6 Quirky Museums that you really shouldn’t miss! – #bestofBerlin

Yummy delights for you and you and YOU!
Yummy delights for you and you and YOU!

And where to close the year and begin the new, than in a fascinating world city such as London, Paris, New York. Hong Kong, Sydney and of course, our very own Berlin.

New Year’s Eve on the long strip of Tiergarten is the largest party in Europe, bringing in more than a million visitors from around the world each year, compared to roughly 250,000 people in central London, and 340,000 at the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

Silvester am Brandenburger Tor or New Year's Eve at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. © SpreePIX Media
Silvester am Brandenburger Tor or New Year’s Eve at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
© SpreePIX Media

Yep! Berlin – the place to be!

Last week, I put up an excellent give-away prize of 2 Berlin WelcomeCard packages to be validated by December 31st, 2015, at the latest.

It seems that most of you have either already been to Berlin or are coming sometime next year!

In that wise, I’m rolling it over, so the FIRST person to subscribe to my blog – The British Berliner – AND tell me why you would like to win the tickets on my post here, BEFORE December 31st, wins!

Hurry! There are only four (4) days to the end of this year as I’d be sorry to have to use it myself lol!

Here’s the info:

Berlin WelcomeCard

The Berlin Welcome Card package will include transport tickets for 48 hours including the city of Potsdam, 200 discounts, inside tips, information on top attractions, a city map, a mini guide-book written in English, German, Italian and Spanish, a €5.00 discount for the TV Tower restaurant or bar and a free voucher for a glass of glühwein (mulled wine) at the Christmas Market on Alexanderplatz valid until January 3rd, 2016!

Perfect for the New Year celebration in Berlin!

Only comments attached to this post will be considered.

You have until midnight on December 30th and the announcement will be made on the blog on January 4th. The winners will meet me personally and receive the tickets at the front of Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) on December 31st at 12 noon!

Good Luck!

You can see all the places that I went to previously by following me via #bestofBerlin on Twitter & Facebook.

At the end of last week’s post, I told you that there are a few museums and galleries that I would like to recommend and that Berlin has so many great places that I would do them injustice if I didn’t write about them properly, so I’m writing this piece about my new favourite museums since it’s winter.

Winter!?

The Christmas market in Osnabrück ©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.
The Christmas market in Osnabrück
©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.

You’re having a laugh, as we haven’t seen a single snowflake since November!

Even though I’ve written about museums before, this post wasn’t easy to write, as there are just so many things to do and places to go,  so without much ado, watch and learn about a few more!

SIX (6) QUIRKY GALLERIES & MUSEUMS

Berlinische Galerie, Berlin. © Photo: Berlinische Galerie
Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.
© Photo: Berlinische Galerie

Did you that Berlin has more museums than rainy days since we have more than 180 museums and only 106.3 rainy days on average per year?

Did you know that Berlin is one of the few cities to have three (3) UNESCO World Heritage sites and that most of them are in fact, royal palaces and garden turned into museums?

Did you know that the East-Side Gallery also known as The Berlin Wall, is the longest open-air gallery in the world and is 1,316 metres long? Not only that, but it was painted in 1990 by 118 artists from 21 countries and has 106 individual works of art!

Did you know that in addition to its world-renowned museum collections, Berlin is also home to some rather unusual museums such as the Gas Lamp Museum (I wrote about this last week), the Medical History Museum, the Sugar Museum, the “Museum der unerhörten Dinge” or the Museum of Extraordinary Things, the Buchstabenmuseum  or the Museum of Letters, the Computerspielemuseum or Museum of Computer Games (really, really good!) and the Hemp Museum?!!!!

Wow!

Is it any wonder that this post is tribute to just some of Berlin’s finest museums and art galleries? Let’s do it!

THE STORY OF BERLIN

The Story of Berlin, Germany.

I hadn’t been here for years but let me tell you, if you’re new in town, this is a museum you simply must visit. THE STORY OF BERLIN is what it says on the tin and is a multi-media museum with loads of rooms to run through, plenty of things to touch and if, like me, you like history, dozens of things to learn.

You get to experience and view 800 years of Berlin’s history through the centuries, the people in the Middle Ages, the wealth, the wars and in a sense, the history of Germany through sound effects, touch screens, models, drawers, pulleys and levers that you can push and pull, and of course, films and recordings.

Military & Enlightenment at The Story of Berlin!
Military & Enlightenment at The Story of Berlin!

There is no doubt that you’ll get to see 17th – 19th century Berlin, the world wars, Berlin and National Socialism also known as Nazism, the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany and of course, liberal tolerant Berlin today.

There is also a fully functioning nuclear bomb shelter from the Cold War and you get an extra guided tour included in the price of your ticket as well as a free chips / fries, if you buy a portion of curry wurst from one of the most famous sausage stalls in Berlin – Curry 36 which you can use in either Kreuzberg or Charlottenburg.

My favourite bit was the Steel, Light, Machine Rhythm bit, the Birth of a Metropolis and Berlin in the Golden 20’s and the era of art and film. Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €12.00. Children between 6-16 – €5.00. Students €9.00

Highly recommended for all the family.

THE GERMAN SPY MUSEUM BERLIN

Spy Museum - Berlin © Therese Sivertsson
Spy Museum – Berlin
© Therese Sivertsson

This museum is brand new and was only opened on September 19th, 2015!

It’s not difficult to find as it’s at Potsdamer Platz right opposite The Mall of Berlin and I wrote about this region last week!

The Spy Museum has now been re-named as the German Spy Museum Berlin, otherwise known as the Deutsches Spionagemuseum!

The museum is a unique interactive, multi-media museum that is all about the history of espionage and secret services all around the world. Yes, it reveals the secrets of spying from as far back as from ancient Egyptian history which is still being used today, the spying activities behind the Iron Curtain of the Cold War, and also how to take part in infra-ray laser activity, quizzes and other interactive games which include smell, sound, sight, touch and full body participation!

The German Spy Museum Berlin - Deutsches Spionagemuseum! ©Deutsches Spionagemuseum
The German Spy Museum Berlin – Deutsches Spionagemuseum!
©Deutsches Spionagemuseum

If you’ve always wanted to be James Bond, now’s your chance!

I went there a few weeks ago, as part of an after-hours Travel Massive bloggers event and I was so impressed that I’m going to take “The Tall Young Gentleman” there too!

The German Spy Museum Berlin - Deutsches Spionagemuseum! ©Deutsches Spionagemuseum
The German Spy Museum Berlin – Deutsches Spionagemuseum!
©Deutsches Spionagemuseum

My favourite bit was the infra-ray game and the bizarre and sneaky methods of agents and secret services. Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €12.00. Children under 6: €0.00. Other children & students €8.00. Families (2 adults and their children) €35.00.

Highly recommended for teenaged boys and all the family!

THE CURRYWURST MUSEUM

Berlin's most famous iconic meal - currywurst, chips & mayo!
Berlin’s most famous iconic meal – currywurst, chips & mayo!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can’t dare to even visit Berlin without at least attempting it’s most famous snack and dish – drum roll pleeeeeeease!

The Currywurst!

That delicious beef or pork sausage grilled and chopped up, then smothered with a spicy ketchup and curry powder, eaten with a pile of chips and a slice of bread or a bun!

The Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin is an interactive museum dedicated to the love and history of Berlin’s most famous German curried sausage!

"The Tall Young Gentleman" playing at the Currywurst Museum in Berlin!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” playing at the Currywurst Museum in Berlin!

You can wander through all the rooms and experience the installations which you can explore through visual, text and audio form. You can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, sit on it, touch it, watch a film about it, attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips. You can even have chocolate and curry sausage ice-cream!

My favourite bit was “selling” sausages at the stall, the interactive games and the history of currywurst itself. Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €11.00. Children between 6-13 – €7.00. Students €8.50. Under 6 free of charge. Families (2 adults and children under 13) €29.00. On MuseumMonday all visitors get a 20 % discount unless your ticket is already discounted!

Highly recommended for all the family.

THE JEWISH MUSEUM

An upper-middle class German-Jewish family at the Jewish Museum Berlin.
An upper-middle class German-Jewish family at the Jewish Museum Berlin.

This museum is not exactly quirky but it is one of my favourite museums, and in a sense, interesting and fun to visit!

The Jewish Museum Berlin is one of Europe’s leading museums and is not only a learning tool but a vibrant interactive center of reflection and understanding of Jewish history and culture, as well as migration and diversity in Germany of three (3) major world religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The exhibition starts by going to the basement where there are enormous empty spaces that cut through the entire museum filled with either silence, or 10,000 open-mouthed faces coarsely cut from heavy, circular iron grids covering the floor – in memory of all innocent victims of war and violence.

Speyer, Worms & Maint - Symbols of flourishing Jewish life in the Middle Ages - Jewish Museum Berlin - The World of Askaenaz (950-1500) Jüdisches Museum Berlin ©Thomas Bruns
Speyer, Worms & Maint – Symbols of flourishing Jewish life in the Middle Ages – Jewish Museum Berlin – The World of Askaenaz (950-1500) Jüdisches Museum Berlin
©Thomas Bruns

You then move from floor to floor where there are many exhibitions that you can read, touch, sit on, feel, and see, that show fourteen (14) historical periods of time, right from the Middle Ages to the present day. Each period displays a vivid portrait of Jewish life in Germany via art, everyday objects, photos, letters, films, music and interactive displays that  exhibit the history of Jewish culture, and show how tightly Jewish life and German history are interwoven, and connected.

My favourite bit was, because I’m a history nerd, the Jewish Medieval Quarter from 1500 – 1800, Jewish bourgeois lifestyle and the German – Jewish exhibitions from 1800-1914. There is also a permanent exhibition depicting Two Millennia of German Jewish History and a special exhibition of Adolph Menzel – a German artist known for drawings, etchings, and paintings of the 19th century. Of course, you can’t go to a museum in Germany, without learning about the horrors of National Socialism and the story of many families such as those of Anna Frank, Nazism and Hitler, that put an end to the shared history of German-Jewish people in Germany. Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €8.00. Children – €3.00. Students €3.00. Under 6 free of charge. Families (2 adults and up to 4 children) €14.00! Reduced admission with a ticket for the Berlinische Galerie on the day of purchase and the two following days.

Highly recommended for everyone.

THE BERLINISCHE GALERIE

The Berlinische Galerie - Museum of modern art, photography and architecture, Berlin!
The Berlinische Galerie – Museum of modern art, photography and architecture, Berlin!

Contrary to what you might think, the Berlinische Galerie is not actually a gallery but a museum of modern art, photography and architecture! It’s in Kreuzberg and is only a few paces away from The Jewish Museum which is why there’s a reduction on tickets if you go to both of them.

I don’t mind if I do lol!

I always say that given a choice I tend to favour older master pieces and works of art, but funnily enough I seem to be quite into Modern Art too!

Anyhoo. I find art of landscapes and street scenes quite soothing. Perhaps it’s because of the watercolours and oils rather than black and white photos.

Then again, I like photographs too, so perhaps not!

The exhibitions are displayed on two floors with media, video and a quirky film about architecture and the environment.

Max Beckmann and Berlin exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.
Max Beckmann and Berlin exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.

There was also a portrait photography  exhibition of documentary pictures taken on the street and in the studio as well as a presentation from a collection of paintings ranging from the late 19th century, to expressionist art, East European avant-garde and post-war modern architecture and impressionist history.

Berlin has always been a hub of creativity, attracting young international artists, now more than ever before, as well as creatives in music, film and art, and the Berlinische Galerie didn’t disappoint with its’ collections of paintings, prints, sculpture, photography and architecture.

Max Beckmann and a self portrait in Florence (1907).
Max Beckmann and a self-portrait in Florence (1907).

However, the cat’s whiskers was the Max Beckmann and Berlin exhibition (until 15.02.16) which documents and displays works of art on the lively, diverse art scene in Berlin from the 1910’s, 1920’s and early 1930’s.

I thoroughly enjoyed the working class milieu as well as the then avant-garde street art! Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €10.00. Children under 18 free of charge. Students €7.00. Every first Monday of the month €6.00. Reduced admission with a ticket for the Jewish Museum within three days.

Highly recommended for artists and lovers of Berlin art history and architecture.

THE MÄRKISCHES MUSEUM

Outside the Märkisches Museum - Lord Roland of Brandenburg.
Outside the Märkisches Museum – Lord Roland of Brandenburg.

This museum turned out to be quite a surprise. In order to get there you have to go to an underground station called Märkisches Museum U-Bahn. Follow the signs outside for a little while and they will lead you to an actual museum called the Märkisches Museum.

I know!

I used to think that the museum was named after the station. But it isn’t, it’s the other way around and in fact, it used to be the museum of Berlin. It’s a little bit hidden, but well worth it.

The Märkisches Museum was founded in 1874 and is the HQ for the City of Berlin museum foundation, which also operates four other museums namely: the Nikolaikirche (which I wrote about last week,) the Ephraim-Palais (which I’m going to visit in 2016), the Knoblauchhaus (which I visited in 2014) and the Museumsdorf Düppel!

I’m a freak. I spent a couple of hours there and I still left it unfinished halfway through!

The Märkisches Museum in Berlin © Faruk Hosseini
The Märkisches Museum in Berlin
© Faruk Hosseini

The Märkisches Museum is a lovely old red brick building and a walk through the museum is a walk through the history of Berlin starting from the Stone Ages. It’s an interactive museum where you can hear, feel, make, touch and make. There’s a special attraction of automatophones, and vintage mechanical musical instruments, so take your time.

There’s also a lot of stuff from the Middle Ages, swords, staffs, shields and armoury as well as loads of bears!

Yes, bears!

A brown grizzly bear is the symbol of the city of Berlin, and has been, since 1280.

And up until a few weeks ago, there was a real brown bear living in the park right outside the museum and bears have been living there as live city mascots since 1939!

In fact, there used to be two (2) bears – Schnute and her daughter – Maxi!

Schnute - the last real-life Berlin bear mascot! ©AFP/Getty
Schnute – the last real-life Berlin bear mascot!
©AFP/Getty

A real live bear!

That’s a bit odd but it’s Berlin, we’re all slightly “off” around here and unsurprisingly, nobody was bothered about having a brown grizzly living behind the museum, in a small park, in the middle of the city!

And you’d still be able to see it but sadly and perhaps, rightly, the last real-life Berlin bear – Schnute (34 years old) recently passed away!

Gosh!

A stained glass window at the Märkisches Museum Berlin ©Pudelek (Marcin Szala).
A stained glass window at the Märkisches Museum Berlin
©Pudelek (Marcin Szala).

Anyway, you start in the basement and work your way upwards and outwards with the various Quarters, the trading parts, hunting and royalty, as well as the medieval walls, ruins of a monastery, churches and baroque palaces.

My favourite bits were the collections left behind and donated by the Hans & Luise Richter Family and the haute-bourgeoise household materials from the Beer-Meyerbeer-Richter German-Jewish family. I also loved the history (and I still do!) and royal paintings and pporcelain ceramics from Frederick II otherwise known as Frederick the Great and the King of Prussia in the 1700’s for his military victories, his reorganization of the Prussian army, his patronage of the Arts and the Enlightenment in Prussia, and “winning” the Seven Year War!

I also rather like the photographs and paintings of the various districts of Berlin 200 years and the way they look today! Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €5.00. Children under 18 free of charge. Students €3.00.  Free admission for all on the first Wednesday of every month.

Highly recommended for everyone.

Don’t forget, the FIRST person to subscribe to my blog – The British Berliner – AND tell me why you would like to win the tickets on my post here, BEFORE December 31st, wins!

Have a fantastic end of year in 2015 and a brilliant bringing-in of the New Year, in 2016.

See you next year!
I wish for peace, harmony and international understanding that no-one is wrong, just different- A New Year message from The British Berliner!
I wish for peace, harmony and international understanding that no-one is wrong, just different – A New Year message from The British Berliner!

This post is not sponsored so I can’t wait to hear from you!

If you have any questions about Berlin, Germany or anywhere in Europe, don’t be shy, I’m an expert! Go ahead and ask me!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!Thanks a million!

6 Quirky Museums that you really shouldn't miss! - #bestofBerlin

Have you been to any of these quirky museums? Do you know any even wackier? Have you ever seen a real life bear?

See you in Berlin.

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How to spend 48 hours in Berlin – DAY ONE – #bestofBerlin

Glühwein or mulled wine to go - at the German Christmas Market

So last week, I took part in the Berlin campaign #bestofBerlin as part of a tourism initiative to discover new and old parts of Berlin.

Let me tell you, if you live in Berlin, you don’t know how lucky you are as Berlin is one of the most attractive cities in the world not only to live in, but to visit. And if you’ve never been here, I don’t even know what you’ve been thinking.

Why not, should be the question?

When, should be the answer!

Last week, I gave you A Short Introduction To Berlin so if you missed it, go ahead, read it and catch up! As promised, this week’s post is all about what you can do in a short period of time, so without further ado:

HOW TO SPEND 48 HOURS IN BERLIN: #bestofBerlin

© visitBerlin - Philip Koschel
© visitBerlin – Philip Koschel

First of all, get yourself the Berlin Welcome Card for either 2015 or 2016. I wrote about it last week here.

If you decide to stay for a couple of days and need the Berlin Welcome Card for 48 hours only, then get yourself a Day Pass or a Day Return ticket too which you can use to supplement the extra day or two, as necessary. I explained how to buy BVG (Berlin public transport) tickets and what to do with them here. Note that they cannot be used to see tourists sights only to take you around the city.

Taking the shuttle bus. © Photo: Sergej Horovitz
Taking the shuttle bus.
© Photo: Sergej Horovitz

The Berlin WelcomeCard can be bought pretty much everywhere really, and not only does it include transport tickets for 48 hours including the city of Potsdam, but 200 discounts, inside tips, information on top attractions, a city map and a mini guide-book written in English, German, Italian and Spanish! I don’t know if you can get the guides in other world languages, but I guess you can always ask!

Please note that the VisitBerlin website is available in 14 languages – German, English, French, Dutch, Polish, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Turkish, and Korean!

I was given a complimentary Berlin WelcomeCard and it also included a €5.00 discount for the TV Tower restaurant or bar and a free voucher for a glass of glühwein (mulled wine) at the Christmas Market on Alexanderplatz!

Now once you’re all sorted with the Berlin Welcome Card, you’re all good to go and we can now begin.

DAY ONE

© visitBerlin - Wolfgang Scholvien
© visitBerlin – Wolfgang Scholvien
  • Leave your hotel, hostel or apartment and take a bus, tram or train. Use the Berlin WelcomeCard transport ticket.
  • Start at Alexanderplatz and go to the World Clock. Take a couple of pictures. If it’s in the summer, take pictures at the fountain too.
  • From the World Clock, turn right. Follow the tram line. Watch the trams. You’re in East Berlin so most of the transportation you’ll see in this part of the city, will be trams. If you don’t see any trams at all, you’re in West Berlin!
The TV Tower or Fernsehturm in Berlin.
The TV Tower or Fernsehturm in Berlin.
  • Right in front of you is a huge block TK Maxx building. Walk in front of it and just around the corner you will see a very tall building. This building is called the TV Tower or Fernsehturm. Go inside. There are usually long queues so pre-book your ticket if you can. Use the Berlin WelcomeCard. You get a 25% discount and €5.00 off your bill in the restaurant or bar (with a minimum spend of €15.00). There are magnificent panoramic views. It really is brilliant to see and is the tallest building in Germany! Also if you’re in the gentrified district of Mitte or Prenzlauerberg (where I live), you can generally see the TV Tower from most parts of the region. If you can’t, you’re in West Berlin lol!
  • Leave the TV tower and there’s another fountain right in front of you (or in December, one of the Christmas Markets), turn left. Go straight down until you get to a huge red building. This building is called the Red Town Hall or Roten Rathaus. This is the seat of our Town Mayor. It’s usually free to go in and has an impressive fantastic ceiling, entrance and hall. Take a few photos.
The historical Nikolai Quarter or Nikolaiviertel in Berlin.
The historical Nikolai Quarter or Nikolaiviertel in Berlin.
  • There’s a lot of construction work going on at the moment so take the time to read what the buildings will look like in the future! Cross the road in front of you. You will soon find yourself in the oldest part of Berlin. It’s called the Nikolai Quarter or Nikolaiviertel and it’s one of my most favourite parts of Berlin to visit. Even if I say so myself!
  • Wander around and take photographs.
Not the Weeping Angels of Dr. Who! Thank goodness!
Not the Weeping Angels of Dr. Who. Thank goodness!
  • Visit the St. Nicholas Church or the Nikolaikirche. It’s not only a church but a museum too and an audio guide about Berlin’s history in different languages, is provided! The church is over 800 years old and has a hidden basement floor that is considered to be one of the oldest existing rooms in Berlin, interactive screens and lots of stone statues. It quite reminded me of the Weeping Angels in Dr. Who! Use the Berlin WelcomeCard. You get a 40% discount and children under 18 are free. There’s also free admission the first Wednesday of every month. Tickets are usually €5.00.
The Knoblauchhaus in Berlin. © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Photo: Cornelius M. Braun
The Knoblauchhaus in Berlin.
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Photo: Cornelius M. Braun
  • Visit the Knoblauchaus. I didn’t have enough time this time around but I’ve written about it before. The Knoblauchhaus is a museum and the former residence of the Knoblauch family. It’s one of my favourite places to visit and also one of the few remaining 18th century town houses still standing, and gives visitors a glimpse of Berlin upper-middle class life in the Biedermeier German Romantic era! Entrance is completely free but donations are welcome.
  • Find your way out of the Quarter. Use your map and then walk back up to the Karl Liebknecht Straße.  You can then do four things:

You can walk straight down into a street that will lead you to Hackescher Markt.

You can cross the road and turn slightly to the left and in warmer weather, take a cruise.

You can cross the road and turn left and walk down into the lovely boulevard called Unter den Linden.

The DDR - East German Museum in Berlin.

You can cross the road, turn slightly left, walk along the Liebknechtbrücke (bridge), go down the steps and right in front of you is the DDR Museum. If you can see the Cathedral in front of you and the river, you’re in the right place, if you can’t. Use your map!

  • Visit the DDR Museum. I was lucky to get a personal tour of the museum by the PR spokesperson before the museum opened, as it can get crowded quite quickly.
Die "Schwalbe" or East German moped at the DDR Museum © DDR Museum, Berlin 2015
Die “Schwalbe” or East German moped at the DDR Museum © DDR Museum, Berlin 2015

I loved it! It’s a lively, interactive museum with lots of cubicles with sounds, games, noises and things that you can touch, hold, smell and feel by pressing buttons and flicking or sliding pages with a single finger! The DDR Museum presents everyday life in the former East Germany or GDR experienced by ordinary people focusing on their homes, schools, jobs, politics and family life. It’s the 6th most visited museum in Berlin’s and very popular with teenagers and families with kids. In fact, I spent about 3 hours there myself!

  • Use the Berlin WelcomeCard. You get a 25% discount and tickets are usually €7.00, online tickets are €5.00. Children pay €4.00.
  • Once you’ve had your fill, go to Hackescher Markt. Have lunch or go shopping. I’ve written about excellent German food in the past and most of the places I mentioned are not too far away. Use your map and the Berlin WelcomeCard or just wander around. There are lots of great little places to eat and boutique / independent vintage shops to rustle through.
©Victorgrigas
©Victorgrigas
  • Take tram M1 or 12 to Sbahnhof Friedrichstrasse or take the train (one stop). Take in the view along the way on a road called Oranienburger Straße. This road is extremely popular with tourists and locals for the nightlife. Bars are hidden on roads linking off Oranienburger Straße and in every corner you will find, brilliant restaurants and trendy hipster bars. This part of Mitte used to be a prominent Jewish area before WWII and only the New Synagogue and various small Jewish outlets remain as the area has been fully gentrified. Not far from here was the Kunsthaus Tacheles which you can see in the film The Fifth Estate played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Germany’s Daniel Brühl. In the old days, it used to be an open air exhibition of metal sculptures, artistic studios, an alternate cinema and a really banging club but it’s closed down and is now a car park!
  • Come back at night and take in the view along the way. Be polite and respectful as this street is known for being a highlight of the sex industry. And just like in Amsterdam. It’s legal.
Drag Queen at THE WYLD in Berlin!
Drag Queen at THE WYLD!
  • Once at the Friedrichstrasse train station, either walk backwards and take in a show at the Friedrichstadt-Palast to watch the glamour and suspense that is THE WYLD or walk backwards and take a river-side stroll and have a drink or two at the riverside bars or at one of Berlin’s political historical bars called Ständige Vertretung. It’s a popular place which we take our friends to, as it’s the only place in Berlin in which you can get top kölsch beer only brewed in the city of Cologne! Use your map and the Berlin WelcomeCard for the Friedrichstadt-Palast and most of the main theatres in Berlin. You get a 25% discount and ticket prices vary depending on seating.
  • From the Friedrichstrasse train station, you can of course, walk straight down. You will see the Dussmann KulturKaufhaus Bookshop. You can buy books and small gifts here and it’s opened until midnight, except on Sunday!
© visitBerlin - Günter Steffen
© visitBerlin – Günter Steffen
  • Continue on until you get to Unter den Linden. Cross the road and go straight down. This is Berlin’s most famous High Street and also the street where East Berlin meets West Berlin. You can either take the underground train for a few stops or keep walking down. If you’re interested in seeing more of Berlin, I recommend walking on. If you easily tire, take the train 3 more stops down.
  • If you’re walking, take in the various car showrooms on both Friedrichstrasse and Unter den Linden. There is the Opel Museum and showroom, and the Automobil Forum.
  • Go further down and nip into a shop or two for a snack, and a drink.
  • If you’re really into it, go to the delightful French Galeries Lafayette department store in Berlin, for oysters, champagne and a little light shopping!
The very famous Checkpoint Charlie border sign English, Russian, French & German, in Berlin!
The very famous Checkpoint Charlie border sign in English, Russian, French & German, in Berlin!
  • Take the underground train two stops down and stop at one of the most iconic stops in all of Berlin – Kochstrasse also known as Checkpoint Charlie!
  • Get your photo taken by the “soldiers” there and really get to grips with the history of Berlin before WWII and after it.
  • Turn right and go into the The Checkpoint Charlie Museum or Mauermuseum – Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. This museum is an exhibition that explores not only the history of the Berlin Wall but also examines infamous escapes from East Germany via hot air balloons, homemade mini-submarines to hidden flaps in cars and even inside a fake cow! Use the Berlin WelcomeCard. You get a 25% discount. Tickets are usually €12.50 and children pay €6.50.
Two sides and periods, of the Berlin Wall.
Two sides and periods, of the Berlin Wall.
  • Once you’ve finished, go backwards again and follow the many large-format photos and info boards hung up showing photographs of this most famous border crossing point and the impact of the Berlin Wall on the history of Germany . The boards outside are free but you can also go into the Black Box at Checkpoint Charlie. I haven’t been personally, but if you use the Berlin WelcomeCard. You get a 30% discount. Tickets are usually €5.00. and children under 14 are free.
  • Walk on for about 2 minutes, and you will see the fantastic Currywurst Museum which I wrote about last year. Use the Berlin WelcomeCard and you can get a 25% discount. Tickets are usually €11.00 and children pay €7.00: Under 6’s are free. On #MuseumMonday all visitors get a 20 % discount if not discounted prior!
  • Tickets can also be combined with Yadegar Asisi’s Panorama DIE MAUER exhibition which shows the viewer the daily life of people in the vicinity of the Berlin Wall, on a fictitious autumn day in the 1980s. Use the Berlin WelcomeCard and you can get a 25% discount. Individual tickets usually cost €10.00 and children under 6 pay €4.00.
Outside the Trabi Museum in Berlin.
Outside the Trabi Museum in Berlin.
  • After this, turn right down Zimmerstraße and pop into the Trabi Museum which shows a large collection and varieties of trabis. For those of you who don’t know, a trabant also known fondly as a trabi, was a car produced in the former East Germany. It was a small car and very, very robust. It was meant to last a life-time and it did! You can also take photographs at this museum. Whilst there, I was the only visitor!
  • Use the Berlin WelcomeCard and you can get a 50% discount. Individual tickets usually cost €5.00 and children under 12 are free.
  • Walk further down and you reach Trabi World with a Trabi-Safari.
Trabi World with a Trabi-Safari, in Berlin.
Trabi World with a Trabi-Safari, in Berlin.

This place was amazing. You get to walk and wander around the shop and premises where they not only have trabis but mustangs and special E-cars too.

This is the place where tours start and then, you get to go on a trabi safari.

Yep!

You get to take over the wheels of a trabi!

As most of you know.

I don’t drive!

And I didn’t really think about it when I booked my ticket. Luckily, I was able to sit in with the trabi travelguide – Martin and his young driver – Zauri!

Our convoy of trabis in single file! In Berlin!
Our convoy of trabis in single file! In Berlin!

I arrived about 10 minutes before the safari tour was to actually start. Before the tour takes place there is an introduction of people present and a briefing as to the rules and regulations of driving in Germany, driving a trabi and following the exact instructions of our guide as he speaks through a microphone which can be heard in each and every car. A valid driving licence is necessary.

Our group was the English-speaking combination of people from England and Holland. There was also a German-speaking group.

Our convoy was a single file of 8 cars and our car was an E-car rather than the traditional manual car.

I sat in the back and even though I’m petite, it’s a little small so I’d say about two – three people in the car should be sufficient. We started on the border-corner of Kreuzberg and thus, West Berlin, and then drove to the main tourists sights of Berlin. We drove near the river, we went to Alexanderplatz and the Town Hall, Unter den Linden, Potsdammer Platz, Brandenburg Gate, the Denkmal / Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the War Memorials, Tiergarten, the Reichstag (parliament building), past the oldest hotel in Berlin (the Adlon Hotel), on the Oberbaumbrücke or Oberbaum Bridge over the lovely River Spree  and touching through both Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. Both suburbs were extremely important as they were divided by the Berlin Wall otherwise known as East Side Gallery.

In driving a trabi, we even became tourist attractions ourselves!
In driving a trabi, we even became tourist attractions ourselves!

The trabi safari tour was great. And let me just say that Martin – our guide – was a hoot! We got to take photographs and little rest stops. We even became tourist attractions ourselves as a convoy of eight (8) little trabi cars is not something you see everyday.

Highly recommended!

I went on the Berlin Wild East tour but there are a variety of four (4) different tours to choose from.

The tours take 1 hour and 10 minutes and take place on a regular basis, throughout the day. Definitely use the Berlin WelcomeCard and you can get a 25% discount. Tickets are usually from €34 – €60.00 per person, depending on how many passengers are in a single car. Children under 15 are free!

That’s all for now.

You can see all the places that I went to previously by following me via #bestofBerlin on Twitter & Facebook.

See ya next week!

This post is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary Berlin WelcomeCard to try out, the experience travelling by an East-German Trabi is all my very own!

I have so much to share with you so next week I’ll be writing about how to explore Berlin in just 48 hours – DAY TWO!

Yo Ha!

Myself actually being driven in a real Trabi, in Berlin!
Myself actually being driven in a real Trabi, in Berlin!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you have any questions about Berlin, don’t be shy, I’m an expert! Go ahead and ask me!

It’ll be Xmas soon!

Watch this space!

How to spend 48 hours in Berlin - DAY ONE - #bestofBerlin

Have you ever spent 48 hours in Berlin? Do you think it’s enough time to see aspects of #bestofBerlin in two days, or would you stay longer?

See you in Berlin.

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