Berlin is not an attractive city based on other European standards, but beneath its construction lies an underground club culture, cutting edge art scene, and a story of a people completely buried in the ashes of world war II and rising to the powerful world power that it is today.
It’s also important to mention that Berlin is an extremely BIG city. After being nearly decimated following World War II, Berlin was divided up amongst the allies. West Berlin went to the United States, France, Brittan, and East Berlin went to the Russians.
The west side of Berlin quickly developed and to this day is a hub for tourism.
Visit the Jewish Holocaust Memorial and free museum for a powerful experience, visit Potsdamer platz to see remnants of the Berlin Wall and attractions such as Lego Land, or simply wander the bustling streets and go shopping, Berlin appeases all.
If you want something really sweet check out Ritter Sport’s Schokowelt (chocolate world). See how Ritter Sport makes their fine chocolate, buy a three pound bag of Ritter Sport chocolate, or make your very own Ritter Sport chocolate bar with gummy bears, jelly beans, or caramelized almonds—you decide.
Berliner Dom is one of the only surviving buildings from World War II and right next to it is the DDR museum.
The DDR museum is an interactive museum allowing for a in depth experience of what life under a socialist dictatorship was like.
Sarah and I tried our hand at driving an East Berlin Trabant, the rival of West Berlin’s Volkswagen.
The face of East Berlin today is a completely different story than twenty years ago. Now taken over by artists and young musicians for its cheap housing, East Berlin is slowly becoming one of the hippest spots in the world.
Filled with hip cafes, bars and clubs, repainted uniform buildings, and a vibe that you’re in an artistic ghetto, the East Berlin experience is an attraction within its own right. My first night in East Berlin consisted of randomly following a graffiti trail and finding an underground club. The rest of the night could only be considered uniquely Berlin.
If you are past stumbling across underground clubs and the history of today, there are many palaces (mostly in Potsdam) that can bring you back to a time before World War I and II. Charlottenburg Schloss located on the far west side of Berlin pays tribute to the once successful Prussian regime.
The summer residence of the first Prussian queen, Sophia Charlotte of Hanover dedicated her castle to music, art, and the finer things in life.
Did I mention she loved porcelain?
Once you are finished checking out the majestic Charlottenburg Schloss, walk down a couple streets to see one of the oldest preserved German delis in Berlin, Rogacki.
If you don’t speak German get ready for an experience, and if you do speak German get ready for a test. Just huddle around a person who is grilling and bereit machen.
Fresh food, prepared traditionally, and easily one of the best meals I have had in Europe. While enjoying your meal you can also gawk at the large amount of older German folk and wonder to yourself what they must have seen in their life, or be brave and ask them yourself.
For those of you who are too intimidated for the German deli experience, there really is no reason not to try Berlin’s signature dish:
Berlin is a continuous work in progress, it offers both a rich historical background and the blank pages of whats to come, enticing youths from around the world to be a part of the current writing process for Berlin’s future.