Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Germany, the land of wurst and beer, is a place i have always wanted to go.. but then i say that about everywhere. We chose Berlin as a gateway to Dresden, Prague & Vienna.Although we didn't end up making it to Vienna this time around and instead headed back to London.

Berlin of course is a city of the world, a major European capital, sadly though, the Berlin that you see has been resurrected over the last 50 years from the rubble of WWII. They have done a splendid job, the clean wide streets, the beautiful buildings give you a sense of the scale of Berlin in its heyday.

Conversely though, you get a taste of the ancien regime of Eastern Europe when you get off your airplane at Tegel, the airport that presently serves Berlin. While you are on the gangway heading in all traffic stops. You wait to go through passport control which is set up between the gate and the rest of the airport and only once you clear immigration do you make it in.

Each gate has a similar set up and immigration officers move from gate to gate as flights show up. Sounds ridiculous but it works because Tegel is a fairly small airport and one of the easiest ones to reach of any ive ever been to. hop a city bus and there in 20 odd minutes.

The most fascinating aspects of Berlin were the sections of the old East Berlin which were under the sphere of Russian influence. The wall came down two decades ago but if you walk up to certain parts of the city like Checkpoint Charlie (the most famous crossing point from Communist East Berlin to free West Berlin) and continue walking you see older buildings and get some sense of what life here was like.

If you continue walking past you will be able to catch the similarities that some of the buildings have to the Russia inspired Govt buildings like Sakhar Bhavan and Nehru Center in Bombay and parts of Delhi. Imposing in scale and size, spartan in look and feel, utiliatrian to the core and shunning all luxury.

One of the few buildings of the old Berlin that continues to stand is the Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of unified Berlin, it has seen loads of action starting with Napoleon up until the Second World War.

The wide avenue that runs through it was once used as a makeshift airport during the last days of the battle of Berlin. Many people flew in and out under immense fire including Albert Speer the official architect and armamements minister of the reich who flew in and out to say goodbye to the Fuhrer a few days before the fall of Berlin.

The reichstag has a glass section which can be visited if done so with a prior booking and by carrying your passport or other ID.

The food scene in Berlin is not too bad, although we had a dreary breakfast at the hotel.

Mostly cold cuts and sausages, no eggs... thank god for bread and cheese.

Berlin has a strong street food scene loads of crepes, burgers, pizzas, falafal every few blocks from chains as well as street vendors. you can also pick up cury wurst for a euro just about anywhere. so one could do a quick snack with a beer for a few euro if so inclined.

While walking around looking for a place to eat we walked by a room full of loud Italians and figured the food must be good. A family run joint with self service the place had an expansive menu.

We got a pizza, a pasta, soup and two cokes for get this.. 13 Euro.. not only was the food great it was cheap as hell. Highly recommend it. On Kufushendamm, take the street ahead of the Hard Rock Cafe and walk for about 3 minutes.

Berlin is an interesting place, its so HUGE that Berliners themselves end up asking for directions. The people are nice and helpful but they do seem a little surly and really ought to go out and have themselves some fun.

Kufushendamm is a glamorous street and a great way to introduce yourself to Berlin. The street turned 150 years on the day we were there and they literally rolled out the red carpet. The entire street was closed, every shop was giving away things, there was freem champagne and beer, live bands and dancing.

Pity no Germans stopped by to enjoy it.


Anonymous said...

Is this blog meant for Mumbai food or Germany - Berlin?

Gaurav said...

its meant for whoever is interested in food and a little travel.

Anonymous said...

where you say that the buildings look like they were inspired by Russia, you are actually looking towards former West-Berlin ....

Gaurav said...

the comment was just something that struck me, when i was walking around checkpoint charlie.

the image below the text is not meant to signify either side. thanks for writing though.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin