Day trips: Weimar for a day

Kilometres to cover: 5-7 km for the whole walk, including the museums

Weimar is a city in the German state of Thuringia founded around 1250, its capital until 1948, situated only 10-15 minutes away from Erfurt, 20 minutes from Jena, and around one hour from Leipzig. It can be also easily reached from Dresden. Weimar is known as the city that gave its name to the Weimar Republic, officially known as Deustches Reich (1918-1933), as it was in Weimar where the constitutional assembly first took place after the First World War.

First of all, it is the birthplace of Weimar Classicism and the home of its leading representatives and most celebrated figures in German literature, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, whose presence can be sensed in every corner of the city. But Weimar is named as the cultural centre not only because of Goethe and Schiller, as it is also the home of the Bauhaus movement, founded by Wassily Kandinsky, Walter Gropius, Henry van de Velde, Paul Klee, and Lyonel Feininger. Moreover, in the 19th century, such composers as Franz Liszt made a music centre of Weimar, with the famous Liszt School of Music now offering the university courses in all musical disciplines.

Continue reading “Day trips: Weimar for a day”

Advertisements

Day trips: Erfurt for a day

Ich bin dabei du bist dabei, wir sind dabei uns zu verlier’n… – Clueso

Kilometres to cover: around 5 km for the whole walk

Erfurt is a central city in the German state of Thuringia. It has a gorgeous mediaeval townscape and is situated on the Gera River, 320 km southwest of Berlin. Erfurt does not really have any real landmarks, apart from the unique Merchants’ bridge, but what makes this city exceptional is the preserved old town, one of the most impressive in Germany. That’s really a shame that this city is usually kept away from the tourist routes. Exploring all the main streets, narrow passages, and hidden corners can take the whole day. And while doing it, you are going so see some notable places too.

Going from the Central Station and closer to the city centre via Anger, you can start with the Krämer Bridge (Merchants’ bridge), a medieval bridge lined with inhabited, half-timbered buildings on both sides. The entire neighbourhood is clinging to the sides of the bridge constructed as early as in the 12th century.

IMG_1815.jpg

Initially built in wood, it was rebuilt in stone in the 14th century. The Merchants’ bridge is almost 26 metres wide and 80 metres long, which makes it the longest inhabited bridge in Europe. There were originally 62 buildings, but the later development left only 32 of them. The bridge is filled with traditional cafés, shops with local crafts, and various galleries.

Continue reading “Day trips: Erfurt for a day”

Day trips: Top 10 things to do in Leipzig

Leipzig is the biggest city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. It is located about 160 kilometres southwest of Berlin and is well connected with many German cities, as well as with Prague and Vienna.

Leipzig became an important centre within East Germany after the Second World War, but its cultural and economic importance now decayed. Leipzig was also one of the major European centres of culture as well as a big trade city ever since at least the time of the Holy Roman Empire. There are lots of things to see there, from sacred places for every music lover and to spots that played a significant role in instigating the fall of communism. You can cover all the main sights in a day, but in order to fully enjoy everything, I would stay there at least a couple days.

1. Marktplatz

The home of the Old City Hall, Marktplatz, is a magnet for tourists, as all main sightseeings and shops are situated around it. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am till 4 pm, it’s a place for the market of local products, where you can buy fresh products and pretend to be a local.

IMG_1423.jpg

The square also serves as the home of the annual Christmas Market, Easter Market, and the local Wine Fest.

Continue reading “Day trips: Top 10 things to do in Leipzig”

Berlin for half a day

Weather: Mostly cloudy, +8 C

Kilometres covered: 19 km

If someone asked me to describe Berlin in only three words, that would be – huge, empty, and impossible. Taking into account the first definition, that would be much challenging to say straight away, what one can do there in 5 hours while having a change. Definitely not much.

For me, this somehow always appeared reasonable to go to East Berlin first and then to come back, crossing the now invisible border to West Berlin. It never worked vice versa for me.

But of course, I first headed to Hauptbahnhof to get rid of my suitcase. In the S-bahn, on my way there, I met a mother and a daughter who came to Berlin after falling in love with it a year ago. Initially having a trip to Prague, they visited Berlin for a day, but after ten minutes there they knew they would be back. This is always sad to see that people travelling together prefer to enjoy the trip in different ways. The woman sees her daughter as a perfect companion and wants to discuss everything with her; the girl takes headphones from her bag as soon as a train departs and stops paying any attention to her mother’s questions and remarks straight away. So, I talk with this woman, partly because I feel sorry for her. They hop off at Alexanderplatz for Park Inn. I love this hotel, even if it’s not very beautiful: there is a cool panoramic roof there, a restaurant and some rooms facing the TV Tower and the city centre. The whole place is fantastic and not that cheap. The girl mocks her mother’s choice, leaving the train and leaving me sad.

After getting rid of my bag, I exit to Invaliden Straße, thinking about several minutes in the Invaliden Park I used to love. The park looks very depressive, so I pass it without stopping by. I almost reach Bernauer Straße, as I suddenly realise this is not what I want to do today. So, I turn to one of the side streets and go in the direction of Hackescher Markt. I pass the New Synagogue that’s mentioned in every single guide book due to its dome. Surprisingly, I never saw anyone praising the view. So, I turn to Torstraße, then to Tucholskystraße, cross Oranienburger Straße and reach Monbijoupark.

IMG_0581.jpg

There, from Nördliche Minbiloubrücke I am awarded with the view of Bode-Museum with the whole Museumsinsel on the back, and of Berlin TV tower, soaring into the cloudy Berlin sky. The weather is chilly, but still there are people sitting in the Park facing the river, just the way it usually happens in summer.

Continue reading “Berlin for half a day”

Food guide: Burgermeister in Kreuzberg

Burgermeister is one of the coolest spots you can find in Berlin. This burger joint, situated in Kreuzberg, is located in an old public toilet and speaks for lots of things that make you love the German capital. You would probably think it is just a magnet for tourist, which it is, of course, but it is also a meeting place for Berliners, no matter of what cultural origin they happen to be. This is a cultural melting point, which is, as an extra bonus for all those who long for a good burger in the middle of the night, also open until very early in the morning.

Burgermeister
Burgermeister, October 2017

Burgermeister in Kreuzberg (by the way, the famous East Side Gallery is right on the opposite bank of the river) is there for you almost round-the-clock. It is open every single day from 11 am until 3 am on week-days, and from midday until 4 am on weekends.

Nevertheless–

Continue reading “Food guide: Burgermeister in Kreuzberg”

Babylon Berlin Locations

The map of all main locations from the most costly TV series ever produced in Germany, “Babylon Berlin”, has recently appeared on sky.de. It shows the location of the Police Headquarters “Rote Burg”, where Gereon Rath and Charlotte Ritter work, the location of the legendary “Moka Efti”, and other places that were of great importance in Berlin at the end of the 1920s.

Media belongs to Sky

I have initially made this list for my personal use only but if you have also fallen under the spell of Berlin in 1920s-1930s, here you can find the information on all the places to note, in English. (And I will try to forget that That Tower has not been built in Berlin yet).

Continue reading “Babylon Berlin Locations”

Berlin Victory Column is the place where angels meet

The Column with the Goddess Victoria, the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike, can be seen in various movies and music videos. But I guess, the Column featuring an iconic golden ‘angel’ is mostly recognisable thanks to a 1987 romantic fantasy film directed by Wim Wenders. The film is called Der Himmel über Berlin” (literally, “The Heavens Over Berlin”) but it was released in English-speaking countries under the title “Wings of Desire”.

The film “Wings of Desire” tells the story of immortal angels, among whom are Damiel and Cassiel, who are invisible and live in Berlin listening to the thoughts of people and comforting those who need this most. Along the way, Damiel falls in love with a sad and lonely circus trapeze performer Marion and has to make personal choices and sacrifices. “Der Himmel über Berlin” takes place in a still-Wall-divided Berlin and perfectly captures the spirit of the times.

Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire)
Der Himmel über Berlin (1987)

This film has a 1993 sequel called “Faraway, So Close!” (German: In weiter Ferne, so nah!”). Unlike the first film, it tells the story of a finally-reunited Berlin but also follows two angels who have taken an interest in the life of ordinary people, Cassiel and Raphaella. Cassiel who chose not to become human in “Wings of Desire” only becomes human after the Fall of the Wall but this has unexpected consequences for him and his friends. Unfortunately, I have to admit that the sequel is less powerful than the original.

Continue reading “Berlin Victory Column is the place where angels meet”