surrounded by sandbags and fake Soviet and American soldiers.
The third time was as I said in 2018. I went with my son and we went by bus with Flixbus. Starting from Malmö Central Station, we went via Copenhagen to Gedser where we jumped on the ferry to Rostock. In Rostock, there was a stop to drop off and pick up new passengers. We sat on the top floor of the double decker bus and I have to say it was more comfortable than I thought. Comfortable seats and a fresh bus. The journey takes about nine hours and you arrive at Berlin’s bus station in the western part of the city. There are both U-Bahn and S-Bahn near the bus station so getting further on is no problem. Taxis are also available.
Radisson Park Inn
We took the subway to our Radisson Park Inn hotel which is located right on Alexanderplatz. That trip took about 30 minutes without change. Alexanderplatz I thought was a good location to stay at. Central and with good communications in all directions in the city.
The hotel was really good. We got a room on the 33rd floor with a view of the TV tower and the central parts of Berlin. Incredibly nice view.
The hotel kept good class and we had nothing to complain about. Yes, one thing was a little sour. On the top floor there is a viewing platform to visit. The sad thing was that they paid for this. I can think that if you stay in the hotel it should be free. We ignored it because we still lived almost at the top and with the view in the “right” direction.
I have thought that the hotel was relatively newly built, but it actually opened as early as 1970 as an East German prestige hotel in the Interhotell chain. A little Stasi warning on that.
The second day of our stay we took the S-Bahn train to Wannsee to visit the villa for the Wannsee Conference. You can walk from the station to the villa or take bus 114. We took a walk there and took the bus back.
The area around Wannsee Lake seems to belong to a slightly wealthier neighborhood. Many nice villas and boat clubs. Calm and quiet. The villa itself where the conference was held on 20/1 1942 is large and magnificent and is nestled in greenery right down by the lake. This is a great contrast to the meeting that was held.
The villa is now a museum with exhibitions about the conference and about the extermination of the Jews in general. There is something dark and gloomy resting over the place. You can almost feel the story that lives in the walls there. Admission is free and if you are interested in history it is worth a visit.
Berlin is of course a big city that offers most things imaginable. Many tips can be found on the official tourist site Visit Berlin. We focused on going around town and looking at people and people’s lives. And to eat typical dishes from Berlin. Like Currywurst and Dönerkebab. Such places are just everywhere.
Another place to visit that is a little further out from the center is the Berlin Olympic Stadium. It is best known for the 1936 Olympic Games and for the 1974 and 2006 Soccer World Cups. It is possible to take both the S-Bahn and U-Bahn there. The stations are located on either side of the stadium so you can go one there and the other home.
The stadium is a mammoth arena that has been rebuilt several times over the years but still retains its style.
If you have not been to Berlin, go there. I can warmly recommend it. Buy a one-day ticket on local transport and go around the city.