13.08.2007 - 19.08.2007 24 °C
After a good flight with Easyjet I landed 2h20min later at Schonefeld airport (+- 14h of August 13th – Monday).
Weather was sunny and hot… I couldn’t imagine such hot time in Berlin. I asked for the best way to get the Postdamer Platz where is located the Etap hotel where I stayed during my days in berlin. I took S9 line and once in Postdamer platz asking the people I could get easily Anhalterstrasse and Etap. The area was absolutely new, clean and nice. Close to Etap you can find Suitehotel and Ibis, all of them Accor.
At the hotel, the guy responsible for check ins was Catalan!! A friendly fellow countryman who helped me with lots of things giving me useful advices.
Just a few minutes after my check in came a summer storm and rain for … I don’t know because I took a nice siesta.
At 18 pm I left the hotel and started walking. In 10 min Postdamer Platz
and in 15 min Brandemburg Tor, Unter den Linden, Reichstag…
I realized how well-located the hotel was!! At Potsdamer Platz I found pieces of the Berlin’s wall as well as a short history of the wall. Later, the mega-famous Brandemburg Tor with its Parisien Platz. It’s so nice and with so much history on its back. After reading so much about it, I felt something special… like being in one of the places with more recent history. In few meters you find the Reichstag (German Parliament) close to the Spree river. Very nice area!!
I decided to go for a meal cause I was getting hungry. I asked for a good place and someone told me that in Oranienburgerstrasse (very famous street to have fun, eat…whatever!) was full of all kind of restaurants. After walk through 1 of the nicest and most famous streets in Berlin : Friedrischstrasse, I found a pizzeria full of people: pizerria Romana (at the corner between Friedrischstrasse & Oranienburgerstrasse) where I eat a fantastic pizza!!
Once full I walked through the nice and dynamic Oranienburgerstrasse (where is located the synagogue that survived to the Nazism towards Hackescher Markt
(the oldest station in Berlin and also the nicest), Alexanderplatz and TV Tower. Fantastic walk for a hot and peaceful night like that!!
At 10 am I left the hotel towards Brandemburg Tor where Berlin Free Tours start. The Berlin Free Tour is a system of guides who show you Berlin during a walk of 5h and it’s based on tips, at the end of the tour they are paid by the visitors.
Our guide was Jessica, a nice and friendly Swedish girl whose fantastic explanations and experience allowed you to feel the rich history of Berlin.
We started at Pariser Platz – Brandemburg Tor,
communist buildings (nowadays luxurious apartments),
a big piece of Berlin wall,
Unter den Linden,
and the end close to Spree!
Fantastic tour with Jessica! The down side was that sometimes we moved too fast to take as many photos as I wished. Fully recommended!
Uff… I got tired and went for a siesta at the hotel! When I got up I ahead towards the other part of the city where I had my first contact with the memorial 2n WW non-reformed church
and the Europa Center before taking bus 100 until Alexanderplatz
and continue my exploration of the city: saint Marie’s church,
red town hall,
Hackesche hofe and Oranienburger
where I had fun with a Brazilian friend.
After the great experience of the tour through Berlin I decided to take the Sackenhausen Concentration Camp tour… and I’ll never regret cause the experience was… special! In that case is not based on tips, you have to buy a ticket (12 € for students).
We left Parisen Platz at 11 with our guide… Jessica again! We took the train (40 min) to Oranienburger town. Once there you can easily feel again that they are not happy of having such memory of the Holocaust. They know it’s history and they take care of it … perhaps to understand what they are right now, however they are not happy at all of what happened during the Holocaust! Such camp is the first attraction I’ve visited worldwide where nobody want to take advantage of it! No memories, no entries, no bars… nothing! You can not even buy a drink if you ‘re thirsty! But you can easily understand the situation because what happened was so horrible!
At the entry you find a small reproduction of the camp where you can realize how enormous it is!!
‘A’ tower is the main door of the concentration camp where you find ‘Arbeit nacht frei’ (=work for freedom) that is what the prisoners read when they got in. From the A tower they could easily control the whole camp with their riffles… but they never used them! The prisoners were so scared that almost nobody tried to run away, and these who tried… didn’t survive to the electric wire fence.
The prisoners slept here:
after working between 12-15 h per day! When they got up early in the morning the had 45 min to shave, clean, go to the toilette and have breakfast… easy? Not at all if you have 7 toilettes for hundreds! Have a look:
They were fully shaved to avoid all kind of diseases and wore that kind of uniforms, each with his own triangle according to reason of being there. Depending of your triangle you could have several problems inside the camp.
In front of the sleeping rooms is located the prison, clearly the worst place of the camp where were taken the worst tortures. Often, 3 or more prisoners had to share a room with just 1 bed, without WC and without leaving the room for weeks.
There was a little gas camera but was built late and not many people were killed there, in Sackenhausen, mainly Jewish were killed using a room with a whole on the wall, they were situated just in front of the whole and someone, from the other part of the wall, shouted them at their head.
Once death the bodies were burned in the crematories.
In case they had piece of gold or they wanted just to prove something, the bodies were stored in such body storage awaiting for the inspection here:
The visit took +- 6 h, afterwards a good traditional meal,
enjoy the match Bayern-Barça (friendly match) in an Irish pub, have fun and sleep a few hours before the coming day.
On Thursday, I got up at 10h and my first destination was the Reichstag (German Parliament). Always big cues, fortunately I had to wait only for 20 min. Inside nothing special, good views from the top but the dome was closed so in 5 min I was leaving. The Dome was built as a symbol of the people control over the democracy of the parliament. The new parliament is built just a few meters from the old one.
Next step: again western part of the city. Old destroyed church, Europe center, and Kadewe (first big mall in Europe). Very famous but … not special despite being a posh place.
Close to Kadewe I found a traditional market where I eat an odd meal made of a kind of potato mix with salmon, good!
Keep walking along the famous Kunfurstendamm Avenue
I found a luxurious hotel,
typical bear (berlin’s pet),
theater of Westens
and … Zoo! I spent 4 h in the biggest zoo in Europe. It was fun though the animals weren’t active cause of the hot weather.