When it was built in 1969 it was the second tallest tv tower in the world. It was build in the DDR (East Berlin) in 1969, and it can be seen from all over the city. It’s over 300m tall and you can vist the top, or even have a meal in the restaurant at the top.
The Reichstag Building, or parlimentry building was build ini the late 1800’s, and is the seat of the German Parmement. It was also one of the key targets in the Battle of Berlin at the end of World War 2.
Today you can visit the building, and in particular you can explore the dome that was recently added. Not only is it a spectacular architectural site, it allows natural light into the building and even tracks the movement of the sun to keep the building cool.
The view of the city is amazing as well, it feels like you can see the entire city in every direction from up there.
Inside the dome
This former airport has an interesting backstory. In the past, it was the airport into West Berlin, and hence important for transport and in particular to bring goods into the city.
Since Berlin has been unified, they build a new airport, and Tempelhof airport was no longer required. But instead of building apartment or office buildings, it has been turned into a public space. The runways and all the old signage is still there, but you can now use the space as a traffic-free play area.
So I ran the entire length of the runways, and saw people skateboarding, cycling, roller-blading etc. It was great to see the space being used by the community, but it also felt a little surreal going for a run on a runway.
By the way, the runway is over 2km long, it would make a perfect location for parkrun.
The old terminal building. Useless fact, when the Beatles played in Berlin they landed here.
A hand-cyclist enjoying the runway
I found this lovely, peaceful canal in the middle of Berlin. It always amazes me how you can be in a bustling city, and turn a corner and suddenly find tranquility like this.
I love these eco-bikes. You find them in most of the big European cities now, and they are a great way to get around. You use a mobile app (of course) to register a bike, and off you go. When you’re done you pop it into a rack and you’re done.
They have a similar concept with scooters which you can leave anywhere when you’re done, and the app tells you where the nearest scooters are.
A great idea, but I somehow think the South-African public isn’t quite ready for them…
Nothing like a beer-tasting at a Berlin Microbrewery, followed up with an excellent eisbein
If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend Brauhaus Suedstern.
When we stayed in Berlin, our host was from Turkey, which meant that I was treated to many cups of the most amazing Turkish coffee.
These apartment buildings are in the middle of the former East-Berlin. They are just down the road from the Stasi headquarters. I don’t know how old they are, but to me the look very simple and functional, with an emphasis on cost and not on amazing or interesting design.
They remind me of my old lego set, looking like they could have been assembled from really big lego blocks.
Two metro stations.
The first one is Brandenburg Tor, with the old gothic Unter den Linden sign under it. In the cold-war, West-German trains went through parts of East-Germany, and in particular through this station. But they never stopped at any of these so-called “ghost-stations” that were closed and guarded.
The second sign is Alexanderplatz in East-Berlin, an area that today is one of the bussiest districts in Berlin.
One of the places you have to visit is Alexanderplatz. It is the site of so much history, in particular the Alexanderplatz demonstration on 1989, just before the wall came down. Over 1.5 million protesters gathered in what was the biggest protest ever in East Germany, so of course it was somewhere we had to visit.
But we were somewhat startled to find that we had stepped into a very large African market. We (purely by chance) selected Africa week to visit Alex, so the square was fulled with African goods for sale (think Greenmarket square or Long Street in Cape Town), and African bands playing on the stages. It was fun and entertaining, but not quote what we expected in the middle of Germany.