On the second day of our short weekend in Berlin the weather gods smiled upon us again and gave us a sunny, warm day perfect for city sightseeing. Our first stop was the Potsdamer platz, another modern square. The reason for our visit was the Berlin Wall. I’d seen photos of this square with remains of the Berlin Wall. There’s an information panel about the wall at the square but what surprised me were the chewing gums at the remains of the wall. On the other side of the square you can see a small Korean temple and another block of the Wall as a sort of reminder that Korea is still divided in half just like Germany used to be.
the remains of the Berlin Wall
Berlin, Berlin..it was nice to meet you, hope to see you again! In a nutshell, that’s what I could write about our short weekend in Berlin. However, I decided to tell you all about our Berlin trip at the beginning of April so read on 🙂.
We had our very cheap flight for Berlin on Friday afternoon and after a couple of initial hiccups (the late departure, the long queue at the passport control and the long wait for the overcrowded airport bus) we finally arrived to the city center. For some unknown reason our airport bus stopped near the Brandenburg Gate and we had to find a different way of getting to the Alexanderplatz square. While we were already near the Brandenburg Gate we decided to have a look at it and to see the nearby Reichstag building too (parliament) even though that was planned for Saturday morning.
Holiday destinations are a plenty out there in the world and people are trying to get more and more extravagant with their next destination, almost as if they’re trying to outdo each other. This is not a competition, this is a time to kick back and relax rather than compete. Instead of maniacally walking around with that touristic gait and snapping photos of every single thing that dares cross your camera lens, why not take it a bit easier and just get lost in a place where you have not been before? Now, there surely are some tropical islands out there which you have not explored before, but is one necessary to have fun on a holiday? There are beautiful cities out there with more things to do in them than you can shake a stick at, so if you don’t feel like leaving your comfort zone too much but still having a nice change of pace and scenery then a big city vacation could be just the thing you are looking for.
City of London
What better place to start with, than the city that is often referred to as “The Capital of the World”? It’s hard to find one, that’s for sure. If you’ve never been to London, then consider yourself as missing out, because London is as unique, as it is familiar to the average westerner. The incredibly busy rush hour periods, flashing lights in Soho and cinemas a plenty in Leicester Square, and a majestic casino, The Hippodrome, adorning the corner just next to Covent Garden station. London is most certainly a mixed bunch, and you can thank both the local community, as well as the tourists for that. People come to visit London from all over the world, and some decided to stay, eventually opening up their own businesses and adding even more to the existing conglomerate known as the diversity of London. That said, the locals have most definitely gotten crafty over the years and are pushing businesses which tend to be rather unheard of, probably just because everything else here has already been seen and done to death. There are so many businesses looking for that new hit, but as well as that, you just have gigantic corporations thriving, for example, Primark which now has two gigantic stores on Oxford Street for whatever reason.
The first port of call on a cloudy Sunday morning in Stockholm was Vasa museum on Djurgården island. My husband and I strolled all around Gamla Stan (the Old Town) the previous day so we decided to use the underground today. You can read all about our visit to Vasa museum famous for its historical warship in a separate post.
Vasa ship in Vasa museum
Djurgården island is a peaceful retreat in Stockholm where you can find several museums, an amusement park and plenty of green space for a lovely picnic in the summer. Unfortunately, despite being April it wasn’t warm for such activities and it even started to rain heavily. Luckily, just about when my husband finally finished with all the exhibits in Vasa museum the rain stopped and we walked back towards the underground station.
interesting buildings near the Swedish history museum
The next item on my to-do Stockholm list for Sunday was the Swedish History Museum on the way to Karlaplan station. It’s got free admission and it was a great place to spend a few hours on a rainy day (yes, it started to rain again). What were the highlights of this museum for me? Firstly, the Gold room on the lower floor which contains 52 kilos of gold and over 200 kilos of silver in the form of jewelry, religious objects, crowns and other things from different periods. Impressive, right? Secondly, I really liked the Viking exhibition on the ground floor. I am a big fan of Vikings series. At the very entrance of the Viking room I read how Vikings were perceived differently through different historical periods (and political situations). The concern today is that current portrayals of Vikings as only cruel warriors (TV, video games etc.) might leave a confusing legacy to the future generations.
The museum displays Viking weapons, clothes, tools, model ships and an interesting model of a Viking village. It is a very fascinating and informative exhibition. Thirdly, I enjoyed the exhibition A thousand years of Swedish history. It’s got a lot of interactive elements. I especially enjoyed sniffing through a small cupboard to guess which spices were brought to Sweden. I didn’t guess them all:) I also did an interesting quiz to see if I was a witch ( after all I do have a cat!). Also, this was the first museum that I’ve visited where I saw a trail through various exhibitions with the comments of LGBTQ community offering their perspective on various historical events. The museum also has exhibitions on Prehistory and Medieval life and art. I preferred this museum to the Vasa museum, to be honest.