Berlin is a city of imposing historical sites as well as somewhat quirky sights. As you walk around the heart of the city, here’s a possible day you could enjoy in Berlin, looking for those “now you know you’re in Berlin” places.
If you are in Berlin very long, you are sure to see the Berlin Bear. He comes in different colors and designs, but his shape is always recognizable. This guy was outside our hotel, so he greeted us every morning. When I asked why these bears are everywhere, the answer was, “They are Berlin Bears.” So there you have it.
Then, walking down the street, you come to iconic Berlin. The Brandenburg Gate towers above the center of Berlin. It dates from 1791 and was modeled on the Acropolis in Athens. In recent history, the gate was damaged during World War II, then caught in no man’s land when the Berlin Wall went up. For years it stood visible but abandoned. Now it’s repaired and open once again to the public. We walked back and forth between its pillars, just because we could. We passed by here every day of our Berlin stay, taking in the beauty and symbolism of this monument.
Hop on a bus and ride to Museum Island. While world famous, large museums are here, you can choose the smaller, kitschy DDR Museum. This one gives you a picture of life in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from the end of World War II to the fall of the Wall in 1989. This dark, crowded museum presents how strange life could be in East Germany. It’s as if the displays call for you to marvel and be aghast at the same time.
The Trabant car display features a real car you can sit in for a photo op. The odd fact is that this was the only car manufactured in East Berlin during those 28 years. What?!
You can sit in a prison cell while a friend closes the door and looks at you through the tiny window. It’s chilling.
One part of the museum is an extensive display of what an apartment looked like in the days of gold, orange, and avocado. You can take a selfie to see what you would have looked like as an East German citizen.
You visit a typical apartment and learn about life there. Look at those percentages.
After winding through the museum, the last exhibits celebrate escapes from this society, and then the fall of the system.
You may be scratching your head, wondering about the DDR as you emerge from the museum. But there’s one East German invention that will bring a smile. Traffic lights behind the Wall were not simply red and green circles. They were made into the red and green Traffic Man. West Berliners loved Traffic Man and adopted him, so today all the stoplights in the city feature him. You can even find stores that sell Traffic Man merchandise.
Continuing down the Unter den Linden, a main street in Berlin, you will see the prestigious Humboldt University. You may happen onto a book sale outside. I picked up an Elizabeth George mystery as a souvenir.
Back at your hotel, you may see a display like this: A fashionable dress made from plastic forks and spoons. Of course, why not?
Walking in the neighborhood to dinner, be careful crossing the street. Watch for little zoomy cars.
As the day ends, you have much to think about. Berlin is one fascinating place.
If you go:
The DDR Museum is open daily 10 am to 8 pm.
Yes, isn’t it interesting, the Californian flag has the same bea as the Berliner flag:) You showed many interesting details of Belin for All Seasons – many thanks!
A magnificent sight, the Brandenburger Tor. Had to smile, when they are showing yellow and orange as typical for the time of the DDR. That is a little bit too nice. Where we have been in the DDR and other East Block countries where everything was grey-ish, and bare rough concrete – the streets, the houses!
Our hosts told us that one was never sure what would be (more like: what would NOT be) in the store. We have experienced ourselves, long lines of waiting for groceries, and a limit of one or two per item (for instance one loaf of bread, or bag of potatoes, etc).
The Trabant – you sign up for it, and had to wait about 20 years (no typo and no exaggeration) before it was available. We hitched a ride a few times in a Trabant – it’s like one goes back to when cars first were made: no shocks! So one was glad the ride was over because of a sore bottom, You’re free to share this, because now it’s not a secret anymore. And this is a topper. One of our friends who was a pastor discovered after the Berlin Wall had fallen, that he was black listed, and some of his own parishioners were forced (threatened with prison if they would refuse) to give weekly reports about the pastor to the communistic party, oh and he knew that his phone was tapped, even when he was on vacationing on a camping site. Never again, I hope also never for the USA!
Wow – I would love to see Berlin one day! Love the fork dress!
It’s again a interesting Post. I was many years ago in Berlin, we visited My girlfriend in Potsdam…
It looks like you had a lot of fun!
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/11/cars-were-classy-back-then.html
Another great post Sharon. Lots to see though I don’t want to ever sit in any prison cell for any length of time. Nope, not me. You sparked my interest with Berlin bears – seems to be an ancient association, not sure why, I;ve been scouring online sources. In 2001 artists did a street project of bear art in the streets and made over 350 statues to display around town. They’re very cute, I like the bears.
I loved Berlin – such a great city. We didn’t see any little zoomy cars tho!
Great views of Berlin.
I love all your fun images. I spent a fair bit of time in Germany but didn’t get to Berlin (my time was not my own). Hopefully I return again one day. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
Wow! This is a wonderful glimpse of the life that we don’t think much about.
Magnificent photography of your trip to Berlin ~ very creative and Love the Berlin Bears ~ Your hubby is pretty cute too!
Happy Week to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)
Worth a Thousand Words
I also have very happy memories of Berlin and also of visiting the DDR museum. Such a cool city and I enjoyed seeing it through your lens. #citytripping
…Sharon, these are some wonderful sights, thanks for sharing.
Really is a great city! Hoping to visit in the spring. Have a great day!
I know my daughter would love spotting the bears if we ever manage to visit – such a long time since I was last there, less than a decade after the wall came down. We didn’t see the DDR museum but that does look an interesting experience – and I had totally forgotten about the traffic lights! Thank you for linking up with #citytripping and reminding me.
My boys had t-shirts with those stop light men on them! Berlin seems like such a fascinating city! I’ve really been enjoying reading about your adventures there. #farawayfiles
I have not been to Berlin but, judging from your photos, I can get the cool and hip feeling the city is famous for. Seems like an excellent place to visit (and believe me, I have wanted to visit for a long time). I am planning routes for next year. Let’s see where I end up. #FarawayFiles
Well this looks liks a fun way to spend a day sightseeing in Berlin! Looks like a fun museum and when we make it to Berlin one day will have to add this to our to do list! #FarawayFiles
Apparently Berlin has a quirky side. That makes me want to visit even more. #TravelPhotoThursday
Berlin is such a great city, isn’t it? Since I’m not really a museum person I didn’t visit the DDR museum during my visit. It sounds very interesting and really loved your pictures from there though so I’ll defjnitely go there when I’m in Berlin again! #WeekendWanderlust
I so enjoyed Berlin when I was there. I didn’t see the little zoomy cars – they are hilarious. I wish I had visited the DDR museum (I had gone to the Mauer Museum). It looks like a fascinating perspective on East German life behind the wall.
The DDR Museum sounds really interesting and I like how they try to make it as hands-on as possible (sitting in a jail cell?!). That selfie feature is cool! Thanks for sharing 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard
I would love the DDR museum as I love learning about the lives of other people, especially in situations like those behind the Berlin Wall. Berlin has so much happening, I can’t wait to visit.
I really loved Berlin, you can feel the march of history all around you. I loved the East Side gallery on the old wall – such amazing murals and expressions of street art. Your photos are always amazing – thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin