Hello all, after another long break I am very pleased to come to you all with another travel blog post series about my birthday day trip to Berlin, Germany. Travelling for my birthday has become a staple that COVID-19 disrupted last year but finally, we are back on track! Berlin has been on my bucket list for a while due to its plethora of attractions and rich history. I booked the flights without any hesitation in November using Skyscanner. I was also extremely lucky to be provided with a complimentary Welcome Card from Visit Berlin to explore Berlin’s most iconic sights and compile my itinerary. Throughout the series, I will highlight what attractions are covered by the Welcome Card and what it entitles you to.
*Fast forward to February*
My flight was at 8 am at Stansted which resorted in an extensive journey to the airport from my university starting from the night before. My flight was approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes long so Berlin is decently close to the UK by sir. I made my way to the IntercityHotel Berlin Ostbahnhof where I was staying which took about 35 minutes from Berlin Brandenburg Airport on the train. Due to COVID-19, I was able to check before I landed in Berlin so I had a bit more time to recuperate a bit before heading out. The hotel was right next to the station and also had a bus stop opposite which was extremely handy for navigating around the city.
Sunday 13th February
After my rest and freshening up session, I made my way to the Tourist Information Centre in the Humboldt Forum to collect my Welcome Card (there are several located around the city). After collecting my Welcome Card, I started to crack on with my itinerary and make the most of my birthday trip!
Berlin Cathedral and Reichstag (Berlin Catherdral included in the Berlin Welcome Card)
The first stop of this Berlin trip was the Berlin Cathedral (located on the infamous UNESCO World Heritage Site Museum Island). Visiting cathedrals is always a must for me just so I can gaze at the different architectural structures. The combination of gold and marble along with gorgeous paintings of the apostles all over the ceilings and walls was so stunning to view. I also couldn’t help myself but ascend to the top of the cathedral to take in the panoramic views of Berlin and the River Spree. This did require a whole load of walking and did wonders in terms of cardio but seeing the views and pinpointing various attractions made the climb worth it!
After leaving the cathedral, I was super hungry at this point so I managed to stumble upon a McDonald’s not too far away from the next attraction on my list. Unlike my surprise in Geneva, the portions of the meals were similar to that in the UK. I opted for a medium McChicken Classic meal with Lipton Iced Tea (I need this drink to be an option in the UK). I was also intrigued by the Blueberry Cheesecake Pie and I was thoroughly impressed with it. I had some time before the next attraction so I made my way to see the outside of the famous Reichstag Building which now seats the federal German Parliament. All my GCSE History peeps will have come across this iconic building during their studies including the fire of 1933. You can enter the building and ascend the dome however, prior registration is required. Nonetheless, I was content with just marvelling at the construction of the building from the outside.
Madame Tussauds and Brandenberg Gate (Madame Tussauds included in the Berlin Welcome Card)
Afterwards, I made my way over to Madame Tussauds. I am glad I got to experience going to Madame Tussauds for the first time abroad and honestly the whole experience was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed making my way through all the rooms and seeing if I could recognise the wax figures which I must say look very much life-like and resemble the prominent figures extremely well. There was a great balance between German celebrities and international figures as well as the occasional blast in the past to popular historical figures worldwide. Some stations describe in extreme detail the process of making the wax figures which distinguishes the whole Madame Tussauds brand.
I couldn’t go back without taking a peek at the Brandenburg Gate which was a short walk away from Madam Tussauds. This monument is composed of a stunning archway that predates back to the time of the King Friedrick William II Of Prussia. It now serves as a symbol of unity as opposed to its fiction as a city divider during the Cold War. After taking my memento pictures I decide to start making my way back to my hotel until I stopped at the Curry Wolf street food cart. It’s always a must for me to try the local delicacies of whatever city I visit so I opted to finally try some Currywurst with a roll and mulled wine and I was a huge fan! Similar to the bondage trdelník had me in whilst in Prague, currywurst had the same effect in Berlin. After eating, I then finally made my back to my hotel to rest for a bit.
After an outfit and makeup change, I made my way to have dinner at Schnitzelei Mitte. Upon arrival, I was greeted with a complimentary welcome beer upon my arrival which was a very nice touch. I overestimated how full I was from the previous McDonald’s and currywurst so I opted for 3 small plates, a dessert and a drink. I had to have currywurst again along with baked potatoes with chive curd and linseed oil and some fried meatballs with ramson mustard. I was also able to just about squeeze in a vanilla ice cream schnitzel and a Berliner Weisse with raspberry syrup. All in all, this was an affordable eatery option as everything came to around £20. It was at this point I decided to call it a night and make my way back to the hotel to prepare for the day ahead.
Monday 14th February
I woke up pretty early to get a headstart on having breakfast and getting myself ready for the day. After taking what felt like forever to get ready, I set off to explore the city. It was quite a chilly day for my birthday but there were some lovely sunny spells during the day which served as fabulous lighting for my selfies.
German Historical Museum (German Historical Museum included in the Berlin Welcome Card)
The first stop for the day was the German Historical Museum. I always aim to visit museums that showcase the history of a city/country so this was a must for me. My visit to this museum was a little on the short side because only one portion of the museum was available to view on the day. Nonetheless, I was able to view the “Karl Marx and Capitalism” exhibition which was comprised of various interactive stations as well as paintings/sculptures that showcased the work of Karl Marx and his criticisms of capitalism as well as the state of Germany as a whole during the 19th century. I thought the exhibition as a whole was curated well in such a way to learn about how capitalism impacted Germany and the aspects which Karl Marx challenged such as the economy, nature and ecology, new technologies and revolutions. The exhibition also draws parallels to the reception of Marx’s work in both the 20th and 21st centuries. After leaving the museum, I briefly walked to Museum Island to relax in the sun and take some selfies for a bit before making my way to the next attraction.
German Spy Museum (German Spy Museum included in the Berlin Welcome Card)
The next stop of the day was the German Spy Museum and I was very much excited about this attraction! Now, because I love espionage movies and considering Berlin has been coined as the “Capital of Spies” I couldn’t help but go to this museum. The museum takes you through the long extensive history of espionage from Biblical times to the present day spanning two floors and filled to the brim with various interactive activities to do and multimedia to engage with. I do suggest for you get involved with some of the code-cracking and puzzle-solving stations however, if you do prefer to navigate through the displays of artefacts then that is also an option. I was very intrigued by the story of Josephine Baker, an American born French entertainer who worked as a French Resistance agent against the Nazis during World War II. Lastly, I strongly recommend you try the Spy Lazer Maze and see how you do navigate through the lasers this was a great way for me to get some exercise in and test my agility! Overall, I particularly enjoyed my time here because of the variety that was on offer whilst being extremely informative.
Magicum Museum (Magicum Museum included in the Berlin Welcome Card)
I set off for the Magicum Museum which was the last booked attraction for the day. Once I arrived, I was notified that the museum was closing earlier than usual so I had to make the most of the time I had from the start of my booking. The museum features a basement full of different stations showcasing the combination of myths, magical thinking and ancient science. I particularly liked viewing the illustrations and paintings on display because I found their composition fascinating (rightfully so as some of them had hidden puzzles). I also couldn’t help but enter the mini wall of mirrors room just for the thrill of illusions. I will also mention, for any avid followers of astrology that many of the stations will definitely cater to your interests! Overall, in all of my travel experiences so far, the Magicum Museum has been the quirkiest attraction I have visited thus far.
I was craving something sweet so I stopped by the Windbeuterei S cafe for some homemade profiteroles with a vanilla and strawberry filling (I love me some cream-filled pastry). I went for a walk along the River Spree and back onto Museum Island to have a gander at the beautiful museum buildings that I would be visiting the following (they are closed on Mondays). After I was satisfied I made my way back to my hotel and couldn’t help but stop for a cheeky kebab at the Fatih Severet Doener stand within Ostbanhof station. Let me tell you that was one of the fattest kebab wraps I have ever received in my life they were very generous with the meat and fillings and the dragonfruit Fanta was also a plus me for (I also love trying new flavours of Fanta one of my all-time favourite soft drinks). I went back to my room to eat my kebab wrap which in hindsight probably slowed me down when getting ready to go out for dinner later on.
Nonetheless, after an outfit and makeup change, I made my way to have dinner at Umani and I made it just in time before the kitchen closed. I was in the mood for a cake so went with the Coco Banana Loaf which was served with some blueberries and honey that really hit the spot. Also whilst in Germany why not have a beer with my meal, therefore, I decided to have a Tiger Beer to go with the Golden Poularde which was honestly extremely filling. Once I was able to get up, I decided to make my way to the hotel to spend the last few minutes of my birthday indoors whilst preparing for the day ahead.
Stay tuned for the second instalment of my Berlin birthday trip experience!
Until next time
*Disclaimer: This post contains a product/service I was gifted with. All views are my own*