Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

October 2011: Berlin

Although I had been in Berlin on three previous occasions (see side panel), the opportunity arose for a further visit during 2011, by tacking an intra-Europe segment onto a San Francisco - London mileage redemption ticket at a base cost of zero. As the city is undoubtedly one of the most interest-packed destinations anywhere, I had no hesitation in seizing the opportunity. It was also a chance to say goodbye to Tegel Airport (TXL) in the former West Berlin, due to close in June 2012. Somehow I suspect that it won't be long before I feel the urge to sample the new and sole airport for the city (Berlin Brandenburg - BER) which will open at the same time.

Saturday a.m.: Gendarmenmarkt to Alexanderplatz

I began my 2011 visit by walking from the Hilton to Alexanderplatz, the former focal point of the Russian Sector. The Gendarmenmarkt is probably the most striking city square in Berlin, the main features being the so-called French and German Cathedrals and the concert hall. (Although Dom is the German word for cathedral, the Deutscher Dom and Französischer Dom were so named because of their domes; neither is a church, let alone a cathedral.) My walk continued via the Humboldt University, Unter den Linden and the Berliner Dom, which really is a Lutheran cathedral.

Saturday p.m.: Alexanderplatz to Tiergarten

After lunch, I took a long walk to the Tiergarten area of the former West Berlin. I made an initial detour through Museum Island before continuing along Unter den Linden, passing through the Brandenburg Gate and on past the German parliament.

Sunday a.m.: Checkpoint Charlie to Potsdamerplatz

On Sunday morning I visited nearby Checkpoint Charlie, which I passed through in 1982, and continued towards Potsdamerplatz, once the busiest square in Europe and later left abandoned and derelict in No Man's Land during the time of the Berlin Wall. On the way, I passed a quirky museum dedicated to the East German Trabant car (see side panel), as well as a preserved section of the former wall sitting above a former SS bunker. So much recent history comes together in this place!

In this part of Berlin, more so than most, many photos of the recent past are on public display:

Trabant Museum

Berlin has a quirky museum dedicated to this former East German car brand, infamous for its two-stroke engine and blue smoke emissions.

Base: Hilton

Linked reports from same trip:


Previous visits:

Berlin 2005

Berlin 1997

Berlin 1982