Here’s something you don’t hear very often: the British Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Berlin looks more like a ploughed field than a perfectly landscaped cemetery thanks to a random attack of wild boars from the nearby forest of Grunewald! Seriously, this is one porker of a story, since the boars have virtually unearthed tombstones and destroyed nearly a quarter of the 38,000 square meter graveyard.
Ooh those shameless swines! While Berlin laments the laws that prevent them from shooting in a graveyard, elsewhere Germany has overtaken France as being more popular for tourists. No surprises there then – Berlin especially is noted for its association with the second world war and the notorious Berlin wall which came down in 1989 and marked the end of the cold war and the divide between East and West Germany.
The Berlin wall is still something that tourists visit Berlin for, and disappointingly though, not much remains to be seen. Instead, you can find out about it by trekking the Berlin Wall trail – a hiking trail which runs the course of the former wall – all 160km of it. Along the trail there are various points of interest which tell the history of the wall and is a great place to learn more about Germany’s history.
My friend Joanna rates Berlin as being ‘poor but sexy’ since it looks less like a tourist area and more lived in than other places in Germany. In her travel blog, she recommends a visit to the two cathedrals – the Französischer Dom (French Cathederal) and the Deutsche Dom (German Cathederal). Both of these are renowned for their splendid architecture and imposing domes.
Forget the rest of Berlin, I’d be making a dash to Fassbender & Rausch to get my chocolate fix. A chocoholics dream – these master chocolatiers based in the Gendarmenmarkt is well worth a visit for their gorgeously gooey delights.
If you love art and culture, then there are several museums you can visit in Berlin. The Pergamom-Museum takes its name from the star attraction – the alter from the temple of Zeus in Pergamon and critically acclaimed as one of the most significant archaeological finds in the modern world. There are also different displays and exhibits within the museum including the Islamic museum, the Babylon gate and the East Asian collection.
Perhaps the most famous landmark in Berlin is the Brandenburg gate – a huge gateway which was originally modelled on the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. The top of the gate is home to the Quadriga statue which represents Victoria the Goddess of Peace on a horse driven chariot. Berlin has 14 gates in total, with the Brandenburg gate being the most well known of them all.
Located near the Brandenburg gate is Reichstag – a huge imposing building which is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Berlin. It has an enormous glass dome in which you can walk all the way to the top to get some excellent views of the entire city.
If you’ve got kids with you, a trip to the Berlin Zoo and the aquarium is well worth visiting, since it’s one of Europe’s largest zoos housing more than 14,000 different animals. The zoo is built over 74 acres, so there’s plenty to see and do, and the nearby aquarium has over 9000 species of fish, reptiles and amphibians, making for a ‘croaking’ day out!!
Although Berlin isn’t the poshest of places to visit, it’s steeped in history and has plenty of places of interest to arouse the curiosity of even the fussiest traveller.