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This page will tell you about our trip to Berlin, Germany's capital city. We went there for New Year's 2000 - 2001. And it is true what they say it is dangerous but still after the Fireworks are over it gets nicer. We only had a few day, so we saw the Major Sites like the Brandenburger Tor, the Ku-Damm, the Reichstag, Unter den Linden and many other historical sights like Museum Island. The Berliner Dom is a must for all visitors and lovers of architecture. For all party lovers visit the area Kreuzberg.

     B e r l i n                                                                            

We went to Berlin for New Years 2000/2001, for about 3 days. I booked in the last minute and I still got us a place to sleep. However, due to my late booking I only got choices between DM 150 per night and upwards (no limit in that direction). We ended up staying in Friedrichshain, Berlin's East, at the Tulip Inn Hotel, U- Frankfurter Tor. Berlin is a big place it takes at least one to two hours to get from the far east end to the far west. The same goes for travelling from North to South. 

Stephen and the Gedaechtniskirche
Zoo Palast - German Film Award Home
Palast der Republik

So, before booking your accommodation, you may want to consider your travel time and destinations. On Friday and Saturday we had a go at the major sites within inner city limits. Above you see Stephen and the Kaiser -Wilhelm- Gedaechtniskirche. in the background which is the most famous Berlin landmark. The church was completed in 1895 and got bombed  in 1943. The tower was the only building structure left of the church. It now is a memorial of its time.  

Close to the church you will also see the sculpture "Berlin" which symbolises the formerdivided city. The rather modern building on the "Museeums Insel" (museum island), represents the Palace of the Republic, which was build in midst the heritage architecture area. It is said that it may be pulled down to make room for the restoration of a replica of the "Stadtschloss" (the City Castle). The old museum contains sculptures of Greek figures.  

Altes Museeum
Berliner Dom 1750

There was also a bit of snow during that weekend and the temperatures ranged from 0 to 5 degrees, just in case you are thinking of visiting between December and January. The Berliner Dom is definitely worth seeing. A gracious looking protestant church from the 18th century. The opening hours are 9am-7.30pm daily and 10am-6pm on Sundays. Museum Island, which includes some of the nicest inner city buildings, can be reached via U-Bahn (Underground) - Hackescher Markt, which also lets you pass by the "Gendarmen Markt"... 

..with the French and German domes, which are of the same style as this church. However, this route takes about 20 Minutes, though. Another scenic path would go from the Brandenburger Tor down to Museum Island via Unter den Linden (a long Promenade like the Champ-Elysees in Paris). This little walk would take about 1 hour and include the most sights within that area. You can hit a few goals in one go (if you are in Berlin for longer than just a few days, you may spend more time at each sight-station, of course). 

Humbold University

The following pictures contain sights in the inner city (Berlin-Mitte) area. We passed the Humbold- University gates, which impress by its appearance and the gardens in the back.New Years in Berlin. There are some things you have got to know: Be there early! - and consequently: have a lot of Beer or dress warmly! - The fireworks are usually held at or around the Reichstag or Brandenburger Tor. There is usually a stage with average sort of  Pop-Artists playing live music to a horde of people, which also gets televised across Germany (we saved that bit for another life). 

Brandenburger Tor with restauration cloth
Reichstag in the distance

When you leave your hotel or hostel, make sure you be at "Unter den Linden" before 10pm. We got there at 11pm and the place was full : ((( So if you are keen on staying where the food and drinks are - you guessed it: be early. The event was well organised. On each side of the Promenade there were food and drink stands. They mostly sold German snack foods like, sausages on buns, "Sauerkraut", pan-fried potatoes with ham or bacon, Pretzels & Flammkuchen ( A yeast dough rolled out thinly backed with sour cream, onions and ham).

Everywhere else in the city there where organised street parties, for example around the main train station. The advantage of getting to the promenade street party early is that you can enter an area in which there is no mad shooting off of fireworks. Outside this area you have got to be -CAUTIOUS- or you may loose something (like skin or eyes) or get burned. All the street parties are free of charge, but the organisers wish that visitors support the onsite catering.

Reichstag with new sunroof ;)
more Reichstag with people queing to see the inside

Prices for foods and drinks were held at very reasonable rates. Visitors can either choose this variation of entertainment on new years eve or go to one of the numerous clubs or theatres in Berlin. However, they are also costly on that particular night. Enough said about New Years, go and see for your self and enjoy. Berlin has many attractions and one includes the new/old Reichstag which functions as the current "Bundestag" Parliament. 

The move from Bonn to Berlin took place between 1995 and 1999, during which time the building got an overhaul by an Architect called Norman Foster. The Reichstag can be visited during these times: Mon-Fri 9am-4pm Sat & Sun 10am-4pm, the Dome 8am-midnight daily.  Kreuzberg is recommendable due to its lively character and the presence of historically significant monuments such as "Checkpoint Charlie", the main former cold war border crossing point, where transactions between Soviet and American powers occurred, such as exchanges of spies. Kreuzberg's main qualities apart from monuments and museums are an abundance of restaurants (affordable ones too) cultural mixes and its popular nightlife. Last I wanted to describe the way to our Japanese restaurant EDO. If you like that sort of food, try it there. It is good down to earth meals. No major decorational work, which magically brings the price up. No, these guys are good and affordable. Don't forget to have a green tea ice cream for dessert. I'd die for one now.

New Years preperations toward the Tiergarten
Stephen at the EDO Japanese Restaurant

How to get there: either by walking down the Unter den Linden Promenade from Brandenburger Tor, until you hit Friedrichstrasse. Go down right passing a huge luxury car showroom. The restaurant is in an alley between the showroom and the opposite building. You'll see the sign. And oh...for the real fanatics - there is one minor point: the restaurant plays Chinese music instead of classical Japanese tunes. - But hey, no one notices here. The interior is real comfy.

Last edited 19-06-01

All photos by A. & S. Goss 

All text by A.Goss, except for historical reference to war memorials courtesy of S.Goss

A.Goss, April 2001