Berlin, a City of Contrasts
We were only in Berlin minutes before we’d found a famous Chocolate Café! Fassbender & Rausch, Chocolatiers am Gendarmenmarkt is the largest Chocolaterie in the world. Their café is located on the second floor over the shop (featuring 300 different types of treats). We decided to skip the chocolate infused dishes and go directly to dessert, feasting on chocolate with cherries and cherry ice cream, as well as dark chocolate fondue and fruit.
The efficient, 90-minute train ride from Hamburg, got us in town comfortably, gliding into the new glass and steel, multi-level central train station.
Much of our day was spent touring some of the city’s highlights and taking an interesting boat trip on the Spree River. You can easily pick-up a ticket for one extra attraction with the purchase of the Hop-on bus tour. As is most cities today, there are a number of companies operating these bus tours, and they seem pretty equitable. We also opted to pay four additional Euros for the two-day pass. It’s an easy and convenient way to get around and orient yourself to a new city.
Unlike Hamburg with its tree-line streets, Berlin has bigger buildings and lots of parks. Some of the parks date back to imperial hunting days and others to areas bombed during the war. We saw grand government buildings, new and restored, as well as embassies, the Siegessaule Victory Column, churches and beautiful residential and shopping areas. This city is home to a multitude of different neighborhoods and cultures; it begs to be classified as a European capital rather than merely German.
We wrung out every ounce of daylight before grabbing a cab back to our hotel on Charlottenstrasse, and just a few steps away from Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt, a beautiful square in an area with lots of shops and restaurants.
For dinner we ate typically German fare at nearby Lutter & Wegner, where we had goulash & sauerbraten (winner of the German Sauerbraten Championship) and really delicious warm apple strudel with vanilla ice cream.
For chocoholics: www.fassbender-rausch.de
An enjoyable river cruise on the Spree; trips last about an hour.