MM’s Jordan Baker takes you through her summer trip to Germany and leaves with you some tips for visiting the great city of Berlin…
This summer, I visited the historical capital city of Germany, Berlin.
The bursary given by The School of Journalism allowed me to walk in the same steps as the harrowing Third Reich and explore the living history of Nazi Germany.
Having being an avid history fan, Berlin was an ideal place for me to visit. It is quite difficult to actually comprehend what exactly went on in the city, or in the country for that matter, until you visit for yourself.
The city, now so diverse, is full of life and people from all kinds of different backgrounds.
The first day was spent wandering around the Hackescher Markt at all the different stalls and visiting Alexanderplatz, the main public square in the district of Mitte which is home to the iconic Berlin TV Tower (below).
Before a dinner reservation in the revolving restaurant inside the TV Tower, we took a self-guided tour around the Anne Frank Zentrum, which gave an insight into the life of Anne and her family and the sad and horrific end they met. It was designed so that visitors could reflect on the time and it didn’t fail one bit.
Our second day was filled with all things tourism. I met up with Mark Meadows, a tour guide and journalist originally from the UK who now resides in the city with his family.
Mark gave us a lengthy 90-minute tour of the city in which we visited the iconic Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, one of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which was designed by American architect Peter Eisenman, who left the memorial open to interpretation as to what exactly it was meant to represent.
Here you can watch just what me and Mark got up to in Berlin and what he has to say about the city and what life is like as a Brit living in Germany…
In the evening, after we left Mark, we visited the Bundestag and the Reichstag (German parliamentary building) and ate at the Käfer Dachgarten Restaurant which looked out onto fabulous views of the centre and the Tiergarten.
Our last day was spent at the Olympiastadion and Olympiapark, the venue originally built by the Nazis for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games which is now home to German football club Hertha BSC. Whilst the Nazis were despicable human beings, their architecture was something to be admired.
Once home, I met up with Thilo Steube, who has been living in the UK for the past 15 years after previously being a student and resident in Berlin. Thilo explained his personal views on the re-unification of Germany in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
I also interviewed a first-time visitor to Berlin, Samantha Claypole, who gave an outsider’s perspective and honest review of the city (if you are in two-minds about whether or not you should visit the German capital.)
Although it wasn’t my first visit, I had a fantastic time in Berlin and would highly recommend that anyone who enjoys city breaks with tourism chucked in should add it to their list of places to visit.
Everything from the shops to the nightlife and most importantly the history makes it a one-of-a-kind place to travel to.
One place I didn’t get a chance to revisit on this trip (but which I highly recommend) is Sachsenhausen, a Nazi concentration camp primarily used for political prisoners during the years 1936-45.
It isn’t your typical ‘fun’ day out, but really is an eye-opener into the destruction and genocide caused by the Third Reich, an incredibly important part of German history.