Trip to Berlin, Germany - March/April 2010
The travel blog

Back to index pageGet in touch if you have any questionsClick here to check out the Berlin Google map




Manhole lid on a Berlin streetBrandenburger Tor, Checkpoint Charlie, shopping at  Kaufhaus des Westens or just KaDeWe, Knut the polar bear, the street of Unter den Linden, ancient treasures at museum island, the old capital of Prussia,  Reichstag, divided by a giant wall and later reunited, wurst and sauerkraut, Führerbunker, Holocaust memorial, Fernsehturm, Potsdamer Platz, Tiergarten, Sachsenhausen, in the footsteps of the nazi regime and the cold war, Kennedy's statement “Ich bin ein Berliner”…this is a trip report to the beautiful city of Berlin in Germany.

A short summary
Unter den Linden - one of the most famous streets in BerlinThis trip report will focus on the trip that my wife, Nikki, and I took to Berlin in Germany from March 29th to April 2nd 2010. In Berlin we checked out sights such as Pergamonmuseum, Brandenburger Tor, Third Reich walking tour, museum island, shopping at KaDeWe, the holocaust memorial and we even got to drive an old Trabant on a Trabi-Safari through the traffic of Berlin. The trip report is split into section and this first page will focus on the stay in Berlin and our sightseeing there. On the next pages you will find information about the hotel we used (Westin Grand Berlin), an interactive Google map of Berlin and more photos from our stay in the city. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments. You can reach me on . All pictures are taken by Nikki and Gard with our Canon EOS 450D and Canon IXUS cameras.

Prelude and planning
U Bahn sign in BerlinOver the years we have been talking about going to Berlin but we have never been totally convinced that the city was worth a visit. But over the years we’ve also spoken to lots of people that have recommended highly it so we finally decided to check it out during Easter of 2010. As usual we were not planning well ahead so I was quite surprised when we got tickets with Lufthansa and SAS that were not too expensive. I booked it online on the Lufthansa homepage and paid 2200 Norwegian kroner (370 US dollars) per person. I was even more surprised when we started looking for hotels and found out that it was possible to book a room for “only” 99€ at the Westin Grand in Berlin – I have almost paid the same amount for a 2 star hotel in Paris (see the Paris trip report). As we were a bit late with the booking the hotel price increased to 111€.
To plan the trip I bought the Eyewitness Guides for Berlin in order to get some information about history and what to see/do in the city.

Map of Germany

Map of Germany in Europe. Map provided by

The trip begins
Taking a Lufthansa flight to get to BerlinOn Monday March 29th we went to the airport outside Stavanger. Check in and security went fast as it is a fairly small airport (check out Avinor homepage) but we did have to wait a bit for the plane as there were delays. But about an hour after the schedule we were on our way to Frankfurt on Lufthansa flight LH3161 and after about 2 hours we landed in Germany. The only problem was of course that due to the delay in Stavanger, we missed our connecting flight to Berlin – but luckily there was another flight to Berlin just 1 hour after the flight that we were originally on so at 5 pm we were on our way to Berlin.

Note: In Germany the currency in use is Euros (€) . Right now 100 € equals about 135 USD but as you all know this varies over time.

Arriving in Berlin
Welcome to Berlin Tegel airportWe landed at Tegel airport just after 6 PM and I was surprised how small the airport seemed to be. When we came out of the plane I was expecting to go through a maze of hallways (as you have to at e.g. Heathrow and Frankfurt) but at Tegel we got out of the plane and found the baggage conveyer belt right there. And from this spot we could see the taxis that were parked outside.Due to the delays earlier on we were unsure if our luggage had made it or not– but after a few minutes we saw our lime green Samsonite suitcases and we were both happy chappies. There were taxis lined up outside the terminal and the ride into town is only 15-20 minutes and costs approximately 20€. Our taxi driver seemed to fit the stereotype of a taxi driver – he was driving aggressively, gesticulating to other driver and driving too fast. In the end Nikki let him know and he slowed down. I guess he was inspired by the Formula1 season that had just started ;-)

Note: there is also bus services from Tegel that will take you to some of the larger train stations of Berlin and even to Unter den Linden.

We came to the hotel at about 7 PM and the checking at the Westin Grand Berlin was fast. You can check out my review of the hotel on this page. The location of the hotel was great – located right next to Französische Straße U-bahn station (the subway) and only seconds away from the Unter den Linden – one of the main streets in Berlin. You can check out the location of the hotel by looking at the Berlin Google map that I have made - the hotel is marked with a yellow pin.

Let’s start with the food
Entrance to the restaurant Zur Letzen Instanz in BerlinAs we came to Berlin pretty late in the afternoon there was no point in doing any sightseeing - it was dark by the time we reached the hotel. But in advance we had booked a table at what claims to be the oldest restaurant in Berlin: Zur letzen Instanz. So we basically just dumped our suitcases at the hotel, freshened up a bit and took the subway to the nearest subway station of the restaurant. With a bit of theme work we didn’t have any problems finding it even if we didn’t bring the map - we should really have been on the Amazing Race - we would have kicked ass :-).

Tasting the local speciality: Eisbein or pork knuckleSo what is German food like? I don’t know about you but the first thing that comes into my mind when I think about German food is sausages (you know...Bratwurst) and sauerkraut (pickled cabbage). According to our guidebook there were a few typical dishes that had to be tested and that is why we wanted to go to e.g. Zur letzen Instanz – it is important to try the local stuff. This restaurant claims to have been in business since 1621 but as many things in Berlin, it has been heavily reconstructed after World War 2 (as about 80-90% of the city centre was damaged). Gard testing the beer at Zur Letzen InstanzIt was nice to come into the warmth of the restaurant as it was a bit nippy outside that evening - the place was full of people and seemed simple yet very cosy. Lots of simple, dark chairs and tables filled the various rooms and we were sent to a table on the first floor. One of their specialties is (apparently) eisbein or pork knuckle – so I went for this dish together with a pint of Berliner lager – it doesn’t get much more German than this, does it? ;-)Pretty simple interior at restaurant Zur Letzen Instanz The food came pretty fast and I almost got a heart attack just by the look of the portion of pork knuckle: it was gigantic! I thought it was just Americans (no offense) that served ridiculous large portions but after seeing this portion I guess was wrong. The pork knuckle was served with sauerkraut, a typical pea-puree, bacon and potatoes and I was not able to finish it of course – just look at the size of that knuckle on the photos and you will understand what I mean. But the meat was very tender and good and I’m also a sucker for sauerkraut. Actually, the Norwegian kitchen and German kitchens seems to have stuff in common judging from this dish at least. In Norway it is very common to have pork belly served with potatoes and sauerkraut for Christmas. Anyway, try out the Zur letzen Instanz – our meal was 35€ for the both of us (two main courses and a large beer). You can find more info on the restaurant homepage . Going back to our hotel we got a fabulous view to the Berlin TV tower (Fernsehturm) lit up by night. Standing 365 meters tall (about 1200 ft) it stands out in the Berlin skyline.

Note: you are never far from what seems to be the national dish of Berlin these days: curry wurst. There are lots of little booths selling this dish consisting of a hot dog served with French fries and topped with a slightly spicy sauce.

How to get around Berlin
Buying a subway ticket was not that difficultIt seems like the public transportation is quite excellent in Berlin. The S-Bahn and U-Bahn covers most of the city but the U-Bahn seems to have more frequent stops around town. You can buy a ticket and use it on both systems to get to your destination. An U-bahn station in BerlinWe did intend to buy a 7 day pass once we arrived but when we tried to buy the ticket the machine would not accept my credit card so instead we just bought a single ticket for a short ride. You can also buy a day pass to get around or single tickets. One single ticket was 2.30€ and as mentioned, there was also a short distance option (for maximum three stops). Apart from that it is basically like taking the subway in London, Paris or New York City. Check out the maps at the stations to find your line and direction and get on the train. We did get checked for tickets by two guys at one occasion - they were not wearing uniforms so they were hard to spot so do remember to buy a ticket and to validate it. You can find more info about Berlin public transportation on

Note: remember to validate your ticket after you buy it. This is done by stamping it in a machine near the ticket machine. It seems to be best to pay with coins when getting a ticket. Some of the machines also accepts notes but we never got the credit card to work on the ticket machines.

We also stopped by the relative new Hauptbahnhof station – the main train station – and it is quite impressive. Here you will find trains in a number of levels all concealed in a humongous glass structure. And to top it off: it also seemed to be clean and safe unlike some of the main train stations that you find in other large European cities.

A traffic hazard? – Nikki and Gard in a Trabant
The Trabant might be charming - but it is not a great car ;-)Before we left home we posted a question about what to see and do in Berlin on various forums and we got lots of feedback – thanks to all of you for that. Once of the things that were suggested was something called Trabi-safari where you drive a Trabant around town. The Trabant was a pretty basic car made in the years of the East German regime and compared to today’s standards it is a pretty horrible car. Nikki and Gard on Trabi safari in BerlinI guess many people got aware of it when U2 brought along some Trabants as décor on stage for their Zootopia tour many years ago and of course the lines of Trabants driving out of East Germany when the Berlin wall fell. But back to the safari: nowadays you can pay to drive your very own Trabant around Berlin and you get live commentaries from the guide in the lead car via the radio in the car. Talking about cars – have you heard the joke when they donkey met the Lada. The Lada said “Hi horse” and the donkey said “Hi Lada” – the Lada then became a bit peeved and responded “Why can’t you be nice to me and call me a car when I'm nice to you by calling you a horse?” I know, I won't quit my day job to do stand up comedy ;-)

Nikki driving a Trabant in BerlinWhen we went to the pickup location we were a bit disappointed that they had ignored our request for a Trabant in a giraffe pattern but we tried to rise above this and said it was OK with a standard station wagon Trabant instead ;-) As we were going to drive in the traffic of Berlin we were expecting to get some instructions on how the car worked and we sure did – about 60 seconds worth of it with focus on how to handle the manual shift of the car (explained in a great way by Nikki in the video below). But to be honest it was nice just to get a quick instruction on how to do it – after all it is not rocket science and we are both experienced drivers ;-)

And then we were of and we followed the guides in a lead Trabant as they took us around East Berlin. Nikki started the driving and after stalling it in the parking area, she manager to figure it out and it was not a problem driving around. After about 30 minutes we stopped and we changed positions and I got to drive and Nikki kept giggling as I kept waiving my right hand looking for the stick to change gears in the middle of the seats but of course this was located on the steering wheel. It was great fun trying out the Trabi-safari but there is a problem: it is very hard to pay attention to the driving, commentary in English and German and look at the sights all at the same time. Of the three I had to focus on the driving (focus on HSE) so I didn’t really hear anything of what was said and I hardly remember where I had been driving. It costs 40€ per person so it is fairly expensive when you don’t really get much out of it in terms of information – but it was a fun experience and we got a lot of attention wherever we were driving. People were taking photos of our little Trabant convoy all the time all over Berlin :-) Find more information on their web page:

Note: there are separate bike lanes for bicycles all over Berlin. If you are walking it is best to try and stay away from these as bikers seemed pretty angry if obstructed.

Berlin Wall – Checkpoint Charlie
You can find indication of the Berlin wall around the cityIf you know your history you will know that there was something called World War 2 and Germany was in it ;-) After the war Berlin was split into sections and was under control of British, French, American and Russian forces. Later on (in 1961) East Germany came up with the brilliant idea of putting up the Berlin wall which surrounded West Berlin altogether and Checkpoint Charlie became the only crossing point between East and West Berlin until the wall was torn down in 1990. Today there are not that many traces of the Berlin Wall; you can find some sections that are intact while in rest of Berlin it is just indicated with various signals in the pavement. Here is a site that shows a map of where the Berlin Wall stood.

Gard at remains of the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer platzCheckpoint Charlie is located on Friedrichstraße which is the same street as our hotel Westin Grand so we just walked over there in connection with the Trabant driving. At Checkpoint Charlie today you can find a replica of the sign and watch booth that was once there but there is not that much else to remind you of the dramatic history that the place holds. There were also a couple of guys dressed up in military uniforms and tourists could pay to get their photo taken with them – couldn’t they at least hide the “Pay me 1€” sign when the photos were taken? Pillar near Brandenburger Gate with info on the Berlin WallWe decided to check out the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie and it seemed to be a museum covering the cold war, the Berlin wall etc. We paid the 12.5€ per person for the entry and started the tour and to start with (the first couple of rooms) it was completely packed with people and I assumed that it was just a tiny museum – but it turned out that the place is quite big and it was just crowded as people started by trying to read everything. And this is a part of the problem with the museum – the place is packed with info on the wall and I think they try to cover too much. But it is quite remarkable to see how innovative people were in the attempts to escape the communist regime of DDR and I think it also shows how desperate they were. And it was also sad to see many examples of people that were killed in the process of fleeing to west Berlin. But one annoying thing about the museum is that you are not allowed to take photos at all – I’m not sure I understand the reason for this. You can find more information on the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie web page.

Note: The longest section of the wall still standing is about 1,3 km long and is known as the East side gallery. See the location of it in my Berlin Google map (you might have to zoom out).

Reminder of the past – the holocaust memorial (Holocaust Denkmal)
View of the Holocaust memorial in BerlinNear the Brandenburger Tor you will find the huge holocaust memorial dedicated the jews that were killed during world war 2 by the Nazi regime. From what I read, there were many and long discussions on where to put this monument and in the end it ended up with this location – One of the many paths at the holocaust memorial in Berlinand I guess there is some ironic justice in the placement as it basically on top of both Goebbles and Hitler bunkers from World War 2. The monument covers a large area and it consists of thousands of concrete slabs (I think there is about 2700 of them) aligned and you can walk in between them. The paths in between seems to follow the landscape so all of a sudden you are in a maze of the stones. We walked over to the east end of the memorial where you can find a genocide center. The center displays the horror of World War 2 through a quiet exhibition of facts but also powerful family stories and even quotes from diaries and letters. If you do visit the memorial be sure to also visit the genocide center! You can read more about the memorial on .

Dinner time again
The restaurant Altes Zollhaus in BerlinAfter having the heavy meal at Zur letzen Instanz we started doubting our original plan which was dinner at another typical German restaurant called Leibniz-Klause. So we looked in our guidebook again and there was a recommendation for a place called Altes Zollhaus in the Kreuzberg part of town. Having char at Altes Zollhaus in BerlinThe description was “gourmet style German food” and that sounded quite good. Once again we grabbed the U-Bahn and we stopped at Hallesches Tor and walked to the restaurant from there. Even if the station is just a few stops south of Checkpoint Charlie we got a feeling that we were not in the best part of town anymore when emerging from the station. But we have been around the block (as I say to Nikki’s constant frustration ;-)Brandenburger duckling at the restaurant Altes Zollhaus in Berlin and it was not a problem walking over to the restaurant. When we came there it looked picturesque as the restaurant is located in an old house by a canal – but it also looked very closed. But then we noticed a sign next to the door saying that we had to ring the doorbell! Like Alice in Wonderland we followed the instruction and then the door was opened for us and they had a table for us. It was easy to see that this was a step up from the restaurant Zur letzen Instanz with the white linen on the tables and the interior in general. We decided to go for the “Fantastic Four” menu – a 4 course meal with 4 wines for 44.44€ per person – so in other words it was not only a step up in quality and looks but also in price ;-)

The bill came in a music box at Altes ZollhausI started with a champagne and calvados aperitif but we soon got the starter which was smoked char with potato salad and the fish was excellent. After that we had a herb and potato soup followed by Brandenburger farm duckling and to round it off a Catalonian cream. All in all it was about 100 € for the both of us and the food and service was great. They even knew how to handle it when Nikki told them about her lactose intolerance and that is not always the case. The duckling was great served with apples, cabbage (not sauerkraut mind you) and potato cakes. The bill came in a small music box and once we opened it to check the bill it started playing - quite amusing. We took a taxi back to the hotel and it was 10€ from the restaurant to Westin Grand.
Check out the restaurant homepage on

Note: there are a few gypsy women walking around the most visited tourist sites. I’m not sure what the scam is (or maybe it is just begging) but they would show a handwritten note and try to get in touch with tourists by asking them if they speak English.

A visit to ancient times – museum island
The modern and the old - the Berlin TV tower and the Berliner DomThis small island was once the cradle of Berlin as this was where the first settlements were established. Now it contains the Berliner Dom and a few museums and hence the name: museuminsel (museum island). We started by walking there from our hotel and we walked along Unter den Linden and checked out the buildings on our way. The Berliner Dom church which was started about 1750 is quite a contrast to the high, sleek and modern TV tower in the background. Dome in the Berliner DomThe Berliner Dom church was partially destroyed during World War 2 but it has been restored in a "simplified" form. The church looked really impressive on the outside so we decided to check out the inside as well and paid the 5€ each for the tickets. The strange thing is that the church is really not that big inside and it is not as impressive as e.g. St. Peters in Rome, the duomo in Milan or Notre Dame in Paris – it just doesn’t have the same “wow factor”. But it was impressive to see and hear the 7200 pipe organ in the church. The entrance ticket also gave us access to visit parts of the dome and the original crypt of the Hohenzollern family – the family that rules Berlin for hundreds of years. It was eerie to walk through the crypt and see all the large and small (lots of babies are kept here too) sarcophagus. Keep in mind that this is a burial site if you visit the crypt.

We continued to walk over to the Pergamonmuseum where we had to wait in line for something like 30 minutes to get in but when we were done with the visit the line was gone so I guess you should either come early or late. We paid 10€ per person for the entrance ticket and after a quick lunch in the museum café, we were ready to deal with the ancient artifacts.

Note: you get an audio guide included in the ticket so be sure to pick one up on the way in.

View of the Pergamon alter in BerlinThe first room you get to when you enter the museum is quite mind-blowing – in this large room you will find the remains from the Pergamon alter (from which the museum takes its name). The alter comes from the city of Pergamon (now Bergama in Turkey) and was build around 170 BC! It is not complete but it gives you a very good idea of how splendid this must have looked. Ishtar Gate from Babylon at the Pergamonmuseum in BerlinWe decided to take a 30 minute audio guide tour of the museum to start with and this is excellent if you are short on time. Other hightlights in the museum are the entrance section to a temple also from Pergamon, amazing Roman mosaic, the entrance gate to a market in the Roman city of Miletus (120 AD) and last but not least, the beautiful Ishtar gate together with a equally beautiful processional way. These two last items is just breathtaking as it was taken from the ancient city of Babylon and built by Nebuchadnezzar and dates it back to 600 BC! Well, some of the bricks in the reconstruction are new but there are also original bricks.

The Paragmonmuseum is not as extensive as museums like Louvre (see my Paris trip report) and the Vatican museum (see my Rome trip report) but some of the rooms at the Pergamonmuseum are just amazing and the museum is well worth a visit. Check out more details about the museum on

Scandinavian encounter at KaDeWe
Visiting the department store KaDeWe in BerlinAfter so much cultural influx we decided to go for some brainless vacation entertainment: shopping ;-) After we finished at the Pargamonmuseum, we walked over to Alexanderplatz (called Alex by the locals according to our guidebook) and took the U-Bahn to Wittenbergplatz where you will find Kaufhaus des Westens also known as KaDeWe. KaDeWe is one of the largest department stores in Europe (I guess it is only Harrods in London that can compete)As expected, the selection of sausages at KaDeWe were impressive and we browsed around a bit but we soon ended up on one of the upper levels where they have lots and lots of food. In this place you should be able to find almost anything that you are looking for – and they also serve lots of the food as well. As we were getting hungry we started browsing around but I can tell you: it was hard to make a decision as there was so much food on offer. Here you can have lots of cheese, seafood, lots of different oyster types, king crab from Norway, sausages...well, you name it basically. We ended up sharing a small lobster and I had a glass of some nice Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial to go with the lobster and it was excellent. We also had some tapas – as you can understand it is very easy to get carried away at this place.

When it comes to the Scandinavian encounter – it sounded like half of Norway, Sweden and Denmark had decided to visit Berlin and KaDeWe this Easter - I have never heard so many Scandinavians in once place abroad before. We walked out of KaDeWe slightly tipsy and with porcini and pancetta in our bags. Check out the department stores homepage on for more information.

Note: You can also visit Galeries Lafayette in Berlin but in my opinion it cannot match KaDeWe – at least not when it comes to the gourmet section.

In the footsteps of the Nazi regime – Berlin walking tour
Starting our Berlin walking tourYou can’t go to Berlin and not get some contact with World War 2 history. We decided to follow in the footsteps of the Nazi’s by taking an Original Berlin Walk called “Infamous Third Reich Sites tour”. To start the tour we went to the U-Bahn station at the zoo one morning and signed up for the tour that were starting at 10 am and paid the guy 12€ each. After we paid him we were like “what if he is just a con-man” but luckily he was the real deal ;-) Our guide this morning was Jonathan and he started by taking us on the train to Mohrenstraße U-Bahn station where we began our tour. It turned out that many of the important Nazi buildings were located in this area including the Reich Chancellery, the hotel were Adolf Hitler used to stay before he came into power, the air ministry and the headquarters for both the SS and Gestapo.

Classification symbols used in the Nazi concentration campsThe first thing we noticed in the Mohrenstraße U-Bahn station was the red marble cladding and our guide Jonathan said that this was actually taken from the Reich Chancellery after the war but Wikipedia suggests that it might just be an urban legend but it is a good story anyway. But Jonathan actually started by explaining the background for World War 2 and how Adolf Hitler seized power in Germany - I’m sure none of us minded this history refreshment – after all it has been a few years since we had this in school. The Nazi air ministry seems to be quite intact even after the devastating World War 2 but there is nothing left of the Reich Chancellery and the SS and Gestapo head quarters. But Jonathan carried old photos to show examples of how it was back then and he didn’t mind us asking questions all the time either.

There is not much left of Adolf Hitler's bunker - here is a sign where it was locatedOne of the most disturbing features of this walking tour might be the topography of terror – an open air exhibition that gives you a bit of information about the area, the Gestapo and SS, about the events leading up to World War 2, about the death camps and marking of the prisoners etc. A new museum is to open in these days in connection with the topography of terror and there are also excavations revealing the basements of the SS and Gestapo.
We ended up our 3 hour walk with Jonathan at the spot where Hitler’s bunker is located (führerbunker) – there is not much to see really as there is just a parking lot and the remains of the bunker is just buried below the surface and it is not accessible. This is where Hitler ended his last days in April of 1945 as the Russians moved in to take Berlin. This tour is highly recommended if you are into World War 2 history and even if there is not that much to see, Jonathan was able to bring it back to life with his descriptions, knowledge and old photos. He was always willing to share his knowledge with us when we were asking the most basic questions. Wouldn't have been great with a Google Street View - historic version? It would have been great to walk through the city virtually anno 1940. Anyway, you can check out more info about the walks provided by Original walks on

Lunch at a Lindenbräu Brauhaus
Enjoying beer at the restaurant Lindenbrau in BerlinEven if the stories of World War 2 does not lead to increased appetite, the walking and fresh air did. So after the walking tour we walked over to Potsdamer platz so check out what was on offer there. Potsdamer platz used to be a center of Berlin but after the construction of the Berlin wall it became just a part of outskirts of both sections and hence there was no focus on improving the area. But after the reunification more than 25 billion US dollars have been invested to build up the area and now it appears quite modern and new. We decided to have lunch at a brauhaus (brewery) called Lindenbräu at the Sony center. Lunch at Lindenbrau at the Sony Center in BerlinThe place brags about having their own brewery where they produce wheat beer and they have some huge tanks in the center of the restaurant to prove this. We got a menu in English eventually and Nikki went for a Nürnberger Würst meal (a sausage) while I went for the brewery plate consisting of sausage, meat, sauerkraut, potato dumplings etc. Once again I was astonished of the similarities of German and Norwegian food as the meat, dumplings and sauerkraut were equal to when I can get at home – but the selection of beer in Germany is a lot better of course :-) The food was OK but they had way too much to do at this restaurant so we waited around forever to get the bill and in then end we had to go and look for the waitress to pay the bill. Our meal was 29€ for two portions and a beer. You can find more info on the restaurant homepage.

Quail at Bocca di Bacco in BerlinNot that it is bad – but once you get feed up with German food you can move to Italian food as there are lots of Italian restaurants around town. One evening we decided to check out Bocca di Bacco as it was so close to our hotel. We came there pretty late (as we got carried away with lunch at KaDeWe) but there were still lots of people in the restaurant and lots of people came after us! We had to wait for a couple of minutes to get a table but that gave us time to enjoy some prosseco :-) I went for the quail for starters and that was excellent and I went for the pheasant for main dish and that was OK even if the bird was a bit on the dry side. To round it of we had some semifreddo together with some limoncello – you can’t go wrong with a combination like that :-) All in all it cost 140€ including a bottle of wine that was 34€. You can find more info on the restaurant homepage on .

Last chance for a glimpse of the city
The Reichstag - built as the German Parliment in 1884On our last day we tried to see a bit before we had to leave – so once again we took a walk along Unter den Linden in the beautiful spring weather but it was difficult to get a good shot with Brandenburger Tor as the Pariser Platz was filled with tourists. We then moved over to the Reichstag to see if we could get into that wonderful glass dome but the line outside was close to the longest line that I have ever seen. So we settled for the view of the building as we moved on to take the S-Bahn to Alexanderplatz to see if we could get to the top of the Berlin TV tower – the Fernsehturm. The Berlin TV tower, called FernsehturmWhen we came there the lines for buying a ticket didn’t look to bad and Nikki got into it while I check out the lines upstairs (to get in the actual elevators I guess) and they were not too bad either. But as I went over to give Nikki the “thumbs up signal” (meaning go ahead and buy tickets) we got a message on the loudspeakers saying that if we bought tickets at that time, it would take at least two hours until we could get up to the top of the tower - I guess that will teach us to plan ahead :-) If you want to plan ahead visit the tower's homepage on for more information. We pressed on to walk around the Staatsopera Unter den Linden, St-Hedwigs cathedral and also the Gendarmenmarkt area.Nikki at Brandenburger Gate in Berlin In the latter area you will find the two churches Französischer Dom (the French church) and the Deutscher Dom (the German church) which at first glimpse looks identical to each other. When looking closer you will see that they are different but the truth is that they are also “replicas”. And this is one of the “problems” with Berlin I guess – everywhere you see the architecture looks quite old but the truth is that a lot of them are relative new buildings like the two churches mentioned above. The Deutscher Dom was built around 1700 but burned down in World War to and it was only rebuilt in 1993. But I guess this is also a good thing – they try to restore buildings to their former glory and looks which looks great in the city scenery.

Last dinner in the city – Lutter & Wegner
Gard and Nikki dining at Lutter & Wegner in BerlinOur last dinner in the city was at Lutter & Wegner in the Gendarmenmarkt area. Once again we just walked over from our hotel and on our way we felt a couple of raindrops so we picked up the pace and went in the first door we saw with the restaurant name on it. The restaurant was tiny but there was one table left for us and as we were looking at the menu we noticed that we were surrounded by thousands of bottles of wine – well, at least empty bottles. Blood sausage at Lutter & WegnerNikki started with a strawberry aperitif (not like Norwegian strawberries but still pretty good according to her) and I went for the sekt, the local term for sparkling wine apperently because when I ordered it I said "sparkling wine" and the waiteress just replied "sekt". Once again we decided to go for a local treat and we shared a starter consisting of blood sausage served with a bit of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. The blood sausage has an acquired taste I guess but one again it is not that different from the Norwegian black pudding. I had the sauerbrat for my main dish and it was slices of beef with mashed potatoes and a dark sauce – once again very similar to Norwegian food. To round it of we had apple cake before paying the bill that came to 125€ including a bottle of wine at 35€. During the meal a few guests had appeared from what looked like the kitchen entrance and we were wondering if there were several rooms to this restaurant – and there is indeed. It turns out that the restaurant occupies several rooms in this block. You can find more info on the restaurant homepage .

Time to go back home
Landscape on flight from Berlin to CopenhagenOn Good Friday, April 2nd it was time for us to go back home. We just grabbed a taxi outside the hotel and it got us to Tegel airport within 20 minutes (and once again for about 20€) and check in was fast. We relaxed a bit in the Lufthansa lounge (which was bigger than expected) before we took a SAS flight to Copenhagen at about 5 PM. When we came to the gate we were surprised when we handed over our boarding passes as our seats had been changed to business class – that was nice of course but it is not that important on a 1 hour flight. In Copenhagen we had a couple of hours wait before we took the short flight back home to Stavanger.

Brandenburger Tor (Gate) in BerlinI was not sure what to expect from Berlin but I guess you can say that it was a lot more than I hoped for. For a history buff this city is quite a gem as so much of the history of the 20th century was made here and even if most of the city was bombed to kingdom come during World War 2, it’s former beauty seems to have been restored in a great way. Mix this with modern buildings, lots of great restaurants to check out and lots of attractions to visit you have got a city that is well worth a visit. Seen on the Reichstag - meaning to the German peopleOur main problem was that we were not able to cover all the places that we wanted to. So the next time I go there I would like more time so I can visit some of the places that I missed the first time around: the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen, maybe an underground tour in Berlin (Berliner Unterwelten), see the view from the TV tower (maybe at sunset), visit the beautiful glass dome at the Reichstag, visit more of the musems at museum island, visit Schloss Charlottenburg, wander around the area of Kurfürstendamm, check out the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtnis Kirche and much more – in other words: there is no reason to not visit Berlin again :-) I came home with a "souvenir" from Berlin: a cold and a runny nose. Even if spring had arrived the wind was still cold and I guess that cause my cold :-(

Some “useful” tips
So what do you need to bring to Berlin? And how do you plan a trip? Here are some useful tips:

  • Wondering about the weather in Berlin? Check out to get some weather stats so you know what to expect. It can get cold there in the middle of winter
  • A good guidebook: yes, you can find a lot of useful info on the internet. But get a good guidebook with a comprehensive street map. Which one to buy is up to you :-) We bought the Eyewitness Travel Guide for Berlin and that was quite good.
  • Which forums to ask questions: Try TripAdvisor, Fodor’s, SlowTalk, Frommer’s and Travelers to Go!
  • Are you bringing a laptop? We did and it was great to use this to check out attractions and opening times, maps, restaurant information etc. Just make sure you find a hotel that offers free internet ;-) There are also free Wifi on few restaurants and coffee shops
  • Do you wonder how far it is from one place to another in Berlin? Why not use Google Earth/Google Maps to measure? I find this to be a great tool.
  • Here is an interactive Berlin Google map where I have highlighted some of the places that we went to
  • Wondering about public transportation in Berlin? Check out

Feel free to check out the next section of this trip report: interactive map of Berlin .



Back to index pageGet in touch if you have any questionsClick here to check out the Berlin Google map