Tour Report: Famous and Hidden Spots of Berlin
(27 – 28 September 2014)

Beautiful sunset-view from the top of the Dome of the German “Bundestag” (Photo: N. Kleindienst)
Beautiful sunset-view from the top of the Dome of the German “Bundestag” (Photo: N. Kleindienst)

Last weekend a group of international scientists working and studying at TU Dresden went to Berlin for a weekend excursion. While strolling around the capital of Germany we visited a number of famous places, but also some spots that most of us visitors were yet unfamiliar with.

After our train journey up north on Saturday morning, we started our tour with a visit of “Teufelsberg” (German for “Devil’s Mountain”), an artificial hill made up of war debris from the Second World War located on the outskirts of Berlin City. While walking through Grunewald Forest, we felt more like in the middle of nowhere than in part of the biggest city of Germany. We took pleasure in our walk through the autumnal nature. On top of “Teufelsberg” a guide told us that this area used to be a spy station of the Americans during the time of the Cold War from which the Soviet zone was being observed. A place with a curious and spooky history, but the view from the top was amazing!

Afterwards we deepened our knowledge of German politics during a visit of the  “Bundestag”, the German parliament. We got to see the main areas where German policies and decisions are made, e.g. the plenary hall. Another highlight was a visit of the dome of the “Bundestag” with a great view over central Berlin. Being up there at sunset, we enjoyed the view even more. Back down on the ground most of us went on to a nice little restaurant and had dinner together. Our hostel was located in Friedrichshain, a district of Berlin with a high density of bars and restaurants, which made it easy to hop from one place to another after dinner. Some of us continued this longer than others ;)

On Sunday the sunny weather promised us another great day. One part of the group joined a bike trip along the former Berlin Wall that used to divide Berlin into East and West Berlin. Our guide was a West-Berliner who gave us a vivid personal and historical insight into the time of divided Berlin. The other part of the group went to the GDR museum, a museum for the former German Democratic Republic, as the East German state was called. The most interesting part of this was certainly the talk with a contemporary witness who escaped from East Berlin to West Germany during the Cold War. He got across the border hiding in the an embassy car.

We rounded off our day with a visit of Neukölln district, the cultural “melting pot” of Berlin. People from more than 160 different nations live in this area. Our guides had lots of stories to tell from their own experience. They also introduced several projects to us that were founded to help people, e.g. to integrate into society. Full of new impressions and making plans for more trips we reached Dresden in the evening. Thanks for the great time, guys!

author: Nicole Kleindienst

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