Jr. goes to Berlin
With five days off over Easter, we decided to go somewhere close on holiday. We considered many places and decided upon Berlin, which turned out to be a superb idea. Here are a few thoughts regarding our visit to Berlin.
These days, you can fly to most European capitals for a very limited amount of money and in a matter of hours. We booked a flat via airbnb in an area called Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin, located on the square next to the Zionskirche.
Here is an evening snap take from the apartment’s balcony:
The area is very central and jam-packed with super cafes, markets, and playgrounds, the perfect spot for urban mums and dads with children. I always thought that we were spoiled coming from Copenhagen with regards to high-quality playgrounds, but quickly realised that we had been living in the dark. The quality, size, and number of playgrounds in the city of Berlin is truly jaw dropping, they are large, modern, and filled with all sorts of structures, swings, etc. It is clear that the government has made an effort in turning Berlin into one of Europe’s most child-friendly cities.
Here is the playground located on the Arkonaplatz:
And here is another super playground located on the corner of Fehrbelliner Strasse and Veteranenstrasse:
For shopping, there is a good super market named Kaiser’s on the corner of Fehrbelliner Strasse and Templiner Strasse, with another super playground just across the road:
The city itself is not Paris- or London-huge, which makes it possible to explore on foot. We walked to the Alexanderplatz to have a look around, but quickly found ourselves leaving. It was filled with the typical big city attractions, which aren’t really worth the fuss. We quickly retreated to the calm, beautiful areas North of Mitte. Berlin is indeed a large city, so having a method by which to navigate the many roads is a big help. In order to avoid hefty roaming charges, I installed an offline navigation app for my iPhone called Navfree for Germany. It’s great and really helps avoid strenuous dialogues like these:
Wife: what direction is Zionskirchplatz?
Me: I don’t know
Wife: you said you would be able to remember which direction we had walked!
Me: I was wrong
Son: look how long my tongue is!
Wife: can you find home?
Me: let me find an app to help us find home
Son: mum, my tongue is really long!
Wife: is that app installed yet?
Me: almost and it’s going to cost a fortune with roaming charges!
Son: mum, my tongue is longer than uncle Thomas’!
Wife: done yet?!
Me: done. It’s only 10 minutes walk. It’s this way
Wife: (now smiling) yes, wow!
Me: (smiling) almost home!
Son: (still smiling)
Later that day, we wondered to the Naturkunde museum to see the world’s largest dinosaur skeleton, which was truly staggering and well worth the visit. The scale-size Mammoth is a true giant:
Being intensely interested in thought-provoking, contemporary art, we are always keen on visiting the local Museum für Gegenwart. We typed the address of the Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart (Invalidenstraße 50-51, 10557 Berlin) into Navfree Germany, and calmly followed the little purple line. Currently, they are exhibiting art by Ryoji Ikeda, which is very interesting. They also have several collections including Berlin entrepreneur Dr. Erich Marx, which includes works by Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein, and Bruce Nauman.
Here are a few words regarding the museum itself, taken from the musem website:
After a lengthy reconstruction by architect Josef Paul Kleihues, the Hamburger Bahnhof reopened on 2 November 1996 as the “Museum für Gegenwart” (Museum for Contemporary Art). The building was erected in the mid-19th century as one of the first terminal stations of the rail system. In the early 20th century, the structure was converted into a museum of transport and construction. The station’s architecture, its impressive Neoclassical façade, flanked by two towers, the grand industrial hall of the entrance area, and the wings of the cours d’honneur flanking the garden of the inner courtyard: all of these elements constitute special attractions for visitors to Berlin. Only the east wing, the so-called Kleihues Hall, was reconstructed in the style of a high vaulted grand gallery on the occasion of the 1996 reopening.
It’s a very beautiful building, and well worth the visit. Here is a snap of Jr. taken whilst visiting:
Visiting Berlin really opened my eyes, and the city is about as modern and hip as they come. If you’re looking to visit a city in Europe and don’t know where to go, take my advice and go to Berlin. Additionally, if you normally book hotel rooms whilst on holiday, consider renting a flat via airbnb, as you’ll find yourselves more comfortable and probably paying the same or less.
- Visit the Arkonaplatz market (Sundays, 10:00 – 16:00)
- Visit the Mauerpark market (Sundays from 10:00)
- Have coffee at Weltempfaenger café
- Visit the Naturkunde museum
- Install Navfree Germany on your iPhone for offline maps, great for getting around
- Check berlin.unlike before you leave home
- Install the taxi.eu app for ordering Taxis in Berlin, it works very well
- If you appreciate contemporary art, visit the Hamburger Bahnhof museum
- Forget to have lots of cash handy, as credit cards aren’t very popular
- Be sad if you don’t make it to the centre of Berlin
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