As part of our 2018 motorhome road trip around Germany we decided to visit the iconic city of Berlin.
Rich in cluture, history and architecture. Things to see and do in abundance, if you come to Germany you just have to visit one of the most influential cities of the twentieth century.
To see the entire tour click here
Route – Campingplatz Birkensee to Berlin (Route A2)
Journey time – 2 hours 52 minutes
Distance – 284km
The beauty of motorhoming is the flexibility it offers you so I tend not to book pitches days in advance. Instead I plan my iteniary and tend to either turn up, book online the night before or occasionally give the site a call to confirm if there’s space available. This adhoc method has served me well, up until Berlin! When I tried to book online the night before it was showing the place was full. Yikes! I wanted to stay at this particular stop over purely because of it’s location, within the city of Berlin itself so I wasn’t about to give up! I decided to give them a call and spoke to a friendly female member of staff who kindly said there would be room allocated me a place. Hooray, my luck was in .
Entering Berlin via the autobahn and following the directions of the sat-nav, for Wohnmobil Oase Berlin, our city base for our visit was relatively straightforward and without any hiccups.
Site Name – Wohnmobil Oase Berlin
Address –Hochstraße 4 | 13357 Berlin
On arrival, the visual asthetics of the site, may put people off, imagine the Berlin wall, graffiti, old iron gates and you may get the idea. But in a way, these are actually positives, providing both privacy and security for your vehicle. Inside, the site isn’t going to win any awards for pleasant appearance or views. The toilet and shower, aren’t the best and finally the electric seemed to trip as soon as I turned anything on that began drawing more power than that of an LED light. Maybe that’s a slight exageration, but it was a little bit of hit and miss every time I boiled the kettle! It wasn’t cheap either considering the facilities.
But none of these things are the point, nor do they matter. For a trip to somewhere like Berlin it is about the city, the atmosphere, the history and the architecture. So on that basis this site was perfect. Only a few hundred metres from the train station you have all of Berlin within a very quick 10 minute train journey. The germans seem to do public transport so much better than us and it’s relatively easy to navigate.
Checkpoint Charlie, Gendarmenmarkt and the holocaust memorial
We’d planned to stay for two full days in Berlin so wasted no time at all in touring the city. Our first stop was Checkpoint Charlie, the allied checkpoint linking East and West Germany during the period known as the Cold War. A symbolic place representing and raising historical connotations of tension, spies, crossing points, war, adversaries and east versus west. There was plenty to see and the history of this particular point in time is something I’ve been interested in so it was a really engaging time.
We walked to the Gendarmenmarkt, a stunning square in the city, located close to Friedrichstraße, Berlin’s exclusive shopping street in the central Mitte district. We sat drinking coffee in the sun, eating ice cream and cake (greedy I know) as we took in the impressive examples of architecture. Before us stood the Concert House and the German and French Cathedrals (the Deutscher Dom and the Französischer Dom).
We happened to stumble into a car showroom come museum. Whatever it was it presented to us an unintended detour into the world of cars that was an enjoyable hour or so of our first afternoon.
Moving on we went to visit the holocaust memorial. The memorial was designed by New York architect Peter Eisenman and opened in 2005. Having spent time in the museum information centre below the memorial stones a moving reminder, if one was needed, not to allow mistakes from the past to be repeated.
The Brandenburg gate and the Reichstag
The Brandenburg Gate was next on our must see list and one I was looking forward to seeing. It’s probably one of the most iconic sights in today’s Berlin. Not only is it a historical city gate, constructed between 1788 and 1791, it also symbolises Berlin’s Cold War division into East and West.
We didn’t have to walk far to visit the next location on our site seeing tour, the Reichstag. The home of the German parliament, completed in 1894 with the words “Dem Deutschen Volke” (The German people) inscribed on its facade. It was home to the German parliament until 1933. After the war the West German government was relocated to Bonn until German reunification and the Reichstag once again became the home of parliament. You can book tours and go inside but we didn’t. We admired its exterior in the warmth of the sun.
On our return during the early evening, we dined in the motorhome having stocked up on fresh German produce from the amazing supermarket close to the train station. Then later in the evening we thought it’d be rude not to sample the German nightlife. A quick tap on the app and a taxi was with us in no time and off we went for an evening of drinks in the local bars until the early hours.
Despite the previous late night out in Berlin, we didn’t falter in our plans and we were up and about at a reasonable time the following morning.
Alexander Platz and Berlin Television Tower
Todays sites we wanted to visit the east side of the city. Getting off the train at Alexander Platz after a short ride from our stopover (literally 10minutes). Having arrived at Alexander Platz, one of the well known and biggest city square in Germany. Popular with shoppers, we took a stroll. It was noticable the contrast between the old capitalist west side of the city and the communist east side through the style of the remaining architecture.
We saw the Fernsehturm, a 1960s TV Tower built with the aim of demonstrating the strength and efficiency of the socialist system by the GDR government. The tower still looks impressive and even futuristic despite the passage of time.
Cocktails and Ice-cream on Karl-Liebknecht-Straße opposite the church of St Mary, a church dating back to the thirteenth century, finished off a wonderful afternoon in Berlin.
The next morning we would be setting off for our next destination, Dresden.