London Stansted to Berlin
Second most populous city in Europe and long one of the world’s most
important political centres, modern Berlin is a delightful blend of
new and old, east and west. Declared the capital of the newly-unified
German nation in 1871, Berlin held that role until partitioned by the
victorious allies at the conclusion of World War Two. For four decades
the ‘broken heart of Europe’, Berlin was the flashpoint where the
planet’s two super-powers, the USA and the USSR, confronted each other
in an atmosphere of tense hostility. The so-called Cold War reached
crisis point in 1963, when the USSR and its allies erected the Berlin
Wall, physically dividing the city in two. However, Berlin and the
world celebrated on 9 November, 1989, when the ‘Wall’ finally came
tumbling down. Quickly reinstated as the capital of the new Germany,
Berlin has blossomed as one of the most open, adventurous and
culturally-aware cities on earth.
There are two airlines which operate flights from London Stansted to Berlin: Air Berlin flies into Berlin Tegel Airport, just 8km (5 miles) from the city centre, while Ryanair goes to Berlin Schonefeld Airport, 18km (12 miles) from the centre of Berlin.
Tegel Airport to the city centre: The 109, X9 and 128 bus services
travel to various destinations in the city centre. Journey times are
around 20-30 minutes and a single ticket costs about 3 euros (£1 is
approximately equal to 1.45 euros). Taxis to Berlin city centre will
set you back between 15 and 20 euros.
Schonefeld Airport to the city centre: The S-bahn train which
terminates at Bahnhof Zoo departs every 10-30 minutes and a single
ticket costs just 2.10 euros. Bus services are also plentiful. Taxis
to Berlin centre cost about 30 euros.
Tourist Attractions in Berlin include:
- Tiergarten (Animal Park). Tiergarten, formerly a royal
hunting ground, stretches all the way from the Brandenburg Gate. Today
the park is popular with joggers, rollerbladers, bikers and all those
looking to escape the busy city.
- New Synagogue. The synagogue stands as a reminder of the
depths to which humanity can sink. It was during the infamous
Kristallnacht (crystal night) of 1938 that the Nazis attacked and
wrecked this handsome building. Today the synagogue is no longer used
for services but instead houses an exhibition tracing the history of
the city’s Jewish population.
- Funkturm (Radio Tower). Known affectionately to the locals
as the ‘beanpole’, the tower is a true emblem of Berlin’s enduring
vitality. Started in 1924, it was meant to operate as a radio
transmission point, but soon developed other uses – not least as a
pioneer television broadcast station. Struck by a shell in 1945, one of
its legs was blown away, but the Funkturm – like Berlin itself – came
through the storm of war, and is still going strong. The restaurant
near its pinnacle affords breath-taking views over the city.
- Brandenburg Gate. No trip to Berlin would be complete
without visiting the Brandenburg Gate. Initially constructed in the
18th century as a monument to peace, then structure provided the
backdrop to the fall of the Berlin Wall.