Helen, First and foremost thank you and Bea for suggesting and arranging our long weekend in Berlin. It was marvellous!
The travel arrangements were excellent. We also appreciated the Fast Track voucher for departure security check at LBA. Our return flight was scheduled to arrive at 20:55 but landed 25 minutes early and we were at home in Otley at 21:10. Wow! Is this a record?
Our Berlin hotel (NH Collection Friedrichstrasse) was excellent in every respect. Spacious, comfortable and in a good central location near the Friedrichstrasse U Bahn and S Bahn stations. There was a pleasant bar and a restaurant serving good food. Breakfasts were superb. We were given a quiet and spacious room overlooking the internal courtyard away from the traffic and train noise at the front. There were numerous bars and restaurants nearby and we were able to walk virtually everywhere.
Our city stay was fascinating and we saw and learned much – especially on a pre-booked 4 hour guided walk around the main sights in former East and West Berlin. We had a great guide who kept us informed and amused in equal measure! Strongly recommended.
We also walked on our own down to the iconic Brandenburg Gate from our hotel one evening. It was freezing but well worth the effort of wrapping up.
One of the many other highlights was to go to the famous Berlin Philharmonie for a late night (10.00pm) jazz concert performed brilliantly by 35 members of the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle – Judith’s favourite conductor!
All 2,400 seats were sold out so it was just as well that I had booked online in advance.
Our (also registered and booked in advance!) visit to the Reichstag Parliament Building was also memorable as we were able to ascend to the top of the famous glass dome (designed by British architect Norman Foster) and look out across the city as well as down through the building itself. See photo looking down from the top.
It was interesting to note that the dome has a natural ventilation system to draw up and expel the “stale air” from the plenary Assembly Chamber below! I think that our Houses of Parliament could also benefit if the same system was installed in Westminster!
We also enjoyed our pleasant stroll down the famous Friedrichstrasse 2km shopping street to the old cold war Checkpoint Charlie barrier leading to the USA sector. The clues are in the photo!
It was chilling to see the remains of the infamous Berlin Wall (put up during the Cold War), the site (now a car park) of Hitler’s Bunker where he shot himself in 1945 and the demolished remnants of the SS/Gestapo HQ where so many people were tortured and murdered by the Nazis.
The Jewish Holocaust memorial is a powerful reminder of the 6 million victims of Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’.
Below is a photo of the remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall – with our hotel on the right. Only Joking!
And much more…..if you need it!
With best wishes
Tony & Judith