January 2014

1 day in Berlin

After a New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam, we decided to go and visit some friends that live in Stade, a small city near Hamburg. And since we’ll be in Germany we couldn’t miss visiting Berlin.

So, we landed on Schönefeld Airport, the smallest airport in Berlin. It takes 30′ from the airport to the Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) by train. Make sure you validate your tickets as the inspector will come right away to check them (by the way my friend told me that in Germany, if you get caught without a ticket you’ll get a fine  – obviously, but for those who live in Germany this act of not having a ticket will appear on your German Criminal Record).

First stop in Berlin: AlexanderPlatz – a large station and a public square) . From the moment your feet touch the ground, you realize that the Germans have an amazing infrastructure. In Alexander Platz, you’ll see Fernsehturn (the Berlin TV Tower) – the tallest structure in Germany (368 m height). I forgot to mention that we didn’t plan any itinerary for Berlin, we’ve just gone with the flow.

When we went to the ticket counter to buy tickets and visit the Observation Deck, the lady replied our questions in German even tough we asked her in English…weird! Either my English sounds like German either she didn’t speak English. We paid 26 euros for both of us and went directly to the deck, without waiting. Up there, you can see a panoramic view of Berlin and despite the weather – it was cloudy and raining – there was still visibility. You’ll notice how organized is everything in the city. The streets, the buildings. Everything fits perfectly. Like I said – their infrastructure rocks!

From Alexander Platz, we walked by foot like half an hour to Branderburg Gate and if you walk a few minutes more you’ll get to the Reichstag Building. It looks quite impressive and admission is free but you have to register your visit in advance, thing that we didn’t do. It was crowdy I’ll tell you that, but I’m sure it’s worth the waiting. So, if you’re in Berlin, do visit it.

And of course, the Berlin Wall (you’ll also see pieces of the wall painted by artists and spread around the city)  at Checkpoint Charlie  – the crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. While you’re in the area, don ‘t miss Asisi Panorama – The wall. It’s a museum that displays a panorama of a daily routine on both sides of the Berlin Wall, on an autumn day in the 80’s. The entrance costs 10 euros per person.

15 minutes away from Checkpoint Charlie by foot, you get to Postdamer Platz – a modernized square with new architectural buildings which are pretty cool in the evening.

LAST STOP: During the night we’ve been to a club called COOKIES – a kind of underground, dark club, no photos allowed, house/techno music. We actually had fun. It was very intimate, and I really liked the bar (reasonable prices). We left the club around 4-5 a.m. and went to the metro which was quite full of people  going to work at that time. You don’t see that in every country. German people are indeed very hard-working. History is right!

So now, we have to get to a station from which we have to take a bus to Hamburg. Before that, let me share other places that we skipped and you may want to see them: the Memorial to the murdered Jews in Europe and the Victory column.

From Berlin to Hamburg we went by coach because it is way much cheaper than the train. We booked our tickets online at and left from Berlin ZOB am Funkturm bus station in the morning and arrived in Hamburg in about two hours at Hamburg ZOB am Hauptbahnhof station.

We were a bit tired when arriving in Hamburg and there was a Mc’Donalds near the station so we had our breakfast overthere. By the way, in Germany, in pubs, fast-foods, I noticed you have to pay around 50 cents or 1 euro for using the toilet. Without a plan of what to visit in Hamburg we went straight to Hamburg Central Station to catch the train to Stade. The journey to Stade takes an hour.


Not much to say about this town. It seemed to me like a quiet and pleasant place to live. I recommend the pub next to the train station. Tasty, traditional German food and very nice people. It was the weekend and our friends took us to all the pubs and clubs in Stade. We basically tried every place in one night and we had a blast. From Irish pubs to Havana pubs and night clubs.

Our flight back to London was from Hamburg Airport and we did have some time to see St. Pauli Piers – the largest landing place in the Port of Hamburg which I recommend.

We really loved Germany and I would love to visit it again 🙂

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