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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Travel Diary: Berlin Part I

Last week I travelled to Berlin- a city I had wanted to visit for a very long time. I can barely string a sentence of German together without feeling like I'm mispronouncing something along the way (I took French at school instead) and I am pretty lacking in the knowledge department when it comes to history (I took Geography instead) and essentially this accusation of my education is all in order to say I basically didn't know all that much about Germany. There. Done.

The weather was stunning, the museums were as hard-hitting as expected and the Vietnamese food was pretty tasty (confessions later.) Here's what I got up to in Berlin.
Day 1
Arriving in the afternoon meant that we had just enough energy to go for an explore and get our bearings. We stayed a 10 minute walk from the absolute centre of the city so it wasn't long until we found ourselves at the heart of Berlin and its attractions.
Ah, the famous Brandenberg Gate! I couldn't wait to see it lit up at night. It sits next to the very well-kept US Embassy (below), some stunning fountains and the famous Hotel Adlon- so it's a nice place to sit, take pictures and enjoy the sun.
It becomes clear very quickly that Berlin is a place of serious architectural prowess. Seeing as so much was destroyed in the war, a lot of the buildings are extremely modern. The remaining old structures sit next to the new quite happily- the new so shiny and sharp that it sparkles in the sunlight.
I was quickly enamoured with the city as we took the time to stroll along the river Spree. We may have gone to a chain pizza restaurant for dinner (we may have gone there twice) but trust me, it was tiredness that called for it (oh wait we went twice, never mind.) There are loads of restaurants in Berlin- though few actually selling German food- but the numerous bars and cafes all serve a large variety of German beers and drinks. Berliner Weisse is essentially a beer flavoured with syrup (the below one was mango): apparently no Germans actually drink it but I took the less classy route and decided it was my favourite!
Day 2
The first full day was dedicated to visiting the museums and memorials over the city. First stop: The Jewish Museum, on Lindenstraße. 
As expected, visiting the museums of Berlin is hardly the most cheery of experiences, though they are certainly thorough (and so they should be.) The horror of the past isn't hidden at all, anywhere: instead it's laid out bare and haunts the streets you walk on later that day. The museum itself is incredible for anyone interested in architecture: the rooms narrow into dark corners and everything is laid out in a broken, zig-zag structure. It's disorientating and meant to show the brokenness of Germany's history.

The Jewish museum is absolutely a must-visit. Not only is it a place rich with information, it is also half an art gallery of sorts with a spectacular garden. This piece in the gallery, Wings (by Choi Xooang) is absolutely stunning. I could happily have spent more time caressing the feathered walls...though getting slightly nervous that those hands were going to wiggle their clay fingers at some point.

The garden was certainly a nice place to relax. I love the fact that there are so many beautifully intricate green spaces in a city that was essentially flattened not so long ago. It feels worlds away from the terrible place described on plaques and display signs. 

We also took the time to visit the remains of the Berlin Wall in the centre of the city (below) which has also become a memorial/museum of sorts. This hot air balloon takes people up and down from sun-up to sundown...I didn't get a chance to go on it but if I return to the city (which I will) I'm definitely on that thing.
The Jewish memorial (below) is a five acre site of concrete slabs "designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere...the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason" (designer Peter Eisenman.) I definitely got lost a few times inside it! It's a really striking memorial and the museum that lies beneath it is incredible.
To end the first part of my Berlin diary, I must mention the Vietnamese Kitchen on Mauerstraße that I visited at the end of the day and ended up returning to. No, I confess that I didn't try any 'real' German food (do pretzels count?) but this sushi box was seriously good.
Look out for the second installment of my Berlin Travel Diary coming soon!

If you haven't already seen my What I Wore: Berlin post...check it out here

I also just reached 200 followers on Bloglovin which I'm so happy about! Thank you all for reading. Follow me here to keep up to date with Getting To Nomi xo


  1. Berlin has been on my list of places to visit a while. I visited Prague this year and I totally understand the emotional side of the Jewish museums and monuments. I think sometimes we actually can forget that it all actually happened, it can seem almost like a story until you visit places like that. What got me was the pictures the children had drew of their vision of life. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your travel posts :)

    P.S I came across your blog on twitter, & I've just followed you on BL


    1. I adore Prague, went a few years ago...yes, again, another city with history you can't escape. I agree that it becomes very, very 'real' when you learn about it, see the letters they wrote to loved ones in the camps and then go out onto the streets just to go about your day. Very strange and sad but also inspiring.

      Thanks for your lovely comment and the follow.

  2. It looks amazing! I'm going to Italy in a few weeks and I can't wait... I love exploring new places :)

    1. Aw Liz I'm so jealous! Desperate to go to Italy. Have a great time xo

  3. I studied abroad in Berlin last year, so your posts bring back memories! Looks like you did some great things. The Jewish Museum and Brandenburg Gate are definite musts.. I remember that the walkway of metal faces in the museum was super powerful

    Meet Me in Midtown

    1. Aw I'm glad I helped take you back! Yesss, that room is incredible. People were walking on the faces though I really wasn't sure whether you were supposed to! xo


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