My visit to Berlin was filled with unneeded drama. Upon arrival from Dresden I decided to drop my bags at my hotel before spending the afternoon exploring Mitte. To get to my hotel I needed to catch an S-Bahn from Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof to Hackescher Markt. As I stepped off the escalator onto the S-Bahn platform I just missed a train, and then the next one pulled into the station so crush loaded that you couldn’t get a suitcase onboard. After waiting a very long time for a third train I made it to my hotel.
Once I had checked into my hotel I started to walk towards the Brandenburg Gate along Unter den Linton. As we walked along the road through the area around Museumsinsel we noticed many police vehicles, and we then found ourselves stuck between two road closures as the police were closing down the area for the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister. After being allowed to jump a barricade to get out of the exclusion zone we took a detour to the Berlin Konzerthaus where Ai Weiwei had wrapped the pillars of the building in life vests used by refugees to get to Europe. We then walked back to Unter den Linton and got to the Brandenburg Gate as the sun was setting.
I had been fortunate to have been able to get tickets to visit the dome of the Reichstag in the early evening. So after watching the sunset my friend and I passed through the security screening to get into the Reichstag building and took the lift to the roof area. The visit to the Reichstag was not as amazing as the guidebooks often describe it to be. But the opportunity to see the modern architecture – especially the deliberate windowed openness of meeting rooms and debating chambers – around the government area is great.
By the time I had finished the walk up and down the dome I was very cold as the dome is completely open to the outside air. It was now time for my friend who I had travelled with from Vienna through Bratislava, Prague and Dresden to return to his home in Potsdam. However this is where the next drama happened, as his train had been cancelled and the S-Bahn line that would take me back to my hotel still had large delays. Once we found an alternative way for him to get home I made my way back to my hotel for the night.
Drama then followed me, as I woke the following morning with a very strong headache and I felt like I was coming down with the cold or flu. Once I had finally dragged myself out of bed I visited a chemist to get medication before going to the Pergamon Museum on Museumsinsel. As the museum was undergoing renovations I was only able to see the Ishtar Gate, Market Gate of Miletus and Islamic Art areas of the Museum. I then saw the Egyptian and European Exhibits at the Neues Museum and the Greek/Roman Exhibits at the Altes Museum.
After three hours of exploring museums my headache came back so I returned to my hotel to rest. This meant I had to cancel meeting up with a friend in the afternoon. I then woke at 4pm as snow started falling. I was rather excited by the snow but not much of it collected on the ground.
Despite still feeling unwell I dragged myself out to the Alexanderplatz to get dinner. After walking around a few malls I ended up just drinking a green tea for “dinner” and returned to my hotel where I became even more ill.
The following day I slept in again and by this time I realised I didn’t have a cold or flu but instead some sort of stomach bug. Despite this I managed to find enough energy to go to Wittenberg for the day which I’ll detail in my next blog.