berlin brandenburg gate night time

4 Days in Berlin (and my Chronic Addiction to the Internet)

I’ve just returned from 4 days away in Berlin sightseeing and enjoying some decent beer with my other half. He’s 31 today (which makes him an old fart a sophisticated, maturing fellow). For his birthday, I thought I should get him a present we’d both enjoy (win/win!), hence the trip in the first place.

Berlin Olympic Stadium by night

The impressive Berlin Olympic Stadium on a cold November night.

We had a brilliant time. It was great to walk around the city, take the sights in and get some photographs. It would also be fair to say that Micky and I enjoyed our fair share of some decent beer!! On the Monday night, we managed to catch a football match at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. I wanted to see the stadium anyway and it was something of a bonus that I was able to do so on a cold Monday night watching Hertha Berlin vs St Pauli.

We visited the Brandenburg Gate, both during the day and by night. It’s certainly something worth getting up close to. We also passed the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe (although the museum itself was closed while we were there). The memorial’s unusual. It’s made up of hundreds of blocks of different sizes. If you didn’t know it were a memorial, you could easily mistake it for some sort of modern art installation!!

We visited the Sachsenhausen Concentration camp in Oranienburg (33km outside Berlin). That was a moving experience and somewhat surreal. As the first and one of the smallest concentration camps built during the war, it surprised just how big it was. There’s an almost eerie silence about a place like that and although ‘enjoyment’ isn’t a word you’d associate with visiting a concentration camp, I came away feeling grateful that such places are available for people to see for themselves. Nobody should ever forget what happened at places like that and a visit just makes it all the more real and unforgettable.

Berliner Fernsehturm TV Tower Berlin

The Berliner Fernsehturm (Berlin’s TV Tower)

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about my time in Berlin… expensive internet access! I know just how sad that makes me sound. But honestly, I like to have access to the Internet. Not just for social networks (though I do use them daily) but just for information on tap. Let me give you an example. I wanted to know why the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe had been built in that way, what the significance of those blocks of concrete are. Normally, I’d have Googled it in the absence of any explanation at the site itself. But in order to do so, I had to turn on mobile browsing abroad and incur the rather hefty charges to use data while roaming. Wifi hotspots were few and far between (though much appreciated when I did come across them).

I also do like to be able to check my emails. I know for a lot of people, checking work emails is the opposite to what a holiday should be. But I don’t consider that ‘working’ really. I just feel better knowing what’s going on, even if I’m not actioning emails while I’m away.

It definitely occurred to me that I have a chronic internet addiction. It was worth paying for (rather slow) mobile data for me. I simply have to have unlimited information in my pocket at all times. Not having an internet connection now leaves me feeling a little bit bare.

Ah well, there’s worse things I could be addicted to. Like crack cocaine.