Our 2 am arrival was no match for our 4am departure, leaving us just over 48 hours in Berlin, sleeps included.
Day one started slowly, as recovery from our dreadful journey the night before took precedence over sight-seeing. We jumped on the 2pm free walking tour (yes, another one). It starts at the Brandenburg Gate, and winds along a path through central Berlin’s monuments and historical sites, all the while our guide, Steve, dazzled us with his knowledge of the city, both historical and current.
Unfortunately, we lost Steve at lunch. Oh No! We lingered a bit too long at the portion of the Berlin Wall that can be seen on the tour, losing our tour all together! We tried to relocate them with guidance from the company’s representatives at the suggested (awesomely affordable) lunch spot, but it was no use. Though guideless, we did find ourselves at Checkpoint Charlie, the American pass-through during the walled-era.
From there, we Google Mapped our way to the last two spots listed on the tour pamphlet: Gendarmenmarkt (awesome square) and Bebelplatz, with the book burning memorial (under construction :(). Though a well-informed guide through the two squares would have been wonderful, equally wonderful was the ability to roam and move at our own pace. This freedom allowed us to see one of my favorite Berlin views, the observation deck of the Französischer Dom, an 17th century French church, with alarmingly functioning bells…a fact we learned at 5pm, as we stood in the windows next to them. They’re not subtle from that distance. It was only 3 euro and 264 steps to reach the top, and well worth every bit! While not as tall as the TV tower or the tethered balloon we saw repeatedly traveling up and down near to the wall, the old church really did offer a prime perspective of the sprawling city.