Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

We’ve visited Berlin a couple of times in recent years – once in 2013 and the other earlier this year (Monsieur also made a day trip to East Berlin with his West German host family as part of a school exchange trip way back in 1978!). Both our recent trips were in spring, when the weather was pleasantly mild without being hot, the spring flowers were out and it was warm enough most of the time to enjoy the outdoor cafe lifestyle. It can get chilly at night though and quite windy so jackets and jumpers are still definitely needed!

I’ve done a few posts about Berlin before (see here, here and here) but I wanted to bring all my photos and stories together into a series. Obviously this is my personal insight into Berlin – there are so many aspects to such a fascinating place, which somehow has managed to survive terrible destruction and reinvent itself into the modern, eclectic and culturally diverse city of today.

It’s certainly not the prettiest of cities with so much building work going on (just as much as far was we could tell in 2016 as there was back in 2013). We had an interesting insight into this as we stayed both times at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Karl Liebkneckt Strasse, linked to the famous Unter den Linden by the bridge over the River Spree. On the other side of the street the former communist era palace has been ripped down and work is underway to reconstruct the Kaiser’s Palace with an original Baroque exterior albeit with some modifications. Estimated to be completed by September 2019, it will house the Humboldtsforum Museum and a congress complex.

 

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Fernsehturm Berlin With Construction Work In Foreground

The Radisson Blu proved to be an excellent base situated right on the river front with its pretty walkways and cafes. Part of the vibrant Mitte district (straddling both the former west and east zones of the city), it is also near the Museuminsel (Museum Island) and the famous Alexanderplatz dominated by the iconic Fernsehturm (Television tower).

 

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the stylish and modern Radisson Blu, which had a range of guests of all ages and nationalities, many of them appearing to be independent travellers like ourselves. The lobby has an amazing feature in the form of the AquaDom, the world’s largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium! You don’t have to be a hotel guest to visit it but we didn’t bother paying our discounted entrance fee to go in as we already had superb views of the fish, especially when we went up and down in the lifts.

 

 

 

With an excellent public transport system, Berlin is easy to get around. We mainly used the Hackescher Markt S Bahn station about a 10 minute walk away from our hotel. As well as the local overland trains we took from here, Hackescher Markt is also a major tram interchange with trams running down the Oranienburger Strasse and the old Jewish quarter towards Friedrichstrasse. The square in front of the station has become a popular hub with street performers entertaining the patrons of the many cafes and restaurants dotted round the perimeter. Even more so on our first trip, we found it easy to eat here at night as we just hopped off the train and had a meal before going back to the hotel.

 

 

Hackescher Markt is also the “East Berlin” meeting point for city walking tours (the western one is at the Zoologischer Garten Station). We did three walking tours with Original Berlin Walks during our first stay. I’d highly recommend at the very least their introductory tour, Discover Berlin, as this really helped us to get our bearings and work out what we wanted to explore further. All the guides were extremely knowledgeable, linguistically skilled and very entertaining. The ones we had were mostly PhD students who had a wonderful grasp and understanding of the history of the city and the political and social context. The exact meeting point was outside the Weihenstephaner Restaurant, which seemed to suit Monsieur very well!

 

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Weihenstephaner Restaurant Berlin – Meeting Point For Original Berlin Walks

Next week we’ll go on a river tour along the Spree. In the meantime “Tschuess”!

 

Copyright © 2016 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

 

18 thoughts on “Berlin – Hackescher Markt

  1. KerryCan says:

    I don’t know a thing about Berlin, except the Wall, of course, so this is very interesting! That aquarium is astonishing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s amazing isn’t it Kerry – made for a unique hotel lobby! Berlin is fascinating I almost didn’t know where to start. We have been there twice and there is so much more to explore – the museums have so much detail that it is hard to take it all in and it was incredible to see where the wall had once stood! More posts to follow …
      😀

      Like

  2. ms6282 says:

    We stopped at the same hotel during our first visit to the city a few years ago. Did you visit the Hackescher Hofe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a coincidence! No we didn’t get to see the Hackescher Hofe though we did see it from the outside. Although we’ve made 2 trips to Berlin (one quite lengthy) there is still so much we’d like to see and do there in future!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ms6282 says:

        One for next time. 😊
        Like many city takes it would several visits to see everything you’d like

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Anabel Marsh says:

    One of my favourite cities. I think it was 2012 we were last there and I was surprised to see the old communist palace gone. It was pretty hideous but I thought it would have been more interesting to preserve than build a replica of something else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I can see it both ways Anabel – it was certainly hideous from the photos we saw and I’d far rather look at something more aesthetically pleasing but I guess it was part of the city’s history (though so was the Kaiser’s Palace). The new palace won’t be exactly the same as the Baroque one though and most of the interior will be quite modern I believe apart from a traditional inner courtyard area. Will have to go back and see when it’s finished!

      Like

      1. Anabel Marsh says:

        Yes, me too! Change is always a good excuse to return.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That aquarium looks amazing Rosemary – what a great feature for a hotel to have, I could imagine had we stayed there big demand from our son to use the lift a lot! We always try to do a walking tour on our first day in a new city to get our bearings – just had a look at your link to the company you used, all of their walks sound fascinating – I wouldn’t mind doing each and every one. Will be keeping a note of this, we have Berlin on our radar hopefully in the not too distant future and these tours sound ideal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great that you could look up the walking tours Joy as they were such a good company. Our friends had used them too, which is how we found out about them. There is another company with a similar name that was set up later and has meeting points in the same square – that’s why I put the link up so people could see what the logo looks like! We did 3 walks – the Discover Berlin, the one to Sachsenhausen and on a much lighter note the one to Potsdam. We went back again to Potsdam on our last visit and looked round Sanssouci Palace amongst other things. I’d definitely do some more of their walking tours in future – you just get so much more depth and understanding of what is such a fascinating place. Yes the aquarium was an amazing feature! One day we saw the divers in there cleaning it – so interesting! Berlin was an amazing place and we’ll definitely go back again!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. restlessjo says:

    Love that Aquadom. More than happy to see Berlin through your eyes, Rosemay. 🙂 Remember- don’t stress? And have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo and I’ll follow your advice and stress less! Have quite a few more Berlin posts coming up before Christmas and in the new year. Have a great week too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. joanfrankham says:

    Its on my lust, especially after seeing your great photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joan – it’s a great place to visit it really draws you in!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. “Lust” is “like” in German so it’s quite appropriate!

      Liked by 1 person

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