Recently, I jetted off to the land of the Deutschen. Germany, or Deutschland is a country that I’m very familiar with (check out my blog post on living in Munich here), but Berlin is a city I’ve only visited once before and I was looking forward to exploring it a little bit more. Get ready for a picture-heavy (yet informative) whirlwind trip to Germany 🙂
I visited Potsdam first, the capital city of the state of Brandeburg. Sitting on the border of Berlin, Potsdam is rich with history and culture, including the beautiful Sanssouci Palace, or Schloss Sanssouci.
Once the summer home of former Prussian King, Frederick the Great , Schloss Sanssouci is a majestic piece of history. Surrounded by royal gardens, I even spotted the historic Mill of Sanssouci – a sight I’m usually used to seeing here in Holland.
Walking down the cobbled streets of Potsdam, I noticed that the city has its own character, as well as echoes of the past that remain today. It was insightful to be in a very much modern city that has older elements to it remaining today.
During my last German lesson before this trip, my teacher recommended that I try a Berliner Weisse, so I had to get one! It’s a popular drink in Berlin which I got with raspberry syrup. Es war sehr lecker 🙂
Another local treat that I had to try was a Berliner. It was literally the first thing I did in Berlin (can you tell that I like food?).
Similar to the deliciousness of the Krapfen that I became accustomed to in Munich – this doughnut is full of strawberry or cherry jam as apposed to apricot jam and dusted with icing sugar. So gut.
Next stop was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office. Fondly called Mutti by the German public, her office stood tall on the cold, spring afternoon. I still remember when she was elected back in 2005 so it was interesting to see where she works today.
Nearby to Mutti’s workplace is The Reichstag Building which houses the country’s parliament, or the Bundestag. It is the centre of Germany’s political life and ‘Dem Deutschen Volke’, meaning ‘To the German People’ is enscripted on the front of the building.
To the left of this photo, Fernsehturm Berlin – the iconic television tower of Berlin – is visible in the background (and will make another appearance soon)!
Brandenburg Gate, or Brandenburger Tor is one of the best known landmarks of Germany. Built in the 18th Century, the magnificent arch has been the site for major historical events but today it stands as a symbol of European peace and unity.
I have visited the Holocaust Memorial before, however I think that it will forever leave the same impression on me. Walking through it is a chilling reminder of the harrowing past that it represents.
Comprised of over 2,700 concrete slabs of varying height, the ground beneath my feet sloped downwards the further I walked, as the forest of grey concrete seemed to envelope me completely. It truly is a moving and powerful memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Currywurst because, when in Germany… one must always get currywurst (as an Indian especially so)!
Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie are also two very important sites in Berlin. The first, is an intersection and square (named after the city of Potsdam) that once marked the meeting of the old road from Potsdam and the city wall of Berlin at the Potsdam Gate.
Checkpoint Charlie was a crossing point of the Berlin Wall between East Berlin and West Berlin. Visualising history in the present day is an opportunity that I think is invaluable and it can be found in abundance within Berlin and its surrounding areas.
After an evening under the television tower in Alexanderplatz and a walk in the Potsdam forest, I headed home to the Netherlands. I love flying, especially so when I sit by the window and manage to catch a beautiful view like this one*.
*I would like to dedicate this blog post in memory of those that lost their lives yesterday in the German Wings 4U 9525 crash.