A while ago, I participated in Blogging 201 from WordPress.com. It is a great course designed to help you think about your blog and what you want to achieve with it – no matter how small your ambitions. It is also the perfect opportunity to meet other bloggers. Hundreds of people sign up for the course and a good number use the common ‘room’ to chat and ask for advice and feedback. This is how I first encountered Bright Pigments blog.
I feel in love with her photography almost instantly. So when the staff at Blogging 201 asked us to consider offering and hosting guest posts, it felt natural to turn to Bright Pigments. Her photos are playful and inquisitive but also artful and sensitive, and always beautiful. After a series of e-mails we settled for a tour of Berlin, a city she knows well and has often photographed.
I eagerly awaited the results, impatient to see the photos and learn more about the city itself. But I wasn’t expecting the depth of what Bright Pigments sent me. What follows is a guide to Berlin, the only guide you need for a long week-end. Bright Pigments has included all the information you need from what to see to where to buy food and find toilets. Accompanied by her beautiful shots, this guide will make you want to book a trip to Berlin.
As the whole guest post is long, I have broken it down in three parts. The last part includes extra information and a link to a Google map to help you get from spot to spot. I will link back to those once everything has been published. You can read the first part here. The third (and final) part can be read here. Enjoy the second.
PS: Click on the photos to see them bigger.
All the major sights are ‘done’ and we may move on. Anyways: In case you are into shopping: there is TK Maxx (they have reduced prices on designer stuff), Primark and a few meters away the Alexa Shopping Centre, go there, if you want to buy something (they have most of the shops you’d like to visit) or just have a stroll through the food court to get something to eat (for reasonable prices).
Depending on the time you started and your experience in long walking tours you might go on from here or just start over on another day. But if you started early, you might as well go on – it’s possible!
When you decide to go on, please hop in the S7/75/5 servicing towards Spandau, Westkreuz or Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, via Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin central station). Travel one station and get off at Hackescher Markt. Get out of the station on your left side (towards the marketplace and the MUJI, not towards the tram and “Who killed bambi?! store” (which is nice but no ‘must see’)
Walk across the road and into the Hackesche Höfe, take your time, its nice there. Maybe do some shopping – whatever.
If you have to do some shopping (if you are living via AirBnB or something similar) there is an Edeka across the road – its next to the Rossmann and has a huge sign. You’ll get anything there. If you need to buy an Apple or something to drink, you’ll get it there rather cheap. you might go back here after the last stop on this part of the tour or just go back to the Friedrichstraße… It doesn’t matter.
I’ve marked my favorite spot for falafel on this map as well – in case you are hungry, go there and order a Falafel – it is really really cheap and tasty.
Walk back to the station, then along its side – toward the park – so if you face the station, walk right. Follow the way to the park, go to the Spree and along it. You’ll soon reach the Museumsinsel – a place to visit the museums of Berlin.
The Bode is nice for its architecture – inside and outside – the Pergamon is always amazing (but reserve tickets or brace yourself for 5h of waiting – they actually have signs telling you how long you’ll have to wait from your spot in the line).
You might take pictures like the ones left and right – I like the Museumsinsel.
If you visit the Dome and National Gallery as well you might take pictures like this:
The left one was during ‘the festival of light’ – a wonderful festival in fall. The whole city is illuminated but anyways, the dome is wonderful from in and outside. I think you’ll have to pay to get inside but might get a discount with the Berlin welcome card – but I have no idea though I was in there at the ‘Nacht der Museen’ – an event where all the museums open all night, making it possible to go for a stroll in the late or early hours, enjoying the museums and some workshops or performances inside… I really like it.
In case you are interested in events – I’ll patch a list with dates and useful information on the end of this post.
The Galleries gardens are nice for playing with lines or letting someone walk between the rows of columns. I used the symmetry for playing with a crystal ball I bought… I have never been inside – though I was only in a few Berlin museums and don’t know much about the exhibition itself…
But anyways, visit this place to get an impression…
When walking on please head to one of the bridges and cross the river. Turn right and walk along the Spree, you’ll soon reach the Friedrichstraße, a good location for shopping and relaxing. If you want to buy any kind of book, go to the Dussmann, If you need to get a toilet go there as well. Anyways – go there! The assortment of books is huge, in the basement (main entrance, all the way through the entrance hall, then down the stairs) there is a nice café for eating and drinking stuff with a vertical (!) garden. They are expensive (when being on budget travel) but all they serve is great.
The toilets are free of charge and even though it looks like they are customers only: they aren’t! Just go down the stairs and head left, through a bunch of doors (there are signs so you don’t get lost) and there you are… They are clean and tidy on most days and the style is different from what you normally see…
At the Friedrichstraße just take your time.
If you want to go to the Synagoge at the Oranienburger Straße, take S1 to Oranienburg, S2 to Bernau or S29 to Henningsdorf. Go one station to Oranienburger Straße. If the destinations I named above are not on the information signs there might be some kind of construction work. they point out whether the train goes via Oranienburger most of the time. You can’t miss it. If you head the wrong direction just get off and try again 😉
You see the Synagoge as soon as you get out of the station, its big, inside there is a museum, the inner space was destroyed nearly completely, only the façade was kept… go inside, there are some exhibits from its former glory, information, stuff like that. I was inside it. You may as well go inside the cupola BUT its not that spectacular after all. You don’t see that much. Maybe do it, maybe don’t – it isn’t necessary thought it’s not different to the rest of that architecture inside anyways… I was up there, it was ok, I haven’t taken any pictures… It clearly isn’t necessary if you were on top of the Reichstag or the TV tower 😉
The tour ends here. You might go back to the Hackescher markt, eat something round the Oranienburger or head to one of the spots I marked on the map… They are all amazing 😉