So I've decided I'm going to get active on here again this year! And I'm starting with what I think is a strong post. Hope you enjoy it. At the beginning of December I went on a 4 day city break to Berlin - which was my 21st Birthday present off my girlfriend, Emily. The main purpose of the trip was to start exploring Europe one city at a time, and what better way to begin than going to visit the “real” German Christmas Markets.
We arrived in the evening of December 1st. After checking into our hotel we headed out to the closest Christmas market to begin out adventure. We didn't really do much on the first night apart from eat way to many Bratwurst and Bratkartoffeln (Bacon Potatoes) and drank lots of beer and Glühwein (Mulled Wine).
The second day was an early start with our first stop of the day being The Memorial For The Murdered Jews Of Europe. The memorial is a place where we are encouraged to be quiet and respectful, making it appear eery despite the fact it is parallel to a major dual carriageway. It was defiantly a moving tribute to the victims of the second world war, with thought provoking consequences. The concrete blocks are a photographers symmetrical heaven and really encouraged me to get creative with my images.
Just further down the road we arrived at the Brandenburg Gate, an amazing piece of architecture and a major tourist trap - which made it hard to get any undisturbed image. While at the Brandenburg Gate we saw a heavily tattooed man playing an old hand cranked Street Organ. The gate was surrounded by many of the world’s embassies, and due to the recent events in Paris there were a huge number of flowers are well wishing signs outside the French embassy. We also saw the prime minister of Pakistan arrive at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski - which felt like a scene out of a James Bond film - lots of cars and lots of security.
From the Brandenburg Gate we headed to Checkpoint Charlie, the famous US checkpoint on the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. Although another tourist hotspot, I managed to take some better pictures at Checkpoint Charlie - in spite of the massive christmas tree blocking the original image I was hoping to achieve. I took the image from the alternate side and it turned out almost as I had wanted. Unfortunately I had to stand in the middle of a pedestrian crossing to take the picture. This meant I was too far away to fill the frame with only the booth, sigh and tree - which would have been my preference.
To end our second day in Berlin we ventured up to the Charlottenberg Christmas Markets, recommended to us as some of the best in the city. Most of the markets are the same, selling variations of the same foods and craft and gift items but these chocolates (yes these are chocolates!) you see below really stood out to me. At this market, we defiantly over indulged ourselves with food and Glühwein.
Day 3 was all about the Berlin Wall. We started the day by walking the length of the East Side Gallery, where 102 artists from around the world were invited to paint a section on the wall. Some of the pieces are slightly confusing but others are just outstanding. A lot of this stretch of wall has been badly graffitied over, ruining the actual art pieces.
To complete our Berlin Wall experience we headed over to be Berlin Wall Memorial site and learnt heaps about why the wall was erected and what happened to the area where the memorial site lies. Here more of the original wall still stands, completely untouched, asides from a few pieces of terrible graffiti. I couldn't resist getting an artsy shot of me touching the wall, but who wouldn't right?
To end our trip in Berlin, Emily and I went to check out the Olympic Stadium. We arrived well before anyone else, even the staff. With us being the only people there the stadium was very silent place. We couldn’t get into the stadium to explore the inside so instead we walked around the outside of the entire stadium/park. Our main reason for visiting the stadium was to check out the bell, but because we were there so early we didn’t get to see. The stadium itself is magnificent and such an impressive structure, definitely worth visiting if you’re in Berlin.
If you want to see more pictures from our trip check out the full gallery below.
I'm going to start ending these posts with a question so here goes.
Have you visited Berlin? If so what was your favourite part? Tell me in the comments below.