It’s official, I’m going to Berlin in October. The flight is booked and all the equipment has been arranged. Now the countdown has begun – three weeks and counting.
I originally wanted to take a train there as I thought it would be easier, but it would take about 12 hours to get there, whereas flying takes two hours. So flying was the obvious winner. I was a bit apprehensive about taking a plane to get there. I don’t have a fear of flying, it’s the fact that I would have to get lifted out of my chair and chucked into a plane seat. it’s a bit of a pain, and to be honest it doesn’t make much logical sense when you think about it. Why not just clamp wheelchairs down in the cabin like in cars? Wouldn’t that be easier for everyone? Then we could stay in our wheelchairs, which would be a hell of a lot more comfortable. Plus people wouldn’t have to risk breaking their back lifting us, because they don’t have a hoist. But the world is not a logical place, and anyway, I digress.
We used a travel company that specialises in organising holidays for disabled people, which makes things a lot easier. They found a suitable hotel (four stars baby!), arranged for the equipment I need to be delivered to the hotel for when I arrived, and arranged a wheelchair accessible transfer from the airport to the hotel. Awesome! All I need to think about is what stuff I want to do there.
And there is a lot of stuff to do. Obviously there is the Berlin wall, which I want to see, and the Reichstag building. There is stuff from the Cold War like the old Stasi prison, LOADS of museums, World War II stuff like Hitler’s bunker (it’s not there anymore, it’s a car park now apparently), and the old Gestapo headquarters. I am really interested in all the World War II stuff so I want to see as much of that as I can.
There are loads of nice places to eat apparently, including a chocolate restaurant which sounds very intriguing! Unfortunately I am going after Oktoberfest, so I don’t think I will be able to experience that. Even so the one in Berlin is not as big as the one in Munich. Also Berlin is known as a party city, so I am legally obliged to go raving at least once. There will be the Festival of lights happening when I am there, which is where they project lights onto the famous buildings and it looks really cool! The video below shows the sort of thing that they do:
That is just the Brandenburg Gate but they do it all over the city, with loads of different buildings. I think it will be amazing, but I hate to think what their electricity bill will be like afterwards.
Accessibility wise Berlin is supposed to be one of the most accessible cities in Europe. Because it was almost completely destroyed during the war there are less ancient cobbled streets like there are in places like Paris. The buses and underground trains seem accessible so I look forward to testing them out. Surely the public transport can’t be any worse than in Paris.
I was going to go to a place called Tropical Islands which is a big indoor waterpark about 30 miles from Berlin. It is inside what used to be a huge Zeppelin hanger and it looks brilliant. BUT unfortunately they don’t have any hoists so I wouldn’t be able to get into any of their swimming pools. So it’s not worth going to as I wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy it. It doesn’t matter anyway as there is still plenty to see in Berlin itself. My uncle said he lived in Berlin for two years and still didn’t see all of it, so I think there will be enough to be getting on with.
So, my friends, I have a request to ask of you. If you have ever been to Berlin please give me suggestions of what I should do there. Maybe you know somewhere interesting that is off the tourist track? Maybe there are some hidden gems that you know of. I don’t want to go just to all the touristy places. I want to go places that not everyone knows about, and have some unique experiences.
I look forward to hearing your suggestions 🙂