Prarthana Mishra, an avid traveller, remembers how multi-modal commutes made her life easy in exploring the German city better.
While travelling from New Delhi to Berlin via Frankfurt, I flipped through the popular tourist destinations in Berlin to be put in sequence for my itinerary during the four-day stay. More or less, these were usual places which are distinct to Europe-museums, sprawling manicured gardens, historical sites, palaces, and castles. I recalled some common German phrases during the flight to prepare myself for some bargaining at local markets and communication with the locals. However, it was not much use as English is commonly used in the country to interact with tourists, at least at all major cities. However, Danke (Thank you) was a much used and helpful word.
Out of the Tegel Airport in Berlin, the first impression of a clean city was already imprinted in mind given my earlier visits to Europe. Well laid expressways with clear road signs and very few cars gave me the usual sigh of relief unlike what we encounter in our cities in India. The robust public transport system, which I used in next four days, is a preferred mode in Berlin as it is affordable, punctual and most importantly, it is definitely friendly. Another thing that caught my attention on the roads was the frequent use different types of bikes. Everyone rides their bike in Berlin and the variety of bikes used can actually amuse you. The city has dedicated bikeways offering safe and convenient travel routes for its two-wheeled commuters.
Among the many tourist attractions, the Berlin Wall still remains popular among tourists. It’s a memorial to the countless men, women and children who died while trying to get across the wall. When the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, it was celebrated around the world. Today, it stands as a stunning piece of public art, brightly painted by international artists. I dedicated the next day to the famous river cruise of Berlin. If you want to see lots of things but only have a short amount of time, then this river cruise on the Spree is the ideal way to take in everything at the heart of this bustling city.
I opted for a one hour excursion which covered some of the Berlin’s landmark monuments like the Reichstag (German Parliament Building), the Government Quarter and the House of World Cultures. The Central Station, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, and the oldest residential area in Berlin are also covered during the cruise. You get an audio guide on the cruise to learn about the city in 8 different languages. The Spree Island is better known as Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you’ll find many of the city’s oldest and most important museums, including the Old Museum which houses the Crown Jewels and other royal treasures. Potsdam was the next destination worth visiting. This bordering city, around 25 km from Berlin was a residence of the Prussian kings and the German Kaiser until 1918. Around the city there are a series of interconnected lakes and cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany.
The Berlin trip is not complete without a visit to the fascinating city, Munich. The most noteworthy attraction of this city is The English Garden. One of the largest urban parks in the world, the English Garden is Munich’s most popular green space, boasting over 48 miles (78 kilometers) of walking and cycling trails. People can relax, sunbathe, swim and even surf in the man-made river-The Eisbach. The memories of the trip may fade over time but a few impressions are everlasting. I may forget everything about the trip, but will remember Berlin for its bike rides, its kindness to differently-abled persons and of course, the enchanting river cruise.
Writer: Prarthana Mishra
Courtesy: The Pioneer