We didn’t just do a walking tour in Berlin, so what else did we do you ask? Well….
Visit the Berlin wall memorial
This was a lesser visited and more complete part of the wall, situated near the Nordbanhhof station.
This site made it much easier to see the original scale of the wall – it wasn’t just one wall but a surprisingly wide area comprising of various fences, guard towers, barbed wire and vehicle barricades.
There are surviving parts of most of these and it’s a fascinating walk, with lots of information along the way. It’s very exposed though so wrap up warm if you visit on an insanely cold day like we did!
It’s apparently the ‘must try’ food in Berlin so we made sure to seek out some currywurst. We went to the ‘famous’ Konnopke’s as we saw it mentioned a lot, and it was only a short tram ride away from the wall memorial.
Currywurst for those who don’t know, is a fried sausage in a sort of batter, covered with ketchup and curry powder. It doesn’t sound amazing but then again how bad can sausage and chips be?
Well, after some surly service bordering on rude, we had our currywurst with fries, and it was rubbish. I don’t get it at all. The sausage was average at best – I had much better sausages in Germany, the batter was gross, there was way too much ketchup and nowhere near enough curry powder. By far the best part was the chips! Visit if you’re curious like me, but as a culinary experience it’s well overrated in my opinion.
Go to the DDR museum
The DDR museum (technically GDR in English – German Democratic Republic) is dedicated to showing what life was like under the east German regime, and was highly recommended to us. It is also very interactive, so after visiting some quite static and wordy museums, it was nice to go somewhere and be allowed to touch and play with everything.
The highlight was the classic Trabant car, which had been fitted out with a driving simulator projected onto the windscreen, so you could drive it with the wheel and pedals. Sadly this was being hogged by someone at the time so I didn’t get to have a go. I checked back 3 or 4 times and there was still a massive queue!
Other interesting things included original equipment used for surveillance, an interrogation room and a bizarre section all about East German’s becoming nudists!
It’s a really fascinating museum, and although it is fun, it does give an insight into how hard life must have been in East Germany.
Go up the Berlin TV Tower (Fernsehturm)
On our last night we decided to head to Berlin’s landmark that you can see from most of the city – the TV Tower. We were a bit worried about queues because there were some warnings online but when we got there we were virtually the only ones there!
It was 10 euros each to go up (this was after a discount card we had was applied) which isn’t cheap but a lot better than the prices the Shard charges!
The tower was built in the sixties and it shows, however I quite liked the dated decor as we waited for the lift. We were soon swooped up to the top, ears popping. And we were disappointed. Maybe we’ve been spoiled after the Eiffel tower and The Shard, but it was just a really poor experience up here.
The design of the windows, and the handrail behind that stopped you getting anywhere near them, made it impossible to take any decent photos, and even hard to view anything properly. The viewing area was as narrow as a corridor with people bumping into you all the time, and was excessively heated. Even with all jackets off it was baking – maybe a subtle way to get people back down quicker?
We left fairly disappointed, though it was a nice view to be fair, when you could see it. The biggest highlight was the gift shop with the downright bizarre souvenirs – who wouldn’t want a TV Tower fragrance? (It smelled rank, unsurprisingly)
Where we stayed
In Berlin we stayed at Generator Mitte for a very reasonable £8.28 each per night. Great hostel, with lots of facilities, great location and a bar, though the bar is a bit too big and impersonal
Since we wern’t there long enough to post about it, we stayed one night in a hostel in Frankfurt too, simply called Frankfurt Hostel. Right across the road from the train station. The dorms wern’t amazing here but the common area/bar was great and I loved the fact they had a toastie maker!