So day 2 in Berlin was a pretty long day, with us visiting the Zoo, 2 museums, the Berlin Wall memorial, and then going out for dinner and cocktails in the evening.
We started the day off with a trip to Berlin Zoo. As it was a Friday morning, and unfortunately raining, it was pretty quiet so it was nice being able to walk around and not be stuck in a crowd. That's the annoying thing about Edinburgh Zoo - it always seems to be busy, no matter what time of year you go so there's always crowds at the "big animals".
As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I absolutely love going to the zoo, and Berlin Zoo was amazing. It's huge and has loads of animals that I haven't seen in years (as Edinburgh doesn't have them) like giraffes, elephants, rhinos, and polar bears as well as lions, tigers and bears (oh my!). We also got really excited because it had giant pandas written on the map, and I still haven't made it to see the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, but when we got to the enclosure it looked like they hadn't been there in a while. Boooo.
After spending a few hours at the zoo we hopped back on the underground and went to Museum Island. This is where most of the big museums in Berlin are - it is technically an actual island too as the Spree river surrounds it. With the Welcome Card we had free entry to the museums in this area, although given our time constraints we just picked a couple we really fancied visiting. First up was the Pergamon Museum which houses full sized reconstructions of buildings which were transported from excavations in Turkey. It was really amazing seeing monuments like the Market Gate of Miletus and the Ishtar Gate towering in front of you. I've never been to a museum where they have fronts of buildings like that, so cool!
As we spent quite a while in the Pergamon, and we knew we wanted to go to a museum nearby (not actually part of the museum island though), we had to miss out going to any other places at museum island which seemed a bit of a shame since we had the pass to get in free. Never mind though, I'm pretty sure we got a lot of value out of the pass anyway as we were on public transport a lot, and we used it to get discounted entry to most places.
So next up was the DDR Museum which was one of the places B had requested we add to the itinerary (with holidays I tend to do most of the planning and I just ask B for input on anything he particularly wants to see or do). The DDR museum is a hands-on, interactive museum about every day life in East Germany (so the 50's to late 80s). You can get in an old car (a Trabi), sit in a prison cell, watch a film, and relax in a typical living room. The museum was a bit smaller than I expected it to be but it was great fun so I'd recommend a visit.
Our final sightseeing stop for the day was the Berlin Wall Memorial. There are still parts of the Berlin Wall up, but at the memorial they also had representations of key parts (like escape tunnels and lookout points) so it gave you a better idea of what it would have been like. This is where I realised how poor my knowledge of history is as I had no idea that the wall didn't come down until 1989.....I was 4 years old then, that's just insane. I had always thought the Berlin Wall was something that came down in like the 70s, it's mental to think that only 20 odd years ago something like this was happening. Just crazy!
To finish off the day we went for dinner at Maximillions, a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel. We walked in to find a packed bar/restaurant, a German folk band playing music, 3 old couples having a dance, and waiting staff walking around in Lederhosen. It was like walking into a German stereotype. We both ate sausages and mash with sauerkraut, which was nicer than I thought it would be (fermented cabbage does not sound the most pleasant). We decided against dessert and instead went back to the hotel bar for some cocktails.
After a long day we had a fairly early night, as we had another busy day planned for Saturday including a visit to an abandoned theme park. Pics from that coming soon!