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Berlin, let it snow!


I flew from Porto to Berlin-Schönefeld airport and as soon as I left the airport there was SNOW waiting for me, which added even more excitement and beauty to this trip.
Tiergarten is Berlin’s most popular inner-city park. In winter you can find snow there, just like in the picture
Tiergarten

Transportation

Berlin has two airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, both served by public transport to the city center. For those who land in Tegel the easiest way is to take the TXL bus that goes to the city center. Tickets can be purchased at the BVG counter inside the airport. For those who land in Schönefeld the easiest way is to take the train. The station is close to the airport, you just need to follow the signs. Tickets can be purchased at the BVG counter inside the airport or at the automatic machines at the train station. I bought my ticket at the vending machines and it was quite simple and fast.
I used public transport to get to know Berlin and I do not regret it. Berlin's public transport network is divided into three zones: A, B and C. Area A is where you will find the main tourist attractions of Berlin. Tegel airport is in zone B, while Schönefeld airport is in zone C. You can find all information about routes and schedules here.
When I was in Berlin I bought the Berlin CityTourCard Ticket, which allows us to use all means of transportation and is available with different durations: 48 hours, 72 hours, 4 days, 5 days and 6 days. The price of the ticket depends on the included areas. All information about this ticket here.
A great tip is to use the 100 bus line, which runs through the main tourist attractions, namely: Tiergarten; Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche; Bellevue Palace; Reichstag; Brandenburg Gate; Berlin Cathedral; etc. 
Yellow subway in Berlin
Berlin Subway

One of the main subway stations
Alexanderplatz Subway Station

Food

I stayed at the Titanic Comfort Mitte Hotel, centrally located with metro and bus nearby. Near the hotel there's a Spanish restaurant ("Tapas y más") where I dined once. The restaurant has a great atmosphere, good service and a good selection of tapas. If you like tapas I recommend the visit.
The interior of Tapas y Más Restaurant
Tapas y Más Restaurant

Some tapas from this restaurant: pimentos padrón, croquetas, etc.
Tapas y Más Restaurant
Another good option for your cheap meals in Berlin may be the Vapiano chain. You will find several restaurants of this chain spread around the city and if you like Italian food, Vapiano may be a good option for you. Here you will find a great variety of pasta, pizza and salad.
And if you want to rest, use the internet, have a coffee or a light meal, the Digital Eatery may be the ideal place. This coffee is located in a historic building on Unter den Linden Avenue and belongs to Microsoft. Here you will find free wifi and several technological innovations of the brand, that you can freely use.
one of the technologies you can test at Digital Eatery
Digital Eatery
But when in Germany we must try one of the best things  this country has to offer: the famous German sausage.
Traditional German Sausage with potato and salad
Traditional German Sausage

Traditional German Sausage with sauce
Traditional German Sausage
But, in addition to eating lots of good things, I also had the opportunity to get to know Berlin's main attractions. The map below was created by me during the preparation of this trip. 

Main Attractions

Berlin is a wonderful city, that combines history and modernity, and surpassed all my expectations. So, get lost in the streets of Berlin and do not miss the main attractions:

  • Checkpoint Charlie: This was the most famous crossing point between East and West Germany.  It was one of the crossings in and around Berlin along with Checkpoint Alpha and Bravo. It was the only gateway where East Germany allowed Allied diplomats, military personnel and foreign tourists to pass into Berlin’s Soviet sector, so  the United States, France and Britain stationed military police at Checkpoint Charlie to ensure their officials had ready access to the border. It is worth reading about the history of this place before visiting it, because if you do so the visit will be much more special. 
    Checkpoint Charlie: the street and the military
    Checkpoint Charlie

    Checkpoint Charlie placard of the american sector
    Checkpoint Charlie
Across the road you will find an open air exhibition that tells the story of those that failed to escape from East Berlin and those that succeeded. This exhibition is free so do not miss it. 
A map of the divided German at Open Air Exhibition
Open Air Exhibition

a fragment of the Berlin Wall at the Open Air Exhibition
Open Air Exhibition

  • Topography of Terror Documentation Center: Between 1933 and 1945, the central institutions of Nazi persecution and terror were located on the present-day grounds of the “Topography of Terror". The visit to the main exhibition is very rewarding. You will learn about how the personnel of the Nazi terror machine planned, organized and implemented the persecution and murder of millions of people in Germany and throughout Europe. In addition, 200 meters of the Berlin Wall have been preserved and now forms part of the Topography of Terror Documentation Center.
    Topography of Terror Documentation Center and a fragment of Berlin Wall
    Topography of Terror on the left, Berlin Wall on the right
  • Tiergarten: In the heart of the city, very close to the major attractions, it is a great place to walk or rest. In addition to the vast green area you will also find memorials, sculptures and a several lakes. When I was in Berlin this garden was covered in snow so it was wonderful.

    Tiergarten with snow
    Tiergarten

    Tiergarten with snow; a lake and a sculpture
    Tiergarten lake
  • Brandenburg Gate: one of the iconic attractions of the city, situated in the beautiful Pariser Platz, near Tiergarten. During the Second World War the gate was heavily damaged and in the post-war division the Brandenburg Gate was in the Soviet sector. When the Wall fell lots of people gathered here for the Brandenburg Gate’s official opening (22 December 1989), and nowadays it's the symbol of the German unification and the stage of the major celebrations, like New Year’s Eve.
    Brandenburg Gate
    Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag: the German parliament is one of the most visited attractions in Berlin. Reichstag is associated with important moments in German history. It was here that in 1945 a Soviet Union flag was hoisted by a soldier to symbolize the victory over the Nazis. The roof terrace and dome of the Reichstag Building can be visited by members of the public, and offer spectacular views of the parliamentary and government district and Berlin’s sights. The admission is free but an advance registration is required.
    Reichstag building in a rainy day
    Reichstag
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe: in the heart of the city, near the Brandenburg Gate, you will find this memorial, designed to honor and remember the millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The area is open day and night and the admission is free of charge.
    concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field
    Memorial to the Murdered Jews

    concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field
    Memorial to the Murdered Jews 
  • Dom: Berlin's cathedral is beautiful and it's located on the banks of the river Spree, near the museum island. Admission: 7€ per adult.
    Berlin Dom, near the river
    Dom
  • Museum Island: declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, is a space dedicated to art, beauty, science and history. In this island you can find 5 museums, all different, all interesting. It is possible to buy a ticket that allows you to visit the 5 museums: Pergamon Museum; Bode Museum; New Museum; Old National Gallery; Old Museum. The admission for visitors under 18 years is free. Regular admission is 18€. Another good option is the "Museum Pass Berlin", valid for 3 consecutive days; gives access to 30 exhibitions and museums. Regular price from 29€. More information here.

    Old National Gallery and gardens
    Old National Gallery
  • DDR Museum: the Deutsche Demokratische Republik Museum shows how everyday life was like in communist Germany. This museum is super interactive and presents several aspects of everyday life, from home to work, family, vacations, fashion, culture, shopping, etc. The highlights of the exhibition include a simulated drive in an original Trabant P601. I loved this museum! You can purchase the ticket online and avoid waiting in line. See more here.
    the inside of a Trabant P601
    DDR Museum

    DDR Museum - living room
    DDR Museum

  • East Side Gallery: the world-famous Berlin Wall divided the city into Western and Eastern and symbolized the division of the world: the capitalist and the communist. What was once the famous Berlin Wall, is today an open air gallery (1.3 kilometers of history and art). Near East Side Gallery you will find the Spree river  and the Oberbaumbrücke bridge. Take a walk and enjoy. 
    East Side Gallery - painted wall "BERLIN"
    East Side Gallery

    East Side Gallery - painted wall with a man jumping the wall
    East Side Gallery

    East Side Gallery - painted wall saying "save the earth"
    East Side Gallery

    East Side Gallery - painted walls
    East Side Gallery

    Oberbaumbrücke bridge and the spree river on a sunny day
    Oberbaumbrücke bridge
  • Gendarmenmarkt: beautiful square located in the center of Berlin. It has 3 main buildings: Konzerthaus; Französischer Dom; Deutscher Dom. Take a walk around the square and the surrounding area and enjoy. 
    Deutscher Dom at Gendarmenmanrkt
    Deutscher Dom

    Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt
    Konzerthaus
  • Gedächtniskirche: one of Berlin's most famous attractions because of its tower, damaged during the Second War. The tower was never restored in order to remember the destruction caused by the war. The interior of the church was decorated with beautiful mosaics, which can be seen in the hall that still exists. Admission is free.
    Gedächtniskirche and the destroyed tower
    Gedächtniskirche
  • Schloss Charlottenburg: it is the largest palace in Berlin and one of the main attractions. Designed in the Baroque style, it was initially called the Lietzenburg Palace, because of the place where it was built (Lietzow). It was initially built as a summer palace for Sophie Charlotte, the wife of the Prussian Prince Friedrich III. When Friedrich was crowned King Friedrich I of Prussia the summer house began to be transformed into a royal palace. When Queen Sophie Charlotte died the palace was renamed in her honor. Nowadays the palace functions as a museum and is open to visitors. In the amazing gardens you can find the Neuer Pavillon, The Belvedere Tea House and the Mausoleum. Even if you do not want to know the interior of the palace you must see the gardens. More information here.
    Schloss Charlottenburg and the beautiful gardens covered with snow
    Schloss Charlottenburg
  • When in Berlin pay attention do the ground and you will find evidences of the wall. In some streets you can see the ground markers that shows where the wall stood in the past. This may seem a small detail but for me it was very interesting to imagine how the city was in the past. 
Ground markers in the middle of the street showing where the berlin wall stood
Ground markers in the middle of the street showing where the berlin wall stood
  • Besides these marks, you can also find big segments of the wall spread across the city, even in places that today are super modern, like Potsdamer Platz.
Two segments of berlin wall painted with two faces
Berlin Wall segments

To sum up,

Berlin is a wonderful city! It has several parks: in the winter covered with snow and in summer great to relax with family and friends. It has Spree river that runs through the city and provides a wonderful landscape. It has art, beer, tasty food, years and years of unparalleled history. Explore the city and you will not regret it!

Black Trabi car with statement I love Berlin
I LOVE BERLIN
Grace

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