Story by: Cecilia, Genoa, Italy
Published: October 8th 2017
We had been wanting to go to Berlin for quite some time now, but certain circumstances hadn't allowed us to. Finally, we managed to make it into German grounds. Our first impression was very good - absolutely everything from the airport to our hotel room was very attractive. Some Germans complain constantly about certain things in the city; but for us, a buncha tourists that had never visited Berlin, it was a great sight.
We noticed a considerable amount of cultural influence in Berlin from different other regions; mainly Slavic influence, according to the guides. These influences involve everything from cuisine to architectural style, religion, and culture in general.
We visited, of course, the Berlin wall (or what remains of it). It would have probably been much more amusing to see it back then than it was to visit it in actuality, except that, well, the purpose of the wall wasn't amusing at all.
Berlin (and Germany in general, really) has a very extensive war history, and although we found some of them to be interesting, the majority of them were frightening. We preferred to stick to its cultural development through the years and ancient history.
The first signs of inhabitants in Berlin date back to around the 11th century. In comparison to other European countries we've visited, this is kind of late for first inhabitants. Regardless, the touristic experts believe it was inhabited much earlier; except in very particular regions that left very little (and unrecognizable) evidence.
Berlin has admirable architecture, with some of the most attractive buildings and structures in Germany (and even Europe, in some cases). The first structure we visited was Brandenburg Gate as recommended by staff at the hotel. The gate not only is a very admirable structure, but it also has an interesting meaning and story, portraying peace and unity. Apparently, the gate is one of the most iconic landmarks in Berlin.
My personal favorite building was the Charlottenburg Palace. To be honest, palaces, castles, and similar buildings will always be my favorite - especially ancient ones.
But, this wasn't the sole reason for my favoritism; the palace really is astonishing. Not only does it feature a very attractive design and architecture, but its size and façade are just imposing. It was so good, I just had to visit it twice (as I was told it was a whole different view at night, and it was indeed).
Needless to say, the Charlottenburg Palace is the biggest remaining palace in Berlin - and one of the biggest of Germany.
There's also a variety of art collections in Berlin. Sadly, we didn't get to visit them all, because they're just too many. Most of these exhibitions and paintings are rich in history, aside from being visually attractive pieces. I personally liked the paintings, but for me, the stories behind some of them were undoubtedly the best part of the exhibition.
We visited multiple exhibitions, but there's a very peculiar one that caught my attention: the East Side Gallery. This was completely different from most exhibitions I've seen - as it consists of pieces of art that were directly painted on the standing remains of the Berlin Wall. The exhibition is open to the air, and according to guides, it's the biggest remaining proof of the historical dissection.
Our journey to Berlin involved a concerning amount of beer, too. If I had a dollar for every beer option there was back there, I'd be able to cover my traveling expenses. If you don't like (or simply don't drink) beer, a trip to Berlin might make you reconsider it - especially if you hang around with locals, which we did.
I very much enjoyed this experience, and so did the rest of our group. We aim to go back to a different German region soon enough. Prost! (German for “cheers”, which is almost mandatory to say when drinking beer with Germans).